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Album Review

Dylan's Gospel

April 1, 2014

The Brothers and Sisters weren't a band per se, but a one-off project helmed by producer and music-biz legend Lou Adler. The dubious idea: Gather L.A.'s finest background singers into a makeshift Baptist-style gospel-soul choir to cover classic Dylan...

Album Review

Bob Dylan in the 80's: Volume One

March 25, 2014

In hindsight, Bob Dylan's recordings in the 1980s deserve their bad rep less for the songs – which can be tremendously potent – than for the bland production and often half-baked performances. This revisionist tribute drives that notion home....

Album Review

Inside Llewyn Davis: Original Soundtrack Recording

November 12, 2013

There's something deliciously perverse in hearing Justin Timberlake sing – gorgeously, it must be said – old-timey roots music. He's a minor character in the Coen brothers' rich Sixties-folk-revival tale, and also on this handsomely lean soundtrack,...

Album Review

Tempest

August 30, 2012

Bob Dylan's 35th album begins with a train whistle exploding in his mind. He sees an old oak tree he used to climb and imagines a woman smiling through a fence. He hears the voice of "the mother of our Lord" – and still, that whistle, screaming...

Album Review

How to Become Clairvoyant

April 4, 2011

"Some things got tradition/Some shine like new," Robbie Robertson sings in his limited but oddly affecting growl in the first song here, "Straight Down the Line." It is an apt description of the distinguishing tangle in his work — the antique and...

Album Review

Christmas In The Heart

October 13, 2009

Bob Dylan celebrates the Christmas hit parade the old-fashioned way: He plays it straight, as much as his pitted baritone allows, with a band that mixes David Hidalgo with R&B guitarist Phil Upchurch. There are hymns ("Hark the Herald Angels Sing"),...

Album Review

Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series Vol. 8

October 16, 2008

Bob Dylan is well-known for his abandoned treasures — all those unreleased recordings from the past 40-plus years that have made his ongoing Bootleg Series such a mind-blowing trove. Dylan likely had little trouble leaving those moments behind,...

Album Review

19

June 26, 2008

Like fellow crooners Amy Winehouse and Kate Nash, Adele Adkins polished her skills at the Brit School in south London – as good a finishing academy as American Idol. Her debut, which topped the British charts earlier this year, lacks the bad-girl...

Song Review

Huck's Tune

May 31, 2007

This sober country waltz from Curtis Hanson's poker-tournament drama, Lucky You, is unlikely to net Dylan another Best Song Oscar. But "Huck's Tune" is a bleak beauty with liquid-mercury drips of steel guitar and at least one knockout lyric passage: "All...

Album Review

No Direction Home: The Soundtrack — The Bootleg Series Volume 7

August 30, 2005

Everything's been returned which was owed? Not even close, pal. Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series has barely begun to unpack the treasures he vaulted in the Sixties, when he was redefining rock & roll month to month, working at an amphetamine-reptile pace...

Album Review

The Bootleg Series Volume 5: Bob Dylan Live 1975 — The Rolling Thunder Revue

November 26, 2002

Bob Dylan's 1974 reunion tour with the Band found the conquering heroes making some of the loudest, most bombastic music of their careers. Dylan wanted something a little more off the cuff for this, the next go-round, and his ramshackle Rolling Thunder...

Album Review

From Another World

March 20, 2014

This compilation of Dylan songs recorded by international acts in a wild array of music styles may put some of his fans off: The singing is mostly non-English, and the original melodies, variously transposed, can be hard to recognize. But Dylan himself...

Album Review

Live at the Academy of Music 1971

September 23, 2013

In these days of near-instantaneous, shit-sounding YouTube bootlegs, it's hard to recall how great live recordings can be. Rock of Ages is indeed a great live recording – in his 1972 Rolling Stone review, included in this reissue, Ralph J. Gleason...

Album Review

Bob Dylan in Concert: Brandeis University 1963

April 28, 2011

Just before he released The Freewheelin' in May 1963, Bob Dylan performed a seven-song set at Massachusetts' Brandeis University“- a tape of which sat in the archives of Rolling Stone editor emeritus Ralph Gleason until two years ago. Dylan is...

Album Review

The Bootleg Series, Vol. 9: The Witmark Demos 1962-1964

October 19, 2010

"Let's just put this one down for kicks," Bob Dylan says as he strums "All Over You," and that sums up the spirit of the fabled Witmark Demos. It's the latest in his astounding Bootleg Series — the 1962-1964 publishing demos, just Dylan and his...

Album Review

Together Through Life

April 13, 2009

Bob Dylan has sung in many voices on his records: the nasal-braying alarm of "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall"; the acidic dismissal in "Like a Rolling Stone"; the country hermit on The Basement Tapes; the grizzly wisecracking drifter on 2001's Love and Theft...

Song Review

Dreamin' of You

August 21, 2008

Recently posted online to promote Dylan's new website and forthcoming Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series Vol. 8, this track is the first studio outtake heard by Dylan fans since unused cuts from Oh Mercy surfaced in the Nineties. Originally written for...

Album Review

Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 – Reissue

June 13, 2007

Two of the original five Wilburys have moseyed on, mortality-wise: George Harrison and Roy Orbison. But what really sounds boneyard-bound on these reissues is Jeff Lynne's production. In the late 1980s, he produced every other record on rock radio (i.e.,...

Album Review

Modern Times

August 14, 2006

The new Dylan album starts with the voice of God in the mountains and the sound of pistols in the streets. Bad things are happening, and the ladies in Washington, D.C., are scrambling to get out of town. Dylan has ladies on his mind, too — Alicia...

Album Review

Live 1964: Concert at Philharmonic Hall - The Bootleg Series Volume 6

March 30, 2004

"Don't let that scare you," said Bob Dylan, referring to "Gates of Eden," the song he had just performed at New York's Philharmonic Half on October 31st. 1964. "It's just Halloween. I have my Bob Dylan mask on." The abstract imagery of "Gates of Eden"...

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