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Bob Dylan - Rough & Rowdy Ways

supergenius365

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,522
I wondered when somebody would start a thread on this album.

I got it the day it came out and have had it playing in the car. I'm so-so on it. I don't hear the "instant classic" that many reviews (professional and personal) people have given it. The songs seem too long (not counting Murder Most Foul) and I find myself looking to see how much longer the song has to go. I'm a big lyrics person and Dylan is obviously a word man. The lyrics just seem "meh" to me. I really enjoy Love and Theft from 2001. Lyrics are great and music is interesting. I was hoping the return of Charlie Sexton would bring similarly interesting music, but that's not what I hear.
 

Phisherman

Member
Messages
642
I wondered when somebody would start a thread on this album.

I got it the day it came out and have had it playing in the car. I'm so-so on it. I don't hear the "instant classic" that many reviews (professional and personal) people have given it. The songs seem too long (not counting Murder Most Foul) and I find myself looking to see how much longer the song has to go. I'm a big lyrics person and Dylan is obviously a word man. The lyrics just seem "meh" to me. I really enjoy Love and Theft from 2001. Lyrics are great and music is interesting. I was hoping the return of Charlie Sexton would bring similarly interesting music, but that's not what I hear.
I'm somewhat in the same boat. The songs are longer than I'd prefer for that style of music (and I'm a Phish Phan; I LOVE long songs). I think lyrically it's pretty good. Guy can still turn a phrase. I had to listen to Black Rider over and over, because of that one line "your c*ck will not you far" lyrics made my head spin. Not typically the kind of line you would hear in folk(ish) music - but that's Bob, pushing boundaries I suppose. A lot of the songs have that "talking through the song" sound, but then he threw in the blues song "Goodbye Jimmy Reed" which I thought was good.

A lot of the album reminds me of Willie Nelson.
 

Occam

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,188
I like the album and I think it's one of his best of the last 20 years or so. He's gotten more literal and straight forward lyrically which I'm not the biggest fan of, I'm like the more poetic lyrics of his early days but it's great mood music. I like to have this album on while I'm doing something else or driving.
 

Jayyj

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,603
Yeah, really like it.

It sounds absolutely beautiful. A great example of a killer band that know how to hang back and let Dylan take the centre stage, and the quality of the recording is gorgeous, so warm and clear.

And his voice I think sounds better than it's been since Desire and the Rolling Thunder tour. I didn't pay a great deal of attention to the covers albums but I saw him live doing the half standards set and it really struck me then how much attention he was paying to melody and phrasing. Thinking back to the half dozen times I saw him snarl and hiccup his way through the hits at earlier shows, I can't help wondering if he went through a long period of frustration at the newer limitations of his voice and not being able to use it the way he wanted, and the standards era has perhaps been important in in helping him close the book on that and learn a new way to use what he has. Whatever though, this is a great vocal performance.

I'm in two minds about the lyrics. There's some lines that are absolute clunkers, then he turns round and comes out with something that floors me. I think in part it's because there are so many versions of Bob, be it the story teller, the surrealist, the Joker and so on and this is a new Bob that needs a bit of adjusting to. So I think overall I don't think he's anywhere near as sharp as he used to be, but there again Bob on 50% is still running circles around most other lyricists.

I've probably given it half a dozen listens and so far I think about half of it is great, the other half falls more in the good to have the old boy back category. I'd say Multitudes, False Prophet, Jimmy Reed and Key West are the stand outs so far.
 




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