Street Legal

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Click for availability and more information Street Legal, by Bob Dylan

In 1978, at an emotional and artistic crossroad, Bob Dylan released his Street Legal album, which was attacked by critics for meandering lyrics and amazingly bad sound (the lp I owned sounded like it had been recorded during a rainstorm). The latter problem has been resolved via the SACD remixed edition, released a year and a half ago. Dylan's backing band and choral singers play as if their lives depended on it. No more muddy mixes here.

As for the so-called "meandering" lyrics, well, "Changing Of The Guards" & (especially) "Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)", to name but two songs, ominously hint at both a coming Armageddon and the "born-again" path Dylan would take in his next album, the much more sanctimonious SLOW TRAIN COMING. It's hard not to be shaken (or shudder) with lyrics like "But Eden is burning/Either brace yourself for elimination/Or else your hearts must have the courage/For the changing of the guards". You want to think Dylan's just having a bad day, but maybe he also knows something we don't. Not easily accessible (or even comforting) at first listen (what Dylan album is?), but stick with it.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry published on March 8, 2005 5:50 PM.

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