10 overlooked gems of Bob Dylan

Bob_dylan_2With Bob Dylan having a chart-topper over the pond, and him making himself known to the world again through documentaries, radio shows and his books, it’s time to evaluate some of Zimmerman’s work that gets overlooked in favour of tripe like ‘Blowing In The Wind’.

Here, I’ll pick ten great Dylan songs that don’t get the exposure they deserve, and are a must have in any discerning record collection. Leave a comment of your own picks if you disagree, or if I’ve omitted your fave Dylan track.

Read over for the Top 10.

1. ‘Down Along The Cove’ from John Wesley Harding. Bob sees himself in cheery cheeky mood with this great little dancefloor shuffle.

2. ‘Oh Sister’ from Desire. When Dylan made ‘Nashville Skyline’, everyone knew he had a great country album in him. However, ‘Skyline’ saw Dylan singing in a strange voice, which turned off a fair few listeners. For real country/bluegrass gold, check ‘Oh Sister’ featuring the stunning Emmylou Harris on vocals with the miserable one. Beautiful violin accompanies one of the most heart stopping Dylan tunes in his canon.

3. ‘Country Pie’ from Nashville Skyline. Speaking of Nashville Skyline, at best, the LP is patchy if you can’t get over Bob’s voice. Once you get used to it, you find some great little tunes. Stand out track (by a country mile) is ‘Country Pie’ which again sees Bob in a more relaxed and playful mood. And you can play it out if you’re a DJ.

4. ‘Corrina, Corrina’ from The Freewheelin’... Again, Bob kicks his shoes off and relaxes on a speed comedown. A laidback jewel, covered by many, which features lovely brushed drums and simple guitars entwined over heartbreak. A fantastic version of a standard.

5. ‘Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues’ from Highway 61 Revisited. Despite the clunky title, this track is Bob at his finest sneer. When he sings "Ahm goin’ back to New York City I do believe I’ve had enuuuuuf" he manages to sound both weary AND cocky. One of Bob’s finest moments.

6. ‘Idiot Wind’ from Blood On The Tracks. Never has such venom been served up on a record. Dylan’s spits brimstone for 4+ minutes, and during the ‘Idiot Wind’ phrase, he can barely contain the fury. Hypnotic anger and completely enthralling.

7. ‘Tell Me Momma’ from The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4. Taken from the famed ‘Judas’ gig in Manchester ’66, ‘Tell Me Momma’ is pure proto punk from Dylan. The first of his ‘electric set’, the band play so unbelievably loud that it sounds like the whole venue has been destroyed by the kick in. The arrogance of the track is nothing short of phenomenal.

8. ‘Obviously 5 Believers’ from Blonde on Blonde. Ok, this may be Dylan’s most famous LP, but whilst everyone goes on and on about  Rainy Day Women and the like, get straight into this pounding swampy number, which features some mean-assed gob harp, and Dylan aiming straight for a squaredance. Ace.

9. ‘Tombstone Blues’ from Highway 61 Revisited. A rattling snot fuelled rockabilly track which sees Dylan’s amphetamine fuelled lyrics spiral outta control over gunshot snare drums and vicious guitars.

10. ‘The Wicked Messenger’ from John Wesley Harding. Later covered by The Faces, Wicked Messenger is wonky timed, but still funky as hell. It’ll educate your ears and make you dance funny… what more do you want?

Mof Gimmers

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