Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks

Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks

Mobile Fidelity  UDSACD 2098

Stereo Hybrid


"Blood on the Tracks"

Bob Dylan

Dylan’s Masterpiece Break-Up Album: Sentimental Redemption Arises Amidst Sorrow, Turmoil, Sadness, and Pain

Bob Dylan was at several crossroads in the mid-1970s. Artistically, he was largely written off as being past his prime. Emotionally, he was suffering through a painful divorce from his then-wife Sara Lowndes. Creatively, he appeared at a stalemate, his previous decade’s unprecedented run of transformational brilliance finished. Then came Blood on the Tracks.

A start-to-finish cycle that documents a lover’s pursuit of, entanglement with, and loss of a woman, the bracingly intimate 1975 effort remains one of the most encompassing break-up albums ever made and ranks as the most personal statement of the Bard’s career. To hear it is to experience the agony, frustration, trauma, highs, lows, confusion, sadness, and, ultimately, requisite redemption associated with intimate relationships gone astray. Dylan maintains it’s a work of fiction, but it’s evident close-vested autobiographical premise is what helps make it universal: It’s the icon singing through tears, going out of his mind, battling hallowing emptiness, firing shots across the bow, and accepting culpability. It is, in short, a consummate expression of love’s darker sides and the consequences of what happens when dreams unravel.

As part of its Bob Dylan catalog restoration series, Mobile Fidelity is thoroughly humbled to have the privilege of mastering the iconic LP from the original master tapes and making it available on hybrid SACD. Fantastically presenting both the solo acoustic and band-supported songs with the utmost clarity, dynamics, presence, immediacy, spaciousness, imaging, and balance, this version shines a high-powered light on the fluid vocal phrasing, timbral shifts, functional rhythms, and inward-looking strumming that contribute to every song here serving as a wound-exposing confessional.

For all the melancholic pain, unresolved questions, shattered memories, wasted times, unrequited dialogs, and weary regret within, Blood on the Tracks remains as daring as it is reflective. Rather than follow for a monotone caustic vibe, Dylan’s songs burrow into the subconscious for the manners in which they are even-keeled, mellow, and occasionally, even peaceful. Dignity, honor, poignancy, and fairness—all traits uncommon in any situation in which partners dissolve histories, change hearts, and attribute blame—instill the record with equilibrium on par with the consistency of the flowing melodies.

Throughout, tunes come on and proceed as if they could continue forever, Dylan spinning poetic verses and conversations amidst finely tied knots of acoustic notes, chords, and fills, the deceivingly simple architecture conjuring the intertwined refractions of a bezeled jewel, various angles, colors, and textures conjoining into a gorgeously inseparable whole. Backed by Tony Brown’s flexible albeit subtle bass, Buddy Cage’s country-streaked pedal-steel guitar, and Paul Griffin’s soul-baring organ—an instrument used to shadow, tuckpoint, and illuminate here as effectively as any time in rock history—Dylan pours soulful emotion, open his veins, and bleeds.

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14 of 14 recommend this, would you recommend it?  yes | no

1. Tangled Up in Blue
2. Simple Twist of Fate
3. You’re A Big Girl Now
4. Idiot Wind
5. You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go
6. Meet Me in the Morning
7. Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts
8. If You See Her, Say Hello
9. Shelter From the Storm
10. Buckets of Rain
Comments (2)

Comment by Downunderman - September 16, 2021 (1 of 2)

Copied from the 'old' site..

Review by analogue December 17, 2012 (13 of 14 found this review helpful)
Performance: Sonics:
A truly great Dylan album from 1974......a come back of sorts while paving the way for new expressiveness and what is most likely his last truly great release.

I own the original Sony sacd and it has decent sonics. However having said that it is also compressed, a tad bright and severely etched in the detail department. It is far too busy and "uppity" for its own good.

Once this new Mofi sacd is played.....right from the get go.....its obvious that the sound on the new disc is much better than the previous sacd. For starters a very nice mellowness that the listener can relax to starts the proceedings. There is no hyper quality that raises the heartbeat and no edginess. Tape hiss is far more prominent on this new sacd that the previous one. Dylan's voice is more husky at times...guitar strings do not twang as much. This new release is slightly darker in the best meaning of the word. Its also richer and slightly fuller.

The previous sacd was fussed with far to much. A good example is the first track, which is busy to begin with. The Sony sacd had each instruments competing with each other and also with Dylan's voice. It was far to busy and hyper. When the new Mofi is played the sound is like a little river winding its way through a brook. Gentle and inviting. And highly crankable by comparison.

Musically this is an amazing album. Dylan PAINTS GREAT STORIES WITH HIS WORDS. Great storytelling. Virtually every song is fantastic.

Mofi did a terrific job on this sacd. Interesting that the same tape source was used and that the differences between the two are merely the human aspect behind the mastering. It sounds to my ears that Mofi simply let the tapes play and record them to Dsd. In between tracks tape hiss is clearly audibly as well as some crunching sounds. I wonder of the condition of these master tapes.

This is a good recording but certainly not audiophile quality. It doesn't matter either way. Its the music that counts.

Its all good with this sacd.

Highly recommended. Very good job MoFi.

Comment by Downunderman - September 19, 2021 (2 of 2)

Nothing is ever simple with The Bob.

This will be old news to some, but it seems the word is that the only version of this album that is at the original, correct speed is the CBS half speed version from 1981.

Turns out the tracks on the album ended up being sped up to varying degrees during the recording process. Up to around 2.3% in some cases, for an average of approx. 1.70% over the album as a whole.

According to Glenn Berger, who worked with Phil Ramone engineering the Blood On The Tracks sessions, the variably increased speed on most of the tracks of the finally released album was not the intention of Bob but rather down to faulty equipment. Ramone tells me that he noticed the speed up. It wasn’t intentional. In those days, tape machines could easily run off-speed, if not checked. The mastering machine, he assumes, was off. As Ramone had something like perfect pitch, he was always noticing such things, and was usually correct.

When advance notice of the MoFi version was advertised the question was asked of MoFi as to what they would be doing. Their response: - The speed issue you mentioned will be subject to discussion with both the artist and the label. The so-called “incorrect speed” has been around so long, it may be deemed by those two parties as what they want us to duplicate.

In the end it seems MoFi has not made changes to the track speeds.

If a corrected speed version could be done for Kind Of Blue, at some point there may be one for Blood On The Tracks too.