RANKING ALL 39 BOB DYLAN STUDIO ALBUMS – #20: ROUGH AND ROWDY WAYS [2020]

A man leans over a jukebox while a couple dances beside him

Ranking All 30 Bob Dylan Studio Albums: #20: Rough And Rowdy Ways [2020} Bob Dylan’s latest album released in June. 4 Stars.

The countdown so far 39- Dylan -1973 38- Down In The Groove -1988 37-Knocked Out Loaded- 1986 36-Christmas In The Heart- 2009 35-Under A Red Sky- 1990 34-Saved- 1980 33-Fallen Angels 2016 32- Good As I Been To You- 1992 31- World Gone Wrong 1993 30- Triplicate 2017. 29- Shadows In The Night. 2015 28- Self Portrait 1970- 27- Bob Dylan- Bob Dylan 1962, 26- Empire Burlesque 1985, 25- Street Legal 1978, 24- Nashville Skyline 1969 23- Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid 1973- 22- Shot Of Love 1981 20. New Morning- 1970 and at #20 this weeks feature on the countdown- Rough And Rowdy Ways- 2020.

When I started this countdown back in the summer I decided to rank the new Dylan album Rough And Rowdy Ways in the countdown. It is still only six months old and hard to know exactly where to place it- I need more listens- but I do know that Bob’s first new album of original material since 2012 is a strong album- and placing it in the middle of the pack is at least for now the right place to place it.

Many were starting to believe that after eight years- and three albums of covers from the Great American Songbook- that we’d never get another ‘new’ album of Dylan songs again. One thing with Bob Dylan- he always keeps you guessing even at age 79 and is always full of surprises.

The first sign that something was up was the March 27th release of “Murder Most Foul” a nearly 17 minute song addressing the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. At 16 minutes 56 seconds it became the longest song Dylan has ever released. In April and May two more songs were dropped “I Contain Multitudes” and “False Prophet.” These three songs would go on my Mount Rushmore of songs on this album- the other would be “Key West [Philosopher Pete]” The album on vinyl is a double album- clocking in at 70:33. On the charts- it went to #1 in the UK and #2 on the US Billboard Top 200 album chart. Year end Best Album lists have started to come out and the British Mags- Mojo and Uncut- [two that I pick up every month} have Rough And Rowdy Ways as the best album of 2020. Again, give me another year with this album and it may rise a few notches on my Dylan albums list. Who knows maybe with the pandemic of this year grinding the Never Ending Tour to a halt- could Dylan be at home working on a new batch of songs? We can only hope.

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