Bob Dylan – Bringing It All Back Home
Vinyl LP, Album, Reissue, Mono
This I think is the first Bob Dylan album that entered my household in Beverly Glen. Without a doubt my father bought it, and at the time it was almost impossible to avoid the subject matter of “Dylan.” At the time my parents shared friends with the Dylan world. My father spent an interesting evening with the Bob, when he got a phone call from Allen Ginsberg asking if he would mind meeting Dylan at his hotel to help him pick up a tape machine. My father did so, and it led to a wild car trip through the classic teenage Sunset Strip, where people on the street recognize Dylan in the passenger seat. Some tried to get in, or blocked the car. Eventually they made it to the Byrds rehearsal space, to get the tape machine. This is all very 1965, the release date of Bringing It All Back Home.
I was never a Dylan fan, but have always been fascinated with the identity or aura of the Dylan mystique. To enter his world one is approaching the 20th Century in a nutshell. Even before the Beatles Sgt. Pepper cover (which my dad is part of...) people were studying the image on the front of Bringing It Back Home. I remember there was one theory that the woman on the cover is actually Dylan in drag. And what about the albums laying around Dylan? One of them, the Lotte Lenya album, was perhaps the first album that I was ever aware of. That particular recording was and still is part of my DNA. On so many levels it is an incredible album cover. Especially when you compare it with the earlier Dylan covers. Before this album, they were very much of a portrait of a 'folk singer.' But now, or then, there is another side (no pun intended) of Dylan coming out. Something more worldly or sophisticated.
The music inside was also a major change for Mr. Dylan. Over-all the songs sounded more personal with a strong taste of 'french' poetics. It seemed otherworldly. It was like Charles Baudelaire was writing the words if he was a New Yorker of the 1960's. For a teenager like me, and at that time, it was such an adult album compared to The Beatles, Stones, Herman's Hermits, etc! He looked young, had the uniform of pop, but way more man of the world than the others. So, this was my first adult 'pop' record. And to this very day I am still trying to get my head around it. I love the album, but not sure if I really like it.
Its interesting to know that the Velvets were happening at the same time – another songwriter or musician(s) making grown-up music in the language of the teenage pop world.