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Street Legal Original recording remastered

24 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 22 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony Music Canada Inc.
  • ASIN: B00026WUAU
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #80,674 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

Limited Edition Japanese pressing of this album comes housed in a miniature LP sleeve. 2008.

The last album released before Dylan's late '70s/early '80s three-album foray into Christian music, Street Legal is both fascinating and flawed. At the time, Dylan was enthralled with the slick stage presentation of Neil Diamond, which he clumsily attempted to re-create on this 1978 collection. Say what you will about Diamond, but he ran a tight ship; the clunky drumming and rudimentary brass that mar these nine tracks reflect a misbegotten attempt to make Dylan's wing-it studio approach work for an underrehearsed 12-member backing group. Songwise, Street Legal is a mixed bag. Despite a few missteps ("Is Your Love in Vain?" is embarrassingly... well, vain), the wordsmith navigates dense terrain in the masterful "Senior" and the open wound of a closer, "Where Are You Tonight?" --Steven Stolder --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on July 22 2006
Format: Audio CD
This 1979 album opens with the lilting ballad Changing Of The Guards. The female backing vocals lend a soulful tone to the music here and throughout the album. This R&B feel is what sets Street Legal apart from Dylan's more familiar spectrum of styles.

New Pony has an even more authentic R&B air about it, whilst the beautifully tuneful No Time To Think is more in his folk-rock vein, but still embellished by the soulful backing voices. It is my favourite and a definite highlight of the album.

Baby Stop Crying is a rock ballad with tempo variation and stirring organ, Is Your Love In Vain? is a tender love ballad with a melancholy undertone and Senor is a slow, meandering folk number. The next track sounds the most like early Dylan with those characteristic vocal inflections; True Love Tends To Forget is a mournful lament with an impressive arrangement.

The theme remains mistrust and lost love, but We Better Talk This Over is a very catchy pop song with a hypnotic appeal. The album concludes with a tour de force: Where Are You Tonight?, a flowing uptempo ballad with gripping imagery and an exquisite arrangement.

This album is way underrated in Dylan's body of work. There is no weak track and there are many memorable songs like the aforementioned No Time To Think, Is Your Love In Vain?, True Love Tends To Forget and the final track.

Some Dylan fans and critics might have been prejudiced against the R&B sound but it most certainly works. Street Legal has definitely improved with age and I consider it to be amongst Dylan's Top 10 albums.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steve on May 16 2004
Format: Audio CD
Negative reviews of this album led me to avoid it for the longest time. I'd heard (and been irritated by) the female backers on other Dylan releases, and "Street Legal" is the first album to feature them prominently (not counting Emmylou Harris's marvelous work on "Desire"). Imagine my surprise to find a collection of spectacularly written songs set to catchy, evocative tunes that sound unlike anything else in the Dylan canon.
Sure, the female backers still annoy me at times (if it weren't for them, I'd give the album five stars, no question), and Dylan's voice is beginning that steady nasal climb. But there's no getting around his songwriting genius. "Changing of the Guards" is storytelling at its most brilliant. "Where Are You Tonight?" is heartfelt and powerful. "We Better Talk This Over" is as catchy as any of Dylan's tunes. "No Time to Think" is a technical rhyming masterpiece. And "Senor" is dark and mysterious and impenetrable in a way only Dylan can be. Hey, I even kind of like the sax solos! Go figure.
This may be the most underrated album in Dylan's oeuvre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Dec 28 2002
Format: Audio CD
Every song on this album was very well done.
1. Changing of the Guards: was very uptempo and sung very well.
2. New Pony: was probally the least well done song on the album, but still good.
3. No Time to Think: Kept ya going for the whole 8 minutes!
4. Baby Stop Crying: Excellent song, tells of true friendship.
5. Is your Love in Vain: One of Dylans Best songs ever.
6. Senor: Starts of soft, then finishes with a bang!
7. True Love Tends to Forget: So True, excellent song.
8. We Better Talk this Over: Excellent upbeat song, flows well.
9. Where are you tonight: An emotional masterpiece of music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By highparkdave on March 4 2012
Format: Audio CD
Caveat: a huge Dylan fan. Own all but four; I think. This was a departure for Bob and may have caught many off-guard. Not a poor track to be found. Had listened to this periodically since purchasing the vinyl back on first release. The remaster is good but not the quality one would hope for. The tunes are timeless. My favorites are Senor and Is Your love in vain? That's irrelevant I suppose. Fantasic and lush from beginning to end as he weaves through what sounds like another transitional period.
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Format: Audio CD
If you believe the AMG (AllMusic Guide) review of this album, Dylan did yet another critical blunder with this proving to be something of a mixed bag, with the big band arrangments, backing vocals, and horn section working in opposition to the very dense lyrics that this album portrays. It seems that the critics have a heyday with Dylan's later output, and while some of it is drek, a lot of it is underrated, even the generally panned 1980s output (mostly EMPIRE BURLESQUE), and this is no exception.

It's rather obscure to the casual listener, with only the first track and perhaps "Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)" will be known. But it's a solid album. Dylan created a very distinct sound for this album, a sound I personally dig. Some noteworthy tracks? Right this way!

The biggest problem with this album comes in the form of Dylan himself. When you've had a forty year career, as one other reviewer pointed out, lesser albums which would be studied had they been in another band's discography is pushed to the wayside to get to the real meat (with Dylan his 1960s output). You could listen to all the officially released Dylan albums and not get finished in a day. With a body of work it tends to obscure the lesser gems, which is a shame because this is a particularly pleasing album.

Dylan's biggest pet peeve, or one of them anyway, is being pigeoned-holed. Every album has its own atmosphere, and this is no expection. AMG says that "Coming off the twin peaks of BLOOD ON THE TRACKS and DESIRE," this album proved to be something of a disappointment. But I disagree. Personally, I prefer this over DESIRE. Although DESIRE may have hit bigger highs it also hit some really LOW lows, especially "Romance in Durango".
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