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Oh Mercy


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Audio CD, September 12, 1989
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Bob Dylan's influence on popular music is incalculable. As a songwriter, he pioneered several different schools of pop songwriting, from confessional singer/songwriter to winding, hallucinatory, stream-of-consciousness narratives. As a vocalist, he broke down the notion that a singer must have a conventionally good voice in order to ... Read more in Amazon's Bob Dylan Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 12, 1989)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000026UL
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #288,158 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Political World
2. Where Teardrops Fall
3. Everything Is Broken
4. Ring Them Bells
5. Man In The Long Black Coat
6. Most Of The Time
7. What Good Am I?
8. Disease Of Conceit
9. What Was It You Wanted
10. Shooting Star

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

The '80s was a particularly shifting, uncertain decade for Bob Dylan's creative voice. But he capped it off with his first album of all-original material in several years and his best since Infidels. A lot of the credit for Oh Mercy's distinctive appeal has been given to producer-musician Daniel Lanois (who backs Dylan on all but one cut), and there's no denying the effect of his magnetic, fog-thick sound sculpturing here. Overlays of lap steel, dobro, and mercy keys along with a slithering subterranean bass evoke a complete sonic climate, and the synergy between Lanois and Dylan would have a huge payoff with 1997's devastating Time Out of Mind. But however tightly produced, Oh Mercy also displays Dylan at the peak of his songwriting craft, fracturing words and phrases for the things-fall-apart jeremiads of "Political World" and "Everything Is Broken" and stringing images together for the noirish ballad "Man in the Long Black Coat." There's the usual dichotomy between Dylan's slashing accusatory mode ("What Was It You Wanted") and the self-effacement of "What Good Am I?" Aside from the miscalculated, sappy "Where Teardrops Fall" (the disc's sore thumb), this album has the classic staying power of Dylan's finest efforts. --Thomas May

Customer Reviews

The arrangements are so very sophisticated in the other songs AS WELL.
Nadia
Some people (like me) really like "Where Teardrops Fall" while "What Was It You Wanted" is a good song although far from unique.
Rich Latta
I own about 90% of the Dylan catalogue and "Oh Mercy" is, in my opinion, Bob's most under rated CD.
The Plunkster

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 53 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Marsella on December 28, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Somehow I had always overlooked this cd until I read Dylan's Chronicles book. In it he describes the sessions in New Orleans that resulted in this recording and I was intrigued since I could tell that Dylan was clearly pleased with this work. Well, the cd does not disappoint. Dylan's songs are solid with a couple of real standouts including Man in the Long Black Coat , Most Of The Time and What Good Am I. The sound mix is really something with the really moody echo/phaser effect on the guitars and when Dylan blows his harmonica,though sparingly, it cuts like a knife. This may not be on the same plane as some of his masterpieces lyrically but man the sound just knocks me out.
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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Katherine Graham on October 18, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Being the Mom of a Deaf kid, when I heard "Ring Them Bells" from Bob Dylan, I could not believe that there was anyone of his stature in music who cared...about the rejected in society (including many of "the normals") who don't even know that they are being used and rejected as well. But there was so much more to inspire this woman: "Political World" and "Everything Is Broken" could have been written and released right now. It is so incredibly timely: Is that not what we all appreciate today about Dylan's deserved resurgence in music and film? I have often asked over the past few years (especially): WHERE ARE THEY? The artists, musicians, poets, writers who were willing to risk it all (their money or their life) to tell the truth. This is one of Bob Dylan's most eloquent, poignant, passionate and profound releases ever. And if one doesn't get it - try this: Go to a school for the blind or the deaf; or watch poor elderly people stand on line in a pharmacy and try to decide whether they can pay for food or medicine. I hope and pray that more musicians will stand up and do more than glamorous benefit concerts and release music (without the back-up of others) about what is an enormous catastrophe of our American "culture" which has forgotten entirley - the difference betweeen...right and wrong. In the meantime, I'll just keep ringing those bells.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Gianmarco Manzione on April 26, 2000
Format: Audio CD
As they proved to the world in 1997 with the Grammy Award Winning smash, "Time Out of Mind," when Bob Dylan and Daniel Lanois step into the studio together, the result is a satiating taste of genius. The album explodes from the first note with two thumping classics, "Political World" and 'Everything is Broken," which recall the hyper blues of 1965's legendary "Bringin' it all back home." Ghostly flickers of brilliance follow, on songs such as 'Man In The Long Black Coat," "What Was It You Wanted," "Ring Them Bells" and "Most of the Time." The songs calmly build out of the lonely wail of an acoustic guitar or the shrill of Dylan's harmonica, into fully realized, deeply layered soundscapes, creating an atmosphere that is now expected of the brilliant Daniel Lanois (Producer of U2's The Joshua Tree and Dylan's Time Out of Mind among others). Lanois' meticulous production allows the listener to hear each nuance of sound just at the right moments. Despite this album's excellence, it proved only to be the anecdote for the superior Time out of Mind. let's hope these two return to make it a trilogy!
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Lord Grenvile on July 30, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Every Dylan fan has his own best-of list "tatooed to the back of his head" :) My all time favorites are the great 'Desire', & the monumental trilogy 'Infidels','Empire Burlesque' and 'Oh Mercy' (Well -'Knocked Out Loaded' had a few good tunes - but it's miles away...).

Two tracks stand above the rest - 'Political World' & 'Everything Is Broken', that are fast & furious Rocki'sh Masterpieces, that would fit better in Infidels' sound...

And than again, they give great contrast to the rest of the album, which is mellow and enchanting: you can actually feel the Dark, gloomy, swampy quality emenating from your speakers

as you listen to 'She's Gone With A man in a Long Black Coat'...

This Is One CD I can listen to over & over agin for hours.

Yes - It's that Good !

The production is imaculate, the singing - in it's best, everything clicks !

The great guitar sound is so distinctive - you couldn't confuse it with anything else !

So - If you're a Dylan fan - And ever plan to spend some time on a Dsert Island - (& only allowed to bring a few cd's along ...) - Go for this one first !
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Richard Nelson on June 22, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I avoided this Dylan album for a long time--but eventually, when you own more than 30 Dylan albums, you end up with Oh Mercy. What a fool I was to wait! Buried in the long downswing of his catalog we find one of Dylan's tightest and most enjoyable albums. (Apparently I'm not the only one rediscovering the album; songs from it were featured in Wonder Boys and High Fidelity.)
The SACD version, though, is a revelation: with Dylan's voice lifted ever-so-slightly in the mix, we can hear how well he enunciates the clever lyrics of this album and how Daniel Lanois builds a beautiful bed for those lyrics with his crisp and classy production work. Even the regular CD layer of this hybrid offers a phenomenal improvement in clarity. If you loved the album before this, your experience will be like discovering that you've been listening to the songs through a door; now that door has been opened and you're right there with Bob and the band in all their glory. Highlights include :Most of the Time," "Shooting Star," and "Ring Them Bells," but this is one of the most consistent and listenable Dylan albums in his catalog.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


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Topic From this Discussion
Born in Time - Lyrics and Musicianship The very Best
This song was first released on Under The Red Sky, and that version is not very good... the version that is out on the Bootleg 8 is phenomenal, and was recorded during the Oh Mercy sessions with Daniel Lanois... why they chose to shelve that version and release the Red Sky version first is beyond... Read More
Jun 26, 2009 by wally gator |  See all 3 posts
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