Monday, May 23, 2016


It used to be that Bob Dylan was leading the way.

Without a doubt, the best lyricist of the rock era, and a long way in front of number two.

Make fun of his voice, make fun of what he does to his song arrangements in concert (I still remember Stephen McCarthy's brother Nappy commenting he wished Dylan would play the song he had just finished playing-the arrangement was that different and the singing may as well have been in another language), but you cannot make fun of the man's ability with words.

If he would only use it more often.

Fallen Angels is his 37th studio album, and his second in a row to feature covers of "classic American tunes."

We all know Dylan has done covers albums over his career, but I would have thought that at age 75 (tomorrow is his birthday), and with so many of his contemporaries discovering the next frontier this year, that he might feel the need to actually say something original.

I guess he did release an album of new Dylan material in 2012-it just feels like twenty years. It also feels like all he does is albums of covers (a Christmas album and the two standards albums over eight years).

Produced by Dylan under his Jack Frost pseudonym, the arrangements are low key, the backing band top notch, and the record is pretty much on a par with the last, and that one was top ten in 17 counties, debuting at number one in the UK.

The album is not horrible, but it is horrible unnecessary. Over two albums of Sinatra covers, has it occurred to Dylan that Sinatra is the better singer? 

Sorry to burst your bubble, Bob.

The other thing that sticks in my craw is that Dylan is following a trend (covering the Great American Songbook) started by Linda Ronstadt and Rod Stewart.

No disrespect to Linda or Rod, but Dylan is following in their footsteps?

Mr. Zimmerman-you're supposed to be setting the bar!


  1. Dylan's heyday has passed. Now maybe he should just rest on his cash pile. Maybe he's having fun doing whatever he's doing, but he should sell it a bargain basement prices (he could call the series "The Bargain Basement Tapes") or maybe just put his stuff out for free and run as Bernie Saunders' VP.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    1. I don't know that I agree, Lee-when he does write, they are still good songs.

  2. Yeah, this is just totally wrong. Dylan doing covers is wrong enough by itself, but Dylan doing covers of American Standards? C'mon, Zimmy! You ain't really very bright, but yer damn sure smarter'n THAT!

    Man, that recording of 'Maybe You'll Be There' - seriously, I thought it was a joke, like a parody, until I saw it listed on the album cover. That's not English he's moaning in, is it? Was that Italian? (Serious question that.)

    I don't follow any of his newest stuffs at all. But as recent as '97 and '99 he was still capable of making fantastic music ('Not Dark Yet' and 'Things Have Changed' rank up there with some of his best, imo.)

    The one thing I gotta correct you on though, LC, is that it was not Linda and Rod who started that "contemporary singers re-recording old Standards" trend. That began with Willie Nelson's 1978 'STARDUST' album, produced by Booker T. Jones. It was a massive, massive success, winning a bunch of awards and giving others the idea of mining some of those old gems. To this day, my favorite Willie recordings can be found on that album.

    I will never ever regret that Dylan concert we went to, even though it was one of the most boring shows I ever saw. Dylan just seemed to be punching the clock, and half of the songs were nearly unidentifiable. (I think he was about halfway through 'Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again' -- one of my very favorite Dylan songs -- before I even realized what it was.)

    But when he's dead and gone, I'll be able to say I was once in the same building with him and watched him perform some of the most important songs in Rock history. Worth every penny and every minute!

    And if this pathetic country doesn't make 4 times the noise about Dylan's death (when it occurs) as it did about The Prince Of Purple, I'm a-gonna be sick to my stomach. I never saw so much mourning over a mediocre talent in my life. Dylan revolutionized the entire medium, and I hope people won't forget that when he's gone.

    I'd like to see him just stop recording and continue touring, but playing the songs mostly the way people want to hear 'em, with whatever time he has left. But one thing we can say about Zimmy: More than anyone else -- even Ol' Blue Eyes -- Zimmy did it HIS way, pissing off just about everyone in the process at one time or another. Gotta respect that.

    Lee's "The Bargain Basement Tapes" joke made me laugh. (Just think how many people today don't even understand the meaning of "bargain basement", having never been in an old school department store.)

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. You should probably correct my use of "contemporary artists" because I was really referring to rock artists, Willie being country-but you're right-he beat Linda to the shelves by five years (her first standards album, What's New, was released in 1983).

      I have a feeling you will be disappointed when Zimmy goes to the great beyond-I think some of the noise for Prince is due to the age of his audience, and Dylan's has to be considerably older.

      Prince was prolific, and while I was not a huge fan, I'll give him credit as a talent, but if I hear the words "before his time" one more time, someone's getting hurt!

      Dylan's original albums are still pretty decent-and you liked his Christmas album far better than I did-but the Sinatra covers-two albums' worth-are simply self-indulgent.

      I chuckled at Lee's reference as well-even the bargain department stores seem to be on the way out.

      I guess the times they really are a changing.