Bob Dylan – Another Side of Bob Dylan
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2011
I was baffled that I didn’t own this and quickly scooped it up when it came into the store. I was certain I’d purchased this with all the other Bob Dylan albums during my Bob Dylan phase somewhere mid-college. You know that phase? The one where it clicks—either for or against, I suppose—and you spend the next six months trying to absorb his whole discography by osmosis or shunning him completely (if you’re one of the latter discoverers, and probably for the rest of your life until you’re like 40 in that case). So revisiting this record is a treat, full of songs I love and forgot were on this album. “All I Really Want to Do” and “My Back Pages” were the ones that stuck to me years ago and they’re still the ones that are clinging to me now. I can pinpoint the Dylan phase to Autumn 2007 through “I Don’t Believe You,” if only because I can recall a pretty terrible song I wrote at the time that started “I don’t you believe you/ You act like we’ve never met/ At least that’s what Dylan said.” And “My Back Pages” is still one of my absolute favorites, mostly because of that line about “confusion boats.” I wanted that for my AIM screen name SO BAD when I wanted to change my AIM screen name but it was taken. Listening to this now new songs are emerging. The meanness of “Ballad in Plain D,” which is just fucking brutal and harsh and amazing even if it’s a bit who-cares by the end of it’s exhausting 8 and a half minutes. “Chimes of Freedom” is a bit more successful on the long-song front and it’s one I didn’t have the patience for back then and am ready to revisit at the now. “I Shall Be Free No. 10” is one I don’t know how I overlooked because I love Bobby D’s talking blues tunes and this one is funny and topical and such a refreshing look at the mid-60s that it oughta be used by some hip high school teachers somewhere (even though it’s almost mockingly (and hilariously) self-referencing and inside-jokey, but that’s kind of the beauty of the song). And the loveliness of “To Ramona” how have I never listened to this one with any mind!
Bob seems to have successfully made it so that youtube has none of the studio versions of his songs and only awful covers come up when you search for them. Well, awful except for The Byrds version which is actually pretty nice.