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"The album won't sell"

Knowing when to stick to your guns: 

Lessons from Dylan's Blood on the Tracks

From his peers –

"He's a good songwriter.. but he's no musician" - Stephen Stills on hearing previews of the songs

To his former band members –

"They all began to sound the same to me; they were all in the same key; they were all long" - Mike Bloomfield, on being asked to play lead guitar

From critics –

"The record has been made with typical shoddiness." - Album reviewer Jon Landau

To legendary producers –

"Sometimes he will have several bars, and in the next version, he will change his mind about how many bars there should be in between a verse. Or eliminate a verse. Or add a chorus when you don't expect." - Phil Ramone on the early sessions

And yes even his own family –

"The album won't sell" - David Zimmerman, brother

Blood On The Tracks, released Jan. 20, 1975

– Blood on The Tracks, released Jan. 20, 1975 –

WHAT THEY ALL SAY NOW:

AllMusic ✩✩✩✩✩

Chicago Tribune ✩✩✩✩​

Encyclopedia of Popular Music ✩✩✩✩✩

Music Story ✩✩✩✩✩

MusicHound Rock 5/5

Pitchfork 10/10

The Rolling Stone Album Guide ✩✩✩✩✩

Sputnikmusic 5/5

The Village Voice 'A'

"Blood on the Tracks is his only flawless album.." - Salon.com

"It might well count as one of the best things Dylan ever did" - Ian Bell, Once Upon a Time, The Lives of Bob Dylan

"The truest, most honest account of a love affair from tip to stern ever put down on magnetic tape" - Novelist David Moody

Even frequent Dylan critic had to admit –

"It transformed the cultural perception of Dylan, and that he was no longer defined as "the major artist of the sixties. Instead, Dylan has legitimized his claim to a creative prowess as vital now as then—a power not bounded by the one decade he so affected." - Dylan critic Michael Grey

And lastly –

"Although the lyrics occasionally evoke romantic naiveté and bitterness, Blood on the Tracks is altogether Dylan's "most mature and assured record" - Robert Christgau, The Village Voice

The Songs

Have been covered by everyone from Jerry Garcia and Jack White to Miley Cyrus and Dickey Betts, from Ani DiFranco and Bette Midler to John Mayer and Chris Martin, and many many more.

About Tangled Up in Blue, The Telegraph writes:

"The most dazzling lyric ever written, an abstract narrative of relationships told in an amorphous blend of first and third person, rolling past, present and future together, spilling out in tripping cadences and audacious internal rhymes, ripe with sharply turned images and observations and filled with a painfully desperate longing."​

But it's my favorite Dylan album!

Oh sure - after all those accolades.

No, no - I ain't just saying that. You can ask Steve, he has my records.

The most worn out? Blood on The Tracks

The songs most listened to? Buckets of Rain, Shelter From The Storm, Tangled Up in Blue, Meet Me in The Morning, etc.. etc..

The one most cherished? This one

The one I'd grab if there was a fire? Well other than the Smokey and The Bandit Soundtrack.. You guessed it, Blood.

So what did they miss?

Well as far as I can tell, they forgot that Bob needs to be Bob. Stubborn. Difficult. Determined. Steadfast. Belligerent. An A**hole. Unconventional.

Manny being Manny.

But this was his 15th album! His FIFTEENTH!

After all that - they still had to be REMINDED to let Bob do Bob???

 

 

Apparently yes.

Nature

But here's the thing, Bob wasn't being an a**hole just to be one, ok maybe he was but.. mostly Bob was being all those things because people were standing in the way of Bob being true to his own nature.

That's a dangerous place to stand.

Get angry

Who says I should get angry?

Well, Tony Robbins for one. But also a myriad of gurus (ya I know Tony is in denial about the word), life coaches, mentors, and friends. I'm supposed to get angry that I've let my current situation linger, or my life stay in transition. Or that I'm not where I want to be.

Cause maybe If I get angry then I'll get out of it.

Oh really?

What I've seen is that in fact my behavior has made others angry - that's for damn sure. Should I relive each time for you?

No.

It was no fun when it happened and it's no fun to revisit.

After all many who've gotten angry at my situation were (are) good friends.

But good friends or no, the lifestyle I've fallen into, the lifestyle I've let last longer than it should have, has most definitely produced a reaction from certain people.

Should I care?

Well if any of these angry people were really going to help me then maybe yes, I should care. But - and yes I'm ranting a bit - if the anger is them simply being uneasy with the way I do this thing called life because it's not the way they do this thing called life then...

 

 

I don't know.

You may have guessed that someone blew up on me today and you'd be right.

It doesn't usually faze me but I think I realized in the middle of it that what they wanted was for me to not be me. They wanted me to be their version of me - which don't get me wrong maybe their version of me is a more successful, more money-making, more business-minded, more serious version of me and maybe that would be good.

For them.

Is that what the world needs?

A version of me that's everyone else's idea of me?

Of any of us?

When people tell me what I need to do

Without offering a path or solution it just brings me down man. It makes me feel like Randall "Pink" Floyd in Dazed and Confused, even though I'm no pothead I know how he felt. It wasn't that he didn't know that playing sports comes with rules, it wasn't even that he disagreed with the rules (ok maybe the pot part) but what really repulsed him was someone else thinking that he should be their version of Randall Floyd, and not Randall's version.

"You gotta do what Randall "Pink" Floyd wants to do, man.

Let me tell you this, the older you do get the more rules they're gonna try to get you to follow. You just gotta keep livin' man, L-I-V-I-N.​"

What's that - you're not buying life advice from Wooderson?

Ok how about from E.E. Cummings:

"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."

Encourage me, exhort me, counsel me, advise me, all good.

Just don't tell me to be anyone but me.

Maybe I am ready to get angry.

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