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93 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
$12.43 $1.00
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  • Bob Dylan: "At last I was here, in New York City... I was there to find singers, the ones I'd heard on record--Dave Van Ronk, Peggy Seeger, Ed McCurdy, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, Josh White, the New Lost City Ramblers, Reverend Gary Davis... most of all to find Woody Guthrie." Read more musical excerpts from Chronicles, Vol. 1 on our Music You Should Hear page.

Editorial Reviews


Dylan shows an unlikely innocence and a greater sense of the world around him on this 1976 follow-up to the more cynical and introspective Blood on the Tracks. Working with lyricist Jacques Levy, Dylan offers a work with rougher edges and greater urgency that is distinguished by the prominence of Scarlet Rivera's melancholy violin and Emmylou Harris's bare harmonies. The album features two of Dylan's famous wrongly accused-and-misunderstood-criminal sagas but truly peaks elsewhere. Exotic imagery meshes with simple melody on "Isis," one of Dylan's most appealing rambles. The droning piano and plodding drums propel a mystical journey that contains some of his most insightful (and most ridiculous) lyrics about paranoia, trust, betrayal, and, of course, desire. ("What drives me to you is what drives me insane.") In the end Dylan shows no signs of being jaded by love's fickleness. Delicate and heartbreaking, the finale "Sara" is a gift to his ex-wife that eloquently recounts the wonders of a relationship, perhaps in an attempt to revive it. --Marc Greilsamer

1. Hurricane
2. Isis
3. Mozambique
4. One More Cup Of Coffee
5. Oh. Sister
6. Joey
7. Romance In Durango
8. Black Diamond Bay
9. Sara

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00000255X
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,858 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Caleb J. Melamed on December 17, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Like a time capsule, Desire contains the spirit of a hopeful past. Recorded in July and October 1975 and released in January 1976, Desire is the final third of Dylan's mid-1970s trilogy, whose other parts are Planet Waves (1974) and Blood on the Tracks (1975). Although falling short of the earlier two albums' near perfection, Desire has some of Dylan's most engaging and likeable music, and his most touching love song, "Sara." In many ways, Desire resembles Planet Waves more than it does Blood on the Tracks. On Blood on the Tracks, the lyrics have primary importance, whereas on Planet Waves and Desire the music is essential in uniting these albums' diverse strands. Dylan on Blood on the Tracks is a soloist with accompaniment, but he collaborates on Planet Waves and Desire with other outstanding artists. The members of The Band join Dylan on Planet Waves in a kind of rock chamber music. On Desire, Dylan shares both songwriting and performance. Jacques Levy is co-author of all but two of the songs, and Scarlet Rivera, on violin, and Emmylou Harris and Ronee Blakley, on vocals, are notable among the musicians who help give this album its unique texture. Both Planet Waves and Desire were recorded in the aftermath of war (the Yom Kippur War for Planet Waves; the Vietnam War for Desire), and share an optimism for a better world that brackets Blood on the Tracks' tragic vision.

The trilogy's narrative progresses from first to second to third person. Dylan sings as an individual on Planet Waves, but on Blood on the Tracks he finds himself caught in a mirror play of relationships gone wrong. On Desire, Dylan adds a third party, the audience, as an integral part of the performance. Dylan pulls us into Desire by reaching outward.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By David Bennett VINE VOICE on January 27, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This album has two ingredients all the other Dylan albums lack: Emmylou Harris singing back-up vocals and Scarlet Rivera playing the violin. I love all of Dylan's albums, but this is my favorite of all time, mainly b/c the addition of emmylou and scarlet make this so much different (but still as good) than his other albums. The songs have a melancholic sound that isn't duplicated this well on any of the others. This album has another unique feature, Dylan co-wrote some songs with famed writer Jaques Levy. One thing that will catch your ear is that Emmylou's vocals give the songs haunting overtones. Add in the violin and its just an amazing sound. The songs I like the best are "hurricane," which is a great upbeat story song, "One more Cup of Coffee," and "Oh Sister" both which are slower and eerie. Also "Joey" an 11 minute ballad about mobster Joey Gallo's death. And it ends with "Sara" which he wrote for his wife (ex?). I didn't know what to expect when I bought this CD, but I was in no way disappointed.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By rcb on May 11, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Over and over, I hear that phrase, "best Dylan album since Blood on the Tracks" used to describe new Dylan albums. I guess those people haven't heard "Desire", which is arguably rather better than "Blood on the Tracks", and came out a year later. "One More Cup of coffee"? "Sara"? "oh, Sister"? Scarlet Rivera's violin? Emmylou?

I have all of Dylan's albums. This is the best one ever, and considering just how good some of those other albums were, that is something very good indeed. Enjoy.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 15, 1998
Format: Audio CD
There are many reasons why this is among my favorite Dylan album (which is quite a feat, since I have over 50 Dylan CDs). When you pop this CD in and press play, you are greeted by a soft-strumming guitar. This quickly turns into a driving rock song with an ethereal violin part. Welcome to "Hurricane," a favorite to frat-boys and retro hippies alike. Dylan's story-telling is at its absolute peak from this point of the album on. After the popular "Hurricane," you are greeted with another story-song called "Isis." Scarlet Rivera's enchanting violin is present again, and the story vocals are delivered by Dylan's distinctive and edgy voice. The next song, "Mozambique," is the first exposure of EmmyLou Harris, who does a wonderful job with the background vocals. "Mozambique" transports the listener to a tropical paradise where the mood is romance. The next two songs, which were frequently sung in the late 70's at Dylan's concerts, are "One More Cup of Coffee" and "Oh, Sister." The violin is very prominent on "Coffee," and Dylan and Harris harmonize well in their duet on "Oh Sister." Next is the epic song "Joey." This is another (long) story song, and has been regarded as Dylan's worst song. I tend to disagree. The story is told very well, and Dylan's excellent vocals are again complimented well with EmmyLou Harris. There is some controvesy about the song since it glorifies the life and death of a former mobster, but it is enough to sit back and admire the musical materpiece unfolding around you. Dylan sang this song with the Grateful Dead in the late '80's. "Romance in Durango" keeps the story-telling vein going.Read more ›
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Topic From this Discussion
what female singer did this song?
Emmylou Harris
Jan 4, 2012 by D. Porter |  See all 2 posts
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