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Street Legal Original recording remastered
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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".Read more ›
I've never listened to Street Legal in its previous incarnations - my first listen occurred with this new version. Some people have said the sound in previous versions was muddy - not the case here. The instrumentation makes the record a bit crowded (or you could call it a full sound) - but the CD and SACD layers both are very clear. They sound excellent (the SACD versions of all the Dylan works sound magnificent, by the way). Technically, a superb recording that sounds very, very good. Great remastering job.
As for the record, I really wish I hadn't taken so long to get it. It's one of the last Dylan records I've listened to (have yet to hear Knocked Out Loaded, Down in the Groove, or all of Empire Burlesque). I could say its one of the best - but the problem is that most all of Dylan's records can be one of his best for one reason or another. Each has a different sound and something very different to offer.
In 1978, Dylan was in the midst of a recording period that, I believe, is greatly underrated. As far as I'm concerned, the period that began with Planet Waves in 1974 and ended with Infidels in 1983 contains output that is better than what he did in the 60s (Bob Dylan to Nashville Skyline - Self-Portrait and New Morning were 1970, the latter was pretty good and the former had its moments).Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
There are three great 70s Dylan albums: Blood on the Tracks, Desire, and this one. All are equally good in their own ways. I won't say anything more!!Published on July 2 2004 by K. Hughes
A pretty odd album in Dylan's catalog, I almost want to call it a transitional album. The follow-up to DESIRE, once again Dylan has assembled a rather large ensemble, but a very... Read morePublished on June 26 2004
I love bobs 70s albums but this one has too many weak tracks.
The first 2 tracks are awsome the 3rd track is ok but it dies from there.
Senor is a good song as well. Read more
The recording is muddy. The imagery is mostly dark. The last album before the born again phase. The backup singers are annoying at times. Read morePublished on May 6 2004
This came as a complete surprise to me. The songs are great and the arrangements fulfil their mission: to portray a new Dylan yet again. Read morePublished on April 15 2004