The Beginning of Bob Dylan's Bluesy Jazz Sound of Music
R. Giesse | Campinas, SP, Brazil | 05/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The bluesy jazz sound of music introduced by Bob Dylan and the supporting band in this "Under The Red Sky" recording, was also featured in the later "Love And Theft" and "Modern Times" albums. It is really a pleasure to listen to the deep tunes by bass players Randy Jackson and Don Was, the well settled rhythm by drummer Kenny Aronoff, and the subtle texturized keyboards of Al Kooper and Jaimie Muhoberac. The lyrics show a diverse spectrum of creativity, like in the album title track, in which the polluted red sky is baking us all slowly in a pie, with the global warming effect, when Dylan sings "One day the little boy and little girl were both baked in a pie". Now then, what a nice surprise was the slide guitar brilliantly played by George Harrison in this title track. The track "Wiggle Wiggle" shows how one can wiggle ones faith ... until "Wiggle - you can raise the dead". Well, only by faith. The precise message from "T.V. Talkin' Song" was presented in a creative way, as well as in the "Unbelievable", "Born In Time", "Cat's In The Well" tracks, and also in the relaxing pop song "Handy Dandy". And it is like a gift to one's soul the track "God Knows". Highly recommended indeed."
THE LAST 90's DYLAN MASTERPIECE
Marcelo Da Frota | 02/21/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Alright, it's not as good as Oh Mercy, but it's almost. Dylan's Under the Red Sky has got all the things that makes Dylan great. Good, and sometimes great songs in a well produced album. The geneus of Oh Mercy is here, but in a simpler, more direct way. If the intension was to bring to light an album just like Oh Mercy, Dylan would have hired Daniel Lanois amd say "let's make Oh Mercy 2", but that was never the intension.
The album has great songs, such as Born in Time, which is a left over of Oh Mercy, and the title song Under the Red Sky has got George Harrison's always competent guitar working. Some songs are weightlight, such as Wiggle Wiggle, and having Slash from the former great Gun'n'Roses really doesn't add much.
The album itself, heard today, is very similar to Love and Theft in its sonority and themes. So buy it now and have fun.... it's a GREAT ALBUM....
MARCELO FROTA - RIO GRANDE DO SUL - BRAZIL"
NOT a children's album
Joe Lewis | grand rapids mi | 03/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"OK, it's not really worth five stars but I do get tired of all of the negative and derivative reviews of this album. Some critic mentioned "nursery rhymes" at some point in the past and every unoriginal thinker out there now seizes on this term and parrots it to death.
It's a rather "lightweight" album at times but there are really only two songs that seem to be based on the so-called "nursery rhyme" structure - "Under the Red Sky" and "Cat's in the Well," both of which have an undertone of dark ambiguity, more so on the latter which verges on subtly Apocalyptic. They are still both enjoyable pieces of music and nothing like what a person might expect who has actually bought a REAL "nursery rhymes sung for children" kind of album for their kids. It's simply a "structure" he uses, and by the way, lots of rock-and-roll uses that same kind of simple repetitive structure. The same "structure" is used on "The Beatles" (White Album) song "Cry Baby Cry" to great effect; here, it's probably the inclusion of a line like "the little boy and the little girl got baked in a pie" that trips people up. But it's more like a surrealistic dream than a child's story.
One odd fact is that this is the only Dylan album I have (35 so far) that includes all of the lyrics. There's nothing monumentally moving here, but there are lots of subtle little gems sprinkled throughout, couplets and phrases of vaguely philosophical despair and questioning.
"Wiggle wiggle" rocks, even if the words sound like Bob wrote them for his four-year-old daughter to dance to, and the highly-lauded "Basement Tapes" are full of verses of equally monumental silliness. No one ever complained about "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere," one version of which mentions "a flute that toots and a bee that stings, a bird that flies and and a sky that cries, a fish that walks and a dog that talks."
I don't consider "2 X 2" (which is a beautiful song) to be a nursery rhyme structure, as it and "10,000 Men" both seem to be based on a kind of gospel music that I used to hear when I was young. One of the songs I'm thinking of may have been called "Children Go Where I Send Thee" and used the same approach of counting one number higher on each verse. So what? It's an effective rhetorical technique and works well in those songs. Dylan knows all about old gospel and folk music and I'm surprised that people aren't recognizing some of those simple yet memorable devices on this album.
As I said, this album is fairly lightweight, for the most part, but quite listenable and fun, and there are no "skip-over" songs for me on it, unlike some of his best albums. ("Oh Mercy," one of my favorites, has at least one tedious song that I rarely listen to in its entirety, as do "Blonde on Blonde" and the last three "greats," "Time Out of Mind," "Love and Theft," & "Modern Times.")
This one is at least better than several of Dylan's albums and actually shows some of the same goofing-off spirit that occurs on some of his equally-listenable "Traveling Wilburys" contributions. And "Handy Dandy" is one of the most-fun Dylan songs out there, a song I can't help singing along with when I hear it.
It's not "Blonde on Blonde" or "Highway 61" or "Blood on the Tracks" but it's NOT "bad," although I can see how someone who was stuck in one of those '60's-stuff-only modes, whether folk/protest or '65-'66 triad-of-greats, might not think that this was up to snuff. It doesn't suck, it's just not "great" and in any case it's not irritating the way, say, the musical "sound" of "Empire Burlesque" seems so out-of-character and even contradictory to Bob's voice."