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PostPosted: Wed November 22nd, 2017, 19:59 GMT 

Joined: Sun November 5th, 2017, 14:43 GMT
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UTRS contains some of my favourite Dylan songs: Under the red Sky, Born in Time, Unbelievable, T.V. Talking Song and 2x2. The arrangements of the other songs are a little too generic for my taste, musically. They’re still pretty enjoyable, though and contain some great lines. I like the the contrast between the nursery rhyme imagery and the obvious anticipation of doom that runs through the whole album. All in all, I think the album has aged well, too, due to the unobtrusive production.

If you bought the album when it came out in 1990, what did you originally think of it?
I immediately fell in love with Under the red Sky and Born in Time. I was (and still am) blown away by Harrison’s slide solo on the title track. I enjoyed the overall groove and the musical performances a lot (was a bit disappointed that David Lindley did not get to play some harder rocking slide parts; but then, he added some fine mandolin/bouzouki).

Did the previous album Oh Mercy influence your opinion? Did anyone consider it a disappointing follow up or an improvement? If it isn't a favorite album, how does Under the Red Sky compare to your favorite Dylan albums?
“Oh Mercy” was and still is my No. 1 Dylan album; I love the sound of it, great production by Lanois. I was hoping for another record as mysterious, so at first I was a bit disappointed that UTRS sounds so clean. Didn’t (and don’t) think it is an improvement over Oh Mercy which for me does not have one weak song and takes me to another world musically. I saw Dylan in 1991 and was a bit disappointed that he didn’t tackle any of my favourites from Under the Red Sky (damn, he even went so far as to play Wiggle Wiggle instead; except for Everything is Broken nothing from Oh Mercy either). Wasn’t sure what to think of that, as I was drawn towards the Dylan persona that had emerged from Oh Mercy and parts of UTRS: the mysterious man in a long black coat singing nursery rhymes and warning the world about impeding doom. Was a little disappointed there was so much 60s stuff in that concert.

(To anyone who likes the album) when Time Out of Mind was released, what was your reaction to a new album of original songs?
Being such an admirer of Oh Mercy, I was glad that Dylan was writing again and that he was back with Lanois. Some great tracks too: Love Sick, Standing in the Doorway, Trying to get to Heaven, ‘Til I fell in Love with You, Not Dark yet, Make you feel my Love became my favourites (since then I must add Can’t Wait, but only in the far superior version from Tell Tale Signs, Disc 3). On the whole there was too much generic Blues for my taste, not enough “song” as compared to Oh Mercy.

(To anyone who dislikes the album) when Time Out of Mind was released, was it the "return to form" you were hoping for after UTRS?
Sonically, Time out of Mind pointed back to Oh Mercy more than to Under the red Sky; I prefer Oh Mercy, so I appreciated this return to a sound I liked. I didn’t enjoy the generic bluesy parts, though, and Highlands was (and is) just too much for me.


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PostPosted: Fri November 24th, 2017, 15:58 GMT 
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I got Under the Red Sky on cassette when it was first released and may have been my first actual Dylan purchase (I had heard SoL and some of BoB through our local library). So, it didn't seem to turn me off from Dylan.

What were my impressions of it? I don't think I had any idea that he was in an artistic slump in the late 80's, or had a comeback with the previous album. No idea about the arc of his career at all, really. I knew Oh Mercy had gotten good reviews because of a Rolling Stone article I happened to see. So, I just assumed he was on a roll.

I remember I did carry it around with me, and would slip it into the cassette deck when my friends and I would go driving around. I guess I was trying to troll them. Never got a reaction out of them, though. They all seemed to like it well enough.


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PostPosted: Fri November 24th, 2017, 16:28 GMT 

Joined: Fri January 5th, 2007, 23:38 GMT
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Vic333 wrote:
I got Under the Red Sky on cassette when it was first released and may have been my first actual Dylan purchase (I had heard SoL and some of BoB through our local library). So, it didn't seem to turn me off from Dylan.

What were my impressions of it? I don't think I had any idea that he was in an artistic slump in the late 80's, or had a comeback with the previous album. No idea about the arc of his career at all, really. I knew Oh Mercy had gotten good reviews because of a Rolling Stone article I happened to see. So, I just assumed he was on a roll.

I remember I did carry it around with me, and would slip it into the cassette deck when my friends and I would go driving around. I guess I was trying to troll them. Never got a reaction out of them, though. They all seemed to like it well enough.


That's an objective standpoint, devoid of preconceptions and received ideas, something which is quite impossible for those of us who approach his work from years, even decades, of experience. It reminds me of how I reacted to first hearing Dylan, at fourteen, when he sang Hurricane on my radio. I had never heard of Dylan in any shape or form before hearing him being identified at the end by the dj, but I had felt upon hearing the song that it was something wonderful and utterly unique that I was going to have to find out more about. Bizarrely, I initially assumed that he was an English folk-singer until I made further investigations!


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PostPosted: Fri November 24th, 2017, 18:42 GMT 
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Under The Red Sky is not a good album and it is not a bad album. It is just an album. I find I rather bland and boring. The great songs (Born In Time, God Knows) have some amazing lyrics but have been performed better in other studio versions and live versions. The good songs (2 x 2, Under The Red Sky) don't have the best lyrics but the music supporting them makes up for it. Unbelievable and T.V. Talking Song are okay songs as well. Cat's In The Well isn't a great way to end the album, but I can see why it was chosen. I can understand how people see this as a children's album (why did the song Wiggle Wiggle need to be written?) but I think that's letting the album off too easy. I don't think it was meant to be one. With all the guest musicians I think the original intention of a follow up to Oh Mercy became muddled. Oh Mercy was a real high point, and this album is a real disappointment. The album doesn't really have a specific feeling or a cohesiveness. I enjoy it, but most of the time I'm left wanting more and thinking how much of a swing and a miss Under The Red Sky is. Overall, I'd give it a score of 5/10.


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PostPosted: Sat November 25th, 2017, 00:58 GMT 
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Of all his records, this is the one that I just don’t get.

I bought it in 1990 having become a fan in the mid 80s and heard everyting pre 1985 in all the wrong order.

I love the sound of the record but don’t get any enjoyment lyrically.

Plenty of people seem to like it and I am glad for them - for me, it is worth it for Born in Time and the phrasing on Handy Dandy. I have more time for Empire Burlesque and Knocked out loaded, both of which come in for a fair bit of stick


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PostPosted: Sat November 25th, 2017, 09:04 GMT 

Joined: Mon December 6th, 2004, 08:17 GMT
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It was a shock, coming as it did, on the heels of Oh Mercy. We all expected more. It was as if Dylan, having finally owned up to his own legend by making Oh Mercy, decided to immediately disown it again. Those were some of my immediate thoughts.

Years later I love a good deal of it, especially 10,000 Men, Cats in the Well, Handy Dandy, Born in Time, Unbelievable and TV Talking Song. It's a good sing-along record.

I'm so glad he made this record.


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PostPosted: Sun November 26th, 2017, 01:13 GMT 
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rimbaud wrote:
It's a good sing-along record.

I'm so glad he made this record.

Agreed. Better than given credit for, it is and singing along to it is a fine way to share your joy with the world... And the world will appreciate it too.


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PostPosted: Sun November 26th, 2017, 09:40 GMT 

Joined: Thu January 28th, 2016, 11:16 GMT
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I think this is one of those records that time has been kind to and will continue to embellish. Although I wasn't a Dylan fan at time (or even born for that matter) I can totally see why people in 1990 might have viewed it as a disappointing follow up to Oh Mercy. In the context of his whole discography, however, I think it makes a lot of sense.

To my ears its cut from the same cloth as Nashville Skyline and Together Through Life. As with those albums, Bob isn't worried about making an important work of art, he's just having a laugh. Yes it's lightweight if you compare it to his best albums but it's also really refreshing to hear that fun side of Bob. Often that playfulness kept in check by Dylan the poet but here it's out in full force. Handy Dandy and Cats in The Well are among the most infectious pop songs Bob ever wrote.

It also has a degree of lyrical experimentation that isn't seen on any other album. There's a huge emphasis on simplicity and on the sound of words, rather than their meaning. I think that's why so many of the songs seem to carry the spirit of nursery rhymes. It's clearly a conscious decision on Dylan's part and one of the most marked creative departures in his career. This is perhaps most clearly highlighted by the anomaly Born In Time, an Oh Mercy leftover. Lyrically this stands apart from the rest of the record on account of being more traditionally 'Dylanesque' than any of the other tracks. This tonal difference really helps break up the record though, adding some depth to the album. (I'm also in the minority who thinks that the UTRS version of Born in Time is an improvement on the original).

The album has its flaws though. Wiggle Wiggle will never click for me and I think that song alone is responsible for much of the records poor reputation. The music is bland, the repetition grates and the winking sexuality of the lyrics is too goofy. It would have made more sense, in my opinion, to open with either Unbelievable or Under The Red Sky. I feel like those two tracks are far more indicative of the general tone and quality of the record.

Elsewhere I find it hard to get on with T.V Talking Song but that's mostly because I adore the outtake and the album version feels totally neutered in comparison. The 2X2 outtake is also a lot more dynamic but that's not so great of a loss. Admittedly the production is a bit heavy-handed but I can live with that for the most part. It gives the record a unique sound in the Dylan catalogue. The only true crime is the way that God Knows fades out just as its beginning to gain momentum. I'd love to know the justification for that.

It's not a record I can listen to on repeat like Blonde on Blonde or Blood on The Tracks, the songs are too thin for that, but its a lot of fun to revisit every now and then. It's certainly leagues ahead of Down In the Groove and Knocked Out Loaded. I don't understand how some people lump it with the 80's nadir. In fact, I avoided this album for a long time because of such reviews. When I eventually got around to listening to it I was pleasantly surprised to find such a cohesive collection of musical oddballs.


Highlights: Unbelievable, UTRS, Born In Time, Handy Dandy, Cats in The Well.

6/10


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PostPosted: Mon November 27th, 2017, 12:12 GMT 
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It is probably the original-Dylan album (hence excluding GAIBTY, WGW and the Sinatra trilogy) which I have listened to the least.
The production is way too clean: the drums in particular are terrible and way too upfront in the mix and make everything sound like early '90s sludge rock. Kenny Aronoff synthesizes everything I hate in rock drumming. No taste, no dynamics, just mindless pounding and the concept of drums as practicing pads.
The album would have been ten times better if the fillers Wiggle, wiggle, Unbelievable and 10.000 men had been left out. God knows is a good song but the outtakes are so much better than this version. Not a fan of 2x2 but I could have gone with it if it was the weakest on the album (hence if the 3 fillers weren't there). Born in time, Handy Dandy and Cat's in the well are easily the best songs there. The last 2 songs are also probably the only ones on which the production works.


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PostPosted: Tue November 28th, 2017, 20:27 GMT 
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For me it's hard to talk down this album. I find it does have its charms and is not a bad representation of where he was at during the time. The source material is mostly really sweet. It could have been one of those situations where the conditions of the studio (producer, other musicians, scheduling, I don't know) kept Bob from giving everything he had to the project. Certainly some great tracks and a raw sound reflective at times of the type of stripped-down music I imagine he would have rather been making at various times through the previous decade.


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PostPosted: Tue November 28th, 2017, 22:03 GMT 
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I recall being pretty disappointed with it at the time, but it's grown on me a little.
It's all in my mind though, because it's not something I consciously put on when there's so many other choices.


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PostPosted: Wed November 29th, 2017, 14:13 GMT 

Joined: Wed March 22nd, 2017, 15:55 GMT
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Vic333 wrote:
I got Under the Red Sky on cassette when it was first released and may have been my first actual Dylan purchase (I had heard SoL and some of BoB through our local library). So, it didn't seem to turn me off from Dylan.

What were my impressions of it? I don't think I had any idea that he was in an artistic slump in the late 80's, or had a comeback with the previous album. No idea about the arc of his career at all, really. I knew Oh Mercy had gotten good reviews because of a Rolling Stone article I happened to see. So, I just assumed he was on a roll.

I remember I did carry it around with me, and would slip it into the cassette deck when my friends and I would go driving around. I guess I was trying to troll them. Never got a reaction out of them, though. They all seemed to like it well enough.


I remember listening to the cassette in my car too. Never heard it since and have no idea how it holds up.


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PostPosted: Thu November 30th, 2017, 01:34 GMT 
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For my money, Under the Red Sky is the best (maybe second best, the Traveling Wilbury's release was pretty good) album released in 1990. When I read comments from those who dislike it or find it to be a middle of the road album I immediately know they've never rolled the window down and sang along with it at the top of their lungs while driving down the highway. This is an album meant for singing along... something I strongly encourage.

Trust me, you won't regret it.


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PostPosted: Thu November 30th, 2017, 01:57 GMT 
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In replay to flashman who wrote;

Quote:
I have more time for Empire Burlesque and Knocked out loaded, both of which come in for a fair bit of stick


I can understand you preferring 'Empire Burlesque', although that album to me was lyrically
too one dimensional lyrically, love/lost love orientated, i was hoping you could explain how 'Knocked Out Loaded' bettered
Under A Red Sky? Is it because of the massively overrated 'Brownsville Girl' (sorry but it really
is given way more credit than it deserves, if its duration ran at 3 and a half minutes i'm willing
to wager it wouldn't be so highly rated).
Surely 'God Knows', 'Born In Time' 'Under The Red Sky', 'T.V. Talkin' Song' & '2 × 2'
are much better songs than "Driftin' Too Far from Shore", "Maybe Someday", "Got My Mind Made Up"
and "Under Your Spell"?


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PostPosted: Sun December 17th, 2017, 18:18 GMT 
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I was 13 when Empire Burlesque was released and 14 for Knocked Out Loaded - both records, for me, probably get a more favourable view than that of the average fan.

I love Brownsville Girl for the cinematic sweep - it is gorgeous and up there with Black Diamond Bay and Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts. The rest of the album is lightweight filler although I like Under Your Spell and Maybe Someday.

My problem with Under the Red Sky is that I just don’t get it (that is my problem, not the record). I like the sound but lyrically it doesn’t work for me, despite Christopher Ricks’ analysis as exploration of ghe nursery rhyme form. Of all his records, this is my least favourite. I am glad other people enjoy it and the world would be very dull if we were all the same.


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