So, what exactly happened to Dylan in the time after Planet Waves
to cause him to produce this? Well, he took art lessons - he became creatively inspired - and given the state of his marriage at this stage, for the first time in a fair few years he actually had something to write about.
The idea Dylan had was this ... if you look at a painting, you don't see all of it at once - some parts are off in the distance, some nearby, and there's no fixed sense of time. The opening track "'Tangled Up In Blue" demonstrates that well lyrically - both past, present, and future are equally applicable to the sense of whereabouts the listener is in the story.
That song was re-recorded for this record. Originally, it was intended the whole album would be bare and stripped-back, with just Dylan on acoustic guitar with a bass guitar for company. The re-recording of tracks resulted in controversy from some fans, who felt that some of the original versions were superior to the final takes.
But listen to "Tangled Up In Blue", else "Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts", or even "Idiot Wind". In this its stripped-back version for example, the latter track had a set of personal lyrics very close to home as far as Dylan was concerned - he'd laid bare his heart and soul through song. But, nine or ten songs of that, it was decided, would prove heavy going for most people. So the album was made to be more varied by including tracks with full band performances.
"Simple Twist of Fate" is achingly beautiful, full of sadness and resignation, it makes me feel for the world, for all of those in suffering. And "You're A Big Girl Now" is made for me not only by the beautiful guitar and bass introduction, but also Dylan's superb vocal performance, his finest since Blonde on Blonde
by Reviewer: Adrian Denning
(blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews