From the Vault...


Bob Dylan
"Blood On The Tracks"

© Columbia Records

Year of Release: 1974

track listing
  • Tangled Up In Blue
  • Simple Twist Of Fate
  • You're A Big Girl Now
  • Idiot Wind
  • You're Gonna Make Me
    When You Go
  • Meet Me In
    The Morning
  • Lily, Rosemary And
    The Jack Of Hearts
  • If You See Her, Say Hello
  • Shelter From The Storm
  • Buckets Of Rain

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    Bob Dylan
    "Blood On The Tracks"

    Voted as the 25th most popular album in the Critics' Choice: The Top 100 Rock 'n' Roll Albums Of All Time by Paul Gambaccini, (1987) -- Bob Dylan's Blood On The Tracks is truly an album that is highly regarded as being one of Dylan's best. Released in 1974, it's a trip down memory lane, as it features Dylan and his accoustic guitar, harmonica, nasal-typed vocals -- all remembrances of his early years of the 1960s, and revising folk music with a touch of country rock.

    Flashbacks of the early Dylan are heard in songs such as "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go," "Shelter From The Storm" and "Buckets Of Rain." They all feature Dylan's harmonica, guitar and vocals as heard in the Sixites, yet it does have an updated sound for the 1970s, folkish and countryish.

    Speaking of countryish, there are many songs having the mix of folkish country: "Simple Twist Of Fate" is truly entertaining, and the echo'ed sound effect on Dylan's voice at the end of each verse is also a great touch. The harmonica brings back a memory of an artist who would later become famous in the 1970s, Bruce Springsteen.

    "You're A Big Girl Now" has the Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses" sound, as this song is a wonderful album track, and can easily be featured on such a radio program featuring lost album tracks.

    Dylan has a unique singing voice, described as nasal and spontaneous, where anyone can't help but imitate. "Idiot Wind" is another ballad, and while listening, you can't help but imitate that unique voice.

    More impressive countryish rock tunes are "Meet Me In The Morning," mixing country-rock and blues. "Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts" is country-influenced, somewhat honky-tonkish, having an off-country sound.

    Another great album track to mention is "If You See Her, Say Hello." A very impressive ballad, it can easily match the greatness of Dylan's other ballads, such as "Lay Lady Lay" and "Knockin' On Heaven's Door."

    And of course, we cannot forget the one song that is most famous on Blood On The Tracks -- "Tangled Up In Blue" is one of those folkish meets country rock tunes that is never tiring. And of course, we all enjoy imitating Dylan's voice again, in such lines as "standing on the side of the roooooooooad..." and "tangled up in bluuuuuuuuuue."

    Blood On The Tracks is an album that is enjoyable and relaxing to listen to. Dylan does show personal and tender lyrics in many of the songs on this release. Such in "If You See Her, Say Hello":

    "If you see her,
    Say hello,
    She might be in Tangiers..."

    So begins one of these poems, as light as a slide on ice, and as dangerous. Dylan doesn't fall in. Instead, he tells us the eseentials; a woman once loved, gone off, vanished into the wild places of the earth, still loved.

    "If you're makin' love to her,
    Kiss her for the kid,
    Who always has respected her,
    for doin' what she did..."

    It is a simple love song, of course, which is the proper territory of poets, but is about love filled with horror, and akind of dignity, the generosity that so few people can summon when another has become a parenthesis in a life. That song, and some of the other love poems in this collection, seem to me absolutely right, in this moment at the end of wars, as all of us, old, young, middle-aged, men and women, are searching for more simple things to believe in.
    Pete Hamill, New York, 1974
    (liner notes from Blood On The Tracks

    And the tender side of Dylan is shown, as in his lyrics for "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go":

    "But I'll see you in the sky above,
    In the tall grass,
    In the ones I love,
    You're gonna make me lonesome when you go."

    Blood On The Tracks -- Bob Dylan at his best.

    © All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Columbia Records and is used for reference purposes only.

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