In the past month I’ve re-listened to the Bob Dylan catalog of studio albums in anticipation of ranking his albums from worst to first. Every Friday I will add one more to the countdown- Dylan has released 39 studio albums since his debut was released on March 19, 1962- including a new album just a month ago- Rough And Rowdy Ways.
Starting the countdown at #39- Dylan [ 1 Star } released on November 19, 1973. This was a revenge release. When Bob left Columbia for Asylum after a dozen albums-[ he would release one album at Asylum and then return to Columbia where he has remained since} Columbia against Bob’s wishes released this album of outtakes from the Self Portrait and New Morning albums. Columbia was also trying to cash in Dylan was about to go on his first major tour since 1966 and of course Christmas was a month away. The album did sell- going Gold and peaking at #17 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. This was the first studio album from Dylan in 3 years. The songs were recorded in New York City and Nashville with longtime Bob producer Bob Johnston producing.
This album of nine covers- no original Dylan songs on this one- received universally poor reviews. No one liked it- woof! There were some great musicians who played on this record- David Bromberg, Charlie Daniels, the super session musician Al Kooper. Even the album cover looks cheap and Bob has had some bad looking album covers over the years.
This album was out of print for years- and wasn’t re-released until 2013 when it was included in a complete Bob Dylan albums release. I had gotten it back in the late 70’s – I knew the bad reputation it had but being a Bob completest what do you do?
If I had to select a Mount Rushmore of songs from this dud of an album- Nothing stands out above being mediocre but to pick four- “Lily Of The West”, “Sarah Jane”, “A Fool Such As I” and “Mary Ann.”