Album #50 – Bringing It All Back Home

Album #50

This is the second album by Bob Dylan on the list and this album was his commercial breakthrough. This was also the last album released before Dylan went electric at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. The album was a mixture of folk-rock and acoustic songs with the acoustic songs occupying the last four slots on the album. The album shows Dylan’s development lyrically and also shows his ability to record and play with a rock backing band. A lot of that has to do with Dylan’s producer, Tom Wilson, who as a producer developed the folk-rock sound on Dylan’s 1965 albums as well as Simon and Garfunkel’s early folk-rock songs such as The Sounds Of Silence. This album also features Dylan’s first top 40 hit, Subterranean Homesick Blues. Many call this song the first rap song and with good reason it can lay claim to that title. Dylan almost raps the lyrics. I was actually singing along to this song. The song is so catchy and upbeat and blusey but the lyrics have a deeper meaning. Many do not like Dylan because they do not like his voice. But, you have to look past that. His voice is great on his 60’s and early to mid-70’s material. He sings like Woody Guthrie and Ramblin’ Jack Elliot but his voice is better than that. His voice has conviction. Up until Dylan was signed to Columbia Records in 1962, the label was known for its singers. But, Legendary A&R man John Hammond saw more. He saw a great talent. That is what Dylan is. When this album came out, the world became infatuated with Dylan. The D.A. Pannebaker film Don’t Look Back perfectly captures this time in Dylan’s career. Pannebaker follows Dylan through Europe with a camera crew and shows Dylan and his reaction to his fame at that point. People literally thought Dylan was the Messiah. And for good reason. Dylan’s writings were apocalyptic but at the same time real. The song that spoke to me the most off this album was Gates of Eden. The song talks about various things that people have done or will do and at the end of each verse Dylan says “It will not matter behind the Gates of Eden”. This song really reminded me of my faith and the fact that no matter how perfect we try to be or how much we judge, it will not matter after we are gone. I challenge you all to listen to Gates of Eden for its message alone. Maggie’s Farm is another highlight for me. I always interpret it as a reaction to commercialism and the route that Dylan was not going to take. Maggie’s family in the song are the suits who are only in it for the money. The song is reacting against that. “I have a head full of ideas and it’s driving me insane” is my favorite line from that song. It resonates well with me. Maggie’s Farm is the ultimate fuck you song!!! Other highlights include: Mr. Tambourine Man, Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream, Love Minus Zero/No Limit and She Belongs To Me. This album is worth listening to. Dylan is in ultimate form and this album is a great introduction to Mr. Zimmerman’s work. Overall, I give this album 4.5 out of 5.

Next: Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul by Otis Redding!!!

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