Bob Dylan hit both top form and the top of the charts when his Rough And Rowdy Ways album was released on June 19, 2020. It was a superbly received release for Dylan and widely rated as another classic album from him. And he’s still rocking around the world with the music from it.
For quite a prolific artist, it’s perhaps surprising to note that this 39th studio album was his first with original songs in eight years. Perhaps the reception he received on his highly rated Never Ending Tour encouraged him to record this new album when that tour ended in 2019.
The new album did extremely well in the charts hitting the top spot in over 10 countries worldwide. That includes number ones in the UK and on Billboard Top Rock Albums and a close number two position on the Billboard 200. Dylan became the first artist to hit the top 40 in seven consecutive decades—a very suitable claim to hold for such a classic rockstar over many years.
Very positive critical reviews will have helped enormously too. Although a new Dylan album will always be of interest and worth a listen. Rolling StoneRo led the way with great acclaim for the release.
"Bob Dylan has given us one of his most timely albums ever with Rough and Rowdy Ways an absolute classic"- Rolling Stone
Bob Dylan's powerful album is still on tour
The album features Dylan displaying a diverse range of musical styles superbly across the track listing of 10 songs. Each with his distinctive style and vocals laid over them. Weighing in at over 70 minutes, the album was a double disc on vinyl and CD.
It was the final, almost 17-minute track, “Murder Most Foul,” which tipped the scales for a second disc. Released as a single in March 2020, ahead of the album, the song signaled Dylan’s classic to follow. It’s a powerful song with the main theme clear from the opening verse.
"Twas a dark day in Dallas, November '63- Bob Dylan - "Murder Most Foul"
A day that will live on in infamy
President Kennedy was a-ridin' high
Good day to be livin' and a good day to die"
Alongside the focus on JFK are other historical references within the extensive lyrics. The album itself is reported to be one of Dylan’s lengthiest in terms of words used.
It must be an album that pleased him, though. On the initial US leg of his follow-up world tour, he played eight of the 10 tracks live. The tour started in November 2021 and is still running with concerts this month in Spain. Dylan is currently playing nine of the 10 songs from the album on his setlist. The epic “Murder Most Foul” misses out, perhaps being seen as too long for the occasion.
It’s quite something to see that the 82-year-old performer is still busy touring his album some three years later. Amazingly the album tour runs through 2024, so he has some way to go in rocking his Rough and Rowdy ways.
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