Over the next week or so, I plan to write about a decade that many gloss over when it comes to the career of Bob Dylan—the 1970s. The most famous album of his from that decade is, of course, Blood on the Tracks but there are many others worth talking about. But there’s also some real junk in there.
Also, I won’t be including Bob Dylan Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 and The Basement Tapes because one isn’t an actual album while the other was recorded in the 1967, so that’d be a little unfair.
To the list!
-I’m not being terribly original in putting this dreadful album as the worst thing Dylan released in the 1970s but man, it’s really horrible. There’s a reason it’s not currently in print and relatively tough to find. Thanks to my Discussing Dylan professor, the wonderful Robert Levinson, I got Dylan and was thoroughly mortified and…well, bored.
The story behind Dylan is quite well known amongst fans at this point: Put together by Columbia in order to get back at Bob for switching to Asylum Records, they culled together outtakes from Self Portrait and released it on November 19, 1973—very shortly before Planet Waves was to be released. The result of the album is basic junk that makes one wonder why Dylan would want to ever return to Columbia—except for that whole getting money thing.
The best track on the album is “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” which Bob took from “the Gypsy,” Elvis Presley. The song is terrifically schmaltzy but there is some tenderness behind the schmaltz, which makes it stand out from the other songs. The other listenable tracks would include “Lily of the West,” “The Ballad of Ira Hayes” and “Spanish is the Loving Tongue.”
Unless you’re a completist, there’s no reason to have Dylan in your collection.