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Bringing Down The Horse

4.6 out of 5 stars 197 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

WALLFLOWERS BRINGING DOWN THE HORSE

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When people talk about Jakob Dylan these days, they're less likely to refer to his famous father than to his band, the Wallflowers, and their breakthrough album, Bringing Down the Horse. Not only a staggering commercial success, the disc is also a superb example of the folk-rock Jakob's daddy helped pioneer more than 30 years ago. The Wallflowers don't need family relations to command respect.

When the Wallflowers recorded their self-titled album in 1992, most of the band's members were 22 and weren't ready for prime time yet. The songs had flashes of inspiration and promise but didn't really hang together. It took four years for the Wallflowers to release a second album, but this time they were ready. The folk-rock melodies were strong; the playing was clear and muscular, and the production by T-Bone Burnett (friend of the family) framed the lyrics' storytelling imaginatively. Jakob will never escape comparisons to his dad, but his new music can stand on its own as some of the decade's best.

In fact, Jakob's voice doesn't resemble his father's so much as Tom Petty's nasal drawl, and the way Wallflower Rami Jaffee soaks nearly every song in Benmont Tench-like B-3 organ makes the Heartbreaker connection unmistakable. Fortunately, Jakob's evocative songwriting and the Wallflowers' high-energy playing reminds one of the early Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers records rather than the desultory, later work. Heartbreaker Mike Campbell even plays on "6th Avenue Heartache," the first single and a gloriously harmonized lament for the victims of America's meanest streets. "The same white line that was drawn on you," Jakob sings, "was drawn on me." He takes a more defiant, more rocking approach later in the album when he proclaims he's "Laughing Out Loud" in the face of everyone who ever tried to push him around. --Geoffrey Himes

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 21, 1996)
  • Original Release Date: May 21, 1996
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Interscope
  • ASIN: B000001Y1N
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (197 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,050 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Jakob Dylan and his band came back stronger and more committed after their first release and a long time on the road to serve up "Bringing Down The Horse," an outstanding recording that will be considered a classic at some time down the road, if it isn't already.
Anyone who thinks Jakob received this critical acclaim merely because he is the heir apparent to his father's talent, need think again. The younger Dylan and friends were able to turn out a masterful piece of work despite constant scrutiny and incredibly high expectations. Sure, his voice, especially on songs such as "Invisible City," sounds eerily like Bob's, but so what? Springsteen, Petty, and about a thousand other people have imitated the elder Dylan over the years. In Jakob's case, it's not imitation so much as heredity.
This album spawned a number of hits, including "The Difference", "6th Avenue Heartache", "Three Marlenas," and "One Headlight." Unlike many "hit" songs, these four tracks hold their respective edge, and lose none of their power even after being played to death. (For the record, "Headlight" was recently included on a list of the top 100 pop songs of the past 35 or so years, as compiled by Rolling Stone magazine and MTV, placing the Wallflowers in the company of the Beatles, the Stones, Petty, Springsteen, and Old Man Dylan. Take this with a grain of salt, though - there are also a lot of duds on that list.) No matter - "One Headlight" is musically tight and lyrically flawless, obviously deserving of mention on any list of great Rock songs.
Three Marlenas" is a wonderful ballad.
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Format: Audio CD
This album takes the cake for the best album in my collection. Each track has a unique sound and mindset that could make each and every one be a hit single, but they still come together extremely well for the overall dark, rich mood of the album. Songs such as "One Headlight," "Sixth Avenue Heartache," "Three Marlenas," and "The Difference" are, as they have well proven themselves to be, very radio friendly. These, along with lesser known "God Don't Make Lonely Girls," "Bleeders," and "Laughing Out Loud" have a relatively uplifting beat though they are definately not dance grooves. My favorite song is "Invisible City." All of Jakob's lyrics are deep, philosophical, and wonderful, but this song is the epitome of great lyrics. "In this invisible city/ where no one sees nothing/ we're touching faces in the dark/ feeling pretty is so hard." It's soft, dark, and slow with beautiful vocals and, as I've mentioned before, only the best of lyrics. "Josephine" is the main love song on the album with striking vocals by Jakob that are very exposed. It is a truly gorgeous song, well written and well sung. The album closes with "I Wish I Felt Nothing," which is another one with great lyrics (aren't they all though?). The placement of this song as last is perfect for the album, closing with a song that sums up the total dark feel of the album. Some may say the album is depressing but I say it is real and insightful, an album you can listen to straight from beginning to end over and over and over again. A must have!
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Format: Audio CD
The years of slugging it out on his own without brandishing his father's name everywhere eventually paid off beautifully for Jakob Dylan, a considerably talented artist in his own right. For a brief shining moment in the mid-1990s, Dylan and his Wallflowers ruled the rock and roll world. The younger Dylan writes sensitive songs with an old-fashioned touch, often sung with a female point of view. "Bringing Down the Horse" contains not one throwaway, each song is enjoyable. After the debut The Wallflowers disappeared without a trace, Dylan assembled a brand-new collection of musicians to work with, as well as talented outside help, which no doubt helped his cause.

Dylan sings with perspective and a gruff lonesomeness about day-to-day situations, no different than a simple storyteller. The mood is sometimes down-and-out and searching, yet The Wallflowers also possess the rugged feel of a Budweiser commercial at times. "One Headlight," "6th Avenue Heartbreak," and "The Difference" were played a jillion times on radio, yet never got stale. Adam Duritz of the Counting Crowes contributes his blustery vocals with Dylan's on "6th Avenue" for an amazingly tuneful combo. On "One Headlight," Dylan pleads, "Come on try a little, nothing is forever" with all the gusto he can muster, as if growing out of a stale phase. The mood on "One Headlight" sounds forlorn and desperate, while the bass line chugs onward, practically never-ending. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Dylan and his band are positively barren on songs like "Bleeders," "Three Marlenas," "Josephine" and "Invisible City," where the pace is almost mellow to a fault.
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