Buckets of Rain

IMG_3557 (1)Blood on the Tracks

Bob Dylan’s 15th studio album is one of great emotional weight. The beauty of this record is its offhand, shaky musical attitude: at roughly the 4:02 second mark in Tangled up in Blue, either the bassist or guitarist hits a wrong note. I always listen out for this moment, as to me it is one of the great affirmations of one of my essential rules of truly great popular music: Sometimes imperfections can create the greatest perfection of all. As the song gradually becomes more frantic and desperate, this accidental wrong note (spurred by that general attitude of despondent musical indiscriminacy that permeated the album’s recording) ends up carrying the greatest meaning.

Blood on the Tracks, though I rather dislike the angry, rambling Idiot Wind and Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts, remains the most honest 51 minutes of Dylan on record. I must mention that the rest of the album is pure gold as well, and is music of unfathomably vivid, hypnotic and commanding lyrical and songwriting power. It is recorded and produced in such a way that gives a kind of murky, comforting background ambience: Listening to it on a rainy, winter evening in dim, warm light is among the most evocative experiences offered by any record.

Here’s Meet Me in the Morning; maybe the exemplar of this atmosphere I describe. Check out the magnificent solo of what I believe is a fuzzed-out pedal steel…

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13 thoughts on “Buckets of Rain

  1. I believe the album is Dylan at his most starkly honest and spare but did not necessarily say that the somber tone automatically equates this honesty. Anyhoo,

    I know from one of your earlier posts that this one’s not particularly a favourite of yours and it’s certainly a divisive album. I enjoyed your thoughts on it 😉

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    1. It’s just that I find it weird for anyone to assume that this album or any other is Dylan’s most honest. For we all know, it could’ve been all an act. I’m not saying it is, but we could never know for sure. Maybe his stream-of-consciousness lyrics from the mid-60s are the ones he means the most.

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      1. I can see your point. I agree that the lyrics themselves could be a load of complete codswallop, but it’s the rawness of emotion that I sense underneath that holds no prisoners and for that reason is the most genuine I’ve heard of Dylan. It’s by no means his best album, though; that award goes to Blonde on Blonde with no hesitation.

        I’d also argue that the Ginsbergian beatnik poetry of the mid-60s (however much I adore it) very occasionally borders on the ersatz…
        Thanks for commenting 🙂

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  2. My understanding is that this album is about the dissolution of Dylan’s marriage to his wife, Sara. I read somewhere that son Jakob said he had a hard time listening to it for that reason. An album of great emotional depth. BTW, never noticed that mistake you mentioned. Have to listen for that. 😀

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