Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

Album cover image from wikipedia.

I went through a huge Bob Dylan streak a few years back.  Inspired by a Blog on the Tracks post,[1] I listened to His Bobness for what seemed like months on end, filling in the many gaps in my collection, discovering new loves and hates of this monumental figure of popular music.

And then Dylan sort of slipped to one side.  I’ve only regularly gone back to Nashville Skyline, that odd little country album with Dylan’s odd little tenor croon, that for some reason lodged itself and stays very lodged as my favourite Dylan album.

But the other day I put on Highway 61 Revisited, perhaps Dylan’s most famous album, for the first time in what feels like an age.

It was very much like coming home to an old friend.

Every bum note, every stumbled beat and joyful recovery, every creak, grin and snarl in the vocals, all was immediately familiar.

From “Like A Rolling Stone,” with Al Kooper’s improvised and unforgettable organ part, and a band never sure if Dylan’s going to go into another verse or end the song.  Through the driving, exciting, thrilling bluesy rock of “Tombstone Blues,” the earworm hook of “From A Buick 6,” and the slow, lurchingly angry rant that is “Ballad of a Thin Man.”

Sitting in the sun, nodding along, immersed in every moment, memories flooding back – not of a time or a place, but of each and every song.

Smiling at the slightly out-of-tune guitar jangling through “Queen Jane Approximately,” having a little boogie to my favourite song, the title track, with its surreal, silly, read-anything-or-nothing-into-it lyric.

There’s only one song on the album I’ve never been particularly fond of, the lengthy closing track “Desolation Row.”  A favourite of many, for me it hangs around too long not really doing anything, with not enough going on in either the vocal or the lyric to hold my attention for its eleven minute length.[2]

So much has been written, about the man and this album.  You don’t need me to write even more about the importance and legacy of Highway 61 Revisited or it’s “greatest rock song of all time” opening track.

It’s iconic.  Deservedly so.  And a another listen, after a lengthy absence, just reinforces how good it is.  You don’t need me to put in a video clip here to give me a taste of the album.[3]  Go get it off your shelf, and put it on.[4]

But, that said, I don’t think I need to listen to it again for a while.  But, you know, just to be sure, I’m going to put it on again while I publish this post…

Beer match:  Oh god, I almost forgot the beer match.

For this one, it is obvious. While I was playing this album I was sitting out on my deck drinking an Epic Pale Ale. For the first time in ages.  Getting back in touch with old friends, both beer and music. And, uh, friends..  Nice.

[1] Which I now can’t find. It was a good post. Worth reading. Has Stuff started deleting old blog posts?

[2] I prefer the My Chemical Romance cover, to be honest.  Shocking, I know.

[3]  I can’t, anyway.  His Bobness’ songs are purged, often and thoroughly from YouTube it seems. Oh well.

[4] Or, if you don’t own, get to iTunes or your local record store and buy it.  There’s really no excuse.


One thought on “Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

  1. Pingback: Epic Pale Ale | buzz and hum

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