Bob Dylan once wrote a very good song called “When I Paint My Masterpiece.” Now he’s written his masterpiece, and it’s already number 1 on Amazon three days before its release.
“Rough and Rowdy,” which is neither actually, is going to be hailed as the latest masterpiece in a lifetime of them. It’s not just one song, it’s a whole album of them including “Murder Most Foul,” a 17 minute rave, a church sermon, dirge, I don’t know what to call it even after listening to it many times in the last couple of months.
But “Murder Most Foul” isn’t the only masterpiece on “Rough and Rowdy,” a ten-song sampler that could very well be Dylan’s culminating work after six decades. Let’s hope this isn’t the end, but who wouldn’t want to go out on this note? It’s extraordinary.
“Rough and Rowdy,” by the way, comes with little information. There is no credited producer, no lyrics sheet for reviewers. There’s just a list of bandmembers who play with him on the road who are presumed to be on the record. This is kind of perfect, isn’t it? Dylan is telling us, You figure it out.
Of course, he did give kind of a loony tunes interview in which he cites the Eagles song, “Pretty Maids All in a Row,” written by Joe Walsh, as one of “the best songs ever.” I did like that he enjoyed “Girl from the North Country,” the Broadway musical assembled from his songs. If we’d had a season, the show would have won Best Musical at the Tony Awards.
Anyway, I digress. “Rough and Rowdy” will appear Thursday night at midnight going into Friday. It will be number 1 on amazon. iTunes? Hard to say. Dylan fans aren’t big streamers. If the Grammys were ready for it, “R&R” would win Album of the Year next February. As it is, it may be relegated to “Traditional Pop” and “Americana,” which is ridiculous. But Dylan has painted his masterpiece, and it came in the nick of time.
PS What’s so great– we have a lot of time to study this record, and really listen to it. Extraordinary. Right now, I’m floating in “I’ve Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You.”