Customer Reviews: Nashville Skyline
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on September 16, 2005
I love this album! I used to listen to it years ago and rediscovered it recently -- it just holds up incredibly well. The artistry is consistent and of very high quality, and Dylan's voice is atypically rich and melodic. The range of tunes is perfect: from the heartbreakingly beautiful "Lay Lady Lay" (I'm a sucker for pedal steel), the bittersweet "I Threw It all Away" and the lovely "Girl From the North country" sung with Johnny Cash, to the sunny, uptempo "Peggy Day," the tongue-in-cheek "Country Pie," and the sexy and mellow "Tonight I'll be Staying Here with You." The whole CD is totally uplifting -- Thanks, Bob!
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on July 26, 2006
I've always been a huge Dylan fan, in fact I have most of his albums, but this one I had always kind of held off on, thinking, "Hmm, Dylan doing a pure country album, this might be one to hold off on for a little while." I was absolutely shocked. While the lyrics might not be as profound as Bob's greatest and the music not as groundbreaking, the album is positively infectious. I heard that this was a happy album and always kinda cringed thinking on other disasters that artists had created in "happy" moments. This is far from a disaster, in fact, it is an absolute triumph. Nashville Skyline is as good as country gets and then some. The slower songs, like the haunting remake of "Girl From the North County" with Johnny Cash are touching and the more upbeat and playful songs like "Country Pie" and "Peggy Day" are fun like they should be. The musicianship is superb and Dylan's vocals are smoother than usual. Maybe not top 5 Dylan, but an excellent album, even a classic in my opinion.
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on November 15, 2005
I may get stoned by Dylan purists for saying this ( or given a "not helpful" vote), but this is my favorite Dylan don't have to think, contemplate, or concentrate...just kick back and enjoy some laid back, simple, memorable music that sticks in your head. How many times have I whistled or sung "I'd love to spend the night with Peggy Day?"...actually, I got in trouble once for singing my own version when I met a lady named Peg Knight and I immediately broke into "I'd love to spend the day with Peggy Knight" Unfortunately, the people around me weren't familiar with the original song...that aside, I love everything about this album, even the "so fitting that they left it in 'is it rolling Bob?'" Dylan sings at the beginning of "To be Alone with You."
This album is totally enjoyable...don't be put off by the "country" label it has been given...this really isn't country! Maybe the little home cookin' "Country Pie" and the almost obligatory country jam "Nashville Skyline Rag" are about as country as this album gets. What it has are some beautiful love songs sung by a crooning Bob Dylan...this is a great, timeless, absolutely enjoyable, easy listening album that I've owned ever since it was released waaaaay back. I'm glad to own this on CD and never hesitate to throw it on for some good uplifting music...notice I haven't even mentioned Johnny Cash; that cut stands on its own as a classic piece of music sung by two guys who liked to dress in black; who have very "unique" singing styles; and who should never have sung a duet together! But somehow, it works! They remind me of two guys who one night were drowning their sorrows and broke into song. This is an album that has no "dead spots"; it's all good.
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on October 26, 2009
A moment in time: That's what my dad would say about photographs. Pictures are just a single moment in time captured forever. The same could be said for a record.
It's capable of capturing a moment in time. I'm not talking about representing a specific era of time, but the record itself represents honest moments captured live. So many artists are obsessed with recording their masterpiece. Tracks are recorded, re-recorded, mixed, remixed, mastered, and then remastered. Where does it all end? From the very first track of "Nashville Skyline" it is evident Bob Dylan isn't concerned with recording a masterpiece. But in my opinion, that's exactly what he did.

"Girl from the North Country", a duet with Johnny Cash is the lead track. Bob takes the first verse. From the moment he starts singing it's apparent he is really trying to sing. His voice is almost wounded as if he is searching for some sort of refuge. Johnny comes in with the second verse; his voice soulful, rich, and deep. Bob comes back with the third verse and Cash soon joins him. Their voices work so well together. But too, you'll hear each singing different lyrics or phrasing the same words differently while singing together. This may bother some perfectionists. I take comfort in the genuineness of their performance.
"Nashville Skyline Rag," the album's only instrumental. I like the separation of the instruments in the mix on this song. This is a constant throughout the record. Guitars, bass on the left, drums and harmonica on the right side at the beginning provide a nice foundation for the song. As soloists are introduced they are mixed appropriately within the current context of the song.
"To Be Alone with You:" One of my favorite songs on the record. Right from the beginning when Dylan asks producer Bob Johnston, "Is it rolling, Bob?" you can't help but get the sense that Dylan is not concerned with making a perfect record. Again, the instruments are mixed so each one is recognizable yet they never distract from the overall presentation of the song. Plus, the piano track on this song is wicked.
"I Threw It All Away:" Instruments are mixed nice. Guitar and organ are spaced nicely, separate but not too far away. Dylan's voice is haunting. His words are simple and true. I believe far and away part of the reason this record is so effective is because Dylan's voice and lyrics are honest, warm, and inviting.
"Peggy Day" and "Country Pie" are two upbeat songs which are neither complicated musically or lyrically. This is another reason why this record is so intelligent. It provides the less educated music listener new insight into a songwriter who is often perceived as too complicated for tender ears. These songs will never go down in history as some of Dylan's best, but still they hold their own as good songs nonetheless.

"Lay Lady Lay." I remember hearing this song growing up as a child in the early 70's. I was always taken with the song right from the first note. The drums and cowbell provide sense of uneasiness from the beginning accompanied with a mournful pedal steel and pleading organ, the song almost seems complete once Dylan's voice starts. I can recall imagining a rugged, hard working man coming home from a long day's work with clean hands wanting to spend some time with his woman in his awesome brass bed.
"One More Night," "Tell Me That It Isn't True," "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You," are three of the last four songs on "Nashville Skyline." Like their other siblings on the record these songs are solid through and through. The songs are not complex in either words or progressions which is one reason they are so brilliant. Dylan's lyrics are wistful and raw. His melodies are alluring and offer a sense of familiarity. What makes all these songs truly remarkable is the simplicity of the words, the arrangement, and the mix.
The songs on "Nashville Skyline," offer music fans a unique and simple insight into one of the greatest songwriters of our generation. The total track time is less than twenty-eight minutes. Not one song clocks in at over four minutes. Two songs don't even hit the two minute mark, while the remaining fall somewhere in the 2 ½ to 3½ minute range; ten songs in all. There is no time for the novice music fan to get bored while listening to "Nashville Skyline." I believe this record did capture a real moment in time. Bob in his own words kind of supports my belief:
"We just take a song, I play it and everyone else just sort of fills in behind it. At the same time you're doing that, there's someone in the control booth who's turning all those dials to where the proper sound is coming in."
MCMLXIX. One year after MLK and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. Ten years invested in Vietnam over 35,000 American young men dead. Woodstock was still on the horizon. Bob Dylan. 28 years old. 28.5% of his life spent being famous. Sitting in a studio somewhere in Nashville for the first time in almost fifteen months: That's what I think about when I listen to this album. By the time he recorded this record he was already knee deep in his own prolificness. Instead of forcing what wasn't, he submerged himself in what was. Instead of letting the social issues of the times influence his music; he chose to record some songs he wrote while hanging out in Tennessee. At the height of the hippie love, anti-war sentiment our country was in, Dylan wasn't out to send a message. He wasn't lost in his own artistry or trying to be a voice for a generation. He wasn't concerned with his fame, his popularity, or image. I believe somewhere in 1969, in the south there was a perfect storm of song, inspiration, honesty, and clarity. Four essential things to possess while trying to capture a moment in time. Those or a camera.
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on May 24, 2010
Nobody in rock garners the distinction of turning more heads than Dylan. He's been taking unexpected corners as early as "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" in 1963. He now abandons rock completely and heads all the way into the country realm.

Though not lyrically dense like "John Wesley Harding", conceptually this is a perfectly realized outing right down to its congenial cover. Dylan sings it straight with his warm croon. The mood of the album is supported brilliantly by the musicians and producer Bob Johnston.

The impromptu-sounding duet with Johny Cash and the vivacious hillbilly hoot that lends this album's name set the tone for the record. Even trivialities such as "Peggy Day" and "Country Pie" gain presence into the context of the whole. And the man has a flair for melody as evidenced in its three greatest cuts: the remorseful twinge of "I Threw It All Away", the impending gloom on "Tell Me That It Isn't True" and the lover man that warrants the AM/FM smash "Lay Lady Lay". Pete Drake's pedal steel riff on this last cut is positively ingratiating.

Dylan's never had so much fun and regret on a record and there's no reason we can't rejoice in the fact that he's being human. And this still adds to his mystique including the brevity of the entire thing.

Happy Birthday Bob!
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on August 31, 2012
This one's been a long time comin' to me as a CD. I played the vinyl grooves thru a long time ago. Summer of '69. 18. Right.

What strikes me somewhat negatively is the sameness of the production, track to track, and the totally uninspired, loose riffing on the stringed instruments; plus lyrics which dance uncomfortably between novelty and actually tasteful Country-Pop.

The opener with Johnny Cash is a Classic, or a classic, but in this day of endless outtakes, I'll take this tentative but warm and memorable entry. GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY is based upon a much earlier folk tune...somebody help? :)

LAY LADY LADY..what can I say? What a song for a Friday night date with a new Dad's 1964 Caddy and the good fidelity on the speakers. "Oh, yeah, Dad, can I have three dollars for gas?". Beautifully executed; echo works.

I THREW IT ALL AWAY, another gem, and obvious candidate for any "Golden" BD collection.

Yes, Johnny Cash wrote the notes and they are wonderful. But I don't know...look inside at the CD booklet and Cash's not exactly approving gaze at the wonder-boy from Minnesota.

Tonight I'll be spending time with Peggy Day and tomorrow night I'll be alone with the Girl from the North Country having country pie.

Anything unreleased from this session?
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VINE VOICEon July 25, 2006
Released in 1969, "Nashville Skyline" is an integral Bob Dylan recording that features some of his finest performances. "Girl From the North Country" (a memorable duet with Johnny Cash), "I Threw It All Away," "One More Night" and the hit single "Lay Lady Lay" remain essentials in the Dylan catalog. Excellent in all respects.
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on August 22, 2013
This album is fantastic. My wife and I played it and were so caught up in the songs of our youth that we sang all the way through it and remembered virtually every word! That speaks for the impact it made on us so many years ago.
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on December 14, 2011
This is a must have for a Bob Dylan fan. I love his country/folk sound on this record. I own probably 20 Bob Dylan CD's and every single one of them has a different feel to them. The feel of this album is happy, up beat and old time country. Not typical Dylan. But Dylan to the core. The most popular songs on the album are "Lay Lady Lay" and "Girl from North Country" with Mr. Johnny Cash. But every single song on this CD is worth listening to multiple times.
What more can I say, Bob Dylan is the master of music and poetry.
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on September 22, 2014
Owned this album back when it first came out and lost it along the way. Can't believe I waited so long to replace it. Love this version of Girl From the North Country...with JC. Peggy Day, I Let It All Slip Away, etc. This CD contains great flowing list of tunes that really add to any music library.
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