The Mighty Monkey Of Mim wrote:
Just listened to this all the way through again, and I would like to add that I don't think it's a perfect album by any means. I just don't think that of all the things to quibble about it should be Dylan's vocals, which again are for the most part some of the best of his latter day career. I do now hear what Bennyboy means about the vocal track sounding like it's been "treated" in places, but whatever it was they did, I think it was a very sympathetic and welcome treatment.
I also don't think the abounding mellowness and occasional sentimentality makes MT weak, because there are some heavier, more menacing elements to offset it and as MrJudasPriest said, it actually serves to give the album a distinct feel from its more aggressive predecessor. It does share many of the conceptual strengths of L&T, however.
There are plenty of intricacies and dynamics to the instrumental interplay if you're listening for them. I do agree some of the songs seem to go on a bit long, though ironically not some of the longest ones. NETTIE MOORE and AIN'T TALKIN' are absolutely transfixing from start to finish. WORKINGMAN'S BLUES #2 has a beautiful feel to it, and lots of great verses, but the chorus becomes a just slightly repetitive. LEVEE too, though again I really dig the groove. SPIRIT is mostly gorgeous...infectious riff, delightful melody, great song and singing, but starts off a bit rocky and the ends a bit unsatisfyingly with a drawn out but not very dynamic harmonica solo. THUNDER and TUMBLIN' wouldn't've been hurt by losing a verse or two. WHEN THE DEAL GOES DOWN and SOMEDAY BABY are just about perfect lengthwise. If there is a real Achilles' heel it's BEYOND THE HORIZON, which has slight lyrics, boring music, and the spottiest vocal on the whole album, to boot. But I don't think it brings down the whole record given what comes before and after it, especially since it's easy enough to skip.
For me the album works better while driving than sitting in one place listening. When you're on the road the repetition feels right, like the turning of the wheels and the passing of the scenery. It's also more of a late afternoon/evening into-the-night type album than a morning or broad daylight one. For me at least.
Anyway, just a few additional thoughts. Hope I'm not belaboring it.
Thanks for the time and effort, Monkey. Agree about the driving thing. That's when I listen to it most. In fact, it's where I noticed the vocal volume thing. Funny thing is, since I posted this, I've listened to it more than ever and am enjoying it like I did when it first came out.