W/ B.D. POE
Some folks canít stand Bob Dylanís voice. He has often been criticized for an inability to sing or play the harmonica. With the exception of a few songs Dylansí catalogue has received little to no air play on FM stations. Yet Dylan remains the most honored and respected American recording artist of all time! WORLD GONE WRONG, Folk album of the year, is masterful and intimate performance of traditional blues and ballads delivered in hauntingly authentic, minimally produced installments of passion, precision and power. It is Dylan paying homage to American music unplugged and up close as if he were in your living room.
The cryptic insert accompanying the album/CD penned by Dylan is as enigmatic as the songwriter but reveals Bobís beliefs that these old traditional songs are as revelent today as in years past. In explaining the songs Dylan waxes philosophically couching their meaning in modern present day settings. In doing so he transcends time with a continuum of artistry that is no less than Brilliant.
A close listen to WORLD GONE WRONG proves Dylansí magnificent and virtuous playing and singing style. Hidden in simplicity, he dramatically uses his aged pipes and under produced arrangements to their fullest effect, squeezing every last nuance from both guitar and voice. (This begs one to consider that may be itís Micheal Bolton who cannot sing!)
Every Song on WORLD is exceptionally done and respectful to the original while surpassing it in quality. "Love Henry" is about a woman who kills her lover and courts a little bird for comfort. But the bird refuses her knowing that if the woman could kill her lover she would certainly kill the little bird too despite all her promises. In explaining the song in his insert Dylan suggests that the song is about the government and huge corporations. I suggest that the little bird represents how we should be thinking!
"Stack A Lee" may be where Stagger Lee came from. Itís about drinking, fighting and murder. Dylan claims that the message of the song says that "no man gains immortality through public acclaim. Truth is shadowy. In the pre-postindustrial age, victims of violence were allowed to be judges over their offenders the song says a manís hat is his crown."
"Blood In My Eyes" deals with money and romance from a maleís perspective. Give me love and affection or give me my money back is the theme. For Dylan it seems to be a greater message about being ripped off by whorish corporations, religious institutions and governments.
The distant past becomes the present WORLD GONE WRONG and Dylan becomes "Trance Channeller Extrordinaire" for long forgotten ghosts of bluesmen and balladeers. No wonder Jack Nicholson referred to him as "The transcendent Bob Dylan."
TIME OUT OF MIND, pop/rock album/CD of the year, has been called by other critics "the best Dylan since BLOOD ON THE TRACKS."
It is a good album but I wonder how familiar those critics were with Dylanís other post 1974 albums. INFIDELS and even SHOT OF LOVE that rival that claim.
Yet TIME OUT is a great album. Garth Brooks is having even greater success with his lackluster version of "Make You Feel My Love" off this new Dylan album. (NO you didnít think Garth wrote that did you?) The Dylan version is much more passionate.
Dylan explores his own mortality in "ITíS NOT DARK YETí and "TRYING TO GET TO HEAVEN". There is a sense of spirituality that permeates these songs and (My Heart Is In the) "HIGHLANDS"; an odd title for a Jewish boy from Hibbing Minnesota. Yet the Celtic Highlanders did have a god named Dylan!
While this Album is being compared to BLOOD ON THE TRACKS, "LOVE SICK," "DIRT ROAD BLUES." " MILLION MILES," and "CANíT WAIT" recall earlier albums like BLONDE ON BLONDE, HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED and THE BASEMENT TAPES. There is that odd "MR. JONES" feel to some of these songs. The Hammond B3 organ is ever present lending the cuts a vintage or Retro feel. This is a lush production with great instrumentation by a top notch band that includes Jim Keltner on Drums.