Stereophile: Performance 5/5 Stars / Sonics 4/5 Stars
TAS Rated 4.5/5 Music, 4/5 Sonics in the October 2020 Issue of The Absolute Sound!
Michael Fremer Rated 10/11 Music, 10/11 Sonics!
Rough And Rowdy Ways is Bob Dylan's first album of original material in 8 years and his first since becoming the only songwriter to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 2016. Its 10 tracks include the album's lead-off track "I Contain Multitudes", the nearly 17-minute epic "Murder Most Foul", and "False Prophet".
"It's a masterful performance. One of his finest on record. Considering some of the other greats he's delivered and that this is number 39, that's quite a feat. He also does some of his finest actual singing. I don't think he could have delivered these lyrics as effectively as he does here without having first worked through the American songbook albums... the sound and the visual setting are both perfect. No other word to use. Dylan's voice is 'in the room' three dimensional and transparent. The band, spread well behind is equally transparent and though purposely mixed somewhat in the distance almost mirage-like, sounds full bodied. Bass goes seriously deep and the top end is natural and fully extended. ProTools has come a long way as has the ability of better engineers to effectively use it. Yet comparing the stream with the vinyl, the vinyl wins. If you are adamant about not buying new digital recordings on vinyl, you are missing out on a superb sonic experience the streams don't provide. Don't ask me why, but assuming you are a Dylan fan and have a vinyl collection, you should add this one to the collection... Rough and Rowdy Ways is the perfect 'lockdown' listening companion. It's a memorable one-on-one with Bob Dylan that leaves a long-lived reflective afterglow." - Michael Fremer, Analog Planet, Music 10/11, Sound 10/11
If you are adamant about not buying new digital recordings on vinyl, you are missing out on a superb sonic experience the streams don't provide. Don't ask me why, but assuming you are a Dylan fan and have a vinyl collection, you should add this one to the collection.
an absolute classic - it has the bleak majesty of latter-day Dylan albums like Modern Times and Tempest, yet it goes beyond them, tapping even deeper into cosmic American mysteries... Dylan is exploring terrain nobody else has reached before - yet he just keeps pushing on into the future.
extraordinary anthems for our changing times.
the album's sonics feature amber-burnished timbres, the musical equivalent of a fine bourbon. There's almost a hint of aged oak in Dylan's voice - American oak of course - and the way it is miked is interesting: always clear, full-range, and intimate with eq that varies from track to track. The finely recorded textures subtly interweave mostly acoustic and electric guitars, upright bass, and drums. Pedal steel and low-percussion glue darken the musical canvas. This is acoustically subtle stuff that will bear repeated listening through a good system. As fine as the 24/96 hi-rez version sounds with my current gear - I finally listened after I heard the vinyl - the vinyl transfer, which is from a digital master, presents a different tactile chemistry.
Grab a good pair of headphones and have Wikipedia by your side as you start decoding the latest dispatch from the bard.
- 180g Vinyl
- Double LP
- Black Vinyl
- Printed inner sleeves
- Gatefold jacket
- Limited time download card
- I Contain Multitudes
- False Prophet
- My Own Version Of You
- I've Made Up My Mind To Give Myself To You
- Black Rider
- Goodbye Jimmy Reed
- Mother Of Muses
- Crossing The Rubicon
- Key West (Philosopher Pirate)
- Murder Most Foul