Seeing that Bob Dylan just announced a tour stop in Grand Prairie on August 7, and knowing that the bard's new effort, Together Through Life, was released yesterday, now seems as good as time as any to check out what other Dylan product has hit the streets recently.
Two of my favorite Dylan albums, Before the Flood and The Basement Tapes, were very quietly reissued last week by Sony Legacy. Normally, those label folks are quick to inundate writers with tons of promotional material. Not this time, though. So I asked a rep from Sony about the situation. And I was told that Dylan's management didn't want any talk of these reissues to dampen the reception of Together Through Life.
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Hopefully, the new studio disc can hold up to the intense pressure of a couple of reissues. Granted, both Before the Flood and The Basement Tapes have received a sonic upgrade that only increases their already legendary reputations. Some Dylan purists have bemoaned the live Flood as just another example of Dylan trying to reinvent himself in the '70s, but there's some power in the Band-assisted grooves of standards such as "Just Like a Woman" and "Blowing in the Wind."
And the greatness of The Basement Tapes kind of goes without saying.
Either way, the word has been mixed on Together Through Life, and quashing talk on a couple of reissues seems kind of petty. Of course, Song Legacy also reissued two of Dylan's biggest clunkers: Dylan and the Dead and New Morning.
Now, those are a couple of albums not worth talking about...