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Bob Dylan, as we all know, is the greatest songwriter who has ever lived. But, there is so much more to Bob Dylan than just his songwriting and his music—there's so much more to him.
For instance, Bob Dylan is an accomplished poet (we can tell by his songwriting, but he also has other things to show us this). His poetry book of Beatnik-inspired lengthy and sometimes difficult to understand poems is a wonder to read and makes you feel almost in-tune with the 1960s atmosphere when reading it. The book, called Tarantula is an achievement of the 1960s and 70s, being Bob Dylan's first attempt at a book, but not his last.
In 2004, Bob Dylan published his autobiography which not only became a New York Times bestseller, but it went on to contribute to his winning of the Nobel Prize for Literature more than a decade later in 2016. The book, Chronicles: Volume 1 covers various points in Bob Dylan's life, beginning with when he arrives in New York in the early 60s. It has numerous stories and accounts in there and you even got to see what Bob Dylan was reading, which I think is very important (possibly the most important part of the book). Here's a fun fact: my copy of Chronicles: Volume 1 is littered with post-it notes and tags sticking out of it whenever Bob Dylan mentions a book or an author he was reading or referring to.
Bob Dylan also made his own whisky line called Heaven's Door. (I know right!) Apparently, it's very nice but I don't drink whisky so, hopefully Bob Dylan is doing well with that venture as well. Now, if only he'll bring the price of his merchandise down—we can all be happy then!
Bobcats are curious creatures who support Bob Dylan in all of these ventures and more that he participates in. Recently, there's been something about him doing iron work and I've seen some it online—it looks really good. I will honestly say it's better than modern art.
We love Bob Dylan for everything he is and well, here's part 12 of my top ten favourite Bob Dylan songs numbers 111-120
111. "Alberta #1" ("Self Portrait")
"Alberta let your hair hang low, Alberta let your hair hang low. I'll give you more gold than your apron can hold, if you'd only let your hair hang low..."
I swear to God, this is the best version of this song. Bob Dylan sings a traditional folk song which, again, sounds beautiful. As he did with Belle Isle and Copper Kettle—he does it again, effortlessly with Alberta. The way he sings that very first line is so soothing and relaxing, I can't actually explain. If you haven't listened to this song already because you have biases against Self Portrait, then this will put your biases aside.
112. "Time Passes Slowly" ('New Morning')
"Time passes slowly when you're lost in a dream."
I love this song so much because it has that brilliant New Morning sound, that PIANO! The song "Time Passes Slowly," is very underrated as a track on the album though—normally overshadowed by the brilliance in the piano of "If Dogs Run Free"—this song fades out a little. But, it's a great song in its own right. It is a beautifully written and brilliantly composed track with some great lyrics and wicked vocals!
113. "If Dogs Run Free" ('New Morning')
"Just do your thing, you'll be king, if dogs run free..."
Yet another song from the album New Morning—this one many people don't seem to like, but I do. I think there's a good amount of hectic brilliance to this song and well, even though the song is admittedly for suitable occasion—it is nevertheless a brilliant song. I like this song for its refusal of structure and easiness, this song like songs such as "Day of the Locusts" are made to make you feel ever so uncomfortable. That's the whole point and this song does that beautifully, especially with that piano introduction it has.
114. "All Along the Watchtower" ('John Wesley Harding')
"Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl..."
I bet everyone is wondering how this is so low on the list and I am going to be perfectly honest with you. Between looking at "Dear Landlord" and "The Wicked Messenger" I just completely forgot about it. Not as a song, I just couldn't find a place for it on the list so it ended up all the way down here. "All Along the Watchtower" has a brilliant underlying sound, which is why I'm not overly fond of the covers done of it because they spend a lot of time making the song electric instead of perfecting the sound of the song itself. Although, Jimi Hendrix's version managed to do both, I haven't managed to like the other covers a whole lot. If you're interested then check out my article on my five favourite covers of "All Along the Watchtower."
115. "High Water" ('Love And Theft')
"I got a cravin' love for blazing speed got a hopped up Mustang Ford..."
This is one of the greatest songs from the album Love And Theft and has a great folk rock sound. The guitar is possibly the best thing about this song because it's almost darkening the atmosphere, making it slightly more uneasy or slightly stranger and unfamiliar. It's a good way to add a layer of atmosphere on to the album, alongside songs like "Lonesome Day Blues" and "Mississippi," this is a really great addition to it.
116. "I Believe in You" ('Slow Train Coming')
"They ask me how I feel and if my love is real and how I know I'll make it through and they, they look at me and frown..."
I really enjoy this song and I know it's a favourite from those who like "Slow Train Coming." I think this song makes for a lovely addition to explain Bob Dylan's faith. He's always been a spiritual man, but I think this really goes into the depths of his emotion. I love this song and I really didn't want to put it this low on this list, but it's one of those that got pushed down by everything else. Regardless, this is a brilliant song.
117. "Where Teardrops Fall" ('Oh Mercy')
"We banged the drum slowly, we played the fife lowly. You know the song in my heart..."
I love this song incredibly and well, it's actually quite low on the list purely because I think that it has a great sound, but sometimes the lyrics can be a bit too cryptically sad for me. I don't know whether this song is supposed to be sad and lamenting, or looking back on the past with some nostalgia. So it confuses me as to what mood I have to be in to listen to it. Again, regardless of this, the song is beautiful and Bob Dylan's vocals are some of my favourites on this song.
118. "The Best is Yet to Come" ('Triplicate')
In my humble opinion, I actually prefer this one to the original version. Bob Dylan's voice doesn't really ever fade does it? His voice sounds incredible for his age and the song fits him perfectly. Now, I have heard a lot that some people don't like it when Bob Dylan covers Frank Sinatra, but I will actually defend those covers with all of my heart. I prefer Bob Dylan's voice, not that I don't like Sinatra's (because Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra have the superior covers of "Birth of the Blues"). I enjoyed this cover a lot and I hope he does some more Sinatra covers in the future.
119. "Sign on the Window" ('New Morning')
"Sign on the window says 'lonely'..."
I love this song so much, the piano is so beautiful. Of course there are other songs that I prefer on New Morning, such as: Winterlude and The Man in Me, even If Dogs Run Free is before this one. But Sign on the Window is one of those songs, those rare songs, you listen to and it never leaves you. It's a surprisingly beautiful song with dark and brooding lyrics to it. The song is an amazing mixture of knowing and not knowing about the future, it leaves you feeling all warm inside—whilst making you feel slightly sad at the same time.
120. "When the Night Comes Falling From the Sky" ('Bootleg Volumes 1-3: Rare and Unreleased')
"This time I'm asking for freedom, freedom from a world which you deny. And you'll give it to me now, I'll take it anyhow, when the night comes falling from the sky..."
Admittedly, even though I don't like to slander "Empire Burlesque," I do prefer the version on the bootleg because it sounds more like Bob Dylan and less like Lionel Richie blended with A-Ha. I feel like this version really gets his voice out in the song rather than the sound of the electronic new wave genre. As much as I do enjoy the "Empire Burlesque" version, this version is superior and I know how many people are going to get me on Twitter for that. I did say I would defend the empire and here we are. Yes, it is the superior version, but that doesn't mean "Empire Burlesque" isn't good—it's awesome and I will continue to defend its place in Bob Dylan's best works. It proves he really can do anything.
We have now hit part 12 and I can say I already have part 13 planned for you, if you're still interested. I know we're getting on a bit and we're getting into Bob Dylan's more obscure works—I had a bit of thought about the next part because I can appreciate some people (especially Bobcats and Dylanologists) aren't going to agree with everything I say. The point I want to prove is that Bob Dylan's vocals range amazingly, his music is so different on every album and his sound is so unique to every album and every song his sings.
Well, I hope you enjoy part 13, which will be on the way soon!