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Down in the Groove

6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Feb. 10 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: SBME
  • ASIN: B0015XAT3E
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #37,298 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Customer Reviews

2.5 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Audio CD
For Bob Dylan, culturally many view his highwater mark as the 1960s. As famous as his 1960s output his, the 1980s for Bob is equally famous, but for entirely different reasons. While the 1960s are often treated as sancroscant and untouchable, the 1980s are percisly the opposite, being viewed as Dylan's worst decade, when people were wondering if Bob had any decent music left in him. Much of the 1980s music he cut have been written off, lambasted, and altogether ignored. By the end of the 1980s, before the release of OH MERCY, many people thought he finally gave up the ghost creatively. While in some respects, Dylan's output during this decade is unjustly crucified, in other respects all this critical hostility is not only right on the money, but actually rather nice considering how bad he really got.

[Where does that intro paragraph lead us? ]

With releases like DOWN IN THE GROOVE, it is easy to understand the critical unease and flat out bewilderment that Dylan caused during the late 1980s. GROOVE bears the dubious distinction as being the worst studio album in Dylan's catalogue. While Columbia's revenge album DYLAN from 1973 was pretty bad, at least Dylan didn't sanction that release. This album, however, is truly the bottom of the barrel.

DOWN IN THE GROOVE gives you the impression Dylan was just in the studio jamming, and decided to release an odds-n-sods collection of very subpar studio sessions. DOWN clearly indicates that Dylan lost all artistic direction during this era of his career. Thankfully, he got his act together with OH MERCY

Just for a little context, by 1988 a lot of people had lost faith in Dylan. He hadn't released a decent record in years.
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By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 30 2007
Format: Audio CD
Three and a half stars, really. Judged by Dylan's own standards, this album is average but it does contain some gems that no fan should be without. The faster paced rock songs like the flowing Let's Stick Together, the humorous Ugliest Girl In The World with its RnB backing vocals and Sally are merely alright, not bad but not particularly memorable either. Eric Clapton provides some impressive guitar to Had A Dream About You Baby, whilst the track Silvio is quite buoyant and catchy in a lightweight pop way. None of these is lyrically profound but some of the slow ballads are.

These slow songs are the best by far. Most of them are melancholy and all of them are tuneful. Although it does contain some frightening, perhaps prophetic imagery, Death Is Not The End is a simple and comforting masterpiece embellished by his trademark harmonica and soulful backing vocals. Ninety Miles An Hour is powerful with haunting lyrics, the traditional Shenandoah - also with bursts of harmonica - gets a gospely treatment over a lilting beat and the album concludes on a high note with the yearning lament Rank Strangers To Me. These atmospheric songs remind me of his albums Saved, Shot of Love and Infidels.
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By Daniel Jolley TOP 100 REVIEWER on June 14 2006
Format: Audio CD
Down in the Groove is a special album for me because this was the first Dylan CD I ever bought. Certainly, it's not one of his better albums, typifying the Dylan doldrums of the early 1980s, but it does have a few bright spots amid its many faults. A significant problem with this CD is the absence of any type of flow; it sounds like 10 songs thrown together somewhat haphazardly. "Let's Stick Together" is a kicking opening song that gets the juices flowing. It is followed by the slow yet meaningful "When Did You Leave Heaven?" Then we shift back to a faster tune in "Sally Sue Brown," only to slip into the slowest song on the album, the simply poignant "Death is Not the End." Then it's back to a rocking beat with "Had A Dream About You Baby" (with Eric Clapton on guitar) and the conspicuously interesting "Ugliest Girl in the World," a song which I myself actually like. "Silvio" is the only possibly recognizable song on the album and is the only song I remember hearing Dylan perform live in concert soon after this CD's release. "Ninety Miles An Hour (Down a Dead End Street)" is one of the more meaningful songs found here, as is the strangely beautiful dirge "Rank Strangers To Me," but even these tracks are rather forgettable.

The overall weakness of Down in the Groove can be traced to a simple source--most of these songs were not written by Bob Dylan. The backup singers on this album just don't seem to suit Dylan, either, lending a strange R&B sound to several tunes. It is interesting to note that the 80s group Full Force (which few people besides me probably remember) performed the backup vocals on "Death is Not the End." All in all, this is really an uninspired album. Although it was my first Dylan CD, I would not recommend this for Dylan newbies. It's not as bad as the critics make it out to be, but its lack of focus and short length (less than 35 minutes) make it a low priority for those trying to build a Bob Dylan CD collection.
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