Stripped-Back, Unobtrusive 1967 Album a Mellow Return to Dylan's Roots and Harbinger of Country Rock: Ranked #301 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time List
Hear the Musical Cousin to Dylan and The Band's The Basement Tapes in Extraordinary Fidelity: Mastered on Mobile Fidelity's World-Renowned Mastering System
Leave it to Bob Dylan
to follow three of the most pioneering electric-based albums in history
by again deviating from the norm and straying from expectation. Hinting
at a return to his folk roots and firmly pointing toward the field that
became country rock, John Wesley Harding breathes with relief
and freshness, the sound of an artist re-engaging with the past,
forging a future, and stepping into new realms after recovering from an
accident and unimaginable pressure.
Mastered on Mobile Fidelity's world-renowned mastering system and pressed at RTI, this restored SACD version presents the 1967 album with the finite details and impressionistic tones.
Immediately notable for the slimmed-down instrumentation, brisk flow,
and simple approach, the record continues to endure via a rustic,
era-defying naturalism tied to the organic sounds and warm production
swathing Dylan's acoustic guitar, mellow voice, breezy harmonica,
and minor accompaniments. All of these traits translate with incredible
realism and lifelike air on this reissue, which also brings out the low
end of Charlie McCoy's bass with a previously unheard supple character.
Recorded around the same time as the sessions that yielded The Basement Tapes, John Wesley Harding
came together after just three studio sessions and approximately 12
hours of time. While many specifics are shrouded in mystery, a majority
of songs are tied to Biblical figures, ominous matters, and morality
themes. Making not just a clear sonic break from his most recent
efforts, but a songwriting transformation as well, Dylan embraces a
strict economy of scale, dropping beat-poetry techniques in favor of
stanzas that waste no words and progress narratives at every turn. It's
as if the Bard is saying that truth is spoken here. Few, if any
artists, have captured the American myth and its population of
immigrants, drifters, and outlaws with such convincing scope and
Combined with the lyrical evolution and unabashed move towards country conventions, Dylan manages to turn popular music on its side, forging a subdued hybrid style no other peers had yet attempted. Arriving during a period of intense experimentalism and psychedelia, John Wesley Harding
functions as a sigh of relief, a piano- and pedal steel-flavored set
steeped in requisite simplicity in an environment that was increasingly
marked by chaos and madness.
Climbing to number two on the Billboard charts and quickly
tallying one million in sales, the pared-down work resonated with a
public ensnared by its myriad charms. Then, of course, there's the utter
brilliance of every one of the songs here, each seemingly occupying a
timeless space that suggests they could've been made in 1967, 1937, or
2007. With "All Along the Watchtower," Dylan landed upon a tune
that would soon become one of the most-covered and revered tracks in
history. And yet it isn't even a standout on an album on which every
note just belongs.
Ranked the 301st greatest album of all time by Rolling Stone, it's nothing less than seminal. Secure your numbered copy from Music Direct today.