Odetta – Odetta Sings Dylan – 1965 – RCA Victor

Odetta - Odetta Sings Dylan - 1955 - RCA Victor

One of my favourite records. No one sings Dylan like Odetta sings Dylan. That said, no one sings Dylan like Dylan sings Dylan neither. They are both great artists and great voices. Odetta trained as an opera singer but was sidetracked by folk music. She had a voice that was deep like a man’s though it remained very feminine. She was incredible. Like some of my other favourite records this features Bruce Langhorne’s guitar playing. I love his sound. Bruce lost several of his fingers due to an accident with a cherry bomb when he was a child but he could really play beautifully. When I was searching through records I’d often have a look at the liner notes and the personel who played on the record. Sometimes I’d buy a record just because of one of the players on it. One of the sadder things about how music is consumed these days is that people have lost contact with that side of it, the human side. If you just get an mp3 of a song without all that information it doesn’t exactly spur you on to think about who played the second guitar line or who was the engineer or who played the bass. By removing the human side of the record, by removing the understanding that it took time and effort to produce it removes the sense of value that is attached. It is a pity that music is being devalued in this way. But back to this record, the opening track, Baby I’m in the Mood for You locks in with a driving folky beat that really sets the mood for the entire album. It is a record that is so alive. I love it.

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Bob Dylan – World Gone Wrong – 1993 – Columbia Records

Bob Dylan - World Gone Wrong - 1993 - Columbia Records

World Gone Wrong is my favourite Dylan album. It doesn’t matter that none of the songs are written by him. Everything about it is perfect in a rough hewn, homespun, lonesome, bleak and burned out way. Starting with the cover art which for me was reminiscent of the art onĀ  his 1965 album Bringing it all Back Home but this time he was solitary, alone. It seemed to be the same character in the photo but with his world imploded into a brightly coloured gloom. When I first heard it I was amazed. It was a follow up to his Good As I Been To You album. That was a good record of old folk songs and blues but the sound on this one was rawer, more alive. It was a perfect selection of songs. After years of putting out records that were of variable quality it felt like Dylan had returned to form and was going to stay that way for a while.