Archive for September 15th, 2012


BOB DYLAN-“wake up critics” TEMPEST REVIEW- BY JOHN EMMS-“bob’s band hits a homerun”..”everyone is feeling it”..DYLAN’S SONGWRITING..still peaking


This is the best sounding recording I have heard in 2012.

You want a natural sounding record with an iconic songwriter and a killer band?  Then this is your ticket baby.

Everyone knows it’s working and as a listener you ride the groove with  Bob and his great band and you can’t stop playing this album.

Engineering  and mixing by Scott Litt is organic as hell.

Now let me get back to that in a minute

Let’s face it, a lot of music critics no nothing about songwriting or musicianship.

I have never said this before in 25 years of reviewing. but it’s true at least 50 percent of the time.

My gut feeling on Bob Dylan’s latest cd Tempest  after 4 complete listens  is this.

In the last 20 years Dylan has put a lot of faith in his backing bands and his musical peers and that explains a lot about his last 5 or 6 albums. They don”t work all the time..but they sure as hell feel right.

In reality Tempest is one of his best and you can tell in his vocal delivery and the way the band plays, everyone is indeed  feeling it.

Dylan is still  writing great songs. Check out  the mid tempo stunner I Pay In Blood, the Muddy Waters-esque Early Roman Kings,  to the wicked shuffle of Duquesne Whistle and the sheer rocking true blues of Narrow Way.

Bob and the band are a lock. 

Bassist Tony Garnier, drummer George Receli, multi-instrumentlist Donnie Herron (he really shines) as well as guitarists Stu Kimball, Charlie Sexton, and David Hidalgo (gtr, accordian, fiddle) as well as Dylan on guitar and piano make it sound easy.

The ambience and endearing vocal by Dylan on the ballads Soon After Midnight, the movie ambience of  Scarlett Town and the gorgeous Long and Wasted Years just feel right.

This is what a master storyteller sounds like folks. 

Like Neil Young and his other peers Dylan does not have to be note perfect. Songs like the long extended title track (It’s a mindblowing mini novel folks) or the  gripping Tin Angel prove  Dylan’s wordplay is extraordinary at even 71 years old.

Dylan goes inside and what comes out is true to nature.

It’s not forced. Holy shit wake up people!

The album ends with Dylan’s beautiful ode to friend John Lennon titled Roll On John

The song is heart-wrenching, gentle and as real as Dylan has allowed himself to be in recent memory.

JOHN EMMS is veteran musician, journalist, radio host John plays the blues and writes a few songs here and

September 2012