Quick Review (LP): The Rolling Stones by The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
Decca; 1964

My Rating: B (74/100)

Best Tracks: "Route 66", "Honest I Do", "Now I’ve Got A Witness", "Tell Me", "Walking the Dog"

Teeny-bop blues?

NOTES

  • Pretty impressive blues/R&B for a bunch of white British kids.
  • Keith’s guitar just sounds so magical here.
  • That’s some mighty fine bass playing on "Now I’ve Got A Witness."
  • The first time through it sounds a bit dated, but after several listens, I’d say a better term is "vintage."
  • Even when the songs are cookie cutter, the band’s performances are so spirited that they bring the tunes up a level.
  • Still, the greatest thing about the Stones was their songs. Not much of those here. This is an above average early rock and roll record, but a bit typical, at least to my ears.
  • "Walking the Dog" is a cool tune. That’s some pretty impressive whistlin’ there too.
  • Just a hunch, but I’m guessing this was a bit of an inspiration for Highway 61 Revisited?
  • I’ve never been one for "cover" records. However, this is a good cover record. I can see why the Stones blew up so big. I keep thinking that this is what the early punk bands were trying to get back to in the late 70’s. Catchy, concise, no frills rock and roll. A definite keeper, this.

AMG review

ATTRIBUTES
Cohesion (4.5/5)
Concept (4/5)
Consequence (5/5)
Consistency (5/5)
Songs (4/5)

Quick Review (LP): Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan
Blonde On Blonde
Columbia; 1966

My Rating: A (90/100)

Best Tracks: "Visions of Johanna", "One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)", "I Want You", "Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again", "Just Like A Woman", "Absolutely Sweet Marie"

Return of the Jedi to Highway 61‘s Empire Strikes Back to Bringing It All Back Home‘s A New Hope

NOTES:
– Alternate album title: Bobby’s Bad Hair Day.
– "Rainy Day Women" may be a bit of a novelty, but in terms of arrangement, it’s a pretty awesome novelty.
– Sounds very similiar to Highway 61 Revisited, but the key difference is thematic. Highway 61 was a road record, this one is a broken hearts record.
– I question whether it was necessary to include "Pledging My Time" and "Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat". Then again, the record might be a little too sweet if he hadn’t, and they are both pretty solid tracks.
– Love the piano on "Sooner or Later." Huge song!
– Read somewhere that "Visions of Johanna" is about the devil. I can see that.
– "Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again" is one of the greatest tracks ever. Period. The drums, the circus organ, the noodly guitar in the left speaker, Dylan’s lyrics, and especially that chorus. Oh Bobby!
– I’ve read somewhere that unreleased versions of most of these songs exist that include guitar from Robbie Robertson. Hopefully a deluxe edition will bring those to light one of these days.
– Anyone know what the meaning of the album title is? I’ve never been able to figure it out, except in a sort of really wooden, non-subtle way.
– He sure has a thing for beginning his songs with adverbs: "Obviously 5 Believers", "Absolutely Sweet Marie", "Temporary Like Achilles"
– Good grief, "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" is laaaaaaawwwwwng. "Desolation Row" was one (great) thing, but given that "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" sounds quite a bit like a few other tracks here, it’s nowhere near as affecting. Although I do like it well enough I suppose.
– You know what? This would be a great album to perform live. Dylan is probably past his prime on it, but a good tribute record with a follow-up might be in order.
– Just listened to a Sound Opinions podcast where they interview Al Kooper, who played organ on this record and was sort of Bob’s band leader. It was pretty revelatory. Al’s favorite song? "I Want You." Why? Because of the sixteenth notes that the guitar player runs at the bottom of every line of the chorus. You gotta listen close, but he’s got a point. It’s the little things like that that are the icing on the cake of this brilliant album.

Be sure to check out my other Dylan reviews

ATTRIBUTES
Consequence (5/5)
Consistency (5/5)
Concept (5/5)
Cohesion (5/5)
Songs (4.5/5)

Quick Review (LP): Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan
Highway 61 Revisited
Columbia; 1965

My Rating: A+ (100/100)

Best Tracks: "Like A Rolling Stone", "Tombstone Blues", "Ballad Of A Thin Man", "Queen Jane Approximately", "Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues", "Desolation Row"

“I wanna to be your lover baby, I don’t wanna be your boss…”

NOTES
– The ultimate road record. Dylan was a master at thematically unifying a record. Is it the first road record?
– Is "Like A Rolling Stone" the greatest rock and roll track of all time? All things considered, definitely maybe. It represents both a convergence and pinnacle of Dylan’s styles up to that point, it sounds like everything the 60’s supposedly was, and, to be clear, it is epic in all the right ways.
– "Tombstone Blues" is lyrically great, and the lead guitar is fantastic. Wow.
– It’s all about the drunken ragtime piano, esp. on "Tom Thumb" and "It Takes A Lot to Laugh"
– My favorite lyric: "When you’re stuck in Juarez/And it’s Christmastime too."
– The record sounds so lush and brilliant, colorful and tuneful throughout. The opening piano riff on "Tom Thumb", Al Kooper’s organ on "Rolling Stone", the brooding throb of "Thin Man" – Highway 61 is packed with memorable moment after memorable moment.
– Undoubtedly one of the greatest rock records ever. Entirely deserving of your intention.

ATTRIBUTES
Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (5/5)
Consistency (5/5)
Consequence (5/5)
Songs (5/5)