| Buckets Of Dylan
The Complete Guide To Bob Dylan
|Is he a folk hero gone bad or the real king of rock n roll? Some say he is the greatest songwriter of all time but some say he can't even perform his own songs. Is he a true genius or just plain weird? And how many roads does a man have to walk down before you call him a man? Hopefully the answers to these questions are somwhere on this page.
Born Robert Allen Zimmerman, in 1941, in Hibbing, Minesota, (moving to Dulith when he was young) he later changed his name to Bob Dylan for a variety of reasons. Bob didn't like his home towns' backward ways and dreamt of leaving from an early age. He was the first person in Hibbing even to have heard of the likes of Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly let alone try to emmulate them. He was frquently laughed off stage during performances, but he didn't care. However, there was one girl in Hibbing that Bob liked, her name was Echo, she was the Girl From The North Country (see The Freewheelin', track 2).
It was in the university of Minesota that Bob first fell in love with folk music and became obsessed with Woody Guthrie, a communist, depression era folk singer, and it was this music which dominated his first 3 albums.
His first album Bob Dylan consisted mainly of blues and folk standards, but contained the self-penned Song To Woody, which he sang when he met Woody. However, It was his second album, The Freewheelin', and its follow up The Times They Are A Changing that brought him critical acclaim as a protest singer. His big brake came when Peter, Paul And Mary covered Blowin' In The Wind.
Bob soon established a reputation as a great 'protest song' writer. However, his next album Another Side Of Bob Dylan was true to its' title and showed a more sensitive, looser side to his writing, as indicated by the line, "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now." from My Back Pages.
However, Bob always wanted to be a rock and roll star, no matter what his fans thought (Newport folk festival for example). He did this in style and simultaneusly enraged the folkys and wowed pop fans with the song Subterranean Homesick Blues (from Bringing It All Back Home). This song, along with his next three albums Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde obtained Bob legendary status. The influence of these albums can still be heard today in the likes of Counting Crowes and The Charlatans.
Dylan Top Ten:
10.Oh Mercy ('89)-7/10
9.John Wesley Harding ('68)-7/10
8.Bringing It All Back Home ('65)-7/10
7.Another Side Of Bob Dylan ('64)-8/10
6.The Times They Are A Changing ('64)-8/10
5.The Freewheelin' ('63)-8/10
4.Highway 61 Revisited ('65)-9/10
2.Blonde On Blonde ('66)-10/10
1.Blood On The Tracks ('75)-10/10
Answers: Both,genius and 42.
|The man himself.|
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At this point in Bobs' his career, his albums became more country influenced which through a number of his fans. The albums John Wesly Harding and Nashville Skyline, (which includes a duet with counry legend Jonny Cash) are distinctly country compared with his previous offerings. His songs were mainly pure love songs, not love/hate or even remotely ironical, they were just love songs. These albums were his reation to the Likes of Sgt Pepper and other highly pyschedelic albums. The like of which he didn't enjoy.
Around this time, Bob suffered a motorcycle accident and almost went into hiding with his young family. The injuries he suffered have never been known and are surrounded in myth. Some say he injured a few vertibrae and some even say that he broke his back. What is clear is that Bob went into deep seclusion in Woodstock and was very rarely seen in public in the next few years.
His neighbours in Woodstock were a band called The Band, and they got together and recorded some material in the basement of Dylans house, which was released some years later (1975) as The Basement Tapes. These were more closly related to The Band than Dylan in terms of sound. It was the sound of six musitions having fun.
Bobs' next 'album', Self Portrait is poorly rated by many of his fans and critics and many of them were loosing faith in his abilities. However thing improved with the release of New Morning. His music the took a slight nose dive with his next two albums Dylan and Planet waves (the only full album recorded with The Band in a studio). Then in1975 came the release of Blood On The Tracks. A classic album in anyones book. The main subject of this album was his split from his wife, and it was filled with passion. Its' one of the best albums ever released by any artist let alone Dylan. I urge anyone who doesn't own it to go and buy it NOW. You'll wonder how you lived without it.
Also released that year apart from The Basement Tapes was Desire, another great album. It included a tribute to Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter, who was wrongly imprisoned for murder and other great songs such as Isis and Sara.
The next twist in the Bob Dylan saga can be heard in his 1979 offering Slow Train Coming. Yes, you are listening to a 'born-again' Dylan. This time however, he's a born again Christian! He certainly doesn't keep things simple does he. This period included another two albums Saved and Shot Of Love, the highlight of which being Every Grain Of Sand from the latter, (an alternate version can be heared on The Bootleg Series Volume Three).
I don't think any artist could move so comfortably from Folk, to Rock n Roll, to Christian music. That is one of the reasons that Dylan is such an original.
Bobs' career took another little dip in the eighties according to the critics (I confess that I have no eighties Dylan albums. I'm only nineteen and so I haven't had time to get any yet, but don't let me put you off, go and buy an eighties Dylan album and judge for youself), but the standard came back up in the ninties. His last offering of the nineties was Time Out Of Mind, which is highly rated, and could rival any of his prvious albums. However, the most important Dylan release of the nineties was probably The Bootleg Series. "If these are the songs he was leaving out, imagine how good the ones he used are!". It's a great chance for any fan to see how his writing and performances have developed over his four decade carrer.
He still hasn't finished though, the 'Never Ending Tour' is thankfully still going, and I've had the chanec to see him twice in the lasy three years. He has recently released a new song Things Have Changed, off the soudtrack for The Wonder Boys. A new 'best of' has recently been released called Essential Dylan or something like that.
The new millenium has started well, and his lastest release Love And Theft keeps up the tradition. The fact that Bob is releasing superb albums at the age of 60 is, like the rest of his life, incredible. Long live Bob
Now I'm pretty much up to date for the moment but please come back in the future to see how this little sight is developing. I'm hoping to get a sort of question and answer thing going so if you have any questions, know any (interesting) trivia about Bob, or have heard any latest new, please email me.
|Since Aug 2000|