Friday, September 28, 2007

Thin Wild Mercury

Dylan now knew what he wanted, and the sidemen quickly caught on: Kooper swirled his ghostly organ riffs around Dylan’s subtle, bottom-heavy acoustic strumming and Joe South’s funk hillbilly bass; Robbie Robertson’s feral lead electric guitar sneaked in at the “key-chain” line in the second verse; Kenny Buttrey mixed steady snare drum with tolling cymbal taps that came to the fore during Dylan’s lonesome whistle harmonica breaks.

Sean Wilentz, almost-Pulitzer-winning historian and (according to Wikipedia) historian-in-residence of, describing Dylan's "Visions of Johanna," one of the many reasons Blonde on Blonde is considered the greatest rock album of all time.

Lots of great stuff from Wilentz in the New Oxford Review on the making of the record and the long road it takes to capturing what Dylan called that "thin wild mercury" sound.

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