Bob Dylan - Nashville Skyline (1969)

Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter who emerged out of the early 60s folk revival to become an informal chronicler and reluctant figurehead of social unrest. He famously made the move from folk music to electric rock in the mid-60s, and has remained a major figure in music for five decades.

In 1966 Bob Dylan had retreated from the public eye after two years of loud electric rock & roll, and 1967's John Wesley Harding had been a quiet, country-tinged affair which signalled a shift in both musical style and character (or at least the sides of his character he chose to allow the public to see). Nothing was heard of him throughout 1968, leading some to believe that he had packed it all in, and the album he finally released in 1969 came as quite a shock to many. 
Nashville Skyline was recorded in Nashville with a group of top country session players, including Kenneth Buttrey, Fred Carter, Pete Drake and Charlie McCoy. It showed Dylan fully immersing himself in country music, leaving the politics of protest folk and the controversy of electric rock far behind. He also abandoned the dense, wordy lyrical style he had become known for, instead coming up with mostly simple, concise romance-themed songs. Most startling of all, he was now singing in a new voice, adopting a mellow country croon. This drastic change in style attracted its fair share of criticism, but the truth was that Nashville Skyline ended up being a quality piece of country-pop. The single "Lay Lady Lay" even made it to #7 (and #5 in the UK).
One of the songs in particular stood out - a remake of his old classic "Girl From The North Country", sung as a duet with country music legend Johnny Cash. Cash had been an admirer of Dylan's work from the very beginning, and had covered several of his songs.
The album turned out to be a major success, getting to #3 on the US album chart and #1 in the UK, and retrospectively it has often be described as a key release in the country-rock movement - not so much as any sort of inventive stylistic fusion (it's country pure and simple), but more in the way that it showed an established rock artist embracing traditional country music without the need to explain himself. If Dylan did it, it had to be cool!

John Wesley Harding (1967) <|> Self Portrait (1970)
More from Bob Dylan



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JawsOfJosh said...

Thank you. This is one I always skipped because of his vocal style, but I want to give this another chance, if for no other reason just for the album cover. It's one of the best album covers EVER, and you never see Bob smile.

zappahead said...

Actually, his voice seems to get better on every excellent opening track to....thanks for the share as I haven't heard this in ages....much obliged.

Anonymous said...

What a jewel this album. Love it.

johnnylovesjazz said...

Wonderful share‼️ Thanks for taking the time to upload this great artist‼️ Made my day, and then some‼️ Sam :-) This album is in my Top 3 of All-Time‼️