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Down in the Groove

Bob Dylan Audio CD
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 11.59 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Down in the Groove + Before the Flood (Vinyl)
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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Bag 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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3.0 out of 5 stars Uninspired but interesting June 14 2006
By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
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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2.0 out of 5 stars "Knocked Out Loaded" Part II Feb. 19 2004
Format:Audio CD
When putting this album together, Bob Dylan is said to have referred to it as "Self-Portrait II," but this is less a sequel to that delightfully daring mess than a continuation of 1986's "Knocked Out Loaded." Like that listenable grab-bag of an album, "Down in the Groove" mixes covers with a mere handful of Dylan originals, and, in the case of the latter, most are co-written with the Grateful Dead's Robert Hunter.
The closest thing to a classic here is "Silvio" which demonstrates that Dylan (or is it Hunter?) still has a gift for lyrics and can rock out when he feels like it, but "Ugliest Girl in the World" works fervently to counter that claim.
Then there's "Death is Not the End," a dreary march through musical purgatory that didn't make the final cut on "Infidels," proof that Dylan's judgment when making that 1983 album was not as impaired as the exclusion of the superb "Blind Willie McTell" would suggest.
The covers are a mixed bag with some worth a listen ("Let's Stick Together" and especially "Rank Strangers to Me") and the others barely worth the space they take on the disc. After his heartfelt version of "Dixie" in "Masked and Anonymous," it would be nice to hear Dylan's take on "Shenandoah," but that touching traditional is given a rushed reading with different lyrics that prevent it from being memorable.
This may be the least significant disc in Dylan's history and, therefore, of interest only to the completists among us.
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