Just Remember, "The Groove" is Not the Worst
Bud | Seminole, Texas, USA | 03/25/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The best explanation I can think of for the abundance of times this album has shown up on critics' lists of the worst albums ever released by major music acts is that they needed at least one Bob Dylan record for the list, to stir up the readers. And being that it was one of the most unassuming albums of his 80s slump, "Down in the Groove" was an obvious candidate for the dubious position on those inaccurate lists (and inaccurate they are - what kind of list claims a Dylan album is one of the worst but doesn't even mention John Lennon's "Unfinished Music"?).
Nobody's pretending "Down in the Groove" is on par with the landmark "Blonde on Blonde" or, shoot, even "Street Legal." But it's a fine album, even if Dylan himself would disagree with me. Though he often seems uninterested and not enthused, the material still manages to be simplistically effective, the two key examples being 'Death is Not the End' and the reflective 'Rank Strangers to Me.' Dylan wasn't too interesting in putting a wealth of original material on the album either, but it doesn't matter because the low-key demeanor makes it easier to grasp in one sitting than, say, "Infidels" (claimed by some to be his best album of the 80s). A couple of collaborations with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter are welcome, as well as covers of 'Ninety Miles an Hour (Down a Dead End Street)' and heck, even the opening 'Let's Stick Together.'
And any album that finds Bob Dylan doing a good cover of 'Let's Stick Together' must be worth seeking out."
Grovvin' with Bob
M. J. Schultz | Detroit, MI | 07/01/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Strange collection of songs. Plenty of rockers like "Ugliest Girl in the World", "Silvio", "Dream About You Baby". The dirge-like "Death Is Not the End", featuring rap band Full Force on vocals and some of Bob's best harmonica playing in awhile, and "When Did You Leave Heaven?" are prefect melancoly reflection. The vocal arrangements on "Ninety Miles an Hour (Down a Dead End Street)" are reminicent of classic gospel, country. And of course, only Dylan can interpret a classic like "Shenendoah" and make it sound brand new."