Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I’ve got a couple of crates full of old vinyl albums that I haven’t listened to in years due to lack of equipment to play them. Over a period of about a year and a half I revisited each album on the internet or bought the CD and ranked the songs. I also recorded some brief thoughts, rated the album, and posted the results on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists comment section. I’m recycling and categorizing/grouping  the posts on this website.

Blood on the Tracks
It’s been a long time since I listened to this album. One of the more highly regarded Bob Dylan albums loaded with classics. Dylan has a style all his own, one that I like but have to be in the mood for. He’s not an artist I can listen to all day yet he ranks near the top of my list of favorites. I like the way I’ve ranked the songs, but I will say that I consider even the last song on my list to be good. If you like Dylan, you probably like (or would like) this album.
Scale of 1 to 10:  A -

1- You’re a Big Girl Now
2- Tangled Up in Blue
3- Simple Twist of Fate
4- Shelter From the Storm
5- Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts
6- If You See Her, Say Hello
7- You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go
8- Meet Me in the Morning
9- Idiot Wind
10- Buckets of Rain

Slow Train Coming
I didn’t listen to this album much back in the vinyl days. There’d be periods when I was in Bob Dylan mode, but outside of those phases, he wasn’t an everyday or even every week selection for me. Somehow I’d always gloss over this one when I was in a “Bob” zone. So this album is almost like new to me. I would never call Dylan a great singer, but I like his vocals here for the intangible reasons that often get cited in his defense. I also like the work from the musicians he assembled to back him up. No one song that stands out as “top of the list” all-time Dylan, but solid all the way through. Not much separation between the songs in my ranking.
Scale of 1 to 10:  B -

1- Slow Train
2- Precious Angel
3- Gotta Serve Somebody
4- Man Gave Names to All the Animals
5- Gonna Change My Way of Thinking
6- When You Gonna Wake Up
7- I Believe in You
8- Do Me Right Baby (Do Unto Others)
9- When He Returns

Time Out of Mind
Ok, so this one wasn’t exactly in the crates but my CD is old enough to throw into the mix. This album was highly acclaimed upon its release. It’s not as bad as my comments will probably make it appear, but coming from the perspective that it’s considered upper echelon Bob Dylan, I just don’t get it. After giving it a fair chance, I didn’t listen to this album much back in the day. And this revisit didn’t spark an urge to listen to it much these days. I can’t put my finger on exactly why, other than some of the songs move at a snail’s pace. It’s definitely a “mood” album so maybe that’s the problem. But even if I did find myself feeling old, tired and jilted, I don’t think this album would be my first choice. Or second or third for that matter. As I got towards the end of the album I was thinking I’d show Dylan and the critics some respect with a grade half a step higher than what I’m submitting here. But then the album closed with a self-indulgent, musically monotonous song that I thought would never end.
Scale of 1 to 10:  C +

1- Not Dark Yet
2- Dirt Road Blues
3- Standing in the Doorway
4- Can’t Wait
5- ‘Til I Fell in Love With You
6- Million Miles
7- Cold Irons Bound
8- Make You Feel My Love
9- Tryin’ to Get to Heaven
10- Love Sick
11- Highlands

This album is full-steam-ahead Bob Dylan with fiddle (violin?) as an added bonus. From what I gather most don’t care much for “Joey”. I think it’s one of the better songs. I like this album more now than I did back in the vinyl days. Could maybe go half a grade higher.
Scale of 1 to 10:  A –

1- Hurricane
2- Sara
3- Black Diamond Bay
4- Joey
5- Isis
6- One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below)
7- Oh, Sister
8- Mozambique
9- Romance in Durango

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