August 10: Bob Dylan released Shot of Love in 1981
I hear the ancient footsteps like the motion of the sea Sometimes I turn, there’s someone there, other times it’s only me I am hanging in the balance of the reality of man Like every sparrow falling, like every grain of sand
Shot of Love is Bob Dylan’s 21st studio album, it was released by Columbia Records in August 1981.
It is generally considered to be Dylan’s last of a trilogy of overtly religious, Christian albums. Also, it was his first since becoming born-again to focus on secular themes, from straight-ahead love songs to an ode to the deceased comedian Lenny Bruce. Arrangements are rooted more in rock’n’roll, less in gospel than on Dylan’s previous two albums. So maybe it is more of a new start than a gospel-tinged end?
“You see, I spend too much time working out the sound of my records these days, .. and if the records I’m making only sell a certain amount anyway, then why should I take so long putting them together?… I’ve got a lot of different records inside me, and it’s time just to start getting them out.”
~Bob Dylan (to Mikal Gilmore, Sept 1985)
“I’m thinking about calling this album Knocked Out Loaded, Is that any good, you think, Knocked Out Loaded?”
~Bob Dylan (to Mikal Gilmore, May 1986)
“Sounds like something he threw together in a week and away forever. But throwing it away is how he gets that off-the-cuff feel, and side two is great fun”
~Robert Christgau (robertchristgau.com)
“On this album, I took a few steps backward, but I also took a bunch of steps forward because I had a lot of time to concentrate on it. I also had the band sounding like I want it to sound. It’s got that organ sound from ‘Blonde on Blonde’ again. That’s something that has been missing.”
~Bob Dylan (to Robert Hilburn – May 1978)
Jonathan Cott interview – Sept. 1978: Jonathan Cott: What do you think of all the criticisms of Street Legal? Bob Dylan: I read some of them. In fact, I didn’t understand them. I don’t think these people have had the experiences I’ve had to write those songs. The reviews didn’t strike me as being particularly interesting one way or another, or as compelling to my particular scene. I don’t know who these people are. They don’t travel in the same crowd, anyway. So it would be like me criticizing Pancho Villa.
First of all… “Street-Legal” is a fantastic album. I have never “understood” all the criticism it got.. and still gets, and I even dig the original overall sound & production.
“Say what you want about Empire Burlesque — at the very least, it’s the most consistent record Bob Dylan has made since Blood on the Tracks, even if it isn’t quite as interesting as Desire. However, it is a better set of songs, all deriving from the same place and filled with subtle gems — the most obvious being “Tight Connection to My Heart (Has Anybody Seen My Love?),” but also “Emotionally Yours” and “Dark Eyes” — proving that his powers are still there.”
I’ll Remember You (my favorite version from the movie Masked and Anonymous):
Bob Dylan fans and music critics continue to debate the album’s merits, especially when compared to the styles he pioneered in the 1960s and 1970s. It is one of Dylan’s most discussed albums in terms of quality, having a distinct “80s style” production to the songs. There are some really great songs on this album, but they seem hidden under the “80s sound”.
The sessions for Empire Burlesque were held in New York and Hollywood from July 1984 to April 1985.
I fuckin’ hope so, man, because it’s a great album
(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 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→