Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Review #8: New Morning

Since my review on Modern Times I've gotten quite a few older Bob Dylan albums. One of them I picked up was New Morning (1970). So, read on...!

New Morning is an odd album, filled with some good and bad material, that all comes together and seemingly works.
It starts off with If Not For You, one of those classic Dylan sons that everyone in the world likes to cover, although it obviously doensn't have the power of those early Dylan tracks (e.g.: 'Blowin' In The Wind' and 'The Times They Are A-Changin''). The other amazing songs on here include Day of the Locusts, the title track and One More Weekend. The rest are rather mediocre songs. Winterlude is an odd attempt at a waltz and The Man In Me proves that Dylan should never go "La lalalalala" in public. If Dogs Run Free is the strangest track. It is literally Dylan telling us (no, not singing) what happens "if dogs run free" with awkward scat backing vocals by Maeretha Stewart. The album ends in classic fashion. Father of Night, the closer, is an understated solo-piano piece that is short, but works well.
Taken in context, this album is very even. All the tracks, even 'If Not For You', sound like they couldn't fit on any other Dylan album. The bad songs fit in with the good songs. There really is a nice flow on the album, which I think is what makes the whole album work.
The cover is great. It is just a portrait of Dylan, who is smirking at the buyer, like he's saying something directly to you. The back is an old picture of him with a guitar.
Since Columbia has yet to give this album the 'remastered treatment', the only copy available is the same one that's been around since 1989. It has the classic block red letters on the sides and the huge white bar on the back that shows how lazy they were. There is no booklet, it's more like a sleeve. The inside lists just the track titles, players and producer credits.
I really suggest getting this record. The album is not uneven, as mentioned before, and includes some classics, but also some lackluster material as well. It is not expensive at all and not too hard to find. You won't find it over $9 and I'm sure you'll think it's worth it.

Album: ***1/2
Packaging: **
OVERALL: ***1/2

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