Category Archives: Bob Dylan albums

June 8: Bob Dylan released Self Portrait in 1970





 

June 8: Bob Dylan released Self Portrait in 1970

Please read our post on Bootleg Series 10: Another Self Portrait from 2013 to get some more details and a more insightful description of what it could have been.

I fuckin’ hope so, man, because it’s a great album
Ryan Adams
(in 2002, when asked if he didn’t fear burning out and ending up making albums such as “Self Portrait”)

Maybe not Bob Dylan’s proudest moment, but there are good songs on the record.

Here are our 6 best songs from the album:

  • Copper Kettle (The Pale Moonlight)
  • Days of’ 49
  • Early Mornin’ Rain
  • Let It Be Me
  • Living The Blues
  • In Search of Little Sadie
  • Like a Rolling Stone (great with the re-mastered sound!)

“Well that was a joke, that album was put out at a time I didn’t like the attention I was getting. I never did want attention. At that time I was getting the wrong kind of attention for things I hadn’t done. So we released that album to get people off my back, so they would not like me anymore, that’s the reason the album was put out, so people would stop buying my records, and they did. “ – Bob Dylan (press conference 1981, Germany)

I think he was playing tricks with the journalists, there are interviews that tells about why he released the album to pay tribute to songwriters that he liked. But he also repeated the need he had to get away from “the fandom”. Last year it got re-released with better sound, that helped a lot. The one to buy is the box-set, Bootleg series vol.10: Another Self Portrait. You get outtakes, the Isle of Wight concert and the re-mastered album.

“I said: “Well, fuck it I wish these people would just forget about me. I wanna do something they can’t possibly like, they can’t relate to. They’ll see it and they’ll listen and they’ll say: “Well let’s go on to the next person. He ain’t sayin’ it no more. He ain’t givin’ us what we want,” you know? They’ll go on to somebody else.” But the whole idea back-fired. Because the album went out there, and the people said, “This ain’t what we want”, and they got more resentful. “ – Bob Dylan (Rolling Stone Magazine, 1984)
Continue reading June 8: Bob Dylan released Self Portrait in 1970

May 30: Bob Dylan released Down In The Groove 1988




Bob_Dylan_Down_In_The_Groove

“Bob’s bad stuff is better than other musicians’ best”

Down in the Groove is singer-songwriter Bob Dylan‘s 25th studio album, released by Columbia Records 30 May 1988. Egil here at Johannasvisions rate it as maybe Dylan’s lowest point. Me? I’m not so sure anymore…

It got pretty terrible reviews upon it’s release. Many reviewers compared it to his previous album, Knocked Out Loaded, and not in a favourable way.

Wikipedia:
“A highly collaborative effort, it was Dylan’s second consecutive album to receive almost unanimous negative reviews. Released during a period when his recording career was experiencing a slump, sales were disappointing, reaching only #61 in the US and #32 in the UK.”

How is it in hindsight? Was it unfairly slated? I think it’s better than reported and as usual Dylan’s standards were expected to be higher than anybody else’s. We cannot expect a masterpiece every time. Can we?

The album was delayed for more than six months and the track listing changed at least three times. The tracks that made the final album come from many different recording sessions spread out over a long time (six years?).

Rick Griffin Down in the Groove
Rick Griffin was asked by Dylan’s management to come up with a cover design for what was to be the ‘Down In The Groove’ album. Rick produced many designs and, apparently, became somewhat exasperated as his ideas were rejected and changed. This seems to have reflected the overall situation surrounding the album at the time (bonhams)

I’ve always thought of it as a strangely confusing album, but it gets less confusing with each listen session. It has some very good cover songs. Let’s Stick together opens the record in an energetic way, I would love to hear it live!

The comes the song I think is not very good at all, the cover When did you leave heaven. Very eighties drum sound, strange production, it just sounds a bit off, I don’t think the song suits Dylan, and it ends kind of funny.

Sally Sue Brown, the third track is another rockn’roll/soul standard that gets a good run through. I prefer Arthur Alexanders classic, but it is not bad at all.

The last three songs on the album are also cover songs (Ninety Miles an Hour (Down a dead end street), Shenandoah and Rank Strangers To Me, and they are all quite good actually.
Continue reading May 30: Bob Dylan released Down In The Groove 1988

May 27: Bob Dylan released The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan in 1963





bob dylan freewheelin

May 27: Bob Dylan released The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan 1963

“..easily the best of [Dylan’s] acoustic albums and a quantum leap from his debut—which shows the frantic pace at which Dylan’s mind was moving.You can see why this album got the Beatles listening. The songs at its core must have sounded like communiques from another plane.”
~John Harris (Q Magazine, 2000)

” I think it was the first time I ever heard Dylan at all… And for the rest of our three weeks in Paris, we didn’t stop playing it.”
– John Lennon (about The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan)

Blowin’ In The Wind:

Continue reading May 27: Bob Dylan released The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan in 1963

May 16: Bob Dylan released Blonde On Blonde in 1966





blonde on blonde

May 16: Bob Dylan released  Blonde On Blonde in 1966

The closest I ever got to the sound I hear in my mind was on individual bands in the Blonde on Blonde album. It’s that thin, that wild mercury sound. It’s metallic and bright gold, with whatever that conjures up. That’s my particular sound.
~Bob Dylan (to Ron Rosenbaum – Nov 1977)

Blonde on Blonde is all resonance. The songs and their stories and evocative lines and seductive melodies inhabit a realm of sound unique to this album, different from anything created before or since by Dylan or anyone else. Dylan called it “that thin, that wild mercury sound-metallic and bright gold, with whatever that conjures up.”
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan Performing Artist I: The Early Years 1960-1973)

bob dylan blonde on blonde photshoot

To have followed up one masterpiece with another was Dylan’s history making achievement here…Where Highway 61 Revisited has Dylan exposing and confronting like a laser beam in surgery, descending from outside the sickness, Blonde on Blonde offers a persona awash inside the chaos…We’re tossed from song to song…The feel and the music are on a grand scale, and the language and delivery are a rich mixture of the visionary and the colloquial.
~Michael Gray (Song & Dance Man III: The Art of Bob Dylan)

Continue reading May 16: Bob Dylan released Blonde On Blonde in 1966

May 2: Bob Dylan released MTV Unplugged in 1995

bob dylan mtv unplugged

 

May 2: Bob Dylan MTV Unplugged released in 1995

I wasn’t quite sure how to do it and what material to use. I would have liked to do old folk songs with acoustic instruments, but there was a lot of input from other sources as to what would be right for the MTV audience. The record company said, “You can’t do that, it’s too obscure.”
~Bob Dylan (to Edna Gundersen May 1995)

Knocking on Heaven’s Door:

Continue reading May 2: Bob Dylan released MTV Unplugged in 1995