Bob Dylan – Tempest

At this stage of his career it seems Bob Dylan can do no wrong in the eyes of the critics, 35 albums in and no one wants to say anything but nice things about the gruff voiced troubadour.  ‘Tempest’ is released on the 50th anniversary of his debut in 1962 and along the way there have been some amazing albums (Blood on the Tracks, Desire, Blonde on Blonde) and some forgettable ones (Empire Burlesque, Shot of Love, Christmas In The Heart) but the 71 year old is showing no signs of slowing down. So to the album itself, well it’s more of the same, as in his last few albums and I imagine it must be quite boring to be in Dylan’s band at the moments as all the songs rumble along at the same pace some seemingly without direction or choruses. The band are tight and basically keep solid grooves for Dylan’s lyrical tales to be spun over the top and it’s in the words that Dylan proves he has still got something of interest. Never shy of a long song most here clock in at just under ten minutes and to be honest I probably never need to hear the 45 versed title track about the sinking of the Titanic again. But tracks like ‘Pay in Blood’ and the Howlin Wolf blues of ‘Early Roman Kings’ are delivered like Tom Waits covering Nick Cave’s ‘Red Right Hand’. After a jaunty start with ‘Duquesne Whistle’ the album fizzles out a bit with Dylan’s tribute to Lennon ‘Roll On John’ which contains some of the records worst lyrics. So while critics rush to gush praise over this record it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Solid in places but a mixed bag this I’m afraid is just another average Dylan release.

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