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Blood On The Tracks – Bob Dylan

February 11, 2013

It Takes a Worried Man…

Blood On The Tracks – Bob Dylan 1975

Seemingly influenced by the break up of his marriage, Dylan himself could not see why so much pain could give people so much pleasure. But for consistency of song writing, performance and production, Blood on the Tracks stands alongside the great 60s Dylan albums.

Dylan began his career in the folk tradition – though always with a hankering for Rock and Roll – using traditional themes to jump-start his musical identity. This practice of referencing was acceptable and common on the folk circuit. Eventually, unlike many of his contemporary folksters, he contributed to the pool of standards and stamped his own quirky authority on folk, blues and pop, culminating with Blood on the Tracks.

With input from several musicians over several months, it is apparent Dylan didn’t just record and walk away bored after one or two takes (as he was prone). His infamously erratic blues harp is more controlled and thoughtful here – no longer do we fear that he may have swallowed his instrument. The warm guitar sounds, effortless feel and emotive wordplay bring to mind two other fine Dylan albums, The Freewheelin’ and John Wesley Harding.

The reminiscence of Tangled up in Blue and the melancholy themes of Simple Twist of Fate would be at home in a story by Pushkin or Proust. As in many Dylan tracks there appears to be an allegorical spin – most apparent in the narrative of the country shuffle Lily Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts seemingly a bizarre fusion of Canterbury Tale and Peckinpah wild-west legend.

From the melodic You’re a Big Girl Now to the emphatic Idiot Wind, this is Dylan at his most accessible. Followed in 76 by the commercially massive, but less focused Desire, nothing has come near to Blood since. And with as many as 12 excellent albums and more than a few exceptional efforts under Bob’s belt, it would be hard to imagine something else could arrive at this late hour.

Track listing:

Tangled up in Blue, Simple Twist of Fate, You’re a Big Girl Now, Idiot Wind, You’re Gonna Make Me Lonsome When You Go, Meet Me In The Morning, Lily Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts, If You See Her Say Hello, Shelter from the Storm, Buckets of Rain.

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