Back in 2010, I blogged about nearly a year’s worth of Bob Dylan Weekends, moving chrononologically through each of the legend’s albums.
The exercise gave me the opportunity to buy several records I’d never heard, including one that became a new favorite, 1978’s Street Legal. Today’s random SOTD is the penultimate track on that short but sweet album.
Street Legal is only nine songs long, and five of those songs have quickly jumped up my list of favorites after just a few listens. The remaining four are solid as well, though their strength is hidden a bit beneath the distracting production. I believe if this same batch of songs were rerecorded with the band and production style Dylan used in the 00’s, this album would number among his very best.
It’s a pretty great thing to discover new music by an artist you already know so well. Dylan’s discography is so deep that I’ve been able to unearth quite a few hidden gems (hidden to me, anyway) through writing these blog entries. My appreciation for his extraordinary career has only deepened through this process.
In 1978, two years after Desire, Bob Dylan released one of the most divisive albums in his catalog. I’ve read fans and critics alike describe Street Legal as both his best album and his worst.
I don’t share either of those opinions, but I definitely lean more toward the former. This is by no means a bad collection of songs — on the contrary, it contains some tracks that number among Dylan’s finest compositions.
Street Legal is the second album I bought and heard for the first time for the purposes of this blog series (the first was Planet Waves). I don’t know why I had those particular holes in my Dylan collection (less name recognition, I suppose, and spottier reputations than his other work) but I’m very glad I finally own these albums.