Recorded: November 1973
Released: January 1974
People were excited! The 1966 tour and the Basement Tapes hadn’t been officially released, but were legendary, and here you got an entire album of new songs of Dylan backed up by The Band.
But me, I expected it… never mind. This is an album that I find pleasant overall, no clunkers, but I never really want to listen to. This is almost the opposite of how I feel about New Morning in that I really enjoy listening to it, despite the fact that there are a few clunkers, and I do sometimes want to listen to.
I think part of the problem is that I really am not a big fan of The Band. After I listened to the Live 1966 album and The Basement Tapes, I thought: “I should listen to The Band’s Music From Big Pink. While I’m familiar with quite a few of the songs on it, I don’t think I’d ever listened to the whole album, and wow… aside from the stone classics, “The Weight” and “Long Black Veil”, I found a number of the tracks nearly unlistenable, and it was all I could do to keep myself from skipping through them. Also… I cannot stand Richard Manuel’s strangled semi-falsetto on “I Shall Be Released” and “Tears of Rage”. So… I’m not going to jump up and down about The Band’s role on Planet Waves. (The Band’s second album is much better!)
I do enjoy almost all the songs. If I had to pick my favorites I’d go for “On A Night Like This”, “Something There is About You”, “Dirge”, and “Wedding Song”.
Of course, it’s also got “Forever Young” … times two. However, I’m not a fan of either of the versions here (“out out damned Band”). For me, the best version always has been Dylan’s demo that’s included on Biograph… but I think he surpassed that with the version on Shadow Kingdom.
So there you have it. A perfectly fine Dylan album, but one that I may never choose to listen to.