Despite all the die-hard fans Bob Dylan had accumulated with such classics as "Blowin' In The Wind," "Like A Rolling Stone," "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Tangled Up In Blue," this Minnesotan dreamer turned Greenwich Village troubador had pretty much fallen off the radar in the mid 1980s. By 1986, Dylan seemed to be coasting on albums that, with some exception, were mediocre at best. It must have been frustrating for fans who watched as Paul Simon released his landmark album, Graceland, which became one of the biggest selling albums of the 1980s (and of all time.) Simon was still making great music at 45. Why wasn't Bob Dylan?
The thing is, Dylan was releasing some great music in the 1980s, but much of the public wasn't paying any attention. When the artist's 24th studio album Knocked Out Loaded was released in 1986, most fans were disappointed in every album following 1976's Desire. So, it was no longer a really big deal when news broke that Bob Dylan had a new album coming out. It's not like it was going to be any good.
Knocked Out Loaded was not a strong album, it didn't break new sonic ground like Graceland and its sales were pretty weak. It did, however, feature a couple of decent songs and one great one. The latter was an 11 minute epic written with playwright Sam Shepard called "Brownsville Girl." The song was on par with most other Dylan epics and was even better than a couple classics (See "Joey" on the album Desire.)
Village Voice "Consumer Guide" rock critic, Robert Christgau, actually hits the nail right on the head.
- "One of the greatest and most ridiculous of Dylan's great ridiculous epics. Doesn't matter who came up with such lines as 'She said even the swap meets around here are getting pretty corrupt' and 'I didn't know whether to duck or run, so I ran' — they're classic Dylan."
So, let's have a listen:
"Brownsville Girl" by Bob Dylan