Wednesday, September 04, 2013


Between “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and the release of Blonde on Blonde the following year, the summer of 1965 provided a lot of nourishment for a just-born Bob Dylan fan. “Like a Rolling Stone” hit the airwaves in July and in August Highway 61 Revisited was released to mind boggling effect. The rest of the summer was spent playing catch up, discovering the five albums that preceded it. There were a few more songs on the radio that fall and the following spring to tide us over until the next album arrived. A lot of fun awaited a naïve, uncultured kid opening the door (or having it opened) into a whole new previously unknown world. Another Side’s “Motorpsycho Nitemare” was funny even if many of the cultural references (Psycho, La Dolce Vita) were missed, though the absurdity of the Fidel Castro/Barry Goldwater joke registered by virtue of quick glances at the newspaper headlines before heading for the comics page in years prior; “I Shall Be Free” from Freewheelin’ was similarly funny, and Bob’s response to President Kennedy’s “growth” query, “Brigitte Bardot, Anita Ekberg, Sophia Loren, country’ll grow” was pretty easy to figure out. “When the Ship Comes In,” however, seemed a little scary, was it about a commie takeover? “Something is happening here but you don’t know what it is, do you. . . .” Ultimately the dark imagery and gallows humor of songs like “Visions of Johanna” and “Desolation Row” won out until ever diminishing returns post-John Wesley Harding found the young acolyte pitching his tent more or less permanently in the blues camp. . . .

Bob Dylan • Highway 51 • 1962

Bob Dylan • Motorpsycho Nitemare • 1964

Get ’em: Bob Dylan; Another Side of Bob Dylan

Album cover: All Music

No comments:

Post a Comment