Thursday, July 25, 2013

LIST: Uncle Rob's 'Top 10 Dylan'

My good pal Uncle Rob knew of my family emergency and offered some blog posts to keep Maritime Vinyl fresh. A big thanks to U-R for helping out! Take it away!


So if you don't mind obliging's my Dylan Top 10. I'll admit, shaving it down to 10 was hard, and from reading this, you'll no doubt realize that I'm a pretty big fan of Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited, which as far as back-to-back albums go is a pretty unbeatable one-two punch., what a year. I wish I could've been there.

#10 The Times They Are A-Changin (The Times They Are A-Changin, 1964) I think it's the most poetic of what would be considered his protest songs (although a strong case could be made for Blowin' In The Wind as well). It's about life, and decisions and figuring out not only who you are, but who you will become. Blowin’ In The Wind did ask some serious questions as well, but 'The Times' called for action, as the old guard was about to change and Dylan was rallying the troops.

#9 Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again (Blonde On Blonde, 1966)
This song ushered in Dylan's next direction after becoming one of the world's biggest pop stars. His focus would shift to the conversation between the hard times of the blues and the honesty of early country.

#8 Bob Dylan's 115th Dream (Bringing It All Back Home, 1965)
Was it the discovery of America, or a drunken shore-leave for Christopher Columbus...or both. Here Dylan is drawing from the storytelling style he picked up in coffeehouses, and hootenannies staged throughout "The Village in the early 60's and churning out a tonal poem of epic proportions. This could be considered the electric campanion piece to Motorpsycho Nightmare, which came out on Another SIde Of Bob Dylan in 1964.
The false start followed by an outburst of laughter at the beginning, makes me think that it would have been a blast to be in the studio when making this album

#7 Knockin On Heavens Door (Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid, 1973)Proving that, yes, Dylan COULD sing.

#6 Jokerman (Infidels, 1983)
I sure there are fans who will call for my head on a stick after saying this, but I honestly think it’s his last GREAT song.

#5 Tombstone Blues (Highway 61 Revisited, 1965)

#4 Subterranean Homesick Blues (Bringing It All Back Home, 1965)
This song has informed so much of what we listen to today. The machine gun lyrical delivery, could easily be a precursor to rap, with language propelling the rhythm. The mad scramble provided by the band easily could've signaled punk. If this song came out today, it would be huge. 46 years later, it hasn't aged a day.

#3 Desolation Row (Highway 61 Revisited, 1965)
The shortest 11 minute song you'll ever hear. I could listen to him sing about these poor creatures all day long.

#2 Like A Rolling Sone (Highway 61 Revisited, 1965)
One of those rare moments when a song becomes a historic moment.
For the ten years prior, Rock N Roll was just learning to walk on it's own, by the time of Like A Rolling Stone it was ready to leave home for good. Within a couple of years we went from Da Do Ron Ron, to words that had many meanings and interpretations.
A 6 minute #1 song in 1965 was enough of a rule breaker, but separate the channels and you'll hear some of the most ham fisted playing by musicians to ever reach the top slot. That alone makes it a landmark achievement. Like A Rolling Stone carried the responsibility of teaching us to think on our own, which was considered dangerous ground by many at the time. A new era, a new tomorrow and a new hope (as disillusioned as it could sometimes be) had officially arrived.

#1 It's All Over Now Baby Blue (Bringing It All Back Home, 1965)
When Dylan played the Newport Folk Festival the first two times, he and Baez were being groomed to carry the torch for the aging folk movement, but by his third appearance in 1965, he had already moved on and was ready to tackle new terrain. This time he brought electricity and threw the switch. History tells us that he was booed off the stage after a very short set. After being begged to come back to give the people what they wanted, Dylan chose this beauty. If it was one more song that they wanted, then it was going to say 'goodbye' with it. To the people who brought him to the party, he was no longer theirs, or anybodys for that matter, ever again. A 'kiss-off' has never sounded so bittersweet. Hands down, my favorite Dylan song.

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