Thursday, January 9, 2014

427 of 1001 Albums: Bob Dylan's Live 1966 "The Royal Albert Concert Hall"

There are two types of people in live. Those who like Bob Dylan and those who don't. I fall into the category of liking Bob Dylan. There is something about his music, particularly the writing, that is interesting. Whether he is singing about women, faith, things that make no sense, or most notably social and political activism the way he sings evokes something in the person listening and enjoying the tunes.

History: This album was recorded during the shift in Bob Dylan's music from acoustic to electric. It was recorded at the Manchester Free Trade Hall during his 1966 tour. The place where it says on this recording it was recorded is actually even a mistake, but I guess no one wanted to change it. If you watched Don't Look Back you see how the changes in his music were received by the audience, because when he brought out the electric guitar the crowd actually got nasty. This would end up being the last tour he took until 1974.

Vocals: Bob Dylan has very recognizable vocals. Many may say they don't sound like they have any talent, but I do believe differently. There is something about the way that Dylan digs into his own voicing that shows a pitch following a note even if it isn't the general sound of what some may find appealing. I like the very live and emotional vibe of his vocals. Whether it's the first half of the album you're listening to which is folk, or the second half which is more electric based his vocals are the consistent tone that make the album an unified sound.

Instrumentals: A lot of people hated when Dylan picked up the electric guitar, and this album is a prime time in the musical career of Dylan when he did something very bold, and tested out his wide range of talent. When you get the second side a drastic change occurs when a blues sound is introduced and it makes for some great classics like "Ballad of a Thin Man" and "Like a Rolling Stone." While many other traditional instruments are used, the guitar is just stand out, and as I'm enjoying blues more I can appreciate the sounds introduced. If you're more of a folk fan then you'll enjoy the first side which features the classic acoustic, and harmonica sounds.

Recording: The recording is really good, especially since this was a live album. I like how the live quality brings out so much more about Dylan that makes him one of the few artist that is just as enjoyable to listen to live as you would a studio album. With the live album you get him being a lot more lively and fun with the music. "Vision of Johanna" and "Just Like a Woman" were some of my favorites from the first side of the album, and I just love how the contrast of the two sides was captured.

If you're a Bob Dylan fan then this album is a definite add on to a collection, and is one I eventually hope to have. I discovered a few more songs that I enjoyed, and I like how listening to the album all in order and within it's realm pieces it together better as far as the vibe. The album is a classic and chronicles a time when a significant change for Dylan was happening.

Rating 9 of 10.

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