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Blood on the Tracks

Blood on the Tracks

4.7 16
by Bob Dylan

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Every few years, Bob Dylan returns to form with an album that is widely touted as his best since Blood on the Tracks. Pretty ironic, since this 1975 masterpiece came at just such a moment, when Dylan's career seemed in decline. Only his hardiest fans had been able to stomach 1974's Planet Waves, and the live recording


Every few years, Bob Dylan returns to form with an album that is widely touted as his best since Blood on the Tracks. Pretty ironic, since this 1975 masterpiece came at just such a moment, when Dylan's career seemed in decline. Only his hardiest fans had been able to stomach 1974's Planet Waves, and the live recording Before the Flood was interesting mostly for its radical reworking of older material. But from the first notes of "Tangled Up in Blue," the opening cut of Blood on the Tracks, Dylan offers pure piercing poetry. Many of the songs are about emotional debris following a crumbled marriage, though Dylan looks at the political landscape in "Idiot Wind" -- gamely criticizing even himself -- and his cinematic, playful tale "Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts" deserves to be made into a western. Dylan went on to make Desire, a recording almost as good, before beginning another of his periodic slumps.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Following on the heels of an album where he repudiated his past with his greatest backing band, Blood on the Tracks finds Bob Dylan, in a way, retreating to the past, recording a largely quiet, acoustic-based album. But this is hardly nostalgia -- this is the sound of an artist returning to his strengths, what feels most familiar, as he accepts a traumatic situation, namely the breakdown of his marriage. This is an album alternately bitter, sorrowful, regretful, and peaceful, easily the closest he ever came to wearing his emotions on his sleeve. That's not to say that it's an explicitly confessional record, since many songs are riddles or allegories, yet the warmth of the music makes it feel that way. The original version of the album was even quieter -- first takes of "Idiot Wind" and "Tangled Up in Blue," available on The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3, are hushed and quiet (excised verses are quoted in the liner notes, but not heard on the record) -- but Blood on the Tracks remains an intimate, revealing affair since these harsher takes let his anger surface the way his sadness does elsewhere. As such, it's an affecting, unbearably poignant record, not because it's a glimpse into his soul, but because the songs are remarkably clear-eyed and sentimental, lovely and melancholy at once. And, in a way, it's best that he was backed with studio musicians here, since the professional, understated backing lets the songs and emotion stand at the forefront. Dylan made albums more influential than this, but he never made one better.

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Related Subjects


  1. Tangled Up in Blue
  2. Simple Twist of Fate
  3. You're a Big Girl Now
  4. Idiot Wind
  5. You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go
  6. Meet Me in the Morning
  7. Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts
  8. If You See Her, Say Hello
  9. Shelter from the Storm
  10. Buckets of Rain

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Blood on the Tracks 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Timhrk More than 1 year ago
Buy this CD for the liner notes. Buy this CD because the sequence of songs is as important as the songs themselves. You will listen to this masterpiece your entire life, when you are falling in love, when you are breaking up, when you are in love and don't know what the future holds. Dylan's best record, although that point can be argued. Please visit: timothyherrick.blogspot.com/
Guest More than 1 year ago
Because I'm not that much of a Bob Dylan fan. My initial impressions of this album is that it is *OK* but nothing worth really shaking a stick at. My favorite tracks were "Tangled Up in Blue" which was pretty popular, and "Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts" which is really upbeat. I'm just not in a place right now where I can fully appreciate slow, quiet music, no matter how brilliant the lyrics are. Perhaps in a few years this will begin to shine for me.
JohnQ More than 1 year ago
After making a few good albums (and one stinker) in his post accident career, it seemed that Dylan's quality had descended to the level of us mere mortals. Then came Blood On The Tracks, a masterpiece equal to his great albums of the '60's. There is no fat here, it's all lean muscle and performed with an intensity rarely seen in a studio album. This is not Dylan the folk singer or Dylan the Country artist, this is Dylan the Rock and Roll star! A GREAT album!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Another Album that Bob Dylan did, the best is still going to be the best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The songs on this album will make you laugh, cry, and be utterly amazed by the writing talent of Bob Dylan (just listen to "Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts"). My favorite song on the album is probably "Idiot Wind," but all of them are classics. "If You See Her Say Hello" is absolutely heartbreaking. Just about everyone can relate to this piece of work in some way.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While trying to repair its ten years marriage crumbled into bits and to digest the glory of a breathtaking marathon-tour with "The Band", Mr.Bob Dylan creates one of his key masterpieces (Perhaps his best, for, all his albums since, would be compared with "Blood On The Tracks"). The folk, the country, the blues and the rock'n'roll; that means, all that Mr.Dylan always adored as kind of music; constitutes the heart of this "wound inside the brain's pathways". As for the texts, they are his most successful song-poems since "Blonde On Blonde” and they suit perfectly well the melodies’ flexible and light rhythm and the maestro’s unique voice, which strolls between the calm and the storm. In your opinion, who can possibly resist the vertiginious power of attraction of "Tangled Up In Blue", "You Are A Big Girl Now", "Idiot Wind", "Shelter From The Storm" or "If You See Her, Say Hello"? "Nobody", according to me. Our existence betrays us each day and morever it does not cease trying to destroy our hopes for the following day. With its songs, all blue and bleeding, this album shows us once again that despair could be a blazing source for the creativity of the artists and their fans.
Jim_Morrison_Fan More than 1 year ago
'Blood on the Tracks' is arguably Bob Dylan's greatest album. It starts with the popular 'Tangled up In Blue' before drifting into the lesser-known folk side of Dylan. It's a shame many of these songs never became mainstream because they show a side of Dylan that isn't found anywhere else. I recently purchased 'Blonde on Blonde' and, even though it contains many of Dylan's hits, I still like 'Blood on the Tracks' better. A must-have for any Bob Dylan fan.
glauver More than 1 year ago
Blonde on Blonde is probably Dylan's best album. This 1974 CD is probably his second best ahead of Highway 61. It is probably his best collection of melodies and contains two of his less played classics. Idiot Wind is a more mature Like a Rolling Stone. Rosemary, Lily, and the Jack of Hearts is probably Dylan's greatest story song, a long Western parable about love, murder, and fate. Tangled Up in Blue was the single and has one of the more recognizable openings in popular music. It is interesting to hear alternate versions of some of the tracks on the Biograph and the Bootleg Series Vol. 1-3 Box sets.
Iam2cool More than 1 year ago
Blood on the Tracks was #1 for a reason... Every cut is profound poetry
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This album brings back memories of senior yr. of college (Class of '76), one of the bars always seemed to be playing it. I dig "Shelter from the Storm" and "Tangled Up in Blue". (Sorry for getting "weepy" on ya'). Aside from that, most people seem to either love Dylan or hate him, but I think he's either the eighth or ninth natural wonder of the world.
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