Personnel: Bob Dylan (vocals, guitar); Kevin Odegard, Chris Weber (guitar); Buddy Cage (steel guitar); Peter Ostroushko (mandolin); Gregg Inhofer (keyboards); Paul Griffin (organ); Tony Brown, Billy Peterson (bass); Bill Berg (drums); Eric Weissberg & Deliverance.
Includes liner notes by Pete Hamill.
By the mid-'70s, even Dylan's most ardent supporters began taking his artistic decline for granted. Albums like NEW MORNING and PLANET WAVES were fine works, but lacked the visionary spark of his seminal '60s recordings. At 34 he was already being written off as a has-been. That presumption is what made BLOOD ON THE TRACKS such a glorious sucker-punch of a record.
One of Dylan's most mournful efforts, this album, which easily ranks among his best, is full of stories about lost love and the struggle for peace of mind. With a simple, country-flavored backing somewhat akin to NASHVILLE SKYLINE, he recounts shattered love affairs in heart-breaking detail on songs like "Simple Twist Of Fate" and "If You See Her Say Hello." On the vengeful "Idiot Wind" he rails mercilessly against the ignorant and self-obsessed a la "Like A Rolling Stone." The difference here, and the major breakthrough for Dylan, is that by the end of the song, he's lumping himself in with those he excoriates so vehemently.
Rolling Stone (12/11/03, p.96) - Ranked #16 in Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums Of All Time" - "...No one disputes the album's luxuriant tangle of guitars, the gritty directness in Dylan's voice and the magnificent confessional force of his writing..."
Q (1/03, p.69) - Included in Q Magazine's "100 Greatest Albums Ever"
Q (12/93, p.131) - 5 Stars (out of 5) - "...Suddenly Dylan no longer seemed to be straining to recapture the surreal poetic torrents of the '60s....this is probably Dylan's most complete and most unified album--and yes, damnit, his best..."
Alternative Press (5/01, p.104) - Included in AP's "10 Essential Breakup Albums" - "...Dylan has never been so thematically clear....representing a man full of regret and misery, singing through his tears."
Vibe (12/99, p.157) - Included in Vibe's 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century
Q (Magazine) (p.110) - "Against the backdrop of his own collapsing marriage, it's as close as he ever got to the confessional school of singer-songwriters..."
NME (Magazine) (10/2/93, p.29) - Ranked #85 in NME's list of the "Greatest Albums Of All Time."
NME (Magazine) (9/18/93, p.19) - Ranked #29 in NME's list of the "Greatest Albums Of The '70s."
NME (Magazine) (8/12/00, p.28) - Ranked #13 in The NME "Top 30 Heartbreak Albums" - "...A bitter, sorrowful eulogy to love and the pain of breaking up."