It was a few years back that I picked up a copy of the album with the catalogue number CBS – PBG 62572. It’s the original Mono recording of Highway 61 Revisited, released on 30 August 1965 to this sort of acclaim:-
In the British music press, initial reviews of Highway 61 expressed both bafflement and admiration for the record. New Musical Express critic Allen Evans wrote: “Another set of message songs and story songs sung in that monotonous and tuneless way by Dylan which becomes quite arresting as you listen.” The Melody Maker LP review section, by an anonymous critic, commented: “Bob Dylan’s sixth LP, like all others, is fairly incomprehensible but nevertheless an absolute knock-out.”The English poet Philip Larkin, reviewing the album for The Daily Telegraph, wrote that he found himself “well rewarded” by the record: “Dylan’s cawing, derisive voice is probably well suited to his material … and his guitar adapts itself to rock (‘Highway 61’) and ballad (‘Queen Jane’). There is a marathon ‘Desolation Row’ which has an enchanting tune and mysterious, possibly half-baked words.”
It would go on reach #4 in the UK charts. His previous album, Bringing It All Back Home, released some six months previously, had reached #1. Is it fair to say that Highway 61 Revisited is now considered to have a greater legacy, notwithstanding that the former album included Subterranean Homesick Blues, Maggie’s Farm, Mr. Tambourine Man and It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)?? Over to those of you within the TVV community who are better qualified to articulate relevant views and opinions……..
The reason I’m posing a question rather than offering an opinion is that I’m not a huge Bob Dylan fan, but there’s an awful lot about this slightly crackly album that I like. And let’s face it, for a piece of plastic that is now almost 56 years old, it’s in decent condition:-
mp3: Bob Dylan – Like A Rolling Stone
mp3: Bob Dylan – Tombstone Blues
mp3: Bob Dylan – It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Lot To Cry
mp3: Bob Dylan – From A Buick Six
mp3: Bob Dylan – Ballad Of A Thin Man
If you’d said to the 18-year old me that, some 40 years on I’d be writing a few words in praise of Bob Dylan, I’d have laughed out very loud in your face and with a great deal of contempt. I’m glad my tastes have matured to some degree.