Posts Tagged ‘Tempest’

“Duquesne Whistle”

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Just got the new Bob Dylan album, Tempest. I’ve heard it half a dozen times or so, not enough to really know what’s going on, but I have some first impressions to report.

The first part of “Duquesne Whistle” sounds like something from one of my favorite compilation CDs: a Bob Brozman-curated collection of Hawaiian steel guitar recordings from the ’30s. The rest of the album seems to go for a similarly distant feel, as if he wishes he were releasing his stuff on 78s. Like band recordings of that era, it feels like he’s singing into a mic with the band playing some distance behind him. Retro to the max.

But really, the thing about “Duquesne Whistle” is that GROOVE! I was hooked instantly.

Tempest keeps drawing me in, as opposed to allowing me to take it out of the player and put something else in there. Last time that happened for me was Love and Theft, which remained in my top ten for a couple of years and still haunts my brain radio.

Additional notes: Robert Hunter has partial credit for the lyrics of “Duquesne Whistle.” Lyrics by Bob Dylan “with” Robert Hunter. I wonder how that worked.

Bob’s voice is really, really shot. Last time I saw him live, in Santa Rosa April 2006, I pretty much decided I’d stick with the records. His voice sounded like a tin can being shredded. But on this record, he makes pretty good use of what he’s got.