Friday, December 21, 2012

The Ghost of Electricity

Original Facebook post here.
Today's formative-album listen-through: Blonde on Blonde. I used to perversely insist that John Wesley Harding was my favorite Dylan album; something about its monkish spareness made it seem more "pure." I'll have to revisit that record soon, but a fresh encounter with Blonde positively awed me. Here he does everything he does well as well as he's ever done it--psychedelic blues, country shuffles, tender ballads, even catchy pop hooks--but it doesn't feel crowded or overstuffed, because above all the feeling I take away from a full listen is a sense of space, of expanse, of proportion and scale. Every song seems to fit nicely into place and tee up the next one, culminating in the amazing, quiet intensity of the 11-minute "Sad Eyed Lady," a feat that is still a source of ineffable wonder. I'm prepared to call this a perfect record, in his ouevre matched only for consistency by Blood On the Tracks and Love and Theft, with a new verdict on John Wesley Harding still to come. (And by the way, thanks for lending Blonde to me, Chris Coffman! I don't think I ever returned it.)

Matt North rob, you'll love this was the cover on the nashville scene a while back Looking back on Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde, the record that changed Nashville
Chris Coffman rob, glad to know i helped out a bit! thank you for the reviews, please keep them coming.
Douglas Green As an avid fan of Bob and B.o.B., I have to say my only complaint about it is the overuse of the snare drum - wish they'd pulled it down in the mix a bit as it gets a bit repetitious. Beyond that, I agree with your "perfection" verdict. One question I've had for decades: any guess as to what the hell the title means?!
John Freedman Blonde on Blonde IS a perfect record. It defines perfection in this kind of music. And John Wesley Harding remains my favorite Dylan album. Another kind of perfect. That's right - Dylan can do different kinds of perfect...
Rob Weinert-Kendt Great piece, @Matt. Here's another I found (while trying to hunt down an answer to @Douglas' question): Sean Wilentz: Mystic Nights -- The Making of Blonde on Blonde in Nashville
Laurel Green John Wesley Harding is my favorite too & also love Nashville Skyline. His guitar playing is under-rated.
Rob Weinert-Kendt So gratified to see all the JWH fans come out of the woodwork. I had no idea! I thought I was just being a weirdo. I'll have to give that another spin soon.

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