KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

Blog Dylan (A Community Collaboration) – BOB DYLAN’S “INFIDELS”

December 16, 2017 has been declared “Blog Dylan Day” by some of my fellow bloggers, and I’m excited to join in the celebration of Mr. Dylan’s music. Each blogger has selected his/her own unique approach, and you can find links to all of their posts at this link:
https://danicapiche.com/2017/12/14/welcome-to-blog-dylan-a-community-collaboration/

Special thanks to Danica at Living A Beautiful Life for organizing this event and to Bruce at Vinyl Connection for the Blog Dylan artwork.

Back in 2013, three years before I introduced Thirty Year Thursday here at KamerTunesBlog, I wrote weekly posts on my Facebook page with that title as I looked back at my favorite albums of 1983, which was a pivotal year for me and still one of my favorite years of music. Among the releases I loved back then and still feel just as strongly about was Bob Dylan’s Infidels. Following is what I wrote about it on August 8, 2013. I tend to be a little more verbose in my blog posts but I think this brief write-up adequately describes why it’s such an important record for me.


This week’s Thirty-Year Thursday album is INFIDELS by BOB DYLAN, which was released in October 1983. At the time I only owned his Greatest Hits LP so I was just a casual fan, and for the previous few years his reputation had diminished due to his born-again Christian period (which I eventually came to love, but as a teenager I had no interest in hearing those albums). I’m not sure if it was the appearance of Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler as guitarist/co-producer and former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor that made me check it out, or if it was just one of the records we played every day at the record store I worked at, but I quickly fell in love with nearly every song. It wasn’t until the late-80s that I started delving into his discography (I now own every officially released album), and I still think this stands proudly among his best work; certainly his 70s classics like New Morning, Blood On The Tracks and Desire.

A few years later, when I was learning about reggae, I came to appreciate the legendary rhythm section of Sly & Robbie, who provide a subtle rhythmic platform for Dylan’s sharply-written, slightly angry songs like the extended “Jokerman,” the pleading “License To Kill,” the pro-Israel sentiment of “Neighborhood Bully” and the stunning ballad “Don’t Fall Apart On Me Tonight” (which provided Aaron Neville with an Adult Contemporary hit a decade later). In the coming years his voice would deteriorate due to various factors, and I know some people feel that he never had a good voice, but I think he was still in full command back then. He also had a wicked sense of humor which comes through in one of my favorite songs, “Sweetheart Like You.” I’ve always loved these lyrics: “They say that patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings, steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you king.” Happy 30th birthday to this great record. I played it again last night and it holds up extremely well.

Does anyone else enjoy Infidels as much as I do? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below, and then check out the other Blog Dylan posts at the link above. Thanks.

 

“There’s only one step down from here, baby, it’s called the land of permanent bliss” (from “Sweetheart Like You”)

36 comments on “Blog Dylan (A Community Collaboration) – BOB DYLAN’S “INFIDELS”

  1. DanicaPiche
    December 16, 2017

    You’ve been added to the Blog Dylan page!

    Like

  2. Pingback: Welcome to Blog Dylan – A Community Collaboration! – Living a Beautiful Life

  3. DanicaPiche
    December 16, 2017

    Intriguing! I haven’t listened to this one and will have to.

    Like

    • I think (or certainly hope) you’ll enjoy Infidels if/when you give it a listen. It was highly regarded at the time but I’m not sure it has the same reputation as it once did. Whenever fans or critics refer to a new Dylan album as his “best release since…” they tend to go back to Blood On The Tracks or Desire. I think Infidels is right up there with those albums, and even though there are a number of later albums I adore, nothing has had a similar impact on me since then (other than his archive releases).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. stephen1001
    December 16, 2017

    I’m not familiar with this one – but if that sweetheart like you lyric is any indication, I think I’d enjoy it!

    Like

    • Hi Geoff. If you’re even a casual Dylan fan (which I know you are) I think you’ll like Infidels a lot. Would love to hear your thoughts if/when you give it a listen.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. boppinsblog
    December 16, 2017

    Wow. This line up is a true supergroup.
    I need this album.

    Nice write up and thanks for letting me know about the greatness of this one.

    Like

    • I hope it lives up to the hype whenever you give it a spin. It really is a fantastic record and I’m glad others will check it out because of this post.

      Like

  6. Neil
    December 16, 2017

    Like may others I am now on the search for this, I had forgotten about it.

    Like

    • Hi Neil. Please let me know your thoughts whenever you check out Infidels. Hope you love it as much as I do.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Neil
        December 17, 2017

        Now I went and bought Infidels

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        December 17, 2017

        I see a trend happening here….

        Liked by 1 person

      • Neil
        December 17, 2017

        This plan of yours is costing me money, I also got Knocked Out Loaded, a book and two cups of coffee.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        December 17, 2017

        Yes! Immersing yourself is the beauty of life, as you are, is the way to do it.

        Like

      • What’s better than musical immersion? Can’t think of anything off the top of my head.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was so excited about Knocked Out Loaded and its predecessor, Empire Burlesque, after being so obsessed with Infidels, but neither had a similar impact on me. I hope you enjoy KOL more than I did.

        Also, your “two cups of coffee” comment could be Dylan-related, as it reminded me of “One More Cup Of Coffee” from the amazing Desire album

        Liked by 1 person

      • Neil
        December 19, 2017

        I am feeling like Brownsville Girl may be the only moment on the album, that song alone may deserve some attention. The coffee thing may have been Dylan influenced.

        Like

      • I need to revisit those ’80s albums again. I didn’t hate any of them but felt they weren’t at the same level as Infidels. When I got the Complete Dylan Collection box set a few years ago, which allowed me to replace all of my ’80s-pressed CDs with remastered versions, I played the whole thing straight through over the course of a couple of weeks. Nothing from that era jumped out at me, but how could it when I had just played all those classic albums. Sometimes it’s better to listen to “lesser” releases separately from the rest of an artist’s catalog.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Neil
        December 19, 2017

        Take the time for Brownsville Girl, it may be my favorite Dylan song.

        Like

      • Will definitely revisit that song soon. I tend to be drawn to Dylan’s long songs so I’m surprised I don’t have a better memory of “Brownsville Girl.”

        Like

      • I hope you are happy with your Infidels purchase. It’s hard to imagine anyone with even a passing interest in Dylan not liking at least some of that album.

        Like

  7. J.
    December 17, 2017

    I’m awfy fond of this one, Rich. One of my favourite Dylan albums, actually. Wasn’t always that way, right enough, but it’s one that revealed more and more on each listen.

    Like

    • Alright, another fan of Infidels. Very happy to hear it. Were you aware of it when it was released or did you discover it later? It made such an immediate impact on me so it’s hard to imagine someone not feeling the same way, no matter when they hear it for the first time.

      Like

      • J.
        December 17, 2017

        Oh, I didn’t hear it until a couple of years ago… maybe 5 or 6. It was when I was delving a bit further into the Dylan catalogue. It was one of those immediate albums, right enough. There was something in Infidels that was missing in other Dylan stuff I had… and it wasn’t just Knopfler!

        Like

      • It’s good to know that Infidels can still have an impact all these years later. I agree that there’s something special about it compared to some of his other releases, especially the two albums that followed. I’ve never connected with them in the same way.

        Like

  8. 1537
    December 17, 2017

    I’ve always loved the cover picture of him on this album but I’ve been too wary of any Dylan LP post-Desire to explore it. I may well do so now next time I see it. Thanks Rich.

    Like

    • Hi Joe. It is a great photo of him. Are you a fan of Desire, or was that when you jumped ship? I completely understand people losing interest during the born-again years (even though I love a lot of that music, and the new box set of rarities from that era is wonderful), but I think Street Legal and Infidels are two undervalued albums simply because of their proximity to that era. I hope you like it if/when you give it a chance.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 1537
        December 17, 2017

        I liked Desire a lot but as a smug student I just never fancied the born-again years. I’m far more open-minded about that now and so I will dabble if I come across them at the right price.

        Like

      • Dylan’s reputation during the born-again years was not very good. I was in my early teens at the time and wasn’t terribly familiar with his discography beyond his Greatest Hits, so I bought into the hype (or lack thereof) and didn’t check them out until a decade later. I found myself really enjoying them in my early 20s. Sure, the lyrics are a bit preachy and occasionally silly, but the music was often great and I loved his voice.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Murphy's Law
    December 17, 2017

    Those 2 songs are pretty great. I’ve got a ton of Dylan mp3’s my late father-in-law gave me, but the sheer size of the Dylan discography is intimidating and I just haven’t started on it.

    Like

    • So happy to hear you love the two songs I included in this post. I was going to include one more but YouTube is apparently very limited when it comes to the album versions of songs from this album. I think the only reason these two are available is because they were the official promo videos. I agree that his discography is intimidating so the best thing to do is just dive in & enjoy.

      Like

      • Murphy's Law
        September 18, 2018

        I finally made it to this album, and it’s pretty impressive. Sly and Robbie are the real standouts. He sounds really relaxed.

        Like

      • I’m glad this 35-year-old album holds up for a newcomer. I agree about Sly & Robbie, who were an inspired choice for rhythm section. Combined with one of his strongest sets of songs and, as you pointed out, a generally relaxed feel, and it all added up to a winner.

        Like

  10. keepsmealive
    December 19, 2017

    I love Infidels! I have the LP here and it’s everything you said! Great post, Rich!

    Like

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