Bob Dylan - Tempest

Published Tuesday 16th October 2012
Bob Dylan - Tempest
Bob Dylan - Tempest

RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 130865-19576
LABEL: Columbia 88725457602

Reviewed by A T Bradford

Bob Dylan told Rolling Stone that he wanted to make a record of "intentionally, specifically religious songs", only he "didn't have enough". But he did have some. . . 'Tempest' was honed over endless days on the road by Dylan's accomplished touring band, and there is a tight feel to the sound with a range of genre to choose from. "Duquesne Whistle" is a Western swing steam-train song, but with an unexpected passenger. "I can hear a sweet voice gently calling, must be the mother of Our Lord. . ." The ear is soothed in the love-song "Soon After Midnight", sweet-nothings crooned to a lover he has sung of before, while the driving beat of "Narrow Way" encompasses the Incarnation, the crucifixion and the resurrection with Scripture-inspired lyrics and a heady blues riff. Human regrets surface in "Long And Wasted Years", a spoken eulogy brimming with sorrow over the past, before Dylan's gnarled voice perfectly complements the grisly message of "Pay In Blood" - but whose blood? "Scarlet Town" maintains the sombre mood, a folk-tune with banjo and violin about a place "under the hill" where life's futility is played-out in strife. It's back to an up-tempo beat with "Early Roman Kings", an accordion-accompanied litany of wrong-doings and warnings, preceding the folk-ballad "Tin Angel". A lover's triangle of lust, revenge and murder; told by Dylan over 31 verses (no chorus) featuring a solid acoustic bass line. Ballads without choruses continue in the 14-minute long title track. Human life in all its grimness and glory is portrayed in 54 verses about the doomed Titanic. Accordion and fiddle accompany a waltz, Leo DiCaprio gets name-checked and the sinking liner's Captain reads from the Book of Revelation. 'Tempest' concludes with "Roll On John"; part lament, part tribute to murdered Beatle John Lennon. Compassionate, sad yet honest - Dylan's summation of a genius who "burned so bright" but who could have been so much more. 'Tempest' re-introduces us to the somewhat unconventional Jewish-Christian who is Bob Dylan.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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Reader Comments

Posted by Mervyn58 in London @ 10:12 on Oct 22 2012

Well, if you are a Dylan fan you need to read Dr. Bradford's book 'Out Of The Dark Woods – Dylan, Depression And Faith' - just Google it!!

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