Bob Dylan's least regarded albums

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These are the Dylan records I've always passed by and never bothered with, either based on reputation or based on what I've heard. Which is the best of these (relative) mediocrities or atrocities?

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Self Portrait 12
Saved 7
Hard Rain 6
Shot of Love 3
At Budokan 2
Dylan 1
MTV Unplugged 1
Knocked Out Loaded 0
Down In the Groove 0
Dylan and the Dead 0
Under the Red Sky 0


nomar, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 19:55 (three years ago) link

I went to see Dylan on the tour for Under the Red Sky and I listened to it a bunch of times so I'd know the songs. He didn't play a single song from that record.

duped and used by my worst Miss U (President Keyes), Wednesday, 1 February 2017 19:58 (three years ago) link

Self-Portrait is a legit good album, just not what people wanted from Dylan at the time

duped and used by my worst Miss U (President Keyes), Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:00 (three years ago) link

the xtian ones are also good

duped and used by my worst Miss U (President Keyes), Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:00 (three years ago) link

hard rain is fire wtf

j., Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:02 (three years ago) link

hard rain was the one i am most curious about, almost cut it from the poll but its rep seemed to be "not good"...maybe i'm wrong.

nomar, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:06 (three years ago) link

feel like another self-portrait bootleg series release has rehabilitated self-portrait's rep

blonde redheads have more fun (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:13 (three years ago) link

I love everything on Another Self Portrait except for Self Portrait. I dunno how he did it, but in a way, I kind of admire the skill involved in making a dull album out of decidedly non-dull elements.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:18 (three years ago) link

didn't know Infidels was regarded, was gonna vote that based on Jokerman alone

flappy bird, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:25 (three years ago) link

I kind of admire the skill involved in making a dull album out of decidedly non-dull elements
ha yeah, this is otm ... hard to say just how intentional it was, but it's interesting

tylerw, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:27 (three years ago) link

Infidels is a jam imo

nomar, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:29 (three years ago) link

Saved is great

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:35 (three years ago) link

Street Legal, now that's a real turd

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:36 (three years ago) link

they're all great, let's be real
ok, maybe dylan and the dead is pretty bad

tylerw, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:36 (three years ago) link

Self Portrait bangs

flappy bird, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:40 (three years ago) link

People always say there was a lot better stuff recorded by the Dylan/Dead collaboration than was released.
Haven't heard teh actual lp in years but don't remember much of it taking off. Think I may have bunged like half a track on a tape compilation I was making at the time, & I used to do a couple fo those every couple of weeks so taht I had things to listen to while hitching.
So if I did take something off taht it was from an instrumental break onwards or something. Know I did taht with teh Hard to Handle from Bear's Choice but think I did it on something on there anyway.

Did seem like it would be a collaboration taht should have worked at one time. Not sure if that was the era though.

Stevolende, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:41 (three years ago) link

UTRS is the Dr. Seuss album he shoulda recorded in 1966.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:45 (three years ago) link

Froggy Went a Courtin def more relevant back then

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:45 (three years ago) link

(xpost)

I'm guessing you know about this already, which is what prompted your post. I've got it on my computer but never bothered listening. (Large image, so I won't embed.)

cdn8.openculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/DylanHearsAWho.jpeg

clemenza, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:50 (three years ago) link

dylan hears a who is surprisingly good -- worth at least one listen, anyway.

tylerw, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:51 (three years ago) link

Saved is great

― Οὖτις, Wednesday, February 1, 2017 3:35 PM (eighteen minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

def

marcos, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:54 (three years ago) link

self-portrait is great, too, ive always liked it, and it's nice to see that it's been reclaimed as a good dylan album.

marcos, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:55 (three years ago) link

Self Portrait was already the subject of a Bootleg series revisitation to recontextualise it. Wondered fi teh Dylan & The Dead thing might get some of the better stuff used for a future volume.
Or released by the Dead themselves since they seem to be pretty comprehensive in their releases. Maybe the better stuff wasn't recorded as well as they'd hoped?

Stevolende, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:56 (three years ago) link

i've never heard dylan tbh

knocked out loaded is essential just for "brownsville girl", a top 5 dylan tune for me

marcos, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:56 (three years ago) link

down in the groove is trash. i can't tell you a thing about under the red sky even though i've listened to it a few times

marcos, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:57 (three years ago) link

if only someone had thought to record the Dead shows

duped and used by my worst Miss U (President Keyes), Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:57 (three years ago) link

utrs sorta suffers from dull production and uninspired performances, but it really isn't that far off from song-wise from his 21st century output

tylerw, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 20:58 (three years ago) link

UTRS seemed like a regression at the time, after the Oh Mercy comeback narrative

duped and used by my worst Miss U (President Keyes), Wednesday, 1 February 2017 21:00 (three years ago) link

here's the best dylan and the dead show i've heard: https://archive.org/details/gd87-07-19.sbd.fishman.13023.sbeok.shnf
the rehearsals are fun too ...

tylerw, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 21:02 (three years ago) link

My gut says Down in the Groove and Dylan and the Dead are the two worst things here. Though At Budokan is his worst live record not to involve the Grateful Dead.

As far as best, I gotta go Self Portrait.

EZ Snappin, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 21:09 (three years ago) link

I found "Dylan and the Dead" was disappointing as it was nothing like as awful as I was given to understand.

Knocked Out Loaded has "Brownsville Girl", and some other good things too.

I has that Budokan live album, I did not like it, no.

Mark G, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 21:19 (three years ago) link

Street Legal, now that's a real turd

― Οὖτις, Wednesday, February 1, 2017 2:36 PM (forty-one minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

woah woah woah senor #TeamStreetLegal gonna yankee power ya ass!

seriously though it's such a great album, he follows a 10 minute epic "changing of the guard" with a song about fucking a horse

also great album cover the truest expression of bob in photograph form

blonde redheads have more fun (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 1 February 2017 21:19 (three years ago) link

Had. I do not has it now. Xposts.

Am voting "Dylan", someone has to.

Mark G, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 21:20 (three years ago) link

Dylan is great.

EZ Snappin, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 21:21 (three years ago) link

MY GOD THEY KILLED HIM

JoeStork, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 21:26 (three years ago) link

If you ignore the horrifying track witht he children's choir whose title I won't mention for fear of opening a crack in the earth, Knocked Out Loaded is fun: "Under Your Spell," "Maybe Someday," "Driftin' Too Far From Shore," the Petty collab, and of course "Brownsville Girl."

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 1 February 2017 21:31 (three years ago) link

yeah street legal seems like it shouldn't be good but it's actually kinda awesome

otm about the cover photo, too

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Wednesday, 1 February 2017 21:48 (three years ago) link

I'm not a fan -- it has more sexist drivel than usual ("Is Your Love in Vain") and two songs that count as history-as-farce ("Changing of the Guard," "Where Are You Tonight?"). I've liked "Senor" the last couple times he's played it.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 1 February 2017 21:49 (three years ago) link

Where the FUCK is Empire Burlesque???

Mr. Snrub, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 22:00 (three years ago) link

It'd well regarded.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 1 February 2017 22:00 (three years ago) link

Not by me!!

Mr. Snrub, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 22:03 (three years ago) link

I stand by this re: Street Legal, my opinion hasn't changed

Bob Dylan's "Street Legal" - Classic or Dud?

Οὖτις, Thursday, 2 February 2017 00:33 (three years ago) link

Self Portrait is mostly great, imo, but I'm a casual music listener

a but (brimstead), Thursday, 2 February 2017 01:02 (three years ago) link

I stand by this re: Street Legal, my opinion hasn't changed

Bob Dylan's "Street Legal" - Classic or Dud?

― Οὖτις, Wednesday, February 1, 2017 7:33 PM

can you understand my paaain?

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 2 February 2017 01:33 (three years ago) link

No

Οὖτις, Thursday, 2 February 2017 01:45 (three years ago) link

your love is in vain

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 2 February 2017 01:53 (three years ago) link

Self Portrait
on first listen I was surprised at how not terrible this was - has some good songs, but it's not one I return to often. Overlong. Also, the bootleg series compilation is great, so not much need for this one after all.

Dylan
as received wisdom has it, this is indeed a lesser 'Self Portrait'. 'Mr. Bojangles' is... fun. And I like 'Lily of the West'

Hard Rain
I don't like Dylan's shouting on this and other 70s live records

At Budokan
Well this one has a p good band, some enjoyable interpretations. From what I've read, the band became kicking on the North American leg of the tour, and Budokan are some of the least good concerts with this setup. Too bad.

Saved
Has good songs but ultimately boring and a lesser 'Slow Train Coming'

Shot of Love
Now here's a good album! Great energy, great phrasing, wit, fun. 'Heart of Stone' and ofc 'Every Grain of Sand' are standouts.

Knocked Out Loaded
Crap record which for some reason has 'Brownsville Girl' which is all time

Down In the Groove
So bad

Dylan and the Dead
Embarrassing

Under the Red Sky
Haven't listened too much to this one but I do like the sticker on my copy

http://i.imgur.com/c1cUc3X.png

MTV Unplugged
First time I heard this I thought it was awful, last time I checked it sounded a lot better. He plays Dignity. Probably one of the best in this lot.

Dishonorable mentions: Empire Burlesque, Real Live

In other news: Bootlegs 1-3 have been reissued on vinyl, get 'em while you can!

niels, Thursday, 2 February 2017 08:26 (three years ago) link

After reading Dave Marsh on Budokan (RS Record Guide, blue/1983 edition) I thought, jeez, it can't be THAT bad. But it is.

The versions of Dylan's songs on Budokan sabotage meaning, reduce it to rubble, and walk blithely away, snapping their fingers like so many little hipster hitmen. It was as though Dylan were daring his audience to continue to pay attention -- or even to respect him. This is his worst record by such a wide margin it's hard to fathom it.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Thursday, 2 February 2017 14:18 (three years ago) link

The version of Shelter From The Storm on Hard Rain is excellent.

Shot of Love is probably the best of these records overall, but there are good songs on all of them. Seek out Born In Time from Under The Red Sky, that is super duper good.

kornrulez6969, Thursday, 2 February 2017 14:46 (three years ago) link

I like Hard Rain fine, it's just not near as good as Before the Flood.

a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Thursday, 2 February 2017 14:47 (three years ago) link

I've never listened to all of Empire

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 18:40 (two weeks ago) link

Tight Connection is good, production reminds me of "Walk of Life" by Dire Straits

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 18:43 (two weeks ago) link

The way he enunciates:

Never could learn to drink that blood
And call it wine,
Never could learn to hold you, love,
And call you mine.

is the essence of Dylan

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 18:44 (two weeks ago) link

Tight Connection is good, production reminds me of "Walk of Life" by Dire Straits

Ugh.

Future England Captain (Tom D.), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 18:47 (two weeks ago) link

I mean you know that digital keyboard/gated snare heartland roots rock 80s vibe

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 18:48 (two weeks ago) link

As I said, ugh.

Future England Captain (Tom D.), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 18:50 (two weeks ago) link

Far better song than "Walk of Life"

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 18:55 (two weeks ago) link

One would hope so!

Future England Captain (Tom D.), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 18:56 (two weeks ago) link

I think "Emotionally Yours" is a good phrase, esp for him: alll the emotions babe...
On their album Emotionally Yours, O'Jays did two versions:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cx5L2mWFwOk&list=OLAK5uy_kLEZ4qMNT6HjZw9foHuDcalVocA6sTB94
(R&B version)

dow, Tuesday, 23 June 2020 19:04 (two weeks ago) link

I......
.....
...
....
....
......
......
like Walk of Life

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 19:08 (two weeks ago) link

xpost Weird. Oh well, it's on youtube, with the gospel version. Not as good as The Persuasions' "The Man In Me," but Persuasions' voices were younger than EY-era O'Jays', and "The Man" is a better song, of course. Not bad for a faceless ballad tho (more vigorous than "To Feel My Love," although I certainly haven't heard every cover of that).

dow, Tuesday, 23 June 2020 19:10 (two weeks ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bsx9YBV9EnM

dow, Tuesday, 23 June 2020 19:16 (two weeks ago) link

From 1972----much later, they did a whole album of Dylan.

dow, Tuesday, 23 June 2020 19:18 (two weeks ago) link

Their 1972 LP Street Corner Symphony (Lenny Kaye wrote a beautiful little piece somewhere about the brief-lived a capella persuasion, from late-50s to early 60s)

dow, Tuesday, 23 June 2020 19:22 (two weeks ago) link

Bettye LaVette did "EY" on her incredible BD collection, Things Have Changed---here she is live, atypically ravaged, but driving through it, as always---"It's like...my whole life never happened...shake me, hold me..."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJujOOFQV-c

dow, Tuesday, 23 June 2020 19:28 (two weeks ago) link

Not so faceless there!

dow, Tuesday, 23 June 2020 19:28 (two weeks ago) link

Wild to realize I’m the same age as Empire-era Dylan... I should get a suit like his.

OG Honeymoon Ave (morrisp), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 19:30 (two weeks ago) link

Tight Connection has the tightest seven-inch art
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/19/Bob_Dylan_Tight_Connection_to_My_Heart_Single.jpg

tylerw, Tuesday, 23 June 2020 19:34 (two weeks ago) link

think i prefer the infidels version though:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbhoo_gGkK8

tylerw, Tuesday, 23 June 2020 19:35 (two weeks ago) link

Lou Reed gushed about Empire B in an interview

Muswell Hillbilly Elegy (President Keyes), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 21:14 (two weeks ago) link

Wasn't it Down in the Groove? He liked "Rank Strangers to Me."

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 21:24 (two weeks ago) link

XP!...and Down In The Groove when talked to Rolling Stone in '89.

"...And the Gods Socially Distanced" (C. Grisso/McCain), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 21:25 (two weeks ago) link

He oddly singled out two covers for praise, as if he thought Dylan wrote them.

"...And the Gods Socially Distanced" (C. Grisso/McCain), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 21:26 (two weeks ago) link

It's the RS interview promoting New York, collected in a late nineties book of Reed interviews and essays.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 21:30 (two weeks ago) link

Maybe. Reed talked about Dylan a lot in the 80s. It was something like "If a new artist had made (new Dylan album) it would be hailed as a masterpiece."

Muswell Hillbilly Elegy (President Keyes), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 21:30 (two weeks ago) link

i think Dylan told Lou he loved "doin the things we want to" and suddenly Lou was a huge Dylan booster.

tylerw, Tuesday, 23 June 2020 21:37 (two weeks ago) link

that's about right

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 21:38 (two weeks ago) link

Lou Reed said a lot over the years.

Future England Captain (Tom D.), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 21:40 (two weeks ago) link

But he never said he was ept!

Barry "Fatha" Hines (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 23:10 (two weeks ago) link

while they're beatin' the devil out of a guy
who's wearing a powder-blue weeeeeeeeeeeeeg

Yanni Xenakis (Hadrian VIII), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 23:10 (two weeks ago) link

Best I recall, Reed did a good "Foot of Pride" on the Dylan trib 30th Anniversary Concert.

dow, Tuesday, 23 June 2020 23:37 (two weeks ago) link

agree

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 23:39 (two weeks ago) link

Musically speaking, the 30th Anniversary Concert was a very uneven affair, but Reed's "Foot of Pride" was possibly the highlight of the whole thing. I think he was the only one to pick a song that was a 'bootleg' track. He's clearly reading off a teleprompter or something, so it could be better, but otherwise, he delivers it with a lot of authority. It has the makings of a great cover, it's just too bad he never tried it again in a recording studio.

birdistheword, Tuesday, 23 June 2020 23:59 (two weeks ago) link

Neil doing "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" absolutely destroyed

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 24 June 2020 00:26 (two weeks ago) link

Neil Tennant?

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 24 June 2020 00:37 (two weeks ago) link

Sedaka

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 24 June 2020 00:44 (two weeks ago) link

Diamond

"...And the Gods Socially Distanced" (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 24 June 2020 00:45 (two weeks ago) link

Hannon

Barry "Fatha" Hines (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 24 June 2020 00:48 (two weeks ago) link

Fred

dow, Wednesday, 24 June 2020 01:39 (two weeks ago) link

Schon

Yanni Xenakis (Hadrian VIII), Wednesday, 24 June 2020 03:48 (two weeks ago) link

Hamburger

OG Honeymoon Ave (morrisp), Wednesday, 24 June 2020 04:30 (two weeks ago) link

Hagerty

Western® with Bacon Flavor, Wednesday, 24 June 2020 05:32 (two weeks ago) link

I agree, Vince Neil really brought the heat

Joey Corona (Euler), Wednesday, 24 June 2020 14:41 (two weeks ago) link

The few worthy songs on "Saved" are best heard in the live versions found on "The Bootleg Series Vol. 13: Trouble No More (1979–1981)

"Covenant Woman" and "Solid Rock" are better on "Saved" IMO (and are both great).

o. nate, Saturday, 27 June 2020 01:02 (two weeks ago) link

Hard rep for the Take 1 “Pressing On” on disc 3.

Western® with Bacon Flavor, Saturday, 27 June 2020 02:51 (two weeks ago) link

I'm actually not a fan of "Covenant Woman," but I prefer "Solid Rock" when it was performed early on in late 1979 - the groove was funkier. By the time they tried it in the studio, they were already streamlining the rhythm and speeding up the tempo, but the result sounds more generic and less interesting to me.

birdistheword, Saturday, 27 June 2020 03:04 (two weeks ago) link

i haven’t been able to get into that bootleg set, for whatever reason... I love some of the songs on Saved — particularly “Covenant Woman.”

OG Honeymoon Ave (morrisp), Saturday, 27 June 2020 03:38 (two weeks ago) link

there is def not that much distance between the live and studio versions of “solid rock”

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Saturday, 27 June 2020 06:01 (two weeks ago) link

Not a huge difference, but enough to render "Saved" completely useless for me.

birdistheword, Sunday, 28 June 2020 17:46 (one week ago) link


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