For nearly 40 years, we have had to listen to people complain that this is "Dylan's worst album." Even Dylan himself said so. All I have to say is this: Dylan at his worst is still better than most people at their best! Not only is this NOT a terrible album, it's actually a GOOD album. Full of nice songs like "Alberta #1 & #2," "Livin The Blues," and "I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know." His cover of Lightfoot's "Early Morning Rain," was purportedly supposed to be Bob Dylan making fun of Gordon Lightfoot...yet is still a great cover. "Wigwam" sounds kind of like Bob Dylan meets Ray Conniff, but it is a great little wordless tune which fit perfectly into the soundtrack of THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS. My favorite is "Belle Isle," which is as beautiful a song as Dylan ever sang. Even his cover of "The Boxer," while disjointed, is far from unlistenable. I have heard that Bob Dylan and Paul Simon strongly dislike each other...I don't know if that is true or not (can anyone confirm?), but listening to that song in that context actually makes it a little more enjoyable. Sure, there are a few less stellar cuts on this album, but let's remember something: THIS WAS A DOUBLE ALBUM. There were a lot of double albums coming out in this era, and most of them had both great stuff and not-so-great stuff on them. Cases in point: Beatles White Album, Bee-Gees Odessa, Chicago Transit Authority, Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Dylan's own BLONDE ON BLONDE and BASEMENT TAPES...all of these are great double albums...but I don't think any double album (nor single album, for that matter) is excellent all the way through. It is the nature of the beast.
Even the follow-up to this album, DYLAN, is not nearly as bad as people say it is.
The bottom line: if you like Dylan, you will find something on this album to enjoy.