Five underrated Bob Dylan songs from oft-forgotten albums
Originally the B-side to "Heart of Mine," "The Groom's Still Waiting at the Altar" has since been included on 1981's Shot of Love since it was first issued on CD a few years later. And while the album wasn't a commercial hit by any means, many die-hard fans hold tight to this album's frequently boisterous charms. "Altar" is a straight ahead rock song, and finds Dylan in fine voice and fighting spirit throughout. While much of the album gets bogged down by Dylan's born-again lyrical focus, the songs still retain an inventiveness and a bite which his previous "Christian" albums lacked. But sadly, the hideous artwork found on the sleeve continued the terrible trend of frightful cover art which started with Saved and has continued straight through to this year's Tempest.
1. Oh Mercy - "Political World"
It's quite fitting for fans to rediscover this still topical song on Election Day 2012, especially with Dylan speaking out at his performance last night in Madison: "We tried to play good tonight since the President was here today. Don't believe the media, I think it's going to be a landslide." And while Dylan typically lets the lyrics to his songs speak for his social and political beliefs, it's encouraging to hear him speak out so boldly during one of his performances, where typically he does nothing other than introduce his band.
Back in 1989, Dylan spoke boldly about the uneasy state of affairs in this country and throughout the globe in "Political World," a determined, insightful gem from the frequently ignored, Daniel Lanois produced, Oh Mercy. As with nearly all of Dylan's songs, the lyrics ring as true today as they did the moment he wrote them: "We live in a political world/In the cities of lonesome fear/Little by little you turn in the middle/But you're never sure why you're here." Certainly anyone struggling to find their way towards prosperity in this country can identify with those acerbic words, today and every day. Since all of Dylan's original versions of this song have been taken down from YouTube, here's a not half-bad cover by a band called the Sensitives -- but I urge you to track down the original.
Just don't expect Bob to dust off any of these nuggets at his show Wednesday.
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