Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time
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:
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”)