Bob Dylan / Hard Rain

With a brash clash of caustic, almost acidic guitar sound, Maggie’s Farm truly bursts in like a storm. Hard Rain, the only live album reviewed here is just that, a down pour of animalistic energy and sound, almost reminiscent of the live electric second set of the 1966 tour.

Possessed is an appropriate way to describe this captured performance. On the cover of the album, you can see it in his face and eyes; it truly translates to the sound. Such a departure from Desire and the Rolling Thunder Tour. No more southwestern gypsie violins, instead, biting guitars and vocals take its place.

With a great selection of songs, spanning his career, the listener is lead through the rokous to the emotional graveyard of Idiot Wind, the culminating track. Five songs are performed from the sixties on this album, four from the seventies, specifically his previous two releases. Four tracks will blister your ears with spite or passion. The other tracks? One is a lament, the other four touch on that pesky old feeling of love or loss of.

I first heard this release when I was sixteen. In my earlier incarnations I couldn’t quite wrap my head around Dylan and his sound here; it didn’t strike me well at first. As I aged, I appreciated the impassioned performance. Lastly, the musicianship hit home. Still an album that is buried under the rest of Dylan’s catalog often, when it makes it to the speakers, my face sure does grin in delight (the volume sneaks up too).

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