Dylan is a career spanning retrospective of Bob Dylan's music. This definitive Bob Dylan collection chronicles the artist's four decades of groundbreaking studio recordings, as well as his unparalleled influence on popular music and culture. Dylan serves as both a comprehensive introduction for new fans and an expansive, cherished overview for long time Bob Dylan Devotees.
It's about time the record-buying public was offered up a decent, updated Dylan compilation! After all, artists with far less in the way of cultural influence, sales figures, or sheer release numbers have put out many more retrospective collections. Think of this, then, as your Dummies' Guide to Dylan
. And for those who really aren't sure if they like the reedy Poet of a Generation® or not, there's even a single CD Cliffs Notes
-sized version. For everyone else, there's a triple-disc edition with deluxe packaging and nifty artwork. Even the most marginal fan might quibble with the selection--shouldn't, like, half of it be taken from The Basement Tapes
, rather than just one tune?--but there's not a mediocre song on here. It's a tad surprising that the songs are arranged chronologically, rather than grouped by grand themes, the way Johnny Cash's music was on his Love, God, Murder
set. But then it is
such a pleasure to watch Dylan's progression, to listen as he so quickly works through his influences, goes electric, discovers country music and then Godand then finally somehow wraps it all up together like some alchemical, one-man version of Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music
. No matter how you wrap it up, or which commercials it acts as the soundtrack to, or what professors might try to eulogize it to death, this is music that remains as thrillingly alive today as a rattlesnake coiled and hissing in your boots tomorrow morning. --Mike McGonigal