September 18: Bob Dylan released Oh Mercy in 1989

“Most of them [the songs on “Oh Mercy”] are stream-of-consciousness songs, the kind that come to you in the middle of the night, when you just want to go back to bed. The harder you try to do something, the more it evades you. These weren’t like that.”
~Bob Dylan (to Edna Gundersen, 21 September 1989)

While it would be unfair to compare ‘Oh Mercy’ to Dylan’s Sixties recordings, it sits well alongside his impressive body of work.
~Clinton Heylin (Behind The Shades)

Most Of The Time (my fav song from the album):

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September 13: Bob Dylan released “Hard Rain” in 1976

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When we open our ears – and it may take a dozen listenings before we stop hearing this album in terms of what we expect these songs to sound like, or, for the fans, in terms of the performances we think should have been included – the rewards and surprises of Hard Rain are nearly inexhaustible.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist, Vol 2: The Middle Years 1974-1986)

Hindsight shows that this album introduces the ragged, postmodern Bob Dylan, right from the grungy instrumental ground-pawing ahead of the start of the first number. Moreover the running order now seems surprisingly well thought out. It represents, too, the late phase of the historic Rolling Thunder Revue tour and captures the distinctive, bare-wired sound of Dylan’s existential gypsy band. Stand-out track is ‘Idiot Wind’, which, as Dylan grows ever more engaged, bursts open and pours out its brilliant venom.
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)

The 3 best all time (from any artist) officially released concert albums are obviously “Hard Rain”, “Bob Dylan Live 1966, The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert” & “Bob Dylan Live 1975, The Rolling Thunder Revue”. They are all brilliant. Today “Hard Rain” is the best of the lot.

The album received an awful lot bad criticism upon its release, and surprisingly still does. To my ears it has always sounded amazing. Listening to other bootlegs from Rolling thunder 2 & watching the Hard Rain movie (and outtakes), one could easily wish that more songs had been included, and he’d put out a double album. But it is what it is, and it’s incredible. It is also (as noted by Paul Williams) inexhaustible, it still sounds fresh & wonderful today.

Here is (a stunning) “Shelter From The Storm”:

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September 11: Bob Dylan released “Love And Theft” in 2001

” ‘Love & Theft’ is not an album I’ve recorded to please myself. If I really wanted to that, I would have recorded some Charley Patton songs.”
~Bob Dylan

“All the songs are variations on the 12-bar theme and blues-based melodies. The music here is an electronic grid, the lyrics being the substructure that holds it all together. The songs themselves don’t have any genetic history. Is it like Time Out Of Mind, or Oh Mercy, or Blood On The Tracks, or whatever? Probably not. I think of it more as a greatest hits album, Volume 1 or Volume 2. Without the hits; not yet, anyway”
~Bob Dylan (“Love & Theft” press release, June 2001)

The old Chess records, the Sun records. . . I think that’s my favorite sound for a record . . . I like . . . the intensity The sound is uncluttered. There’s power and suspense. The whole vibration feels like it could be coming from inside your mind. It’s alive. It’s right there.
~Bob Dylan, to Bill Flanagan, 2009

High Water (for Charley Patton):

High water risin’—risin’ night and day
All the gold and silver are bein’ stolen away
Big Joe Turner lookin’ east and west
From the dark room of his mind
He made it to Kansas City
Twelfth Street and Vine
Nothin’ standing there
High water everywhere

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September 10: Randy Newman Released Good Old Boys in 1974

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“To me, someone who writes really good songs is Randy Newman. There’s a lot of people who write good songs. As songs. Now Randy might not go out on stage and knock you out, or knock your socks off. And he’s not going to get people thrilled in the front row. He ain’t gonna do that. But he’s gonna write a better song than most people who can do it.

You know, he’s got that down to an art. Now Randy knows music. He knows music But it doesn’t get any better than “Louisiana” or “Cross Charleston Bay” [“Sail Away”]. It doesn’t get any better than that. It’s like a classically heroic anthem theme. He did it. There’s quite a few people who did it. Not that many people in Randy’s class.”
– Bob Dylan (1991)

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September 5: Ryan Adams released Heartbreaker in 2000

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“On Heartbreaker, I had to sing those songs. I drank the way I did those songs. I ate the way I did those songs. I communicated the way I did those songs”
~Ryan Adams – Spin Dec 2003

“I don’t know if Heartbreaker was influential as a record so much as the idea of it. There weren’t a lot of people out there doing that kind of thing. That’s all. But it was a terrible price to pay because I’ve never lived it down. I don’t regard that record as great art. I’m not even sure I put the right songs on the record. There are a lot of tracks that didn’t make it which with hindsight should have been on there.”
~Ryan Adams – Uncut Jan 2004

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August 30: Bob Dylan released Highway 61 Revisited 55 years ago in 1965

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“I never wanted to write topical songs, have you heard my last two records, Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61? It’s all there. That’s the real Dylan.”
~Bob Dylan (Frances Taylor Interview, Aug 1965)

[Highway 61] Oh yes, it goes from where I used to live… I used to live related to that highway. It ran right through my home town in Minnesota. I traveled it for a long period of time
actually. It goes down the middle of the country, sort of southwest…. lot of famous people came off that highway.
~Bob Dylan (John Cohen And Happy Traum Interview, June/July 1968)

Dylan’s sixth album and his first fully fledged eagle-flight into rock. Revolutionary and stunning, not just for its energy, freshness and panache but in its vision: fusing radical electric music—electric music as the embodiment of our whole out-of-control, nervouenergy-fuelled, chaotic civilization—with lyrics that were light-years ahead of anyone else’s, Dylan here unites the force of blues-based rock’n’roll with the power of poetry.
~Michael Gray (Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)

Like a Rolling Stone:

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

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