I have long been a fan of Bob Dylan. I probably became aware of him when “Like A Rolling Stone” was being played on the AM radio, in the mid-60’s. When you’re a fan of something for over 40 years, I tend to gravitate towards differing aspects of the artist’s output.
After four decades of mainly listening to just “Bringing It All Back Home”, “Highway 61 Revisited”, “Blonde On Blonde” and “John Wesley Harding” – I finally got into “The Basement Tapes”, which I’d owned since it’s first legit issue and had never played.
A year or two ago, I encountered another level of Bob Dylan – I got interested in all albums in his catalogue that had been re-mastered as SA-CD’s. This meant buying and keeping quite a few titles that I’d never heard at all, never taken seriously.
I’d started my move away from Dylan’s works around the time of “Blood On The Tracks”. I remember seeing friends approach it ‘without questioning’. Knee-jerk “It’s-the-new-Dylan-it’s-great”. Well, guess I’m all done with Dylan for now.
I think the last new Bob Dylan record I bought as a new release was the picture sleeve 45 of “Hurricane”. I never made it to the album it ended up on, “Desire” (1975).
In 2010, I do not own an LP of “Desire”, just the 2003 re-mastered hybrid SA-CD in a digipak. I hadn’t realized it was such a long album! I never knew Dylan was in such good voice on this album, and I also never knew that he was using a female co-lead vocalist quite a bit, Ms. Emmylou Harris. I had no idea at all that she figured in Bob’s story…
The sticker on the cover of the SA-CD says “The studio side of the Rolling Thunder Review: classic rock, gripping story-songs and a gypsy violin – featuring Emmylou Harris and Scarlett Rivera”. Well, apart from “Hurricane”, I doubt I’d heard much, if any, of this album before earlier this month.
Despite the packaging liner notes saying “Mixed for Quad” etc. – it’s a ‘stereo-only’ SA-CD. I wonder why?
My ears perked up on the last track of this album, “Sara”. I heard Bob Dylan sing “I wrote Sad Eyed lady Of The Lowlands for you”! Ah, self-referencing Dylan lyrics! OK!
But in 1975, I was at odds with the singer / songwriter universe. I was listening to not much but European non-English language music. I’d spent my time in the cage with Bob already. So, after listening to and enjoying “Desire”, perhaps the next Dylan SA-CD I should play is “Blood on the Tracks”? I have that in LP, MiniDisc and SA-CD. But I’ve never played it. Maybe I knew something was happening, but I didn’t know what it was. Did I, Mr. Jones?