Do I go for a track off one of his trifecta of masterworks from 1965-66 (Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde)? Imagine that… Bob Dylan put out those three albums in two years! Most artists would give their first born to put out three albums half as good over a lifetime.
Do I pull one of the classics from 1975’s Blood on the Tracks, the greatest breakup album ever made and probably my favorite Dylan record? Or perhaps one of the seminal folk songs on The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, his first album of original material?
It’s also tempting to look at his resurgence over the past decade, when he’s put out three straight albums (Time Out of Mind, Love and Theft and Modern Times) that rival anything he produced in his heyday.
Yes, the Dylan catalog is an embarassment of riches that makes this task close to impossible. So I’ve decided to go all the way back to his very first release (Bob Dylan), an album of cover songs that introduced a 21-year old future legend to the world.
His ‘House of the Risin’ Sun’ is a masterwork of barely controlled rage and sorrow and a very early sign of the genius to come.
Note: I write these posts a week or so in advance, so I had no idea this song about New Orleans would be featured on the day Hurricane Gustav comes ashore in Louisiana. Hope everything turns out OK in the Big Easy and the rest of the Gulf Coast.