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Oh Mercy

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Editors’ Notes

By the end of the '80s, Bob Dylan needed a change of scenery and New Orleans-based producer Daniel Lanois, who apprenticed with Brian Eno and U2, was just the one to give it to him. Much of Dylan's '80s output suffers from a sterile studio vibe that sabotaged the few songs he had worth saving. Coming into Oh Mercy at the end of the decade, Dylan had written a collection of haunting originals that benefit greatly from Lanois' swampy, Crescent City groove. From the stuttering, opening chords of "Political World," it's apparent that Dylan's sound has been updated but uncompromised. There's a toughness here that had been missing from several preceding albums. Cyril Neville's percussion and Willie Green's drums combine with Lanois' dobro and three other guitars to forge a perfect fusion. "Man in the Long Black Coat," "What Was It You Wanted," and "Shooting Star" are ballads that linger eerily in the air. Oh Mercyproves that a little nurture could positively affect Dylan's brilliant nature.

Customer Reviews

Oh Mercy

Having listened to Bob Dylan since the 1960's, I've seen (or heard) him at his best and his worst...this is one of his best. Man in the Long Black Coat will haunt you long after you hear it. Most of the Time is as near perfect a description of how one feels after a breakup-good or bad-as I've ever heard. Great music from a master.

One Of My Favorite Dylan Albums...

"Political World" jumps out as the first cut. The only other cut that might have been radio friendly was "Everything Is Broken". The balance of the album is mostly introspective. Bob Dylan has the credibility to put out songs analyzing the inner man with both honesty and hope in the lyrics. "Most Of The Time", "What Good Am I?", and "Disease Of Conceit" are a core of "Biblical / Book Of Ecclessiates" styled compositions. "Shooting Star" offers a glint of hope for the future, as he reminisces about the past.

A hidden gem

His albums prior and immediately after this weren't up to par, but Oh Mercy is a great album. Most of the Time is probably the highlight of the album.


Born: May 24, 1941 in Duluth, MN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Bob Dylan's influence on popular music is incalculable. As a songwriter, he pioneered several different schools of pop songwriting, from confessional singer/songwriter to winding, hallucinatory, stream-of-consciousness narratives. As a vocalist, he broke down the notion that a singer must have a conventionally good voice in order to perform, thereby redefining the vocalist's role in popular music. As a musician, he sparked several genres of pop music, including electrified folk-rock and country-rock....
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