Question for Bob Dylan fans... [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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N. Abstentia
03-07-2006, 03:25 PM
Two questions actually...

First, for someone who owns NO Dylan, what are the must have CD's?

Secondly, are the SACD's worth getting over the normal CD's? I see that BMG has quite a few of them, figure I'd take advantage. Everybody should have at least SOME Dylan :cornut:

03-07-2006, 03:50 PM
I think most would say Blonde On Blonde is the must-have, if there could only be one, but I say Highway 61 Revisited, myself. What Dylan does with (and to) blues structures on that record are unlike just about anything I think I've ever heard.

But he's had several transitions from style to style. If you wanted to have a record that represented the solo acoustic stage of his career, you can't go wrong with his earlier records. I happen to like the 2nd (Freewheelin'), 3rd (The Times They Are A-Changin') and 4th (Another Side Of Bob Dylan) the best. I couldn't pick just one from that group...but I'd rate all 3 as being better than his first album.

Then there's the first rec he put out that transitions from solo acoustic to full backing band--Bringing It All Back Home. But there really aren't any poor choices here.

After Blonde On Blonde opinions start to vary more. John Wesley Harding is a fine rec, but it was the first thing that came out after his motorcycle crash, and that, followed by Nashville Skyline, might've seemed a bit anticlimactic after the previous series of records. The Self-Portrait album was one of a couple of records deemed to be contractual obligations that sort of muddy up his catalog up through the 70s. Then he put out Blood On The Tracks, generally regarded to be his best rec after the series of outstanding releases in the 60s, & up through at least the last couple of records he's put out, both of which made a lot of noise about being his best since that rec. And that's a rec I'd also recommend highly.

But for openers, you might be best off with Biograph. I don't remember too many 'box sets' prior to 1985, but this was one of the first & I think it set a high standard for nicely summing up an artist's career. It has most of the highlights you'd expect to be on a 'box set' and is probably the best introduction to Dylan that anyone could reasonably be expected to construct.

If it was a matter of two or three records, Highway 61 tops my list, then Blood On The Tracks, then Freewheelin'. I'd have a hard time omitting...well, quite a few, from such a short list. The last two recs are both excellent, I think they stand out among his releases over the past 30 years.

Some people have difficulty with the vocals, or they're such 'rock-heads' that they're not into the singer-songwriter thing, he doesn't rock hard enough, whatever. I consider that foolish, but so what. For a guy who doesn't have much of a voice, he certainly knows how to sing. And what so many people claim to hate about his singing is based on the styles heard on old records, styles that Dylan appreciated enough to try to approximate. I've always felt he had the ability to sound like a more traditional pop singer, and pull it off credibly, if that's what he wanted to do. If you listen to some of the records that inspired him, and then go through a cross-section of his work, I think you'll see that he was going for something very specific. It ended up being something that turns some people off.

Their loss.

Can't help you with the SACDs, sorry.

03-07-2006, 05:03 PM
If you were getting one, I would say Highway 61 Revisted, from his classic electric period in the 60s. Remaster is good. If you were getting 3 (so you got three different phases of his career), I would get Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (for folk period), Highway 61 Revisited (for classic electric period) and Blood on the Tracks (for his 70s work). And you'd have three great albums.

03-08-2006, 04:28 AM
I think a good place to start might be "Blood On The Tracks".

Oh, by the way, I have the SACD of "John Wesley Harding". This is the only version of the cd I have heard. The harmonicas sound horribly shrill to me. I have heard some other folks complain about this as well. If you can get the "regular" version of this cd, it might be worth it.

03-08-2006, 07:47 AM
I agree with all the mentioned suggestions. It is however difficult to pin Dylan down. Like which Bowie Album should you own.
Back to Dylan I also really like "Oh Mercy" produced by Daniel Lanois and in my opinion one of his strongest work.
Have fun.


03-08-2006, 08:02 AM
Two questions actually...

First, for someone who owns NO Dylan, what are the must have CD's?

My preference goes to Blood On The Tracks and the follow-up, Desire. I don't know a lot about Dylan, but he had a great collaborating song-writer on these albums, and each song tells a great story. Desire is a little harder to take for some people because the vocals are rougher and more Dylan-like, but it contains great songs like Idiot Wind and Joey. Blood On The Tracks contains all the proof anyone could need that Dylan could sing in a more mainstream way when he wanted to.

For my earlier Dylan, I have Biograph, and for the most part that's' enough for me. One day I'll go out and pick up those classic earlier albums to get beyond the most popular tracks.

03-08-2006, 09:15 AM
WIth no Dylan in your collection you’re faced with lassoing a hurricane. It can be very difficult with Dylan; it’s easy to love one part of his career and hate another.

My advice is to not do too much research and go straight to the eye of the hurricane: buy both Highway 61 and Blonde at the same time (get the SCAD recordings, the remastering is great but be careful of the high end, it does, as has been stated, get shrill).

Before you listen to these records buy (not rent) a copy of No Direction Home, the PBS film from last fall. It gives a great introduction to this period of Dylan’s life and will certainly tickle your curiosity.

Also, Chronicles, the “autobiography” he wrote was very well done and of interest to even a casual observer.

Resident Loser
03-08-2006, 10:34 AM
Two questions actually...

First, for someone who owns NO Dylan, what are the must have CD's?

Secondly, are the SACD's worth getting over the normal CD's? I see that BMG has quite a few of them, figure I'd take advantage. Everybody should have at least SOME Dylan :cornut:

"Another Side of Bob Dylan"...his pre-electric days, it contains three songs covered by his contemporaries "All I Really Want To Do"-The Byrds and Cher, "My Back Pages"-The Byrds and "It Ain't Me Babe"-The Turtles...

"Highway 61 Revisited"

"Blonde On Blonde"

"Blood On The Tracks"

jimHJJ(...Format? I have all of them on vinyl...the first three in mono...)

03-08-2006, 04:46 PM
My all-time fave is Desire. I never tire of this one, as I might some of the others ( although "tire" is not a word I will use with Dylan).

Next up, Highway 61 Revisited

Next, Blonde On Blonde

Next, Blood On the Tracks

BTW., I'm 4/5's of the way through reading Bob Dylan's Chronicles, Volume One. What an amazing story!! Told in his own words. I'm having one helluva time putting it down.

Believe me, it's THAT good!! This, coming from a Literary expert. Hey, it's partly what I do for a living.

Hope this & our other RRers' advice helps you out. Let us know what you settle on,