180 Gram Vinyl Record
|No. of Discs:||2|
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Recording Of The Month — Stereophile, October 2020
Bob Dylan's first album of original songs in eight years!
79-year-old legend remains vibrant and irascible as ever
A gorgeous and meticulous double LP filled with striking lyrical wordplay
"His grandest poetic statement yet." — NME
"A savage pulp-noir masterpiece." — Los Angeles Times
"An absolute classic...Dylan is exploring terrain nobody else has reached before — yet he just keeps pushing on into the future." — Rolling Stone
"It was a real pleasure to finally open up the vinyl release of Rough and Rowdy Ways. ... the album's sonics feature amber-burnished timbres, the musical equivalent of a fine bourbon. There's almost a hint of aged oak in Dylan's voice — American oak of course — and the way it is miked is interesting: always clear, full-range, and intimate but with eq that varies from track to track. The finely recorded textures subtly interweave mostly acoustic and electric guitars, upright bass, and drums. Pedal steel and low-percussion glue darken the musical canvas. This is acoustically subtle stuff that will bear repeated listening through a good system." — Sasha Matson, Stereophile, October 2020
Rough and Rowdy Ways is Bob Dylan's first album of original material in eight years and his first since becoming the only songwriter to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 2016. Its 10 tracks include the three new songs released this spring: the album's lead-off track, "I Contain Multitudes," the nearly 17-minute epic "Murder Most Foul" and "False Prophet."
Rough and Rowdy Ways presents Dylan as poet-historian, and his obsession with history is bigger than on any of his previous albums. His historical approach was first evident on "Murder Most Foul," the lengthy, near-17-minute single Dylan released in March, an orchestral elegy of the Kennedy assassination. It's present on almost all the songs here, with Dylan going as far as to sing "I can see the history of the whole human race" on "My Own Version of You."
"Murder Most Foul" has the honor of being the longest studio recording in Dylan's winding discography — and being his first-ever number-one song on a Billboard chart (in this case, "Rock Digital Song Sales"). As more singles arrived, it quickly became clear that Rough and Rowdy Ways would be a different kind of Bob Dylan album. It's a catalog of styles, but less oblique than 2001's pastiche-heavy masterwork Love and Theft, says Spin, in its review.
There's a profound sense of gratitude flowing through this album, especially on "False Prophet," a strutting blues number that seems to be purposely referencing "If Lovin' Is Believing," the B-side of a 1954 single by Billy "The Kid" Emerson. Emerson was a Sun Records artist whose material was covered by Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, and Elvis. Dylan's song directly addresses the concept of appropriation and refers to his influences as "my fleet-footed guides from the underworld."
Hopefully, Dylan's meta-interpretation of Emerson's work will bring some additional attention and compensation to a groundbreaking, but often overlooked, artist.
|1. I Contain Multitudes|
|2. False Prophet|
|3. My Own Version of You|
|1. I’ve Made Up My Mind To Give Myself To You|
|2. Black Rider|
|3. Goodbye Jimmy Reed|
|1. Mother Of Muses|
|2. Crossing The Rubicon|
|3. Key West (Philospher Pirate)|
|1. Murder Most Foul|