THE BARGAIN BUY: Bob Dylan: Original Album Classics

 |   |  1 min read

Bob Dylan: The Groom's Still Waiting at the Altar
THE BARGAIN BUY: Bob Dylan: Original Album Classics

Every few years or so, some writer or magazine kicks off the idea that Bob Dylan's horrible Eighties need reconsidering.

So the search is on for lost gems but, just like gold nuggets in a mountain, they are hard to chivvy out.

This five CD set covers his mid and late Eighties -- skipping quite a few albums in the middle.

And while we can simply say the Dylan and the Dead album found each party absent (a few of Dylan great hits done serious disservice) and Real Live is either excellent or awful depending on who you speak to, the other albums here each have their own merits.

Shot of Love ('81) was his final "Christian" album and although it is pretty preachy in places it does contain the fine Every Grain of Sand and In the Summertime, and (on this CD edition) the non-album track The Groom's Still Waiting at the Altar. If any reconsideration of Dylan's Eighties is going to take place this album does come up rather better than how it was received at the time.

Infidels (produced by Mark Knopfler) which followed was kicked into life by the single Jokerman which was either one of his greatest songs or him just game-playing with lyrics. Elsewhere he comes to the defense of Israel (Neighbourhood Bully) and laments internationalism, for-profit bottomline business practices and the end of organised labour (Union Sundown). Both are slightly hectoring but the latter sounds even more timely today.

Don't Fall Apart on Me Tonight is still a fine song of love and need.

And the other album here comes from the end of the decade --Oh Mercy (late '89) -- and signaled his resurrection. Lots of great songs in the voice that was to become his signature in the following decade: Everything is Broken, Ring Them Bells, Man in a Long Black Coat, Most of the Time, Disease of Conceit . . .

After a wobbly decade, Dylan was back on something close to top form and -- aside from the truly awful Under the Red Sky of the following year -- he went back to roots for two albums (Good As I Been To You, World Gone Wrong) before that extraordinary late career revival which began with Time Out of Mind ('97)

So here are five albums, two poor, two worth investigating and one essential from Dylan's Eighties.

JB_logoAt just $20 for the lot at JB HiFi stores here that's still a pretty good deal. Which makes this our Bargain Buy.

And let's here the debate begin: Dylan in the Eighties, better than we thought at the time?

Ho ho ho.

(For extensive coverage of all aspects of Dylan's career, including his movies, start here)

Share It

Your Comments

Glimmer Twin - Apr 8, 2014

Infidels was the Dylan entry point for me as a teenager at the time - I still think "Jokerman" and "Sweetheart Like You" are extraordinary , Mick Taylor was Dylan's idea apparently and interesting to hear his guitar and Knopflers together. Crime of the century was the exclusion of "Blind Willie McTell" - there is still a great unreleased version with Taylor going ballistic on slide." Masters of War" from Real Live is worth a listen just for Taylor also.

post a comment

More from this section   The Bargain Buy articles index

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Sony "Original Album Classics" series: Stadium shakers

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Sony "Original Album Classics" series: Stadium shakers

This will be brief because not everyone in Elsewhere's world likes the sound of a roaring jet engine in their ears but . . . There is certainly a place for stadium-sized metal-edged rock which... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Soundgarden; The Classic Album Series

THE BARGAIN BUY: Soundgarden; The Classic Album Series

In the same series which has produced the excellent value and beautifully presented Elsewhere-recommended sets of Thin Lizzy, the Cure, Motorhead, Elton John and others (five discs in gatefold... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GREGG ALLMAN INTERVIEWED (2010): The Road Goes On Forever

GREGG ALLMAN INTERVIEWED (2010): The Road Goes On Forever

Scroll down the Wikipedia entry for Gregg Allman and two things will surprise: first how brief it is for a musician who has lived such a full, creative and often dangerously self-abusive life.... > Read more

THE POWER OF SPEECH: A Short Story in a Strange Tongue

THE POWER OF SPEECH: A Short Story in a Strange Tongue

I recently spent a rather distressing luncheon engagement with a moderately well-known author. Aside from hearing much invaluable gossip about better known writers than my friend, I was also... > Read more