It is just about universally accepted that Bob Dylan's output in the 1980s was the worst of his long, storied career. He was years away from his spokesman of a generation icon status in the '60s and had moved away from his genre busting, career redefining, Rolling Thunder touring in the '70s. The '80s found Dylan lost. Seemingly unsure of who he was and what his place in the culture could be anymore. The bulk of his album output during that decade was pretty universally panned and is to this date looked upon with scorn.
Bob Dylan in the 80's: Volume One looks to change that image. It's got a lineup of mostly new, generally indie rocking stalwarts covering 17 songs from Dylan's '80s catalog. The songs range from the truly great "Every Grain of Sand," and "Dark Eyes" to the relatively decent "Unbelievable" and "Sweetheart Like You" to the not very good at all "Wiggle Wiggle."
I love me some cover songs and Dylan's entire catalog is ripe with really terrific cover versions. I don't guess there has been any other artist who has been covered so many times with so many great results. Though I tend to side with the folks who tend to jump from Slow Train Coming to Oh Mercy when looking for a Dylan album to listen to there is no doubt some good material to be found in the '80s and I'm looking forward to seeing what folks like Bonnie Prince Billy, M Morning Jacket, Built to Spill, Tea Leaf Green and Ween can do with them.
Also out this week that looks interesting:
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition)- Elton John: Elton's seminal album get an extra 2 CDs and a DVD. The original album has been remastered. One bonus disk consists of artists personally picked by Elton covering songs from the album plus some outtakes. The second disk consists of a 1973 concert with the DVD being the 1973 film Elton John and Bernie Taupin Say Goodbye to Norma Jean and Other things.
Musicares Person of the Year: Tribute to Bruce Springsteen: To celebrate this award they thew a concert featuring folks like Alabama Shakes, Patti Smith, Mavis Staples, Mumford & Songs, Elton John and others performing Springsteen classics. For the end, Bruce came out with the E Street Band to perform a few songs and then the whole gang sang "Glory Days." Sounds fun to me.
Miles at the Fillmore - Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol. 3 - Miles Davis: A five disk set of five complete concerts Miles performed at the legendary Fillmore Auditoriums in both San Francisco and New York City. This period is one of the most prolific and extraordinary of the legendary jazz man's career. No doubt minds will be blown
Mikey Junior - Traveling South - Bluesman Mikey Junior releases his latest album Traveling South via VizzTone records. The harp ace has recruited some talented friends to assist on this latest effort. Michael Bram (drums) toured as part of Jason Mraz's band before embarking on a solo career with Suitcase In The Hall. Dave Gross is a skilled solo artist himself but has devoted more time to producing of late, which he does here in addition to playing guitar.
Teeth Dreams - The Hold Steady: I keep meaning to check these guys out as I always hear good things.
Tonight's The Night: Live 1976-1998 - Rod Stewart: He's become something of a schmaltzy caricature of his early self but Rod Stewart knows how to work a stage. I've got a bootleg of his days in The Faces and it totally rocks. I pulled out his Unplugged album the other day and though it's got some cheese, its surprisingly good. This four disk set is a bit of a career retrospective of his live performances. The first two disks cover his work in the '70s with disk three hitting the '80s and disk four rounding out the '90s. So we skip his late career as a lounge singer and stick with the rocking rocker. There is a nice selection of his songs plus a pretty large collection of interesting covers.