Bob Dylan

Tempest (Columbia)

Phases & Stages

Bob Dylan

Tempest (Columbia)

Bob Dylan's 35th studio album arrives on the 50th anniversary of his eponymous debut. In that half century, he's given popular music more than its fair share of certifiable masterpieces. What Tempest shares in common with his best work is an unparalleled knack for narrative. The 14-minute title track, retelling the sinking of the Titanic complete with references to James Cameron and Leonardo DiCaprio, may not equal "Chimes of Freedom," "Desolation Row," and "Hurricane," but it's still a spectacular yarn no other songwriter would attempt. Likewise, "Scarlet Town," "Tin Angel," "Roll On John" (a touching tribute to John Lennon), and "Pay in Blood," with the searing lyric, "I pay in blood but not my own," are all extraordinary in their characteristically plaintive storytelling and literary fortitude. Austin guitar ace Charlie Sexton in tow, Dylan displays his enduring love for blues rock on "Duquesne Whistle," co-written with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, and the rollicking "Narrow Way," while "Early Roman Kings" cops the well-worn electrified Mississippi riff of Muddy Waters' "Mannish Boy" and Bo Diddley's "I'm a Man." Dylan's romantic side rises on the dreamy "Soon After Midnight," on which the bard's sandpaper croon comes across as rather endearing. As with the albums that have come in its wake, this one will be compared to 1997's Time Out Of Mind, the last truly great Dylan disc. Though not of that caliber, Tempest finds Bob Dylan still very much in the game.

***

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Bob Dylan
Books, Box Sets & Reviews
Bob Dylan
Travelin' Thru, 1967-1969: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 15 (Record Review)

Scott Jordan, Dec. 6, 2019

Top 10 Box Sets of 2018
Bob Dylan
More Blood, More Tracks: The Bootleg Series Vol. 14 (Record Review)

Kevin Curtin, Dec. 7, 2018

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Kinky Friedman
Resurrection (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Jan. 3, 2020

More by Jay Trachtenberg
<i>The Teacher</i> by Michal Ben-Naftali
The Teacher
This prize-winning novel's tale of a student piecing together the hidden life of her teacher, a Holocaust survivor who killed herself, is haunting

Feb. 14, 2020

Jay Trachtenberg's Top Books of 2019
Jay Trachtenberg's Top Books of 2019
From the social upheaval of the Sixties to the double life of an intelligence agent to the secular past of an Orthodox rabbi, splits resolved into memorable books

Dec. 20, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Bob Dylan

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle