BY JOHN B. MOORE
I think as a society we can collectively agree that the 1980s was not a golden age for Bob Dylan. With a few exceptions here and there, the albums were even worse than his output during his flirtation with Evangelical Christianity (I think it says a lot about the talent of Mr. Dylan, that we are willing to pretend that his stint as the Scott Stapp of the late ‘70s never happened. That the great “Gotta Serve Somebody” was on one of those gospel albums also helped).
But as a slew of indie artists have just proven with Bob Dylan in the 80s [sic] . his song writing from the Reagan years were actually pretty damn fine, it was the ridiculous, glossy production and goofy synthesizers that actually pulled down Mr. Zimmerman’s rep. “Wiggle Wiggle,” technically from 1990, however is just plain bad, regardless of who is covering it
The album starts of very strong with Langhorne Slim’s brilliant take on “Got My Mind Made Up” and Built to Spill’s just as impressive “Jokerman” (probably Dylan’s best song from the ‘80s). The rest if a mix from great (Glen Hansard’s “Pressing On” and Deer Tick’s “Night After Night”) to the not so much (Aaron Freeman’s “Wiggle Wiggle”).
Now that most of these bands have shown how solid many of those songs from the ‘80s really were, once stripped of the gaudy neon production of the decade, it would be great to hear Dylan take another run at these songs, much like last year’s triumphant Self Portrait redux (Another Self Portrait).
DOWNLOAD: “Got My Mind Made Up,” “Jokerman” and “Night After Night”