Author Topic: "Rough And Rowdy Ways" Bob Dylan  (Read 689 times)

"Rough And Rowdy Ways" Bob Dylan
« on: June 22, 2020, 10:32:33 AM »
I've been listening to this on and off since Friday and it's great. It feels shorter than his other most recent all original LPs but it's still an hour and a bit but it flies by.

There's some choice lines in a few of them too:

Quote
Go home to your wife, stop visiting mine
One of these days I'll forget to be kind

Quote
Black rider, black rider, hold it right there
The size of your cock will get you nowhere

I wasn't too taken with "Murder Most Foul" when it was released earlier this year but at the end of the LP it seems to make more sense. To me.

I was all in for "I Contain Multitudes" even if Emma Swift's version is better though: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZhzHma-BfM

Someone on Twitter dot com said it's almost time for his 60th anniversary concert (2022 but...that's soon) but looking at who played his 30th anniversary concert has made me wonder who'll play his 60th? Ed Sheeran probably.



shagatha crustie

  • Don't do to me what you did to America
Re: "Rough And Rowdy Ways" Bob Dylan
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2020, 10:40:14 AM »
The rockier blues numbers are boring to me musically but it's still his best album for yonks. Obviously still an incredibly sharp mind at 79 to be turning out lyrics like that.

Quote
I can see the history of the whole human race
It's all right there, it's carved into your face
Should I break it all down? Should I fall on my knees?
Is there light at the end of the tunnel, can you tell me, please?
Stand over there by the cypress tree
Where the Trojan women and children were sold into slavery
Long before the first Crusade
Way back before England or America were made
Step right into the burning hell
Where some of the best-known enemies of mankind dwell
Mr. Freud with his dreams, Mr. Marx with his ax
See the raw hide lash rip the skin from their backs

DukeDeMondo

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Re: "Rough And Rowdy Ways" Bob Dylan
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2020, 06:38:51 PM »
I’m probably going to sound way more down on this than I actually am, but I found it a bit disappointing overall, to be honest. I probably wouldn’t have felt like that had the reviews not been so full of hyperbole and 5/5 hurrah, but they have been, and for the most part I’m just not hearing what those folks are hearing. It’s got a lot of good stuff on, and some really fucking great stuff, but it drags a lot of its tracks out way beyond the point of exhaustion without doing anything anywhere near interesting enough either lyrically or melodically or musically to justify the length. The lyrics on the whole I find a lot less substantial than I feel I should be finding them, and as for everything else, I don’t find very appealing at all seven whole minutes of wearying, repetitive boogie woogie or one-note funereal wheezing circling a handful of not especially memorable “I am thises / I am thats” where three and a bit minutes would’ve done just fine. Just because you can, an’ that. “The size of your cock will get you nowhere,” indeed., And there are stretches during which it’s not substantially better to my ears than the far less warmly received Tempest. There’s stuff on that album that I would take over some of the stuff on this any hour of the day. Everyone seems to love “My Own Version Of You,” for example, but I just find it tedious as shit, and it’s been a chore to sit through every time I’ve put on the album. I don’t hear anything in that track that resembles the track being praised in reviews as one of the record’s peaks. Certainly I don’t hear a whole terrible lot of the hilarious wordplay and the mad flights of comic invention I’ve seen attributed to it here and there. Critics of a certain stock have a tendency to respond to any remotely amusing turn of phrase in a new Dylan track like they’re competing against other in a great game of who can laugh longest and hardest at the slightest of things. Reading some reviews over the years I’ve been led to expect far more Love And Death than Love And Theft, and it’s frequently the case that those uproarious jests and jibes don’t land for me at all when I actually get to hear them for myself. Although I guess that’s partly because, by the time the record is in my possession, I’ve already been exposed a hundred times over to whatever thin approximation of a punchline it is that they’re all rolling about the floors all roads and directions over the head of. Which is not the record’s fault, obviously. But, that’s very much my feelings far as “My Own Version Of You” is concerned. When it first parked up I was prepared for a whole bunch of Dylan at his funniest and his most wild-headed, but that is not what I got. What I got was something I didn’t find especially amusing or clever and that I might have enjoyed if I hadn’t been primed to expect something pretty phenomenal and if it didn’t go on and on and on for hours, just plodding along forever doing nothing very much at all. That’s how I’m hearing it, anyway.

There are a couple other tracks that would be ten times better at half the length, or sometimes even a third of the length, "Black Rider" is one. I mean, take any two-and-a-bit minute chunk and it’s gorgeous, and if it’s the chunk with the “cock” line in, which was for me as unexpected and satisfying as it was to hear Woody Allen using the word “cunt” for the first time in Deconstructing Harry, then it’s pretty thrilling too, but I don’t find it very thrilling as a whole as is. Initially I leapt to my feet all “fuck me, this is absolutely beautiful,” but that enthusiasm was pretty much wrung done by the time it was over. And it’s not even all that long, relative to the rest. It’s something you should be able to luxuriate in for the duration, and for a lot of folks that’s exactly what it is, and maybe in a different headspace it would be that for me too, but here and now I just get bored mid-way through. I love the atmosphere it conjures, which is properly pungent, and I like how it privileges that atmosphere over most anything else, but for me it’s an atmosphere that it fails to sustain.

An exception to all of this is "Key West," which I think is stunning and fills up every one of its nine minutes and however many seconds with stuff that I find very easy to get lost in.

I guess it doesn’t help that I was already really familiar with those three tracks released in the run-up, each one of which excited me tremendously when it first appeared online, even though I was slightly less taken with "Murder Most Foul" than most folks seemed to be, and again, I didn’t think it was interesting enough lyrically to justify the sheer number of verses. But it still sounded fresh and commanding in a way that a lot of the stuff on the last few albums did not. As did "I Contain Multitudes." If I hadn’t listened to that a dozen times over well before the album arrived in the post, if I’d been putting the disc in fresh with only that absolute eyesore of a cover to go on, "I Contain Multitudes" would probably have blown my tits out as the opening track, and. I would probably think way higher of the thing overall, if that opener had been new to me and the thrill of it had been allowed to reverberate through the rest, elevating bits that otherwise struggle to get very far off the ground. As it was, I was just waiting for it to be over to get to the stuff that was new to me, and that stuff was rarely of the same standard.

I haven’t actually put Disc Two on yet, for like everyone else I’ve already heard "Murder Most Foul" a bunch of times and I’m in no real rush to hear it again just yet, although I will do soon just to see how it plays in context. To be honest, by the time Disc One is done I’m pretty much ready for it all to be Done. It’s interesting that "MMF" has it’s own “cover” on the reverse of the sleeve,, like we’re supposed to approach it as a piece in itself, something separate from the 9-track album that just happens to be included in the package also.

All that complaining aside, I do think a lot of it is fantastic, there are more good-to-great moments than there are lulls, and I do think some of the stuff that I currently find a bit of a slog I might come to appreciate more in time. I doubt that’ll happen with “My Own Version Of You,” but you never know.

And obviously compared to the likes of Together Through Life, which really is a dreary fucking smush of an album, it’s a masterpiece.

But. I’ll see what sort of shape it takes as it settles. I’m guessing that as I become as familiar with the rest as I was with those three tracks going in, when I’m able to hear them all as parts of a whole, then I’ll come to find it way more impressive overall. I just wish I’d gone in absolutely cold.     

Re: "Rough And Rowdy Ways" Bob Dylan
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2020, 06:45:48 PM »
I was hoping it would be an album about the hilarious Rough N Rowdy redneck boxing matches on Youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gW4LQ4tlYag

shagatha crustie

  • Don't do to me what you did to America
Re: "Rough And Rowdy Ways" Bob Dylan
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2020, 06:56:04 PM »
Agreed that the album would have been a stronger listen without having revealed so much with the three singles. He would have been better off just dropping Murder Most Foul and then the album a couple months later.

DukeDeMondo

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Re: "Rough And Rowdy Ways" Bob Dylan
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2020, 08:29:25 PM »
Proving to myself yet again that my initial impressions of things – or at least things that I’ve been looking forward to as much as I was looking forward to this – are rarely all that very reliable, and that my settings under such conditions are more often than not parked by “outrageous hyperbole and hoopla” (although it’s usually hyperbole and hoopla of a “this is the best fucking record of its kind that has ever been issued!” sort of stripe, a conclusion I’ll often reach before I’m ever even a third of the way through the first listen),  I now, having spent enough time with the album to be as familiar with the rest of it as I was with “Murder Most Foul,” “False Prophet,” and “I Contain Multitudes” going in, can be said to be utterly stinking in love with the thing. It’s my favourite Dylan album since Love And Theft, without question.

Two things helped usher this turn of events into being. The first was to take the album two (consecutive) tracks at a time. On any given day, I would listen to these two tracks only, preferably listening on headphones, and preferably whilst lying in the dark some place. This proved revelatory. Songs that had hitherto made little impression in the context of the whole were given a chance to properly take root and breathe and swell. The likes of “Black Rider” and “Goodbye Jimmy Reed” and “Crossing The Rubicon,” songs that I already enjoyed to greater or lesser extent, but that I tended to feel went on way too long without doing anything interesting enough to justify the length of their stay, were now songs that I found enthralling for the whole of the time that they were present, neither too long nor too short nor too slight, but just right in their minutes and seconds and girth. Returned then after this period of isolation to their original context, they would have transmogrified almost beyond recognition, and the varieties of colours and shades they now teased from the tracks round about them were colours and shades of rare splendour that I simply was not fit to see before, and now I see nothing but. 

The second thing that proved instrumental in the flowering of this profound shift in perception, was to eliminate “My Own Version Of You” from the tracklisting altogether. It’s not a “bad” song, really, I suppose. If you were to return home to Crouch End of an evening to find the five or six worst songs that Dylan has put out over the past decade or so all sitting about the kitchen table, you probably wouldn’t find a coat belonging to “My Own Version Of You” hanging in the hall or any place else. But it is a track that I personally cannot take to, that goes on and on for fucking ages, that bores me so much that it causes my hands and my feet to moss over, and that kicks the legs out from under the whole fucking album at a really crucial point. Bidding it shoo allows for “False Prophet” to lead straight into “I’ve Made Up My Mind To Give Myself To You,” which now, without the reek of “My Own Version Of You” obscuring my view, can be seen clearly for what it is, which is one of the most beautiful songs that Dylan has released this side of “Mississippi.”

Some of the stuff I said in that post above I still broadly agree with – some of the lyrics still land with a bit of a thud for me, for example – but the album I’m basking all aglow in the waters of now is not the album I was struggling to wade through the sludge of the first few times I put it on.

This, however...

Agreed that the album would have been a stronger listen without having revealed so much with the three singles. He would have been better off just dropping Murder Most Foul and then the album a couple months later.

...I still strongly agree with. I don't believe I'd have had anything like such a difficult time at first if, as shagatha says, only "Murder Most Foul" had been let loose beforehand. Certainly "I Contain Multitudes" should never have been released ahead of the album.

Re: "Rough And Rowdy Ways" Bob Dylan
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2020, 10:05:29 PM »
I wouldn't call Mr Marx an enemy of mankind.Karl or Groucho.
The old fool's gone senile.

kalowski

  • the Zone of Zero Funkativity
Re: "Rough And Rowdy Ways" Bob Dylan
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2020, 10:13:15 PM »
I utterly love it, and agree, I Contain Multitudes is just incredible.

Re: "Rough And Rowdy Ways" Bob Dylan
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2020, 12:11:24 PM »
Number 1 in the hit parade UK album chart, Neil Young at number 2.

It's like it's 1976 again.

Re: "Rough And Rowdy Ways" Bob Dylan
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2020, 12:47:23 PM »
Number 1 in the hit parade UK album chart, Neil Young at number 2.

It's like it's 1976 again.

The Steve Hoffman Forum must be awash with jean jackets saying "SEE!? SEE!? GOOD MUSIC IS BACK! WHERE IS YOUR DRAKE NOW?"

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