Artist: Bob Dylan
Songs: You Wanna Ramble [Junior Parker]/They Killed Him [Kris Kristofferson]/Driftin' Too Far From Shore [Bob Dylan]/Precious Memories [Traditional; Arranged by Bob Dylan]/Maybe Someday [Bob Dylan]/Brownsville Girl [Bob Dylan & Sam Shepard]/I've Got My Mind Made Up [Bob Dylan & Tom Petty]/Under Your Spell [Bob Dylan & Carole Bayer Sager]
(There is actually, like many of Dylan's 80's LPs, no production credit, but we can assume that he produced it himself.)
Thoughts: If you concentrate on only Dylan's studio LPs, this is probably one of the strangest of those releases. The album gets off to a horrible start, presumably driving you to rip the record off the turntable, pull the tape out or stop the CD. It really kicks into gear with the Empire Burlesque outtake (like most of these tracks, actually) "Driftin' Too Far From Shore," a funny Dylan original that is actually one of only two solo compositions on here. The other, "Maybe Someday", isn't actually that bad. Of course, the overrated, rambling "Brownsville Girl" is here, overshadowing everything else on the LP. Unlike many of Dylan's other eleven minute-plus tracks, there really is hardly a structure or form that these verses take. They fail to prove anything and the story makes little to no sense. The co-write with Tom Petty, "I've Got My Mind Made Up" is just a throwaway, something neither party would probably like to remember writing. It just feels like something banged out of a jam. The closing "Under Your Spell" is actually one of my favorite tracks from this period. The track's length on the cover is truncated (its' listed as being 4:55, but is really only 3:55), still it serves as a great conclusion, with nice lyrics and a great performance. Maybe your best bet is to skip the two opening covers, the silly "You Wanna Ramble" and the bizarre "They Killed Him," because the rest of it isn't half bad. Still, the album comes together as a weak release, considering, at only eight tracks and 35 minutes long, it's pretty short for a release in 1986.