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Bob Dylan|Oh Mercy

Oh Mercy

Bob Dylan

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Oh Mercy was hailed as a comeback, not just because it had songs noticeably more meaningful than anything Bob Dylan had recently released, but because Daniel Lanois' production gave it cohesion. There was cohesion on Empire Burlesque, of course, but that cohesion was a little too slick, a little too commercial, whereas this record was filled with atmospheric, hazy production -- a sound as arty as most assumed the songs to be. And Dylan followed suit, giving Lanois significant songs -- palpably social works, love songs, and poems -- that seemed to connect with his past. And, at the time, this production made it seem like the equivalent of his '60s records, meaning that its artiness was cutting edge, not portentous. Over the years, Oh Mercy hasn't aged particularly well, seeming as self-conscious as such other gauzy Lanois productions as So and The Joshua Tree, even though it makes more sense than the ersatz pizzazz of Burlesque. Still, the songs make Oh Mercy noteworthy; they find Dylan quietly raging against the materialism of President Reagan and accepting maturity, albeit with a slight reluctance. So, Oh Mercy is finally more interesting for what it tries to achieve than for what it actually does achieve. At its best, this is a collection of small, shining moments, with the best songs shining brighter than their production or the album's overall effect.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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Oh Mercy

Bob Dylan

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1
Political World (Album Version)
00:03:47

B. Dylan, Composer - B. Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Guitar - Bob Dylan, Performer - Bob Dylan, Vocal - Brian Stoltz, Guitar - Cyril Neville, Percussion - Daniel Lanois, Dobro - Daniel Lanois, Producer - Mason Ruffner, Guitar - Tony Hall, Bass - Willie Green, Drums

(P) 1989 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

2
Where Teardrops Fall (Album Version)
00:02:32

Alton Rubin, Jr., Drums - Bob Dylan, Composer - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Performer - Bob Dylan, Piano - Bob Dylan, Vocal - Daniel Lanois, Mixing Engineer - Daniel Lanois, Producer - Greg Calbi, Mastering Engineer - John Hart, Saxophone - Larry Jolivet, Bass - Malcolm Burn, Mixing Engineer - Malcolm Burn, Recording Engineer - Paul Synegal, Guitar - Rockin Dopsie, Acordeon

(P) 1989 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

3
Everything Is Broken (Album Version)
00:03:15

Bob Dylan, Composer - Bob Dylan, Guitar - Bob Dylan, Harmonica - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Performer - Bob Dylan, Vocal - Brian Stoltz, Guitar - Daniel Lanois, Dobro - Daniel Lanois, Producer - Daryl Johnson, Percussion - Malcolm Burn, Tambourine - Tony Hall, Bass - Willie Green, Drums

(P) 1989 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

4
Ring Them Bells (Album Version)
00:03:00

B. Dylan, Composer - B. Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Guitar - Bob Dylan, Performer - Bob Dylan, Vocal - Brian Stoltz, Guitar - Cyril Neville, Percussion - Daniel Lanois, Guitar - Daniel Lanois, Producer - Daryl Johnson, Percussion - MASON RUFNER, Guitar - Malcolm Burn, Bass - Malcolm Burn, Keyboards - Malcolm Burn, Tambourine - Tony Hall, Bass - Willie Green, Drums

(P) 1989 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

5
Man in the Long Black Coat (Album Version)
00:04:32

B. Dylan, Composer - B. Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, 12 String Guitar - Bob Dylan, Harmonica - Bob Dylan, Performer - Bob Dylan, Vocal - Daniel Lanois, Dobro - Daniel Lanois, Producer - Malcolm Burn, Keyboards

(P) 1989 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

6
Most of the Time (Album Version)
00:05:05

Bob Dylan, Composer - Bob Dylan, Guitar - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Performer - Bob Dylan, Vocal - Cyril Neville, Percussion - Daniel Lanois, Guitar - Daniel Lanois, Mixing Engineer - Daniel Lanois, Producer - Greg Calbi, Mastering Engineer - Malcolm Burn, Recording Engineer - Malcolm Burn, Keyboards - Malcolm Burn, Mixing Engineer - Tony Hall, Bass - Willie Green, Drums

(P) 1989 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

7
What Good Am I? (Album Version)
00:04:44

Bob Dylan, Composer - Bob Dylan, Guitar - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Performer - Bob Dylan, Piano - Bob Dylan, Vocal - Daniel Lanois, Dobro - Daniel Lanois, Mixing Engineer - Daniel Lanois, Producer - Greg Calbi, Mastering Engineer - Malcolm Burn, Mixing Engineer - Malcolm Burn, Recording Engineer

(P) 1989 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

8
Disease of Conceit (Album Version)
00:03:43

Bob Dylan, Composer - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Organ - Bob Dylan, Performer - Bob Dylan, Piano - Bob Dylan, Vocal - Brian Stoltz, Guitar - Daniel Lanois, Mixing Engineer - Daniel Lanois, Producer - Greg Calbi, Mastering Engineer - Malcolm Burn, Mixing Engineer - Malcolm Burn, Recording Engineer - Mason Ruffner, Guitar - Tony Hall, Bass - Willie Green, Drums

(P) 1989 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

9
What Was It You Wanted
00:05:02

Bob Dylan, Composer - Bob Dylan, Guitar - Bob Dylan, Harmonica - Bob Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Performer - Bob Dylan, Vocal - Cyril Neville, Percussion - Daniel Lanois, Guitar - Daniel Lanois, Mixing Engineer - Daniel Lanois, Producer - Greg Calbi, Mastering Engineer - Malcolm Burn, Bass - Malcolm Burn, Mixing Engineer - Malcolm Burn, Recording Engineer - Mason Ruffner, Guitar - Willie Green, Drums

(P) 1989 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

10
Shooting Star (Album Version)
00:03:14

B. Dylan, Composer - B. Dylan, Lyricist - Bob Dylan, Guitar - Bob Dylan, Harmonica - Bob Dylan, Performer - Bob Dylan, Vocal - Brian Stoltz, Guitar - Daniel Lanois, Producer - Tony Hall, Bass - Willie Green, Drums

(P) 1989 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

Album Description

Oh Mercy was hailed as a comeback, not just because it had songs noticeably more meaningful than anything Bob Dylan had recently released, but because Daniel Lanois' production gave it cohesion. There was cohesion on Empire Burlesque, of course, but that cohesion was a little too slick, a little too commercial, whereas this record was filled with atmospheric, hazy production -- a sound as arty as most assumed the songs to be. And Dylan followed suit, giving Lanois significant songs -- palpably social works, love songs, and poems -- that seemed to connect with his past. And, at the time, this production made it seem like the equivalent of his '60s records, meaning that its artiness was cutting edge, not portentous. Over the years, Oh Mercy hasn't aged particularly well, seeming as self-conscious as such other gauzy Lanois productions as So and The Joshua Tree, even though it makes more sense than the ersatz pizzazz of Burlesque. Still, the songs make Oh Mercy noteworthy; they find Dylan quietly raging against the materialism of President Reagan and accepting maturity, albeit with a slight reluctance. So, Oh Mercy is finally more interesting for what it tries to achieve than for what it actually does achieve. At its best, this is a collection of small, shining moments, with the best songs shining brighter than their production or the album's overall effect.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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