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John Wesley Harding Limited Edition

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John Wesley Harding + Blood on the Tracks + Highway 61 Revisited
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Product Details

  • Vinyl
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Limited Edition
  • Label: Mobile Fidelity
  • ASIN: B00AKGG8O6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #488,299 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Customer Reviews

Each song is about one character or situation, and that topic is fully developed.
Robert P. Inverarity
If one were to look at the Dylan discography in its totality, John Wesley Harding would most certainly be viewed as a transitional album.
What this music is, I can't really say, as nothing has really even come close to it.
Mike London
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By P Magnum HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 5, 2000
Format: Audio CD
After Bob Dylan had a severe motorcycle accident in Woodstock, 1966, he spent almost two years recouperating. During that time only his first Greatest Hits album was released. When he did finally release an album of new material in late 1968, it moved away from the electrified sounds of Bringing It Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde and returned to his quieter folk roots. On John Wesley Harding, there is no electric guitar, just Dylan's acoustic guitar and harmonica backed with bass, drums and piano. The accident probably made Dylan more reflective on life and death and those themes lyrically permeate this great work. Of course everyone is familiar with "All Along The Watchtower", but there are other songs that deserve high standing in the expansive Dylan catalog. "The Ballad Of Frankie Lee & Judas Priest" has a classic Dylan narrative with cryptic lyrics and is one of his best. "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine" finds him in fine vocal form and "I Pity The Poor Immigrant", "I Am A Lonesome Hobo" & "Dear Landlord" has him again singing about the trouble and travails of the little man. There is a country music feel running through the album and it laid the groundwork for his next release, the full blown country album Nashville Skyline.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By "porkspam" on October 30, 2000
Format: Audio CD
JWH's draw is its simplicity: just three or four guys playing simple instruments simply while Dylan sings simple, powerful, moral tunes evoking Old Testament judgment and irony. Released in 1968 it was thought by some to be a response to the technological one-upmanship of the endless tape-loops of the just-then released Beatles' Sergeant Pepper and the Stones' Satanic Majesty's Request. In truth, Dylan's 1966 near-death experience - which resulted in an almost two-year absence from the recording scene - seems to have caused Bob to "bring it all back home" to both his rural and Jewish roots. (The evidence of Dylan's slowdown first appear in his [and the Band's] 1975 release, The Basement Tapes, which was actually recorded immediately after the motorcycle accident, bootlegged for years, and then released by Columbia.) The result of Dylan's introspection is stark background music with Dylan's voice leading the way through stories with lessons such as "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest's'" "If you see your neighbor carrying something, help him with his load/and don't go mistaking Paradise for that home across the road." While the album is not more or less concerned with morality than any othe Dylan work, it is profund in its concern for personal repentance; there is a noticeable absence of Dylan's "You got a lot of nerve" finger-pointing. Indeed, "The Drifter's Escape" is a warning to the self-righteousness of a narrow society, a reminder that personal repentance does not include Puritanical purges of own's neighbor's conscience. JWH, while musically simple, does not suffer the way Springsteen's Nebraska does from its spare arrangements.Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By ewomack TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 31, 2005
Format: Audio CD
After hearing NOTHING good about the remastered version of this CD, I decided to stick with my original copy. But all remasters aside, this album from 1967 (less than a week from 1968) now stands as one of Dylan's greats. Some consider it his last GREAT work ("Nashville Skyline" followed it, and then "Self-Portrait" and "New Morning"). At the time his core fans must have thought something was a little off. The monumental "Blonde on Blonde" preceded it in 1966 with its raucous mood, catchy incredibly Dylan-drawled melodies, and burgeoning instrumentation that lashes out like solar prominence from speakers and headphones. Juxtaposed with the full frontal attack of "Blonde On Blonde", "John Wesley Harding" seems introverted, introspective, and exceedingly pared down. Of course Dylan was just being the never repetitive Dylan. And of course he was also in a horrific motorcycle accident following the release of "Blonde On Blonde". Nonetheless, according to Dylan's amazing "Chronicles Vol. 1" he was still seeking escape from his reputation as a "prophet" and "savior" in 1967. Many big names at the time, including Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, and Phil Ochs, were publicly calling on Dylan to stop flirting with the mainstream and "lead them". Dylan didn't have the same calling. He withdrew. Maybe "John Wesley Harding" is a manifestation of this withdrawal and introversion?

The album is pared down. It is laid back. It is anything but raucous. It even feels lonely. Dylan's voice is very different than on "Blonde On Blonde". The lyrics focus on the down-and-out, the have-nots, and the deprived. They glisten with Dylan's usual lyrical brilliance. The instrumentation is minimal: acoustic guitars, bass, harmonica, piano here and there, understated drums, and Dylan crooning over the mix.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Fred Enderby on October 26, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Look at it in the right light, and you could say that John Wesley Harding is Dylan's best album: maybe nowhere else did the intimacy & the style or the mysterious lyrics & the powerful meaning come together so well. The songs are typically enigmatic, but they obey their own internal logic (a real rarity, actually, in the work of Dylan or anyone else who aspires to surrealism). The songs are all short, and almost all are three stanzas with barebones rhyme schemes and no chorus. The effect achieved is something like weird, understated, powerful dreams. "I Dreamed I saw St. Augustine": a brief and harrowing vision, unclear in meaning but, "I awoke in anger / So alone and terrified. / I put my fingers against the glass / And bowed my head and cried."
The album is all the weirder for coming out of nowhere and vanishing just as fast: before was Blonde on Blonde, after was Nashville Skyline. The Basement Tapes are supposed to offer a sort of transition, but the styles are really quite different. Even when you listen to the five-album original basement tapes, there is very little that presages John Wesley Harding--maybe songs like Bonnie Ship the Diamond and Too Much of Nothing.
In a way, of course, it's silly to compare JWH to Highway 61, Blonde on Blonde, Blood on the Tracks, Freewheelin', etc. and try to figure out which is the best. All have a exquisitely realized style. What can I say? I like this album. It's one of the best. Hendrix is supposed to have recorded "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine," but pulled off releasing it because he felt it was too intimate a song to publicly cover, opting instead for "All Along the Watchtower." Man, it sure would be great to have his version of "St. Augustine.
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