The reaction on the (U.S.) Slow Train tour was disheartening at times. But it doesn’t wound you because you get used to the ups and downs. You get to where the praise doesn’t mean anything because it’s often for the wrong reason, and it’s the same with the criticism. Besides, I don’t think I’ll be perceived properly till 100 years after I’m gone. I really believe that. I don’t think anybody has really caught on to Blonde On Blonde yet.
~Bob Dylan (to Robert Hilburn – June 1984)
…. Musically, this is probably Dylan’s finest record, a rare coming together of inspiration, desire and talent that completely fuse strength, vision and art. Bob Dylan is the greatest singer of our times. No one is better. No one, in objective fact, is even very close. His versatility and vocal skills are unmatched. His resonance and feeling are beyond those of any of his contemporaries. More than his ability with words, and more than his insight, his voice is God’s greatest gift to him. So when I listen to “When He Returns,” the words finally don’t matter at all. They are as good as they ever were, maybe even better. … I am hearing a voice. ~Jann Wenner (the famous “Slow Train Coming” review Sept 1979)
The last recording session brought us 4 masters: Gotta Serve Somebody, Do Right To Me Baby (Do Unto Others), When He Returns & Man Gave Names To All The Animals.
He [Willie Nelson] takes whatever thing he’s singing and makes it his. There’s not many people who can do that. Even something like an Elvis tune. You know, once Elvis done a tune, it’s pretty much done. But Willie is the only one in my recollection that has even taken something associated with Elvis and made it his. He just puts his sorta trip on it…
~Bob Dylan (28 April 1993)
From the filming of Willie Nelson 60th birthday party.
Jesse H. Jones Communication Center Building B
The University of Texas At Austin
28 April 1993
…Sure, I try to stick to the rules. Sometimes I might shift paradigms within the same song, but then that structure also has its own rules. And I combine them both, see what works and what doesn’t. My range is limited. Some formulas are too complex and I don’t want anything to do with them.
~Bob Dylan (to Bill Flanagan, in 2009)
“Dylan, who turns 68 in May, has never sounded as ravaged, pissed off and lusty”
~David Fricke (rollingstone.com)
Together Through Life is an album that gets its hooks in early and refuses to let go. It’s dark yet comforting, with a big tough sound, booming slightly like a band grooving at a soundcheck in an empty theatre. And at its heart there is a haunting refrain. Because above everything this is a record about love, its absence and its remembrance.
~Danny Eccleston (mojo4music.com)
Beyond Here Lies Nothin’
I’m listening to Billy Joe Shaver And I’m reading James Joyce Some people they tell me I got the blood of the land in my voice
~Bob Dylan (I Feel A Change Comin’ On)
What do you think Mozart would say to you if you ever come up to him and ask him the questions that you’ve been asking, you know? What kind of questions would you ask him, you know, ‘Tell me, Mr. Mozart… ‘
~Bob Dylan (to Klas Burling, April 28, 1966)
Immediately after the official press conference at the Hotel Flamingo at Stockholm, Dylan was interviewed for Swedish Radio 3: Stockholm: Radiohuset by Sweden’s first disc jockey, Klas Burling. Burling asked all the questions that Dylan had clearly grown sick and tired of hearing and got a really hard time as a result. You have to give poor Burling credit for lasting the distance and carrying the interview through to the end. (Every Mind Polluting Word)