Showing posts with label Bob Dylan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bob Dylan. Show all posts


Folk-Rock Review: Bob Dylan - Rough and Rowdy Ways

Release Date: June 19, 2020
Label: Folk-Rock

On Rough and Rowdy Ways, his first release of original songs since 2012, Bob Dylan dishes on a wide range of topics from mortality, history, and inspiration to pop culture. He speaks more so than sings through a scratchy voice that bristles and pops like a dusty record spouting socio-political ruminations on a world that's not dark yet but getting there.  

The bottom line is that Dylan's lyrics overtake this collection. The crafty chord shifts, wailing harmonica, and rock rhythms, which defined the folk-rock sound in the '60s and '70s, are nowhere to be found. His soliloquies are, at times, poignant and prescient. Other times they are self-indulgent and self-aggrandizing, making the overall listening experience confoundingly hollow.  

If we focus on the more poignant lyrics, there is a lot to like. Dylan's masterfully infuses metaphor and weaves in pop references to create something of a hip hidden history lesson for the uninitiated. "Murder Most Foul" is by far the most potent track lyrically. Dylan skillfully uses the JFK assassination as a baseline from which to ruminate poetically on the thousand historical reverberations rippling from the impact of that fateful day. 

Still, I had a hard time picturing anything but Dylan on stage at a poetry reading with a bass player and a drummer in the corner laying down jazzy syncopations while Bob reads from a notebook of poems. Couplets that struck me most forcefully include: 

I Contain Multitudes: "I'm just like Anne Frank, like Indiana Jones. And them British bad boys, the Rolling Stones. I go right to the edge, I go right to the end. I go right where all things lost are made good again."

Crossing the Rubicon: "I feel the holy spirit inside, see the light that freedom gives. I believe it's in the reach of every man who lives."

Mother of Muses: "Mother of Muses unleash your wrath. Things I can't see, they're blocking my path."

Murder Most Foul: "The day they killed him, someone said to me, "Son. The age of the Antichrist has just only begun."

Overall, words alone are not enough to hold Rough and Rowdy Ways together, there is no sonic earth for these verses of truth to take root. Guitar & Pen gives out no free passes, as some other magazines do. While we kneel at the feet of the Gods, we won't always kiss the ring. If only old Bob had brought in Mark Knopfler to play some backing guitar, or Jacques Levy on electric violin or Daniel Lanois to produce, this would be a record for the ages. As is, I consider it more of an audiobook than a record album. While the lyrics shine, the band's restraint makes this a largely forgettable release.  

- Tom Endyke | Guitar & Pen



Audio Fidelity To Release “The Bootleg Series Vol. 6 Bob Dylan Live 1964 Concert at Philharmonic Hall” on Hybrid Multichannel 5.0 SACD

“As eminently listenable as it is historically important!”

Camarillo, CA - Marshall Blonstein's Audio Fidelity will be releasing “The Bootleg Series Vol. 6 Bob Dylan Live 1964 Concert at Philharmonic Hall” on Hybrid multichannel 5.0 SACD.

This 5.0 SurroundSound mix of Bob Dylan's October 31, 1964 “Halloween” show at New York's Philharmonic Hall is a complete recording and has never been released in this format until now. This 2-CD Audio Fidelity collection presents the entire concert from the original Columbia Records (SONY) master tapes. The package also includes a 56-page book filled with historical photographs and informative notes. The Halloween concert of 1964 had been previously bootlegged on vinyl and CD, but those releases were incomplete and taken from poor dubs off the soundboard tapes.

This 1964 concert is the first all acoustic live performance to enter Bob Dylan's discography. This recording certainly has its share of firsts and highlights, including the only known live version of “Spanish Harlem Incident,” the premiere of the songs “Gates of Eden” and “If You Gotta Go, Go Now.”

Here is Dylan as an eager-to-please 23 year old with nothing between him and his audience but a guitar and a harmonica. His voice is in top form throughout the 19 song set and when Joan Baez joins him on stage the voltage only increases.

In marked contrast to the tight-lipped living legend of the mid-'70s, here is Dylan as entertainer, joking and bantering with the crowd and he proves to be a very masterful performer.

While much has been made of the later electric performance of the 1960s, it is here that you can see how good Dylan really was. He shows all the budding facets of his art up to this time, from the protest songs, the more introspective material and the radical new direction he was pursuing.

Of course, as with all Audio Fidelity hybrid multichannel releases the SACD is compatible on all standard players and includes the 2-track stereo mix layer as well.

2-CD set/5.0 SurroundSound/includes 56-page book
Mastered by Steve Hoffman and Stephen Marsh at Stephen Marsh Mastering

Disc one
1. The Times They Are a-Changin' 3:29
2. Spanish Harlem Incident 3:07
3. Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues 4:06
4. To Ramona 6:01
5. Who Killed Davey Moore? 4:46
6. Gates of Eden 8:32
7. If You Gotta Go, Go Now (Or Else You Got to Stay All Night) 4:06
8. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) 11:26
9. I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met) 4:01
10. Mr. Tambourine Man 6:33
11. A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall 7:44

Disc two
1. Talkin' World War III Blues 5:52
2. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right 4:34
3. The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll 6:57
4. Mama, You Been on My Mind 3:35
5. Silver Dagger 3:47
6. With God on Our Side 6:17
7. It Ain't Me, Babe 5:11
8. All I Really Want to Do 4:01

Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 828-350-8158, 

For more information:

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