The following is a guest post written by Miles.
The voice of a generation
Robert Zimmerman, also known as Bob Dylan, is one of the greatest musicians with a career spanning over fifty years and 35 albums behind him. In the early sixties, Dylan became the voice of his generation; his music connected folk, blues and traditional music, transferring a message of freedom while opposing hypocrisy and the rule of "the man". His beginnings were defined by pairing the acoustic guitar and harmonica, accompanied by his distinctive vocal style. Just as the audiences started accepting his musical expression and status as a protest singer, Dylan did a sudden stylistic turn. This turn was first exposed on Bringing It All Back Home, an album widely criticized at the time.
The album is divided in an electric and acoustic part. The first track on the record is "Subterranean Homesick Blues". It features Dylan’s mind boggling surrealistic wordplay backed by a wild electric band. The song's title was inspired by Jack Kerouac’s novella The Subterraneans, and even though the lyrics have puzzled listeners for decades, pieces of truth can be found all over the song’s wordplay patchwork. "She Belongs To Me" is a slow waltz-like blues number, most likely inspired by Dylan's relationship with Joan Baez.
The following song on the album is a definite sign that Dylan got a little bored with the whole folk rock protest songwriter business and he chose a witty resignation — "Maggie’s Farm". In the lyrics he openly ridicules oppressors and various folk crowd stereotypes. In "Love Minus Zero / No Limit", Bob Dylan lyrically expresses his capacity to love. The song also features Bruce Langhorne on electric guitar. "Outlaw Blues" is the most powerful song on the album. It’s rather fast paced and full of epic statements,"Well I might look like Robert Ford, but I feel just like Jesse James!" "On the Road Again" is a typical Dylan number: funny vignettes, lots of irony and some paranoid thoughts. The following number, "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream" is an allusion to "Bob Dylan’s Dream". It starts with the recognizable false intro, "I was riding on the Mayflower when I thought I spied some land", and continues with lyrics that are utterly surreal and comical.
"Mr. Tambourine Man" is a jangly number that combines Dylan's vocals with a countermelody played by Langhorne. The song was later covered by The Byrds, who were inspired by the ambiguous dreamy tones. The following song is "Gates of Eden", considered a modern day Milton inspired "Paradise Lost". The lyrics are very brave and realistic. "It’s Alright Ma' (I'm Only Bleeding)" is a dark and bluesy number that depicts the suffering of an alienated mind facing the bizarre injustices of war, hypocrisy and hatred. The final song on the album is "It’s All Over Now Baby Blue", a slow paced love song featuring William E. Lee on bass and Dylan on guitar.
Although Dylan’s electric blues was criticized at first, crowds slowly adapted to the spontaneous nature of Mr. Dylan and Bringing It All Back Home was soon considered a musical masterpiece. The 11 songs originally released in 1965 were recently mastered from the original master tapes and pressed on a 45RPM LP. The final result is the finest stereo edition of Bringing It All Back Home ever produced.
Miles is a music blogger with a passion for vinyl records. He writes for 180 Gram Records and buys his 180 gram vinyl at Music Record Shop.