The Random iTunes Fairy is in a Nashville Skyline mood. Just three weeks back, she served up the song ‘Peggy Day’ from Bob Dylan’s 1969 country-folk album. And today she’s back with another song from the same collection.
I don’t have much to say about this track, as I didn’t about ‘Peggy Day’ three weeks ago. This might be the Dylan album that invites the least dissection. It’s a simple, fun listen.
Here’s a sweet little throwaway track from Bob Dylan’s 1969 Nashville Skyline, possibly the most laid back album of his career.
Ironically, Dylan chose to release a gentle country album during one of the country’s most tumultuous eras. Whether it was a deliberate retreat from his protest singer roots or just where his muse happened to take him, it was as odd and unexpected as most of Dylan’s career moves.
Bob Dylan’s closed out the 60s with Nashville Skyline (1969), a short, sweet, straight-up country album featuring a drastically different singing voice.
In the midst of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war, just after the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, this was viewed as a puzzling move by an artist who just five years earlier was soundtracking the protest era with The Times They Are a’Changin’.
A few years before Nashville Skyline was released, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash struck up a friendship that blossomed into a collaboration. Cash wrote the liner notes to Nashville Skyline, which took the form of a crackerjack poem celebrating his friend’s unique career.
Sample verse: “This man can rhyme the tick of time / The edge of pain, the what of sane / And comprehend the good in men, the bad in men / Can feel the hate of fight, the love of right / And the creep of blight at the speed of light.”
In 1969, following the stripped-down acoustic approach of John Wesley Harding, Bob Dylan threw his fans for another loop with the straight-up country album Nashville Skyline. But the musical genre was only half of the surprise… the real bombshell was Dylan’s velvety voice, a laid-back croon that was a far cry from his oft-imitated trademark whine.
I remember being told as a kid (thought I don’t remember by whom) that Dylan had gotten into a motorcycle accident and emerged with this new singing voice. That was close to the truth, chronologically, but it gave me the creepy impression that the accident itself had physically altered his vocal chords.