Extra Star for Brownsville Girl, Where was Tom Petty? Band o
Christopher Bushman | Portland, OR USA | 09/02/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This record came out in the middle of my (approximately) five year "Dylan Absorption Phase" when I was a high school / college student. So I listened to this a lot even if it was pretty lame overall.
The meager highlights here include his lyrical collaboration with Sam Shepard, Brownsville Girl. A very long stream of consciousness reminiscence, the music behind the words is just okay but the lyrics make it pretty magical. This is a good one to listen to through headphones in the dark. Pretty funny that Brownsville Girl was included on Greatest Hits III because I can assure you, in no way was this a hit single. Just a great album track.
The really disappointing thing is that this came out right around the time Dylan was touring with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as his backing band and those were really rocking shows. TP co-wrote one song here (the pretty rockin' and overlooked "Got My Mind Made Up") and the Heartbreakers play on the record a little but to no avail, the results are fairly sterile and boring.
Interestingly, right around this time, The Heartbreakers backed Dylan on a completely forgotten soundtrack single called Band of the Hand from a forgotten action movie of the same name. Band of the Hand rocks like nobody's business and is probably my favorite Dylan song from the 80's. Why it wasn't included on this hodgepodge record is a mystery but perhaps a bigger mystery is why Dylan has never added it to one of his rarities collections like Bootleg Series 1-3.
Bill R. Moore | New York, USA | 07/12/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This album seems to have a very bad reputation among Dylan fans. It is far, far from being his best album, but it does have several notable songs (and one great one), and is actually quite underrated. It obviously wasn't intended to be a cohesive or even a "real" album: it plays like a scattershot, featuring songs from various different recording sessions spread out over a number of years, as well as more than a handful of covers and songs co-written with other people (there are only two songs credited to "Bob Dylan.") The sessions for this album were originally intended to have Dylan recording a set of cover songs. Whatever the original intent, though, Dylan - with this mish-mash setlist and scattershot tracking, not to mention its short running time - clearly just wanted, for whatever reason, to release an album at this time. (Dylan's lack of interest in the project is evident from a story regarding the cover: it's actually the movie poster for some cheap foreign film; some insignificant character - a session player's girlfriend, or the like - just happened to bring it into the studio one day. Dylan, liking it, opted to use it for the cover of the album. When asked about securing the rights for its use, he replied, "Just let 'em sue us.") Such lack of effort in compiling the album may have led to its bad reputation - not to mention its handful of less-than-stellar tracks. One often reads in reviews that this album is Brownsville Girl and 7 tracks of banality. In actual fact, the only track you should skip is the absolutely unstandable They Killed Him. Aside from this, there is an energetic and enjoyable cover (You Wanna Ramble), three fine songs (Driftin' Too Far From Shore, Maybe Someday, and Under Your Spell - songs typical of the good songs that Dylan wrote in the 80's, but very good ones, nonetheless.) Brownsville Girl is, of course, an absolute masterpiece. One wonders how many of the lines are Dylan's and how many are Sam Shepherd's, but, whatever the case, this song, featuring a brilliant "sing/speak" Dylan vocal, is undeniably amazing. To sum it all up, you definitely don't want to make this one of your first Dylan purchases; but, if you're a fan, it's definitely worth owning, and deserves a lot more credit than it is usually given."
M. L. Wheeler | Guam | 03/15/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"After reading reviews that this album and Down In the Groove are Dylan's worst albums, and still determined to collect all his albums, I find that this album is pretty enjoyable and a couple songs are my favorites. In my opinion, Dylan's worst albums are quality-wise at least as good as most other artists' best. There is just something about them. Also, they reflect the time and mood when they were made."
Dylan's worst....with a notable exception...great title, tho
Grigory's Girl | NYC | 01/22/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of Dylan's worst albums (alongside Dylan and the Dead and Down in the Groove). Many of us Dylan fans like to argue which is worse, this one or Down in the Groove. This one is worse. A hodge podge of recording sessions hastily thrown together, it has a "let's get this f---er out and let the fans decide whether it's good or not" feel to it. There are only 2 songs that are really worth your attention. The first, "You Wanna Ramble", has a really good groove to it, but the second, Brownsville Girl, is a Dylan masterpiece. Brilliantly written (with Sam Shepard)and performed (with a great vocal by Dylan and the choir). It runs 11 minutes, and feels short, because it's so good. The song They Killed Him runs 4 minutes and feels longer than Gone With the Wind, which gives you an indication of how wretched the song really is. It does, however, have a great title, and the cover art is pretty good. Perhaps Dylan should have taken the best songs from this album and Down in the Groove, and made one album out of it. Here's a suggestion of the tracks...
1. You Wanna Ramble
2. Let's Stick Together
4. Death is Not the End
5. Ninety Miles an Hour (Down a Dead End Street)
1. Brownsville Girl
2. Rank Strangers to Me
Just my 13 and a half cents...
Dylan's B album
B. W. Fairbanks | Lakewood, OH United States | 06/04/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The cover painting is from the poster of an old forgotten B movie, most appropriate since this album was whipped together at the behest of Columbia Records which insisted their then fading star have a new album to flog before agreeing to bankroll his summer 1986 concert tour with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Despite its mercenary beginnings, "Knocked Out Loaded" is a modest but enjoyable effort dominated by covers, leftovers from "Empire Burlesque," and rounded out with collaborations with talents as diverse as Petty, playwright Sam Shepard, and middle of the road songstress Carole Bayer Sager. The stunning "Brownsville Girl," co-written with Shephard, is also included on "Greatest Hits Volume 3," thereby giving everyone but the most die-hard Dylanite an excuse to skip this album. But for die-hards and die-hards in the making, there's a cover of Kris Kristofferson's "They Killed Him" that is superior to Mr. K's own version, the fairly exciting "Got My Mind Made Up," and a moodily romantic closer in "Under Your Spell." Dylan also throws a bone to fans of his "born again" period with a nice version of "Precious Memories." It's an eclectic mix, enough so that the album might have been titled "Dylan for Everyone.""