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The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live, 1966: The "Royal Albert Hall Concert"
The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live, 1966: The "Royal Albert Hall Concert"
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars and if anybody asks me, is it easy to forget . . ., May 6, 2005
i would tell them, certainly not.

if you have a friend that wants to know what the big deal about bob dylan is or if you want to know what the big deal about bob dylan is, get this. get his albums [BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME, HIGHWAY 61, BLONDE ON BLONDE, BLOOD ON THE TRACKS, and etc . . .] if you can, but if you only get one thing, get this. read the booklet, and listen to the album [both discs] w/out skipping any songs.

this concert is special in many ways. i won't go into the 'judas' bit [as it's already been touched upon numerous time] too much, but i'll say that dylan's between song interaction w/ the crowd throughout the electric set is brilliant - 'the judas' bit is a fitting climax.

on the first disc [which is acoustic], 4 of the 7 songs appear on the albums they were written for as electric ['she belongs to me', '4th time around', 'visions of johanna', and 'just like a woman']. i would say that i'd almost alway prefer these live versions of 'she belongs to me' and '4th time around'. while i love the live acoustic 'visions of johanna', i love the BLONDE ON BLONDE version more, and 'just like a woman' is just different - monday i might prefer the acoustic, and tuesday i might opt for the BLONDE ON BLONDE version. no matter which version of each song one would prefer, these alternate renditions are priceless.

speaking of alternate renditions, 3 of the 8 electric songs were recorded originally as folk songs ['i don't believe you', 'baby, let me follow you down', and 'one too many mornings'], and one of the songs was never put on an album ['tell me, momma']. i'd pay 15 bucks just for this version of 'i don't believe you' [w/ dylan's introduction to it].

it's been said that this is the greatest concert recording of all time. i wouldn't be able to rightfully say, but it's definitely the best concert recording i've ever heard.

i've not even mentioned how brilliant 'desolation row', 'just like tom thumb's blues' [more lively than the HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED version], and 'like a rolling stone' [too brilliant] are performed here.

get this.

see what all the fuss is about.

Blood on the Tracks
Blood on the Tracks
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 of 2, April 28, 2005
This review is from: Blood on the Tracks (Audio CD)
in my opinion, dylan managed to create the 2 greatest albums ever recorded - the first being HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED [released in 1965] and the second being BLOOD ON THE TRACKS [released in 1974]. i'd say that most dylan fans would point you to one of these two albums if you asked them for his best [some, but not as many, would point you to BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME or BLONDE ON BLONDE - which are both amazing albums]. i personally prefer HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED to BLOOD ON THE TRACKS, but i wouldn't say that it's necessarily better; i just like the style of writing and music more [usually].

why then do i believe that this is dylan's 1a album and one of the 2 best albums ever created? that takes a track by track break down.

'tangled up in blue' is arguably dylan's best song. it's certainly his greatest narrative. it's all at one time straight forward and swirling w/ complexities. the stripped production, which is apparent throughout the album, is completely fitting for the stories dylan tells - just like the revolutionary folk rock on HIGHWAY 61 was perfectly fitting for the surreal lyrics presented on that album.

'simple twist of fate' is probably dylan's second best narrative. the tempo slows here, and the listener starts to realize that dylan isn't goint to let him get out of this album w/out sharing some of dylan's pain. 'but i was born too late/ blame it on a simple twist of fate'.

'you're a big girl now' has some of the most beautiful guitar playing you'll hear. having said that, the brilliant writing and the pain just continues:

'Bird on the horizon, sittin' on a fence,

He's singin' his song for me at his own expense.

And I'm just like that bird, oh, oh,

Singin' just for you.'

'idiot wind' is one of dylan's two angriest songs. i know that it gets compared to 'like a rolling stone', and for good reason, but dylan hasn't been this angry since 'masters of war', and he'd never get this angry, on record, again. stanzas 3 & 4 [which make up verse 2] are two of dylan's best crafted stanzas.

'you're going to make me lonesome when you go' is one of two songs on the album where dylan seems to be trying to crack a smile about the pain he's feeling. you can seriously hear himself forcing a smile out for the songs [the other being 'buckets of rain']. it sounds like dylan is trying to talk about the divorce as a hypothetical situation that hasn't happened yet. for this reason, it's a dark horse nominee for saddest song on the album.

'meet me in the morning' has dylan putting his blues to blues. easily one of his best blues songs.

'lily, rosemary, and the jack of hearts' is the only song that doesn't seem biographical in some form or another. the story is a trip - a brilliant trip. while this song is the most separate - it's one of the 4 or 5 most indispensable.

'if you see her, say hello' would be the obvious choice for most depressing song on the album, which is quite an accomplishment. these lines say it all:

'Say for me that I'm all right though things get kind of slow

She might think that I've forgotten her, don't tell her it isn't so.'

'shelter from the storm' is one of only two songs on the album that i can listen to no matter what my mood is or how i feel. it's the most surreal song on the album. also one of the four most famous songs on the album ['tangled up in blue', simple twist of fate', 'idiot wind', and 'shelter from the storm'].

'buckets of rain' - dylan trying to smile at the end of the day. this is the other song that i can listen to no matte my mood. what's most impressive about this song is how dylan manages to sum up one of the two greatest album ever recorded in one last verse:

'Life is sad

Life is a bust

All ya can do is do what you must.

You do what you must do and ya do it well,

I'll do it for you, honey baby,

Can't you tell?'

i will exit on that note.

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars some crazy stepping stone, April 17, 2005
This review is from: Revolver (Audio CD)
i would agree that this album is the beatles trying to get to SGT. PEPPER'S [and some of the songs on MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR]. i'd rate this album below SGT. PEPPER'S, much of THE MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR, THE WHITE ALBUM, and ABBEY ROAD. this, of course, is hardly an insult. no album collection is complete w/out this.

'taxman' and 'i want to tell you' are two of harrison's greatest songs [probably his greatest work outside THE WHITE ALBUM and ABBEY ROAD]. 'love you to', though, isn't nearly as good as 'within you without you', which is a very similar song [found on SGT. PEPPER'S].

'eleanor rigby' and 'for no one' are two of paul's best songs. they, also, could be the best songs on the album. 'eleanor rigby' is almost certainly the best.

'i'm only sleeping' is the most quaint lennon song i can think of off the top of my head. 'and you bird can sing' is great GREAT fun. 'tomorrow never knows' is john getting his feet wet, quite impressively, for future standouts like 'a day in the life' and 'strawberry fields forever' [the two best beatles' songs in my opinion].

'yellow submarine' is, infamously, a great sing along song.

i'd say that this album would be the equivalent to bob dylan's BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME - SGT. PEPPER'S would be comarable dylan's HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED. for those that haven't heard the dylan albums, i'll try to explain what i mean. BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME had dylan trying to find his sound in rock; as a result, the sound isn't perfectly refined, but the rawness isn't a drawback. REVOLVER had the beatles' trying to find their experimental sound that they'd perfect on SGT. PEPPER'S.

now BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME isn't as good as HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED, and REVOLVER isn't as good as SGT. PEPPER'S. but REVOLVER is absolutely essential and inspired.

Blonde on Blonde
Blonde on Blonde
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars i'll make this quick, April 16, 2005
This review is from: Blonde on Blonde (Audio CD)
this album is obviously an important one in the dylan collection. it is, also, one of his best. most know that dylan would years later say that this album came out more like the sound he heard in his head than any other album; most know that this album would be dylan's last masterpiece of the 60's; but i don't think that most people listen to this album properly.

for starters, the writing is much lighter here, for the most part, than the writing on his two previous album. having said that the writing is great.

there is no doubt in my mind that 'rainy day women #12 & 35' is the best bar song ever recorded;

there is no doubt in my mind that 'visions of johanna' and 'stuck inside of mobile with the memphis blues again' are two of the greatest songs ever recorded [like to 10 or 15 by anyone];

and there is no doubt in my mind that 'sad eyed lady of the lowlands' is the worst song dylan recorded up to that point in his career. the music is brilliant, but the lyrics are bad - just bad.

so here you have 13 brilliant songs, and one song that just doesn't cut it [unless you don't understand english]. this album really is as brilliant as any other album ever recorded sonically, but it's not par w/ HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED or BLOOD ON THE TRACKS lyrically.

The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3 : Rare And Unreleased, 1961-1991
The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3 : Rare And Unreleased, 1961-1991
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely brilliant, April 16, 2005
if you're a dylan fan, this isn't a set that you probably want to get; this is a set that you need. no one could have imagined how many BRILLIANT songs dylan had recorded that didn't make his albums. the highlights are too numerous, but i'll try to cover some of them.

disc 1:

'let me die in my footsteps' as much as any of dylan's pre-electric songs shows us why he is a great poet. it would have been a famous anthem if it were released on THE FREEWHEELIN' BOB DYLAN.

'talkin' john birch paranoid blues [live]' is hilarious before the song even starts - "and there ain't nothing wrong with this song". it's in the same vein as 'talkin' ww3 blues' & 'i shall be free no. 10'. i don't know if i'd say it's better than the other two, but i'd say it's equal to them. also, it's great to hear the crowd reaction.

'moonshiner' was not written by bob dylan. it's a traditional folk song [irish - believe - could be wrong]. one of dylan's best vocal and harmonica performances - of his entire career. it's difficult to praise this performance enough.

'last thoughts on woodie guthrie' is the only poem that dylan's ever read in public [to my knowledge]. very good poem, and i'd assume that the positive reaction it recieved led dylan to start putting his poetry in the liner notes of his albums [starting w/ ANOTHER SIDE OF BOB DYLAN]. the recording is priceless.

disc 2:

not surprisingly, his is the best disc of the set. i'll try to only highlight the very best [there's so much to highlight].

'farewell angelina' was of course given to joan baez. dylan's version is special - it's also one of his very first songs that uses surreal imagery. it's obviously nowhere near as accomplished as 'tombstone blues', 'desolation row', or 'stuck inside of mobile . . .', but it's great to see where dylan was w/ his writing.

'i shall be released' is so pained. dylan sounds like he's crying the words. i prefer this version to the more famous version or any other version that's been recorded.

'sante-fe' is beautiful.

'if not for you' features george harrison. i usually prefer the NEW MORNING version, but it's just great to have a dylan song w/ george playing, extremely well, on it.

'nobody 'cept you' is one of my 1 or 2 favorite songs in this entire collection. it would have been the best song on PLANET WAVES if dylan decided to keep it. it's completely different from any other dylan song you've ever heard.

'call letter blues' was left off of BLOOD ON THE TRACKS. it's similar to 'meet me in the morning'.

'idiot wind' is a great alternate version. more sorrowful than the album version - less angry.

disc 3:

'angelina' is completely tripped out. the writing would fit on BLONDE ON BLONDE. the music wouldn't, but, hey, it's still a good song.

'blind willie mctell' is probably the best song in the collection. it's easily dylan's best song since the 70's. it's probably the best song by anyone since the 70's.

'series of dreams' was recorded for OH MERCY! and it, not surprisingly, has that wonderful OH MERCY! sound to it.

those are SOME of the highlights. get this.

John Wesley Harding
John Wesley Harding
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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars difficult, April 15, 2005
This review is from: John Wesley Harding (Audio CD)
i really wish that bob dylan would have developed this sound more before retreating to nashville skyline. "all along the watchtower" is one of his best songs; i prefer it to the hendrix version. "as i went out one morning" is also fiery and brilliant. if it weren't for songs 7-9, i'd give the album five stars [as it is it's a 8.5/8.75 album]. people harp on the title track - which i don't understand. i would have liked to see what dylan would have accomplished in the late 60's if he followed through w/ the innovative rock featured on HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED [the greatest album of all time] and BLONDE ON BLONDE, but i'm not one to let that tarnish a perfectly good album. "the ballad of frankie lee and judas priest" is also unfairly harped on. it's a brilliant song. another thing that's interesting to me while reading these reviews is to hear people saying that the songs are straight forward. they are most certainly narratives, but straight forward? many of these tales [and tales would be the correct word] are quite surreal - "as i went out one morning", "i dreamed i saw st. augustine", "all along the watchtower", "the ballad of frankie lee and judas priest", "the drifter's escape", and "the wicked messenger" are all anything but straight forward.

i really don't know what the hell he was doing on songs 7-9, but every other song is brilliant. 9 brilliant songs and 3 forgettable songs. granted, BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME only had one or two forgettable songs ["on the road again" and maybe "bob dylan's 115th dream"]; HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED had no forgettable songs; and BLONDE ON BLONDE only had one forgettable song ["sad eyed lady of the lowlands"]. still, this album is more than worth the price of admission. there are many highlights, and no other dylan album sounds like it. that's all you need to know.

Kid A
Kid A
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars easily the best album since '90, April 8, 2005
This review is from: Kid A (Audio CD)
artists are curious creatures. they produce many of their best works when they're in self-proclaimed ruts. bob dylan has said that he was in a rut during the time between his 1966 release BLONDE ON BLONDE and his 1997 release TIME OUT OF MIND. this is of course interesting because he released one of his best songs in '67 ["all along the watchtower"] and a few of his best albums in the 70's [NEW MORNING, BLOOD ON THE TRACKS (some would consider the greatest album ever recorded by anyone), DESIRE, and STREET LEGAL]. "blind willie mctell" is one of dylan's greatest songs, and it never made it to an album.

enter radiohead. the band readily admits that they weren't having as much fun making music when they were recording KID A and AMNESIAC. that being said, this is their most focused albums. this is one of the 3 greatest fusion albums ever recorded [along w/ HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED (folk/rock) & BITCHES BREW (jazz/rock)].

i could go through every song and describe how it melts into the next [except for of course the last song], but i'd be getting a bit redundant.

a few highlights:
"national anthem" is completely hectic and driving.
"how disappear completely" is similar to the peak of "karma police" . . . but the song still manages to peak.
"optimistic", as it's already been pointed out, is the most accessible song on the album. having said that, it's completely fresh and unique.
"idioteque" is, in my mind, radiohead's best song.

i could highlight every song, but i'll stop. i've described this album as a, how every many minute, sonic orgasm. i still like the description.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars for MY money, April 2, 2005
this is the beatles at their best. their self titled release [THE WHITE ALBUM] and ABBEY ROAD are great! great! albums [as are most if not all beatles' albums], but this album is amazingly terse - especially when one considers how "out there" it is in spots.

it would have been nice for them to find a way to fit 'strawberry fields forever' & 'penny lane' onto the album, but that's as far as i can criticize this album. besides, MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR is great in its own right - very underrated.

discussing the songs on the album:

the two semi-title tracks are brilliant for what they are, and no, brilliant is not an overstatement. "help from my friends" is my favorite ringo led song. "lsd" is perfect for a song abot lsd - the imagery is brilliant, and sonically well . . . talk about revolutionary. "getting better" is one of the beatles' better songs, period. "fixing a hole" is far too overlooked - "i'm taking the time for a number of things that weren't important yesterday". "she's leaving home" is as powerful emotionally as any song on the album save, maybe, "when i'm sixty-four" & "a day in the life". paul had an amazing ability to write from the perspective of people older than him. "being for the benefit of mr. kite!" is john putting a carnival to song - like only he could. "within you without you" is the lone george song on the album - very eastern. it's a bit similar to "love you to" [from REVOLVER], but it's far better. "when i'm sixty-four" is perhaps the sweetest song i've ever heard - it's also one of the most brilliant songs i've ever heard; it's my favorite paul song. "lovely rita" is hilarious and lovely and the last one hears of paul on this album [paul handled the majority of the songs from 4-10 (every one of those songs but "mr. kite" & "within you without you")]. "good morning good morning" has john coming back in, and he's in fine form - very interesting song structure. "a day in the life" is my favorite beatles' song . . . it's just one of the greatest songs ever recorded. i'd like to attempt to do it justice, but i don't know how i, or anyone else, could.

so w/ john handling most of the beginning and end work and paul handling most of the middle work, this album isn't too bad. one of the 5 or so best albums ever recorded at any rate.

Pet Sounds
Pet Sounds
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars why pet sounds REALLY isn't the best album of all time, March 30, 2005
This review is from: Pet Sounds (Audio CD)
w/ all due respect, the reviewer that pointed this album out as not being the greatest due to it's outside influences is full of . . . well, he's mistaken. this album is not the best for a simple reason really, brian wilson didn't write good lyrics. i'm definitely not going to say that the beach boys weren't talented musically, but the lyrics to PET SOUNDS, and every other beach boys' album, aren't good. the album also falls far short of SGT. PEPPER'S, and some other albums, sonically. bob dylan, the beatles, the velvet underground/lou reed as a solo artist all created great works of art. PET SOUNDS is not a work of art; it's just nice to listen to. again, don't get me wrong; it is nice to listen to. it's a great pop album.

i think this is definitely worth owning, but be realistic people.


REVOLVER isn't in the beatles' top 3 albums [SGT. PEPPER'S, WHITE ALBUM, ABBEY ROAD]; i don't know how it'd find it's way to the #1 album of all time considering this.

Highway 61 Revisited
Highway 61 Revisited
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars as good as it gets, March 27, 2005
This review is from: Highway 61 Revisited (Audio CD)
this hardly needs saying. if there is an album better than HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED, i haven't heard it. bob dylan IS the greatest song writer in all of music, and this is his best album [though one could make a case for BLOOD ON THE TRACKS].

if i'm being honest, "like a rolling stone", "tombstone blues", "ballad of a thin man", and "desolation row" are all in my top ten favorite dylan songs.

from "like a rolling stone":

You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat

Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat

Ain't it hard when you discover that

He really wasn't where it's at

from "tombstone blues":

Now I wish I could write you a melody so plain

That could hold you dear lady from going insane

That could ease you and cool you and cease the pain

Of your useless and pointless knowledge

from "ballad of a thin man":

Well, the sword swallower, he comes up to you

And then he kneels

He crosses himself

And then he clicks his high heels

And without further notice

He asks you how it feels

And he says, "Here is your throat back

Thanks for the loan"

from "desolation row":

And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot

Fighting in the captain's tower

While calypso singers laugh at them

And fishermen hold flowers

Between the windows of the sea

Where lovely mermaids flow

And nobody has to think too much

About Desolation Row

. . .

only the beatles and lou reed/the velvet underground have come close to making songs of this caliber.

these are definitely not the only great songs on the album either. "it takes a lot to laugh . . ." is subtle, has wonderful imagery, and is quite beautiful; "from a buick 6" is funny and extremely rocking; "queen jane appr." is just beautiful; the title track is a brilliant! brilliant! rocker; and "just like tom thumb's blues" is disjointed and vivid and personal and just great.

if i could only have 1 album, this would be the album.

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