17 January 2013

17th Jan - Bob Dylan's Blood On the Tracks

Artist – Album: Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks
Released: 17th January 1975
Sounds Like: Dylan opens up about the breakdown of his relationship. Possibly

Fanfare please for Mr. Bob Dylan, who, following The Times They Are A-Changin’ on the 13th, becomes the first person to have a second album reviewed in this blog. Well done sir, you must be very proud...

The year after that 1964 album Dylan went electric, famously being labelled Judas at the Manchester Free Trade Hall, about a mile away from where I’m sat right now. His songs moved on from simple protest songs to elegant and complex riddles; abstract poetry that continues to be interpreted and reinterpreted nearly fifty years later.  Later, he was involved in a motorcycle accident and stopped touring. His critical output seemed to have peaked with Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde in 1965/66, and his releases began edging steadily towards mediocrity by the 70s.

Blood On the Tracks was an exquisite return to form. He revisited simply constructed acoustic music, albeit with the backing of a full session band. The writing too was more back to basics than previous efforts without losing the skill and use of metaphor of his more enigmatic lyrics.

And Dylan really had something to write about. Although the man himself denies it, it’s hard to imagine that this set of songs is about anything other than the separation with his then wife Sarah. From the how-I-met-your mother tale of ‘Tangled Up in Blue’ we follow the full arc of their relationship. The album contains a plethora of emotions, from the venomous ‘Idiot Wind’ to the reconciliatory ‘Shelter from the Storm’. Each song contains his trademark wit, and despite the subject matter, there’s no soppiness to be found.

There isn’t a dud note on the whole album. Which means that, as well as being the first artist to have a second album on this blog, Dylan also becomes the first to receive the perfect ten. Congratulations indeed.

Albumaday... rating:   10/10

1.       Tangled Up in Blue – 5:42
2.       Simple Twist of Fate – 4:19
3.       You’re a Big Girl Now – 4:36
4.       Idiot Wind – 7:48
5.       You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go – 2:55
6.       Meet Me  in the Morning – 4:22
7.       Lily, Rosemary  and the Jack of Hearts – 8:51
8.       If You See Her, Say Hello – 4:49
9.       Shelter from the Storm – 5:02
10.   Buckets of Rain – 3:22

Listen to ‘Idiot Wind’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdmH3y3AxY0

Also released on the 14th January:
1966: Simon & Garfunkel – Sounds of Silence
Also released on the 14th January:
1974: Joni Mitchell – Court and Spark

Also released on the 14th January:
2003: The Knife – Deep Cuts

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