Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan

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Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan
Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan

Album Released: 1966

Blonde on Blonde ::: Artwork

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1.Rainy Day Women #12 & 354:36
2.Pledging My Time3:50
3.Visions Of Johanna7:33
4.One Of Us Must Know4:54
5.I Want You3:07
6.Memphis Blues Again7:05
7.Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat3:58
8.Just Like A Woman4:50
9.Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)3:30
10.Temporary Like Achilles5:02
11.Absolutely Sweet Marie4:57
12.4th Time Around4:35
13.Obviously 5 Believers3:35
14.Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands11:20


This is another wholly classic Bob Dylan album. In keeping with tradition, I shall have another bout of insufferable fan-worship over it. I admit I get a bit bored always writing glowing reviews of classic albums that have been well-gushed-over for the last half-century. I almost wish I could write a negative review of it just so that I could see the sort of reaction I'd get ...

But how could I do such a thing? I love every one of these songs as though they were each little pieces of my life. So I guess I'll have to wait until I review popular Bob Seger releases to get those awesomely irate flame letters that I thirst after (here's a sneak preview: 'Like a Rock?' ...No! 'Like a Crock!!') So let's talk about this Bob Dylan album.

It's one of the best albums ever made in rock'n'roll, and there's almost no arguing with that. I mean, you could try, but you would only be defeated.

It all starts with a rousing bout of “Rainy Day Women #12 & 25”, which features a pounding 1-2 drumbeat, and a brass band that gives it an Americana flavor. That is a sound that would later provide inspiration to The Band, many members of whom were present for these sessions but can't actually be heard on any of the songs. Without a doubt, it is the most unusual song Dylan had recorded so far, and it's pure ear-candy. For some reason, he wanted us to hear a bunch of drunk people yelling and carrying on in the background. That, and the fact that it features some saloon-style piano, makes the song sound as though it were recorded in a saloon in the Wild West or something! ... very, very cool.

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by Reviewer: Don Ignacio (blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews)

The first double album in Rock is also the first double album in Rock that would've made a better single album.

When Dylan's good, he's at his very very best - he's improved since the last record, by making most of the songs different enough from each other, and by displaying a warm melodicism on several numbers, something that had all but disappeared under the careening wildcat mercury (eh? Editor) of Highway 61.

Though the definitive recitation of "Just Like a Woman" was performed by Karen Black in Annie Hall (no, I'm kidding this time), it's one of Dylan's lovelier melodies - one of the rare Dylan tunes that you can hum, almost. The pop-country fiddle stomp of "I Want You" presages the sound of Desire that he'd adopt a decade later - it's too bad he didn't employ that style more often, as it's quite pleasant.

"Visions of Johanna" presages the haunted, hushed Country sound of John Wesley Harding, as does the side-long closer "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" (truncated in half here, to fit the double album onto one CD).

The sound Dylan's backup band achieves is fuller and more accomplished than on the previous album, though still crude - which is appropriate for such wildcat mercury (double eh? Editor) numbers as "Absolutely Sweet Marie" and the nicely titled "Stuck in Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again" (or "Stuck in Lexicon With the Roget's Thesauraus Blues Again" as John Lennon subsequently parodied it).

As usual, sometimes Dylan knocks out a good lyric, but mostly he's pulling the wool over the eyes of the boomer generation with his cleverly obscure but basically meaningless verbiage. Which isn't to say that the way he delivers his lines doesn't make them sound poetic and important. However, there are too many generic throwaways like "Leopardskin Pillbox Hat" to justify this album's status as the greatest Rock double of all time. Any record that starts off with the idiotic, proto-Cheech & Chong "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" (everybody must get stoned!) has to be docked a notch in my book.

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by Reviewer: Creative Noise (blogging at Creative Noise)

Alright, Bob Dylan will never be my favourite recording artist, neither will his genre be my favourite style, but I can still appreciate and even enjoy some of his work.

Not enough however to be keen on a double album by the man - over 70 minutes of Dylan is undoubtedly a bit much to get through, but I think I could've handled it better if. he. could. just. sing. For although his earlier albums certainly didn't show a pure and lovely voice, his moaning vocals here are excruciating ...

I suppose they work alright on the rollicking, knee-slapping, let's-have-a-riotous-good-time opener "Rainy Day Woman Nos 12 & 35" (getting stoned and all that), but the dreary "Visions of Johanna", which just goes on and on, is wearying to listen to.

And such tracks as "One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)", and particularly "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again", the latter being potentially catchy, are virtually ruined by Dylan and his nasally talk-singing (more talk than singing).

There is some good music here though, such as the nice ballad "Just Like A Woman", with its engaging organ at the end of the chorus, and the somewhat inventive "Most Likely You Go Your Way and I Go Mine". But although "I Want You" is charming - again, the way Dylan sings it - has anyone covered that song? The Byrds? Elvis Presley? Slayer?!? I'd give another version a chance anytime.

I've never been keen on lengthy albums, but I still love some of them if they're good enough - The Beatles, Physical Grafitti and Songs in the Key of Life are three classics that spring to mind. And although Blonde on Blonde's genre certainly works against this recording's length for me, it's not that in itself that kills it - it's Dylan's vocals.

Blonde on Blonde is heralded as a classic, one of the greats in recording history. Each to his own I know, but how it can be mentioned in the same breath as 1966 greats like Revolver and Pet Sounds is beyond me.

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by Reviewer: The Doctor

Blonde on Blonde was rock's first double album, beating Frank Zappa (his Freak Out album was originally only a single LP in England). And, like famous double albums to come, there is some debate whether this would've made a better single album.

Trouble is, there's too many good songs for just two sides of vinyl, but maybe not enough for four sides. That "Rainy Day Women #12 and #35" was a hit single is something in itself, though when Dylan sings Everybody must get stoned it had all sorts of meanings quite apart from the obvious drug connotations.

The following "Pledging My Time" is a fine blues-influenced song, very accomplished and featuring some great harmonica and guitar work. And "Visions of Johanna" is for my money the finest set of vocals Dylan ever laid down - next time someone complains about his singing voice, just play them that! Ask them to sing along if necessary - see how well THEY get on! It's a fantastic song, so dreamy and strangely romantic, given Dylan's symbolism and imagery-rich lyrics.

"One of Us Must Know" was considered something of a failure upon its release as a single, but only because it followed "Like A Rolling Stone" and the mighty "Positively Fourth Street". It's still a fine song, bordering on a classic. The chorus is very strong and memorable, even if the song as whole isn't quite as good as the other aforementioned classics.

Strong start to the album though, very strong. "I Want You" and the simply brilliant "Stuck Inside of Mobile" follow. The former has such a happy little melody that when married to Dylan's amazing-sounding lyrics is practically guaranteed to make you smile. And "Stuck Inside of Mobile" is kaleidoscopic - a twirling, twisting, rich-sounding 7+minute track that fails to be boring for even a single second.

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by Reviewer: Adrian Denning (blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews)