Wednesday, July 27, 2016

"Sweetheart Like You" by Bob Dylan

Song#:  1731
Date:  12/17/1983
Debut:  90
Peak:  55
Weeks:  9
Genre:  Singer/Songwriter

Pop Bits:  When an artist such as Dylan has a long career, both the person and their music will change along the way. After being in the music business for almost twenty years, Dylan had a major shift in his life when he became a born-again Christian in the late 70s. Of course this would be reflected in his music and his first LP of Christian-leaning songs, 1979's Slow Train Coming, was well-received hitting #3 thanks to the Grammy-winning single "Gotta Serve Somebody" (#24 Pop). But his next two efforts, Saved and Shot of Love, were not greeted with the same critical fawning or sales and they burned out quickly. Folks were wondering if this was the end of Dylan. Alas, it was not. He decided to return to secular music with his album Infidels. Although reviews were mixed, most would agree that it was definitely a step back in the right direction. The LP reached #20 and put him back in gold territory thanks in part to this single that came close to the top half of the Pop chart. It would end up being Dylan's last charting single. His albums would be up-and-down affairs over the next decade and a half, but he truly returned to form with his 1997 album Time Out of Mind, which ended up winning the Grammy for Album of the Year.

ReduxReview:  Alright, this will tick off some folks, but I can't help it - I don't dig Dylan. Never have and most likely never will. His voice is just grating to me and I just can't get into his 10-minute mumbling epics where I need Cliff Notes to get through them. Now, I do understand and appreciate the importance of some of his albums and songs in the history of American music, but it doesn't mean I have to like 'em or listen to them. Actually, I do like several of his songs, but that usually happens when another artist covers them - such as this one. Dylan's original is not too bad. I can recognize an actual song behind his "singing" and Mark Knopfler's production/guitar work is solid. However, Rod Stewart's reading of this song on his 1995 album A Spanner in the Works is far, far better. Stewart always knew how to interpret lyrics and pull out all the emotion from them and he does a very fine job with this song. As far as Dylan goes, I can hear a song going on once I put my Dylan vocal filter on.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Many critics and fans liked the album, but thought that Dylan missed out on releasing a true classic. When Dylan is in the studio, he will typically record several songs and ideas and the completed songs will be pared down to the tracks that will form an album. The remaining tracks are just set aside. Some of them may get revived in newly recorded versions while some never really see the light of day. A few have ended up on various vault collections released by Dylan. For Infidels, one track in particular caused some controversy with fans. Originally pegged to be on the album, "Blind Willie McTell" was ejected at the last minute along with another tune "Foot of Pride" in favor of the song "Union Sundown." Some critics and fans felt that the original track listing with "Blind Willie McTell" could have turned a good album into a great one. Many considered the song good enough to be ranked among his classics. Yet Dylan didn't think he had the song right and eliminated it from Infidels. Both "Blind Willie" and "Foot of Pride" would get an official release on on his first Bootleg series compilation in 1991.


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