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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bob Dylan - "Blonde On Blonde" 2 x Vinyl LP, Mono

Bob Dylan – Blonde On Blonde
2 x Vinyl LP, Mono, Album, Reissue, US, 2002
Sundazed Music

I had the original mono release of this album when I was 12 years old. As a young teen, I was intrigued with the Dylan cool. I liked the way he looked and dressed in 1966. Also the album cover was very mysterious to me. I couldn't understand why the front cover photograph was out-of-focus. For sure on purpose, but did it have a deeper meaning? The black and white images inside the album was also an attention getter for me as well. Every image of Dylan on this album was unique and fetish like. Perhaps the cover conveys the feeling that Dylan cannot be captured by a mere camera. Or perhaps the year 1966 was one giant blur for him.

Artistically he was on a roll. Dylan was the first pop star that seemed to be smarter than the average pop star. He knew something, or more aware of his or our world at the time. He used the medium of the teenager's music, but he somewhat went over the typical teenager's head but still used their instrumentation.

Teenagers love Sonny & Cher, The Byrds, The Beatles, and The Stones, but for Dylan, I suspect it was guys and gals in their early 20s who are tasting the fruits and confusion of life as it was happening to them. Perhaps Dylan supplied these people a soundtrack – so if the first song on this album “Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35” conveys that we must all get stoned – that's a pretty strong message for that year. Not only that, but what does that title mean and why the additional numbers. When you get down to it, Bob Dylan is one big mystery in a world where pop singers were not mysterious at all.

I actually like thinking about Blonde On Blonde than listening to it. I only played the album a few times as a kid, and just filed it away as something important to pop culture – along with The Fugs, who I didn't get at all as a 12 year old. But saying that I think I purchased this album in all its formats through out my life. 8-track for the car, cassette, and eventually an used CD. It was recently that I purchased the re-issued version here at Rockaway Records in Silverlake. I wanted to hear something that came back to my childhood, which is the mono edition. Listening to it now I don't get the nostalgic feeling at all. I think the album is basically a snapshot of what Dylan's life was at the time. Hard poetry images (especially the titles) that convey a sense of bitterness or even meanness. But that's the classic Dylan we like, someone who doesn't pull any punches, and just cuts into the meat issue of the songs. Yet, surrounded with a sense of mystery and sometimes dread. The album lurks in my life as not an essential piece of work, but a presence that is ever-lasting and goes beyond even 'taste.' To be honest I like it, I don't like it, but I always care about Blonde On Blonde.