Under the Red Sky (1990)


 
1. Wiggle Wiggle 2. Under the Red Sky 3. Unbelievable 4. Born in Time 5. T.V. Talkin' Time 6. Ten Thousand Men 7. 2 X 2 8. God Knows 9. Handy Dandy 10.Cat's in the Well

 

During the late 80's - early 90's, Bob Dylan participated in the well received super group The Traveling Wilburys. That spontaneous concoction released (sadly) only two albums and this record was sandwiched right between the two. I'm mentioning this fact here because this record definitely has a bit of the Wilbury flair. No, it's not that similar, and it would even be unfair to say the music here is on par with those two releases - it's just that you could probably hear how all of the songs here just might have perhaps ended up on a Wilbury album.

The feel here is very light-hearted and quick. The songs very short and spontaneous. It almost sounds like he wrote and recorded the entire thing over the weekend. It's easy to criticize that, if it was a rush job, the album could have been better had be put more care into it, but had he done so, it might have lost a lot of the spontaneity that adds to the overall charm. He had just released his most "produced" album possibly ever with Oh Mercy, so maybe he was wanting a right brain break?

Most of the songs here are fun. They may not be great, nor some even good, but the album is fun. "A good album to boogie to" may be a good description. There are times when some of the material comes across as too silly and too much of a throw away, but a lot of the album is sweet and joyous in its own way. Tracks such as Unbelievable, Handy Dandy and Wiggle Wiggle are harmless enough, and everyone except for maybe the crabbiest of folks will enjoy.

He shows his spiritual side with probably the best lyrical piece God Knows which seems to suggest that whereas his "Born again" phase may be over, he's still a believer. Speaking of lyrics, this album isn't really one of the album's strong points. Most of the time I have no idea what he's singing about, and I doubt if anyone else including himself does either.

It's short, it's quick, it's painless, and it hits more than misses. A throw away, basically, but one with charm.

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