Music Review: Bob Dylan’s ‘Hard Rain’

Bob Dylan's Hard Rain

In concert performances, musicians commonly revamp old material to avoid giving the public what it already has. This practice generally seems well-advised, but not when the first version proves definitive and the new one reeks of change for change’s sake. Such is the case with this album’s atrociously arranged “Lay Lady Lay,” “Maggie’s Farm,” and “I Threw It All Away.” But Bob Dylan‘s Hard Rain, a live set that resulted from the recent Rolling Thunder tour, also features a better-than-the-original “One Too Many Mornings,” plus attractive readings of “Stuck Inside of Mobile,” “Oh Sister,” and three tunes from the phenomenal Blood on the Tracks. While sometimes short on imagination, moreover, the backing band could never be called lethargic or incompetent. And Dylan, who projects strength and conviction throughout, continues to be as interesting for his failures as for his successes.

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