Bob Dylan releases 35th Studio Album “Tempest” To Rave Reviews

| October 1, 2012 | 0 Comments

Bob Dylan was once quoted as saying, “A songwriter doesn’t care about what’s truthful. What he cares about is what should’ve happened, what could’ve happened. That’s its own kind of truth. It’s like people who read Shakespeare plays, but they never see a Shakespeare play. I think they just use his name.”

Rolling Stone’s Mikal Gilmore points out that the last play Shakespeare wrote was called “The Tempest” and ponders if Dylan’s “Tempest” might be his last album. Dylan is dismissive of that idea. One can only hope that Dylan will keep on producing records like this one. This is one of his darkest, strangest records ever. The title track is a 14 minute tale of the sinking of the Titanic, but like many Dylan tunes, not all founded in fact. It’s his unique interpretation and his development of the characters that gives the tune its anything goes feeling.

At 71, Dylan’s voice is ragged, but he still can wring more out of a single line that most singers can from an entire song.

The opening track, “Dusquene Whistle” is a classic Dylan train tune that once again hints at the possibility that this may be his swan song album: “Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing. Blowing like she ain’t gonna blow no more.” Dylan wrote all of the songs himself with the exception of the track “Duquesne Whistle,” which he co-wrote with Greatful Dead scribe Robert Hunter. There isn’t a bad cut on this disc. It’s getting five star reviews right and left, and dubbed the single darkest record in Dylan’s catalog, “Tempest” has Dylan at the top of his game, the kind of album his fansmost crave. At 71, Dylan’s voice is ragged, but he still can wring more out of a single line that most singers can from an entire song.

Especially touching is the ode to John Lennon, “Roll on, John.” Other standouts are “Pay in Blood” “Tin Angel” and “Long and Wasted Years.” There is some standout guitar work from Dylan’s long-time favorite lead guitarist Charlie Sexton; indeed, those most familiar with Dylan’s canon will easily recognize Sexton’s presence throughout the LP.

If you’re up to brave the challenging acoustic vagaries of the Valley View Casino Center (previously the Sports Arena), Dylan appears in concert there on October 24 with Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits. You can also see him two nights earlier and two nights later in outdoor venues in LA and Santa Barbara). As of this writing, the latest set list on Dylan’s web page, from September 9 contains none of the tunes from “Tempest,’ but by late October, you can be sure he’ll work some of them into his normal 14 song, three encore sets. For ticket information (and be warned, they’re expensive), see www.bobdylan.com and click on Tours.You might also try Craig’s List and eBay for tickets to this show, which is likely going to be a sellout. But even if you skip the show, don’t skip the CD. I’m predicting that this one garners him another well-deserved Grammy.

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