Ranking All 39 Bob Dylan Studio Albums- #5 Bringing It All Back Home  A+ Bob Dylan’s 5th studio album. Released on March 22, 1965.
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 21. New Morning- 1970 20. Rough And Rowdy Ways -2020, #19- Tempest 2012 18. Together Through Life 2009 #17- Another Side Of Bob Dylan 1964 #16 -Infidels 1983 #15- Planet Waves 1974, #14- The Basement Tapes 1975 #13- “Modern Times 2006 #12 Oh Mercy 1989, #11 Slow Train Coming.#10- Desire. #9: John Wesley Harding 1967. #8- ‘Love And Theft’ #7 Time Out Of Mind 1997. 6- The Times They Are A- Changin’
When I sat down last July to rank the Dylan albums the 5 albums at the top were easy for me to identify- as far as my thoughts/ feelings on them. Now how to rank those five- not so easy. I love all these albums. A lot of Dylan fans might disagree and think I have centered too much on his early days- four of my Top five Dylan favorites were released in a short period of time -1963-66 and only Blood On The Tracks is from outside of that zone.
With- Bringing It All Back Home- Dylan abandons the protest songs and starts a period where lyrically he goes stream of consciousness and surreal. He also goes electric. The first side he is backed by rock and roll musicians -which would alienate him from a lot of his past fans and musicians in the folk music community. I have always found it somewhat humorous that a group of people who sang about and wanted change couldn’t deal with Dylan changing. I guess they just favored change on their own terms. I wish I could recall where I read this years ago- but a comment on this crowd of posers- they preached and demanded change but when the cafe’s they hang out in in New York City would make even the smallest change at the cafe -they reacted like it was the end of the world. Whatever.
The opening track- ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ would be Dylan’s first Top 40 hit- not a big hit mind you it peaked at #39- but it is one of his great songs- and a great and influential video.
Other standouts on the ‘electric’ side 1- ‘She Belongs To Me’, ‘Maggie’s Farm’ and “Love Minus Zero/ No Limit”- ‘Maggie’s Farm another of my favorite Dylan tunes- with a number of lines that over the years I’ve found situations where I could use them. “I try my best to be just like I am/ But everybody wants me to be just like them’ being a favorite.
Side 2 is acoustic- and leads off one of those songs I’d have on my “Songs I Wish I Had Written” Top 10- the classic ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ – which was later would ignite the folk-rock craze when The Byrds covered it and took it to #1 on the singles chart. I would call every song on side 2- essential Dylan- “Gates Of Eden’, “It’s Alright Ma [I’m Only Bleeding] and the final song- “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”- was he singing this to the folkies?
Bringing It All Back Home- was recorded in three days. The album went to #1 in the UK and #6 in the US Billboard Top 200 Albums. Critic Dave Marsh would write of Bringing It All Back Home- “By fusing the Chuck Berry beat of the Rolling Stones and the Beatles with the leftist, folk tradition of the folk revival, Dylan really had brought it back home, creating a new kind of rock & roll […] that made every type of artistic tradition available to rock.”
Note- A great Dylan album cover- the woman in the photo- the wife of his manager Albert Grossman- -Sally Grossman a model- died last month at the age of 81.