Everyone else seems to love it.
On Friday, in the Guardian, I read a glowing review of Bob’s new album (Shadows in the Night) . The young man gave it five stars which makes me wonder what he would give to Highway 61, Bringing It All back Home and his other classic albums
Yesterday I read two more complimentary reviews in the Observer and the Sunday Times and then more positive stuff online. So here I am at 7.53 am, listening to it, having bought it (download). There are 10 tracks and number seven has just finished. The example I stuck on the Blog ain’t one of the finest for sure and some of it is OK. Bob’s band, heavily featuring pedal steel, is as fine as ever but I still don’t get it. His voice is smoother than sometimes recently and as JR quoted him, he generally hits the notes but you could make a machine to do that. Oddly, for him, what it lacks is the sense of pathos or melancholy that you get from some of the finest performances of these wonderful songs. “Lucky Old Sun” is an interesting example – compare it to Ray Charles.
Perhaps I’m underwhelmed by it because I listen to many of these songs regularly by early Sinatra, Billie Holiday and the other great songbook guys from way back – most especially Sarah Vaughan. So I never felt the need to listen to Robbie Williams or Rod Stewart and now I don’t feel the need to listen to this again (I’m writing slowly here to make sure I hear the lot – I’ve got there).
I still think Bob Dylan is the single greatest artist of popular music over the past 50 years – but this doesn’t add anything for me.