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Oh Mercy

Oh Mercy

September 12, 1989
4.6 out of 5 stars 121 customer reviews

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Oh Mercy
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Product Details

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Audio CD
When OH MERCY came out in 1989, it was largely hailed as the second coming (or third, or fourth, but whose counting?) of Bob Dylan. But does it really stand up to the heaps of praise so many people were anxious to bestow upon the record? Well, first let's examine why the critics were so pleased by the record. A little bit of history is required to understand this album's critical reception

By 1989, when OH MERCY was released, a lot of people had given up on Dylan. Ever since 1983 with Infidels, a decent enough record but one marred by deleting the best tracks recorded at the sessions, Dylan floundered in a wasteland of rather bizarre, very dated production techniques and some just atrocious records. The overall critical consensus (one that I disagree with), finds the 1985 EMPIRE BURLESQUE a poor release. Personally, I think EB is a great record. KNOCKED OUT LOAD, DOWN IN THE GROOVE, and the live DYLAN & THE DEAD were all panned, and for good reason. The Dylan/Dead tour of 1987 was also lambasted by critics and fans alike. The shows where so shambling and Dylan and the Dead so out of it that they were barely listenable. Dylan was at his all time lowest professionally.

In steps Daniel Lanios of U2 fame. He is known for atmospheric, moody music, and, like Phil Spector, has a very definitive "sound" that he brings to all his projects, regardless of the artist. While Dylan would later on express dissatisfaction with Lanois's sound on their second collaboration, TIME OUT OF MIND, Lanois made Dylan's music sound artier and more sharply produced than it had been in decades.
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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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