‘ G.H. Vol III ‘ – Bob Dylan.
Dad went to the liquor cabinet, poured a glass of scotch, sat down in front of the fire and put on a record. The instant transition that occurred on his face was completely elating; from an ‘I-hate-nagging-women’ tired frown to a ‘smug-bastard’ grin, and in every way this physical transition summed up exactly what music is about.
The air became thick with a musical steam. ‘You got a lotta nerve, to say you are my friend, when I was down, you just stood there grinning. You got a lotta nerve, to say you gotta helping hand to lend, you just want to be on, the side that’s winning’. The brutality, honesty and bluntness so unnervingly flaunted on this record likens it to cheddar cheese; it has quite a rude bite; it is very satisfying in a rude, ‘smart-arsy’ kind of way.
It is my absolute honour to introduce to you Bob Dylan’s third greatest hits album. Now, I would like to just remind you that I’m not really a fan of greatest hits albums, but Dylan has so many of them they are practically regular vinyls; so here goes.
I love Dylan because he created a sound that can not be cheapened or imitated. For a musician who cannot really sing (it’s more like rhythmically talking with a bit of tone), he makes up for it with his cunningly subtle-storytelling and clever-political-pun lyrics. Dylan’s tongue is curly and sharp, and in a time where people were generally not impressed with many different political situations in the world, he said his piece through his music.
His music is edgy and wild but at the same time hilarious, and ridiculous. There is nothing like Bob Dylan; raw, rustic, blunt, passionate, political, folk, peaceful, satisfying, simple, flat, rude, ignorant, lazy, playful, rough, nasal and timeless.
Songs like ‘All I Really Wanna Do’, ‘Positively 4th Street’ and ‘I Shall Be Free’ are classic depictions of Dylan’s signatory ability to tell it how it is. His lyrics and rhyme are married well with his ability to make the listener ‘feel’ through his inexplicable musical ability.
Track 8 on the album is a famous folk song originating from the Louisiana state city of New Orleans; ‘House of the Rising Sun’. Just for the record, Bob Dylan did not write this song (the lyrics), but it is a folk song that Dylan musically rearranged, and then The Animals took this musical arrangement and altered it slightly to suit the perspective of a boy (personally I think this butchers the song, not a fan of The Animals). Dylan’s arrangement of this song is incredible, and is a classic example of how he can take words and work the music around them to enhance the story within. ‘House of the Rising Sun’ is a visual song, you can see the story in your head as you listen, and you can therefore feel the emotion in the song. I think that Dylan must have related to this song in a special way for him to be able to musically map out the emotion so accurately.
My favourite song on this album is track 2; ‘One Too Many Mornings’. I’m not sure why it’s my favourite, but whenever I listen to it I get this easy sense of peace. It’s quite gentle and sung like a folk song. It has a story and is full of personal memories and visions. It’s a song that you would keep under lock and key, or put away and only get out on special occasions when you needed to remember; like a rare bottle or matured red wine. It is in every way flawless and beautiful. I have called on this song many times when I have just needed to be calm and accepting.
Bob Dylan has a vocal element that an old man might possess – it is a humble voice. Dylan never proclaimed his musical ability as any sort of talent, yet made his music for himself using it as an outlet, and if others appreciated his creations then he was only glad he could please. When he sings, it sounds as though he is humming to himself the way a father would hum to a restless child at bedtime. He used his voice as a reality to himself, and the soft melodic response of his harmonica is his comfort. When I think of Dylan, I envisage a poor man huddled up in the cold on the side of the road playing his harmonica with not a care in the world. Dylan’s music is very personal and when Dylan wrote, he did not write for anyone but himself.
My hat goes off to a man who can create, produce and maintain his flavour despite the path contemporary music takes. There will always be Bob Dylan at the heart of anything truly musical. He is a cheddar cheese and matured red wine musician. He has class and is a rarity, and a taste that must be acquired and personally appreciated.
I would give this albums FOUR STARS. When you listen to Bob Dylan, you walk away knowing a complete stranger inside out.