Unplugged (1995)


 
1. Tombstone Blues 2. Shooting Star 3. All Along the Watchtower 4. The Times They Are A-Changin' 5. John Brown 6. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 7. Desolation Row 8. Dignity 9. Knockin' on Heaven's Door 10.Like a Rolling Stone 11.With God on Our Side

 

Bob Dylan really was a strange choice for this sort of release. This particular "Unplugged" phenomonem took off in the early nineties with mostly younger, grungier acts playing their hits in a much more stripped down approach. With Bob Dylan, the first thing you have to honestly ask is, "Hasn't Dylan sort of always been unplugged??". It's almost like an album called "The Harder side of Motley Crue" or something. Then you have to honestly ask yourself if the MTV crowd of the early nineties really cared that much at all about such an older artist. Listening to the audience on this album, they cheer, they applaud, they do what they're supposed to do, but you can't help but wonder if they really belong there. Which makes you wonder, "Is this really a sincere recording, or a record company exploiting the audience to make a buck?"

The songs sound as they should. They don't really come across as particularly exciting, but he does do justice to his catalog. There are mostly old hits (that to be honest, sound a bit tired), one unreleased song (the exceptional John Brown - why has this never been released??) and a few somewhat newer songs that sound very welcome. Maybe this is a testament that Dylan should play more newer material when he performs live? Then again, probably most people in the audience (or those buying the album) probably never heard of a song like Dignity.

So it sounds o.k., but I honestly rarely listen to it. It doesn't help when the last half of the album seems to have an average song length of about six or seven minutes. Hopefully the bean counters were happy.

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