Jeff Moody

Bard Dylan

"Tempest" continues on the late-career road paved by 2001's "Love and Theft," and despite a misstep or two, Bob Dylan delivers once again.

By - Sep 15th, 2012 04:00 am

It’s nearly impossible to talk about a new Bob Dylan record without at least some ancillary discussion of the man’s unmatched overall body of work…but I’m gonna give it a shot.

Tempest is a mostly a good set of songs that continue along the old-timey, western swing trajectory he’s been on for the past decade. It’s a style that, at 71 years old, perfectly suits Dylan and his ever-weathered singing voice. He’s been touring with the same bunch of guys for ages now, (Tony Garnier, Donnie Herron, George Receli, Stu Kimball and Charlie Sexton) and when they turn it on, they positively crackle. “Narrow Way” is a prime example: Bob and the band flip a Muddy Waters riff on it’s head, speed it up a bit, and turn it into a seven minute country honk hoedown that you wish would never end.

It’s not always like that, though. “Tempest” has a few duds. The title track, a fourteen minute annoyance that re-tells the story of the sinking of the Titanic, had me wishing the ship would hurry up and sink so the song would be over. Likewise, Bob’s Lennon tribute “Roll On, John,” at seven-plus minutes, is long-winded, out of place in its sentimentality, and fuck, it’s been more than thirty years since Lennon was murdered. Maybe Bob found the lyrics scratched out on a piece of paper in an old coat he was about to drop off at Salvation Army. I don’t know.

Aside from a few missteps though, Tempest has some pretty great moments and plenty of the usual lyrical treasures to sort through.

Like Stripwax on Facebook here, follow Jeff Moody on Twitter at @sammycoho, and click here for the Stripwax archive on ThirdCoast Digest.

Categories: Life & Leisure, Rock

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us