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so yeah, no way i'm ever going to have that on cd.
But my pick is definitely Budakan. i mean, seriously, what WAS that man thinking?!
Of course some people hate that tour altogether...
I'd certainly prefer Red Sky to, say, New Morning.
and i can't really remove myself from new morning enough not to love it: at the time it came out, i was living country, hiding out in the woods riding horses everyday, pretending i knew how to play guitar. so each song is a piece of my history.
I'd count new morning in my top dozen dylan albums. or maybe top 20. ask me after i've had more tea.
I don't share the general contempt for Budokan. My understanding was that it was made explicitly for the Japanese market, and was only generally released because of bootleg problems. Well, who can say that the Japanese didn't just love it, what with all the flutes and crazy pop rhythms?
Red Sky and In the Groove have one or two decent songs each, but otherwise are unlistenable to me.
The man seems to have grown into a new voice with the last several albums back to World Gone Wrong. Whenever a new one comes out, I cross my fingers and hope it won't be a clunker. So far, I haven't been disappointed.
Strangely I love Budokan - and all the live albums.
Just kidding. Hope I didn't cause anybody to spill their coffee or anything. Actually, I would choose "Down in the Groove". I do not own that album, and in truth, I haven't listened to it since around the time it came out. But I did listen to it a good amount then, to see if I could hear more with repeated listenings. I could not. The only song I actually liked on it was the cover of "Rank Strangers".
The strongest disagreement I would have with what people have said above would be Slow Train Coming. This has many strong songs, and they were even better live, although Mark Knopfler made the record sound exceptionally good. I think a lot of people just could not see past their prejudice against Christianity. This may be particularly true for the many Jewish Dylan fans, because a Jew converting to Christianity remains to this day a strong taboo in that community. Check out the live shows from the Gospel period. They are among Dylan's best.
Then there is the Christmas album and Dylan doing Here Comes Santa Claus. At this point I am not even certain I made it to the second cut, but that is really bad and cannot be redeemed.
Dylan brings his own style to songs he seems to have a connection with and while not up there with his original music it is sure better than the Christmas album (imho) Maybe, I will try starting with track 2 now that the holidays are past.