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Blog: Dylan THORTS

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It was Bob Dylan's 80th birthday last week, and there was so much HOO-HA about it that I thought I should probably have a listen to him again. As anyone who has ever spoken to me during the period November to January will know, I listen to Bob Dylan A LOT, specifically his (AMAZING) Christmas Album, but it's AGES since I listened to much else, so as a special BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE I have spent much of the past few days doing exactly that.

I started off with "Highway 61 Revisited", which is of course UTTERLY BRILLIANT. It's one of those records where you forget just HOW brilliant it is, until you put it on and find yourself GURNING ALONG as you shout the lyrics, and also dance about a bit. Similarly "Bringing It All Back Home" was HUGE amounts of fun - this is definitely a record that I remember being more Boring Dylan than Fun Dylan, but it turned out to be MUCH more the latter.

Next on the list was "Freewheelin'" which I remembered CORRECTLY as being a bit dreary, and was if anything even more so that I recalled. With that in mind I decided to AVOID the other Boring Dylan records and go straight to "Blonde On Blonde" which remains one of the MOST GRATE records ever made. COR BLIMEY, it's exciting just LISTENING to it, I can hardly imagine what it must have been like to have been in the actual room when that ALMIGHTY RACKET was going on. Apparently B Dylan kept trying to recreate that sound over the decades that followed and I am not surprised as it is THE BEST SOUND EVER. I love the fact that you can HEAR them having a brilliant time, and realising that they were making an astonishing sound even while they were doing it. Ooh, I want to go back and put it on again now!

I then briefly got a bit stuck - I do OWN various other B Dylan records (mostly from previous occasions when I've listened to the three GRATE ones above and thought "I need MORE!") but they've never really stuck. I did think about asking for recommendations, but luckily various PALS did that without asking, and I got three MORE to have a listen to.

I've had a go at "Blood On The Tracks" in the past and never really got into it, as it sounds a bit SEDATE, and the first time around it did so again. HOWEVER, as several people had mentioned it as their favourite I thought I'd better give it a couple more goes and in doing so finally GOT IT, to the extent that I have had "Idiot Wind" going round my head for two days. Next was "The Basement Tapes", which sounds a BIT like "Blonde On Blonde" in terms of LARKS/Crash Bang Wallop but not quite as good, and also the version I had appeared to have had all of the HITS removed and replaced by The Band doing some of their own stuff. It improved MARKEDLY once I started just SKIPPING The Band songs, but I think what I need is one of them Spotify Playlists which does that for me and adds in "Mighty Quinn" and so forth.

While discussing all this on The Social Media I mentioned that The Basement Tapes is a sort of proto-Travelling Wilburys which a) is an excellent point if I do say so myself but b) uncovered a terrible truth, that one of my oldest friends has apparently NEVER LISTENED TO THE TRAVELING WILBURYS! I partly blame myself, but also I must lay some blame on The Government - my understanding was that, after the success of giving every parent in the country a copy of "Bob Marley Legend" in the mid-1980s the government then issued everybody with copies of "Brothers In Arms", "Gracelands" and "Traveling Wilburys Vol.1" but perhaps certain Peterborough postcodes were omitted from this scheme? It is a historical injustice that must be rectified!

Anyway, FINALLY I had a listen to "Oh Mercy" which I think of as one of his most recent albums, but turns out to have been released approx 300,000 years ago. For some reason I BOUGHT this when it came out, despite never having listened to any Bob Dylan records before, and I can't for the life of me work out why. The following year I would get a load of Dylan TAPES off of Dr N Brown, who was responsible for MUCH WIDENING of my MUSICAL BRANE, but this was before then so I've no idea what was going on. Anyway, listening to it now I was surprised by how many HITS there were on it, and how enjoyable it is - yes, a lot of the songs are him going "Oh I am extremely fed up and, apparently, a bit tired" but it sounds LOVELY.

And there my DYLAN ODYSSEY ended, for now at least. I suppose I should really go and listen to that new album he put out last year, which I bought, listened to once, and then put McCartney III back on instead... or maybe I should go and look for that playlist instead? Either way, I think this whole experience has proven two (2) important FACTS: 1) Bob Dylan is DEAD GOOD 2) Reviewing music is PEASY!

posted 31/5/2021 by MJ Hibbett

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