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Rock - Released August 27, 1965 | Columbia

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Taking the first, electric side of Bringing It All Back Home to its logical conclusion, Bob Dylan hired a full rock & roll band, featuring guitarist Michael Bloomfield, for Highway 61 Revisited. Opening with the epic "Like a Rolling Stone," Highway 61 Revisited careens through nine songs that range from reflective folk-rock ("Desolation Row") and blues ("It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry") to flat-out garage rock ("Tombstone Blues," "From a Buick 6," "Highway 61 Revisited"). Dylan had not only changed his sound, but his persona, trading the folk troubadour for a streetwise, cynical hipster. Throughout the album, he embraces druggy, surreal imagery, which can either have a sense of menace or beauty, and the music reflects that, jumping between soothing melodies to hard, bluesy rock. And that is the most revolutionary thing about Highway 61 Revisited -- it proved that rock & roll needn't be collegiate and tame in order to be literate, poetic, and complex. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Folk/Americana - Released May 24, 1963 | Columbia

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It's hard to overestimate the importance of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, the record that firmly established Dylan as an unparalleled songwriter, one of considerable skill, imagination, and vision. At the time, folk had been quite popular on college campuses and bohemian circles, making headway onto the pop charts in diluted form, and while there certainly were a number of gifted songwriters, nobody had transcended the scene as Dylan did with this record. There are a couple (very good) covers, with "Corrina Corrina" and "Honey Just Allow Me One More Chance," but they pale with the originals here. At the time, the social protests received the most attention, and deservedly so, since "Blowin' in the Wind," "Masters of War," and "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" weren't just specific in their targets; they were gracefully executed and even melodic. Although they've proven resilient throughout the years, if that's all Freewheelin' had to offer, it wouldn't have had its seismic impact, but this also revealed a songwriter who could turn out whimsy ("Don't Think Twice, It's All Right"), gorgeous love songs ("Girl From the North Country"), and cheerfully absurdist humor ("Bob Dylan's Blues," "Bob Dylan's Dream") with equal skill. This is rich, imaginative music, capturing the sound and spirit of America as much as that of Louis Armstrong, Hank Williams, or Elvis Presley. Dylan, in many ways, recorded music that equaled this, but he never topped it. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released June 17, 1966 | Columbia

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If Highway 61 Revisited played as a garage rock record, the double album Blonde on Blonde inverted that sound, blending blues, country, rock, and folk into a wild, careening, and dense sound. Replacing the fiery Michael Bloomfield with the intense, weaving guitar of Robbie Robertson, Bob Dylan led a group comprised of his touring band the Hawks and session musicians through his richest set of songs. Blonde on Blonde is an album of enormous depth, providing endless lyrical and musical revelations on each play. Leavening the edginess of Highway 61 with a sense of the absurd, Blonde on Blonde is comprised entirely of songs driven by inventive, surreal, and witty wordplay, not only on the rockers but also on winding, moving ballads like "Visions of Johanna," "Just Like a Woman," and "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands." Throughout the record, the music matches the inventiveness of the songs, filled with cutting guitar riffs, liquid organ riffs, crisp pianos, and even woozy brass bands ("Rainy Day Women #12 & 35"). It's the culmination of Dylan's electric rock & roll period -- he would never release a studio record that rocked this hard, or had such bizarre imagery, ever again. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released March 19, 1965 | Columbia

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With Another Side of Bob Dylan, Dylan had begun pushing past folk, and with Bringing It All Back Home, he exploded the boundaries, producing an album of boundless imagination and skill. And it's not just that he went electric, either, rocking hard on "Subterranean Homesick Blues," "Maggie's Farm," and "Outlaw Blues"; it's that he's exploding with imagination throughout the record. After all, the music on its second side -- the nominal folk songs -- derive from the same vantage point as the rockers, leaving traditional folk concerns behind and delving deep into the personal. And this isn't just introspection, either, since the surreal paranoia on "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" and the whimsical poetry of "Mr. Tambourine Man" are individual, yet not personal. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, really, as he writes uncommonly beautiful love songs ("She Belongs to Me," "Love Minus Zero/No Limit") that sit alongside uncommonly funny fantasias ("On the Road Again," "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream"). This is the point where Dylan eclipses any conventional sense of folk and rewrites the rules of rock, making it safe for personal expression and poetry, not only making words mean as much as the music, but making the music an extension of the words. A truly remarkable album. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 2, 2018 | Columbia - Legacy

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For fans of Bob Dylan's wide-ranging Bootleg series, More Blood, More Tracks (Vol. 14) is an entryway into one of the most mysterious, tangled stories in his recording career. These six discs contain the complete recordings sessions for 1975's Blood on the Tracks, 87 tracks in all, the vast majority unreleased. This box assists in offering a view of the process behind one of the songwriter's most enigmatic albums. On September 16 of 1974, Dylan entered Columbia's Studio with engineer Phil Ramone, with songs at once seething with anger, brokenness, and vulnerability. Written and recorded during his eventual divorce from first wife Sara, Dylan shrouds these songs in alliteration and metaphor, stretching time itself as past and present, commingling in numerous locations; they separate and return in new configurations. His protagonists speak in first and third person, often in the same verse. Once encountered, however, they're impossible to shake. Presented here are the complete sessions of the four days in New York, chronologically recorded, and, for the first time at the proper speed (Dylan had Ramone bump the master tape speed to make the tunes faster for radio play), and without the substantial reverb on the original tapes. These tunes were cut in a fit of white-heat inspiration, first by Dylan solo, and then with a band of folk-associated sidemen in Eric Weissberg & Deliverance. By the time you reach discs three through five, all the accompaniment, save for Dylan's guitar, harmonica, Tony Brown's bass, and occasional pedal steel and organ, are stripped away, resulting in what was then thought to be the completed album. Scheduled for late December release with a promotional campaign drafted, printed cover, and test pressings distributed, Dylan wasn't satisfied. Ultimately, he kept only one band track, "Meet Me in the Morning." He spent Christmas in Minnesota with his producer brother David Zimmerman, who was also less than enthused with the tracks. Dylan called his label and insisted on holding the album back. On December 27, he and a band of hastily assembled local players re-recorded five songs to complete Blood on the Tracks (captured on disc six). Since nearly half-a-million copies of the cover were already printed, the Minnesota musicians remained uncredited until now. This is exhaustive but fascinating material that sounds fantastic due to a painstaking remixing job -- nothing here sounds like a rough demo. Check the nine takes of "Idiot Wind," some offer different words, all roil with anger and bitterness. "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" is gradually revealed as one of Dylan's finest love songs in a dozen more takes. "You're a Big Girl Now," in 15 takes, is peeled away from its sarcasm to reveal a man saddled with regret. Multiple versions of "Tangled Up in Blue," "Lily Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts," and "Simple Twist of Fate" offer proof that there were many versions of the songs before they assumed their final incarnations. Dylan's constant rewriting and creative flow are captured warts and all in false starts, stuttering alternate takes, studio conversation, and flowing inspiration in complete versions. There are hours of fascination awaiting listeners, and the music poses as many new questions as it does answers surrounding the album's mythos. As for the autobiographical nature of the content, it remains, thankfully, unclear. The enclosed photo book is as essential as the liner essays in the deluxe package. By any measure, More Blood, More Tracks is a monumentally important document in the history of popular music and a gem in Dylan's catalog. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 31, 2014 | Columbia - Legacy

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Grammy Awards
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Rock - Released January 17, 1975 | Columbia

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Following on the heels of an album where he repudiated his past with his greatest backing band, Blood on the Tracks finds Bob Dylan, in a way, retreating to the past, recording a largely quiet, acoustic-based album. But this is hardly nostalgia -- this is the sound of an artist returning to his strengths, what feels most familiar, as he accepts a traumatic situation, namely the breakdown of his marriage. This is an album alternately bitter, sorrowful, regretful, and peaceful, easily the closest he ever came to wearing his emotions on his sleeve. That's not to say that it's an explicitly confessional record, since many songs are riddles or allegories, yet the warmth of the music makes it feel that way. The original version of the album was even quieter -- first takes of "Idiot Wind" and "Tangled Up in Blue," available on The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3, are hushed and quiet (excised verses are quoted in the liner notes, but not heard on the record) -- but Blood on the Tracks remains an intimate, revealing affair since these harsher takes let his anger surface the way his sadness does elsewhere. As such, it's an affecting, unbearably poignant record, not because it's a glimpse into his soul, but because the songs are remarkably clear-eyed and sentimental, lovely and melancholy at once. And, in a way, it's best that he was backed with studio musicians here, since the professional, understated backing lets the songs and emotion stand at the forefront. Dylan made albums more influential than this, but he never made one better. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released September 22, 1989 | Columbia

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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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Pop/Rock - Released September 30, 1997 | Columbia

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After spending much of the '90s touring and simply not writing songs, Bob Dylan returned in 1997 with Time Out of Mind, his first collection of new material in seven years. Where Under the Red Sky, his last collection of original compositions, had a casual, tossed-off feel, Time Out of Mind is carefully considered, from the densely detailed songs to the dark, atmospheric production. Sonically, the album is reminiscent of Oh Mercy, the last album Dylan recorded with producer Daniel Lanois, but Time Out of Mind has a grittier foundation -- by and large, the songs are bitter and resigned, and Dylan gives them appropriately anguished performances. Lanois bathes them in hazy, ominous sounds, which may suit the spirit of the lyrics, but are often in opposition to Dylan's performances. Consequently, the album loses a little of its emotional impact, yet the songs themselves are uniformly powerful, adding up to Dylan's best overall collection in years. It's a better, more affecting record than Oh Mercy, not only because the songs have a stronger emotional pull, but because Lanois hasn't sanded away all the grit. As a result, the songs retain their power, leaving Time Out of Mind as one of the rare latter-day Dylan albums that meets his high standards. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released January 10, 1964 | Columbia

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If The Times They Are a-Changin' isn't a marked step forward from The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, even if it is his first collection of all originals, it's nevertheless a fine collection all the same. It isn't as rich as Freewheelin', and Dylan has tempered his sense of humor considerably, choosing to concentrate on social protests in the style of "Blowin' in the Wind." With the title track, he wrote an anthem that nearly equaled that song, and "With God on Our Side" and "Only a Pawn in Their Game" are nearly as good, while "Ballad of Hollis Brown" and "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" are remarkably skilled re-castings of contemporary tales of injustice. His absurdity is missed, but he makes up for it with the wonderful "One Too Many Mornings" and "Boots of Spanish Leather," two lovely classics. If there are a couple of songs that don't achieve the level of the aforementioned songs, that speaks more to the quality of those songs than the weakness of the remainder of the record. And that's also true of the album itself -- yes, it pales next to its predecessor, but it's terrific by any other standard. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released November 1, 1983 | Columbia

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Infidels was the first secular record Bob Dylan recorded since Street Legal, and it's far more like a classicist Dylan album than that one, filled with songs that are evocative in their imagery and direct in their approach. This is lean, much like Slow Train Coming, but its writing is closer to Dylan's peak of the mid-'70s, and some of the songs here -- particularly on the first side -- are minor classics, capturing him reviving his sense of social consciousness and his gift for poetic, elegant love songs. For a while, Infidels seems like a latter-day masterpiece, but toward the end of the record it runs out of steam, preventing itself from being a triumph. Still, in comparison to everything that arrived in the near-decade before it, Infidels is a triumph, finding Dylan coming tantalizingly close to regaining all his powers. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released June 9, 1970 | Columbia

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Pop/Rock - Released September 11, 2001 | Columbia

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Rock - Released June 7, 2019 | Columbia - Legacy

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In 2002, Dylan dedicated volume 5 of his Bootleg Series to his famous Rolling Thunder Revue, his legendary tour from Autumn 1975/Spring 1976, which until then had only been featured on the album Hard Rain. A 57-concert adventure that followed the release of one of his best albums, Blood On the Tracks, on which he collaborated with his ex Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn, Joni Mitchell, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Kinky Friedman, Bob Neuwirth, T-Bone Burnett, David Bowie’s guitarist Mick Ronson and violinist Scarlet Rivera. It was an exceptional tour, partly because of how unconventional it was in the writer’s career. The songs of Dylan (who was 34 and in an emotionally chaotic time in his life) found an original style, blending folk tradition (the spirit of Woody Guthrie prevails throughout), an informal “friendly” atmosphere, and a modern spirit thanks in part to Ronson’s glam guitar. Moreover, the Zim transformed his several-month tour into a rock circus where the prevailing real fake artistic chaos took on the form of supreme art. With The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings, Dylan fans are going to pass out in ecstasy: 148 titles (including over 100 unpublished tracks!) over 14 albums, for over 10.5 hours of music! This genuine treasure trove, reserved for his most hard-core fans, features the five complete concerts recorded during the tour, as well as rehearsals at the SIR studios in New York, and at the Seacrest Motel in Falmouth. On top of this, a bonus album compiles other rare performances from this Rolling Thunder Revue. You need to take the time to fully immerse yourself into this lengthy but fascinating historical document: a slice of life and of the creativity that explores the Dylan in all his complexity. His relationship with tradition. His way of existing in his time. His relationship to writing as well as to those around him. A proper goldmine, released concurrently with Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese, a fascinating documentary produced by Netflix and directed by Martin Scorsese about this pivotal tour in rock history. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Ambient/New Age - Released October 13, 2009 | Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions 4 étoiles Rock and Folk
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Pop/Rock - Released November 6, 2015 | Columbia - Legacy

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The wonderful Bob Dylan Bootleg Series continues, this time over the period 1965-1966. The Cutting Edge, the twelfth episode of the collection, contains unreleased studio recordings, never before heard songs, out-takes, rehearsal songs and alternate versions recorded during the sessions of Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde. More importantly, The Cutting Edge: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12 1965-1966 offers a rare view of the songwriter while in studio. This 6CD Deluxe Edition includes premium full sessions of Like A Rolling Stone. Obviously, one is tempted to book this type of publication to Dylan's hardcore fans because being ready to take on twenty versions of the same song, fantastic as it is, is a very specific ability. Yet The Cutting Edge: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12 1965-1966 offers a perspective into the creative process of one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century. A journey which therefore has no price. © MD / Qobuz
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Rock - Released October 15, 2010 | Columbia - Legacy

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Rock - Released October 15, 2010 | Columbia - Legacy

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Pop/Rock - Released August 23, 2013 | Columbia

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Rock - Released October 15, 2010 | Columbia - Legacy

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Bob Dylan in the magazine
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