Dylan followed Oh Mercy a year later with the uninspired and downright goofy Under the Red Sky and then it would be nine years before his late career renaissance kicked off with 1997’s Time Out of Mind.
When this song came up in the random rotation, I was certain I’d featured it before. But apart from a cover version by a hot chick on a ukulele, I have not.
‘Most of the Time’ is Exhibit A (or maybe Exhibit B, with ‘Man in the Long Black Coat’ as Exhibit A) of the wonders Danial Lanois worked for Bob Dylan on the 1989 album Oh Mercy.
Oh Mercy was the first Bob Dylan album I heard as a new release. I had spent my 15th year soaking up all of his early material — the 60s albums — but I hadn’t really been aware of the new releases he was putting out at that time. Good thing, considering what they were.
But in my junior year of high school I suddenly became aware of a new Bob Dylan album that was receiving strong critical praise. My memory is a bit fuzzy on this matter now but I believe I might have received Oh Mercy as a gift from my older sister, in college at the time.
A year after his worst critical drubbing, for back-to-back stinkers Knocked Out Loaded and Down in the Groove (not to mention the throwaway live album Dylan & The Dead), Bob Dylan made a strong comeback with 1989’s Oh Mercy.
The 80s had been rough for Dylan — the decade certainly goes down as his most uneven and uninspired. Apart from Infidels and Empire Burlesque (two albums that themselves are far from unanimously praised), he released arguably his four weakest albums and threw in two lackluster live albums to boot.