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Bob Dylan – “Desire” (1975)

Never in a million years would I expect that I like Bob Dylan. I’ve always dismissed him as “ugh. Him.”

Then I grabbed “Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Volume 2” because I saw it second hand for a really good price. There are a couple of tracks on there that I was familiar with and enjoyed, and it was an easy decision. Then, to my surprise, I ended up enjoying every single song on it. So I got another collection of later stuff that wasn’t too expensive at a local shop. Same thing happened.

Surely this was a coincidence. I couldn’t possibly like Bob Dylan, could I?

Then, when I was doing the rounds of used record shops in Taipei a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a Japanese compilation called “Bob Dylan Gold Disc” for about $3. It had quite a few songs I didn’t know on it, so I figured why not.

Well shit. It was bloody fantastic, too .

So, while ordering stuff on eBay from a seller who had a great international shipping deal, I decided to check if he had any Bob Dylan,albums for sale, and he happened to have two. I bought them both. One was “Greatest Hits“, which complemented the “Volume Two” that I already had. The other was “Desire” from 1976.

Well, fuck me if this album isn’t a four and a half /five star album! It’s absolutely awesome. I really, really enjoyed it more that I ever though I would. … and I didn’t know a single song from it going in.

Opening track Hurricane is a brilliant epic storytelling song and it perfectly sets up the tone of the album. Each of the nine tracks here are mini-stories. Some, like Hurricane and Joey, are based on real people. Others, like my personal favourite, Isis, tell epic stories of high adventure. The only song I wasn’t crazy about was Oh, Sister, and to be fair, it’s the slowest track on the album and I’m not a fan of slow songs in general.

Desire” is also often considered one of his most collaborative efforts: as with “Blood on the Tracks” from 1975, Dylan is again accompanied by his touring band from his then recently completed Rolling Thunder Revue; seven of the nine songs were co-written with Jacques Levy; backing vocals were contributed by Emmylou Harris; and even Eric Clapton participated in recording sessions (though none of his material ended up being used on the final album).

If you don’t know much about Bob Dylan or his music, I highly recommend checking out “Desire”. It really left me with a desire to discover more.

What do you think? Had you heard Bob Dylan’s “Desire” album before? Are you a fan? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below!

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