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Seeking musical wisdom from the older Lakers


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Hey guys,

in my boredom of the "Bruce Off-peak", I've been out craving all kinds of new music (well music that is new to me at least). Anyway, I've been giving thought to getting into Bob Dylan's music. However, aside from not having a clue where to start looking (or listening), I honestly can not be bothered to blow the cash on his 'Complete Album Collection Vol 1'. Further on that, the idea of a greatest hits CD does not solve my dilemma either. Greatest hits CDs are stupid IMO, just because the masses like these songs, doesn't mean I will personally. He's obviously very good at songwriting and story telling so that's my primary reason for seeking out his music. You know, listen and learn.

With all of that in mind, I was hoping that some of you folks on here would be able to recommend songs or albums of Mr Dylan's to check-out. I'm not going to lie, I really don't give a crap about any heavily political songs. But outside of that I wouldn't mind being pointed in a more clear direction. By the way, Youtube seems to be very scarce on good quality Dylan studio recordings from the research I have done,

So, any suggestions? They'd be much appreciated.

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Long Limp Home,

This album may not necessarily be Dylan 101 to most people but (imho) Dylan's artistry at it's bravest is his 1966 Opus "Blonde on Blonde" often hailed as Rock's first double album (it's not quite...but it's close) as one reviewer said many years ago "never has an artist stared so deeply into the abyss (and not blinked)" my memory and paraphrasing hasn't captured the quote verbatim.

To balance your listening experience perhaps try his modern masterpiece (imho) 1997's "Time Out Of Mind"

And then polish off with his 1983 "Infidels" not as critically lauded Dylan album as many of his others but it is a Dylan album I have often used over the years to introduce friends to Dylan's music as it has a certain accessibility and is not as sonically confronting as "Blonde on Blonde" for instance.

Good luck and enjoy the journey if you end up liking him there are literally universes lying there waiting for you to explore (be careful if the Dylan bug bites it could take you a lifetime.....)

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The Oh Mercy album from 1989 is a good route into Dylan for the uninitiated. Very strong well arranged songs and excellent production.

I think his stuff from Time Out of Mind through to Tempest is potentially up there with his best but marred only by his singing.

Ain't Talkin' from Modern Times may well be one of the greatest rock songs ever written.

I think it was Springsteen who said something about Dylan being able to deliver long and lyrically dense songs without ever being boring. I'd agree with this. He is a genuinely great writer.

I think he exercises a lot of control over his stuff on Youtube. Makes me wonder why other artists can't do the same.

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I might suggest, not that I am an "older" laker one or two from his different eras. So therefore ,

The break through, the Freewheelin bob dylan,

Highway 61 and blonde on blonde.

Blood on the tracks and desire

Slow train coming - wonderful in a different way!

Oh mercy- inc man in long black coat and the wonderful shooting star.

Time out of mind - the modern master piece as stated previously , and maybe love and theft.

I could add others but that's a start. Then maybe live - the "royal albert hall" 1966 official bootleg (Manchester really) and maybe the rolling thunder review official bootleg , although I do like the rawness of hard rain (especially shelter from the storm) .

Once I started I couldn't stop , but of course it's each to their own!!

Good luck and enjoy the ride!


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I would go for one from each era.

Highway 61 Re Visited 1965

Blood on the Tracks 1975

Time out of Mind 1997

It's hard to argue with this little selection, above.

In time, I would suggest another threefer of Blonde On Blonde, Street Legal and Modern Times.

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Yes Street Legal (1978) is another Dylan album I have tried out on friends as like Infidels it has a certain accessibility to it (even amongst it's at times cryptic lyrics).

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All good. I'd also suggest Nashville Skyline just because it demonstrates Dylan could sing with many different voices.

And the Bootleg Series Telltale Signs is basically the set I listen to most, an incredible collection of his most recent work.

Incidentally, I saw Bob two nights ago at a tiny club, 1500 people standing in Brisbane. Flew up from Sydney for it because it I knew it would be special, being so intimate. Queued from 4am, first in line, centre on the rail. It was spectacular. Totally worth the trip. Seeing his five Sydney shows starting from next week too .... :)

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"Blood on the Tracks" is probably the album I have played the most times, outside of "Born to Run", maybe. The songwriting is brilliant, and the recording is perfect...a bit gritty, but you can understand every word perfectly.

The album came out when I was in high school, and if ever I was alone in the house, I would play that album...not because I wanted it loud, or because it would annoy my parents or anything...no, I played it when I was alone because I would absolutely sing out loud through the entire thing! I have no voice...knew it then, and know it now...and I would have embarrassed myself to sing it loud like that with others around!

But I had to sing it...the album got right down in my gut that way....

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I guess if you had to pick the Essential Dylan without buying everything: Blonde on Blonde and Blood on The Tracks, but any real American owns Highway 61 Revisited too. I have the whole catalog, even the shit from the 80's. I love it all.

There are some bootlegs from the very early days that are simply astonishing, and help the contemporary listener understand why the Folk Community in New York embraced and loved Dylan to the extent that they did, and then hated him when he plugged in. His material and delivery in those early shows was so beyond anything else.

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