Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Greatest Rock albums of all times Part.18


                      BOB DYLAN
           Bringing it all back home
   It was Dylan’s 5th studio album released on March 1965. This album was really important in these years, because for the first time in history of Folk-Rock music Dylan used a full Rock band in the recordings. The album is divided in 2 parts. On the first side all the songs are ‘electric’, meaning that a Rock band was used. On the second side all the songs are ‘acoustic’, which means that Dylan sings only with his guitar. Also in this album  Dylan has started to move away from the protest/political songs, and his lyrics became more personal and abstract. This triggered two things: The fans of Folk-Rock music and protest ballads were annoyed with Dylan’s change, they were alienated, and ‘turned their backs’ on him. But on the other hand, Dylan ‘opened the doors’ to a wider audience, those of Rock music.
And as history has shown, he did very good!
   Many of the songs in this album were written in the summer of ’64, when Bob Dylan was staying together with Joan Baez at a farm in the little town of Woodstock, close to New York.
   Upon it’s release, the album was praised by critics and the media, and that continued also in the years to come. It peaked at No.6 in the USA albums charts, and No.1 in UK.
Songs like ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’, ‘Love Minus Zero/No Limit’, Mr.Tambourine Man’, It’s Alright Ma (I’m only bleeding)’ and ‘It’s all Over now Baby Blue’ would be considered as ‘classics’ in the Rock history, and in the years to come many bands would make cover versions, attaining great success because of these songs. (For example ‘The Byrds’ with Mr.Tambourine Man).
‘Bringing it all back home’ is ranked at No.31 of Rolling Stone magazine’s  list with the ‘500 greatest albums of all time’

                        Highway 61 Revisited
   That’s  Bob Dylan’s 6th album, released in August 1965. The name comes from one of the greatest North American Highways, which connects Dylan’s birthplace in Minnesota to the Southern cities. (St.Louis, Memphis, New Orleans etc...).
The experiment that Dylan started with his previous record (making one side of the album acoustic and the other side electric) continues and expands here. With the exception of the 11-minute acoustic ‘Desolation Row’, the rest of the album was recorded with the support of a full Rock band.
Many great musicians were involved in the recordings, with Mike Bloomfield (guitars) and Al Kooper (keyboard, piano), being among them.
 The album contains two of Dylan’s most famous songs: ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ and ‘Ballad of a Thin Man’. ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ is a legendary song in the history of Rock music, whilst ‘Ballad of a Thin Man’ is considered as one of the strongest protest songs ever recorded.
   ‘Highway 61’ peaked at No.3 in the USA album charts and in No.4 in UK. It was also ranked at No.4 at Rollıng Stone’s magazine list with the ‘500 greatest albums of all time’.
The single ‘Like a Rolling Stone’  peaked at No.2 in USA and No.4 in UK. It has been praised by the critics and it was at No.1 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list with the ‘500 greatest songs of all time’.
   Maybe the highlights of this album are these 2 songs, but there are also many other songs  that are great: ‘It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to cry’ ‘Queen Jane approximately’ and ‘Highway 61 revisited’ are some of them.
   I will conclude this post with the comments of another great protest-folk singer, Phil Ochs.
When ‘Highway 61’ was released, Phil Ochs stated in the ‘Broadside’ magazine : "Dylan produced the most important and revolutionary album ever made". 5 years later, again Phil Ochs while speaking to a journalist said: "I put ‘Highway 61’ and I laughed, and I said it is so ridiculous. It’s impossibly good, it just can’t be that good! How can a human mind do this?!"