Thursday, November 01, 2018

Surprise, I Have an Opinion on a Bob Dylan Related Matter

The Associated Press asks "Can a long-running debate for Bob Dylan fans be settled?" regarding Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

[S]hortly before the album’s release, on a holiday break home in Minnesota, an apparently unsatisfied Dylan convened a mostly unknown group of musicians and re-recorded half of the album’s 10 songs. Many of his fans, particularly those who heard illicit outtakes of what he recorded in New York, have long debated whether that was a mistake.

 Mistake? I don't know about that, but I do know that I like the tracks I've heard from the new More Blood, More Tracks release. In fact, I like most, maybe all, of them better than I like the versions on the album as it was actually released. Here are ten of the newly released takes for your consideration.

In particular, I never liked the original album version of "Tangled Up In Blue" that much. I won't say I hated it, but it just wasn't one of my favorites. The version linked above is one of my favorite Dylan listens.

"Up to Me" was recorded for Blood on the Tracks, but wasn't released until 1985's Biograph, and I like the More Blood, More Tracks version linked above a lot better than the Biograph take.

Of course, I could have a more informed opinion if I had the whole More Blood, More Tracks collection coming out tomorrow (hint, hint). But at this point I'm prepared to say that Blood on the Tracks would rate way higher up my list of favorite Dylan albums if he had gone with the New York takes instead of the Minnesota re-recordings.

Why? Well, that one's easy: The New York takes sound more like "early Dylan."

I'm not prejudiced against "electric Dylan," especially up through John Wesley Harding, mind you, and I'm increasingly warming up to his later stuff (like 2012's Tempest). But I still think his songs sound their best when it's him, his guitar, his harmonica, and little if any backing instrument noise.

God is reputed to have a choir of angels at hir beck and call, but I bet hir voice rings most true when ze sends them out for a coffee break and just performs solo, too.

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