Album #58 – Highway 61 Revisited

Album #58

This album was released two months after Mr. Tambourine Man and was just as influential. This album was released in the midst of Dylan’s change from performing acoustic to performing with an electric backing band which consisted of future members of The Band.  This was solidified in Dylan’s performance earlier that summer at the Newport Folk Festival in which Dylan was cheered and booed by members of the audience. This marks Dylan’s first full foray into electric folk-rock. Many forget the fact that Dylan did have an electric backing band on Bringing It All Back Home. The difference here is that Dylan also used an electric guitar instead of an acoustic one. The songs on here are superb and Dylan sounds amazing lyrically. He reminds me of a modern day rapper on this album, infusing words throughout these songs that rhyme and creating the oddest of lines. It makes for a delight for the ears. Dylan’s backing band is also very good and with players such as Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper you get something magical. The album starts off with the song Like A Rolling Stone which is considered by some to be the greatest song of all time. The song went to #2 on The Billboard Chart in 1965 and is one of Dylan’s signature songs. The song is filled with anger and frustration and the version you hear is cut down from a 20 minute version that served as a rant. Ballad Of A Thin Man is another sad, sorrow filled song. Other highlights include: It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry which is my favorite song on the album due to the key the song is played in and the melody Dylan invokes and the 11 minute epic Desolation Row. While this album is not my favourite by Dylan, it is still one of his best. Overall, I give this album 4.5 out of 5.

Next: Revolver by The Beatles!!!! My Generation by The Who!!!

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