The Modern Times of Bob Dylan Rave (A.K.A. The Modern Times of Johnny and The Mighty Bob Rave)

Ok, so about 34 hours ago I wrote you about my great anticipation and excitement concerning the imminent release of Bob Dylan's new CD "Modern Times" and I sent along that 5-out-of-5-stars review/rave from Rolling Stone Magazine. Well, yesterday I picked up the CD while out running around for the day. Unbelievably, it wasn't until later that evening that I got home and finally was able to listen to the bloody thing. I sat down for my first two listens together with a couple of nice cold Pilsner Urquells (the original Pilsner from the city of Pilsen in the Czech Republic). The perfect combination: A brand new Bob CD and a couple of cold beers... and my son, Kaishan, dancing all around the room to the sound of the new music.

Well, after another listen this morning, and a fourth listen right now as I type this, I'm happy to announce Rolling Stone got it right, this is indeed another classic new Bob album. I'm the first to admit, however, that this isn't music for everyone's taste. Take my friend Johnny, for instance. I don't want to publicly shame the guy by giving his last name, but let's just say he plays on a soccer team I play on. Poor Johnny can't relate to brilliant music like Bob's at all. But, really, what can you expect from someone like Johnny for whom "old" music means the "old classics" he's always going on and on about; "classics" such as Loverboy's "Everybody's Working For The Weekend", Miami Sound Machine's "Do The Conga", Peter Cetera's "Glory of Love", Wang Chung's "Everybody Have Fun Tonight (Everybody Wang Chung Tonight)", Denise Williams' "Let's Hear It For The Boy", and my all-time most-hated song (and, incidentally, Johnny's all-time fav), Starship's "We Built This City"? Really, what can you expect from such a guy anyway?

But for anyone who is into real American music - the original stuff - you're going to love this album. If, like me (and The Bob), you love the real stuff, then you'll definitely love every song on this album. I'm talkin' the folk music of Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie; the country music of Jimmy Rodgers, Hank Williams and The Carter Family; and the blues of people such as Robert Johnson, Howlin' Wolf, Blind Willie Johnson and Blind Willie McTell (hell, all the blind Willies). For those of you more inclined to get all pumped up for Johnny's type of music, however, you probably shouldn't waste your hard-earned money on a classic like "Modern Times". I hear Britney's working on a new album. Or was that a new baby?

"Modern Times" truly is a timeless piece of music and it's really as far removed from "modern" music as you can get, which makes the title another perfect little witty Bobism. The only modern thing about this record is the reference in the first song to Alicia Keys... and the sound quality, of course. Aside from that, this album could have been recorded 50 years ago. At once bluesy, folky and jazzy, the album is also, on many songs, fully rocking as well.

I'm a huge fan of lots of newer music too - stuff like The White Stripes (hard-rocking music also steeped in old blues and country), Kanye West, Gnarls Barkley, Green Day, Fiona Apple, The Chili Peppers, Lauryn Hill, Outkast, Todd Snider, etc., etc., and, yes, Alicia Keys too - but I also love the really old stuff from 40, 50, 60, 70 and even 80 years ago. And this album is at once a tribute to all that classic music as well as being a classic in its own right. Every song's great. I can't even list any favs because I'm lovin' every single song. But if I had to name just one song after these first four listens, I'd have to say "Workingman's Blues #2" is sure damn fine.

Along with 2001's "Love and Theft" and 1997's "Time Out Of Mind", this now makes three classic albums in a row. It takes The Bob about 5 years between each new album these days, but, man, is it ever worth the wait! All the Johnnys out there may never see the light, but this is truly brilliant music. Yes, it's true, he certainly did go through a few lean years there in the '80s, which made being a devoted fan like myself a bit trying at times, but those days are long gone. Ever since the release of "Oh Mercy" in 1989, and with the exception of 1990's "Under The Red Sky", the man has been on a tear. Nowadays, as they say, it's all butta.

And as a great man once (almost) sang:

"Come all without, come all within,
You'll not see nothing like The Mighty Bob"

Mike Cowie (Oredakedo)
Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

 

To read my two - yes two - recent rave reviews of Tell Tale Signs click here: Bob's Back: Tell Tale Signs of Joy... and A Complete Lack of Judgement

 

And here: Tell Tale Signs of Genius: Dylan's Best Album of The Past 20 Years? (Rave #2)

 

And for much more on all things Dylan click here: The Bob (as in Dylan)

 

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