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May 24, 2012

Bob Dylan: New Morning 25,915

by @thoughtontracks

Bob Dylan turns 71 today. A rough calculation that fails to account for leap years and other variables makes this morning Bob Dylan’s 25,915th. This blog began with an attempt to rank Dylan’s 70 greatest songs of all time.  For my money, “Visions of Johanna” and “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” offer some of the most brilliant, subversive lyrics that any songwriter has ever put to paper. These days, though, I rarely find myself reaching for that portion of Dylan’s catalog. More often than not, I’m spinning his 1970 album New Morning.

The dozen tracks that comprise New Morning, find Dylan relaxed and understated. At the time, critics like Rolling Stone’s Ralph Gleason heralded the release as a return to earlier Dylan.  In retrospect, this appears more a reaction to their disdain for Self Portrait (released just 4 months prior) than an accurate assessment of the work. Sure, the album marked the return of Dylan’s nasal voice, but the songs’ structures are closer to pop than folk or even rock. While New Morning may not merit consideration among Dylan’s best albums, it nevertheless showcases the range of an artist once pigeonholed as a folk singer. The release touches on gospel: “Father of Night”, jazz: “If Dogs Run Free”, and more.  Listen to the title track below, and give thanks for another “New Morning” with Bob.

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Written by Rob Peoni

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