Bob Dylan “Street Legal”

I’ve never heard this record before and I’m guessing, but not sure, that when it came out in 1978—the year I graduated from high school and was avidly reading Rolling Stone magazine—it got a less than favorable review—or maybe I was just over Dylan by that time, temporarily—or maybe his previous album was too weird and inscrutable—who knows. Anyway, the first thing that’s striking to me is that in the live performance, black and white, photo on the back, he looks just like Freddie Mercury—did people, when this record was released, talk or write excessively about about how he looks just like Freddie Mercury? It looks like a picture from the Renaldo and Clara/”Rolling Thunder Revue” era, but wasn’t that years earlier? Anyway, it’s just a bit of a mystery. On the front cover there’s a picture of him standing in a doorway wearing some really awful jeans and a black leather vest, looking left, down the street like he’s waiting for someone, or a bus.

“Baby Stop Crying” is a nice song, pretty soulful (though the sax break does sound a little St. Elmo’s Fire (my shorthand for lameness). I just noticed the photos on the inside sleeve, two out-of-focus, B&W photos of Bob and a dark skinned man (really wish I had the Big I to look this up) at what looks like a really great tea shop. Bob’s wearing that polkadot shirt you see in a lot of photos (I’m assuming he had more than one, but who knows). It almost looks like a much earlier photo. Can you date Dylan pics by his shirts?


2 Responses to “Bob Dylan “Street Legal””

  1. 1 Jerf
    July 30, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    I have never heard this album, and possibly none of the songs on it — however, by remarkable coincidence, just this past weekend, I went to this place in the Berkshire Mountains area of Massachusetts called “The Dream Away Lodge,” where Dylan filmed part of “Renaldo and Clara!” It was a pretty amazing place (we went there to see my new favorite band, Big Blood, and liked it so much we decided to stick around the area and go see another band there the next night), and earlier today I was looking up that movie to see if I could manage to see it somehow, and see this place in the film. The Big I tells me, however, that it has never officially been released in any format.

  2. August 5, 2018 at 8:10 am

    That Dream Away Lodge looks pretty cool. In another coincidence, I found, just yesterday, at a church book sale, a copy of Sam Shepard’s “Rolling Thunder Logbook” with photos and rambling journal entries about the Rolling Thunder Tour, which was either before or after or during the filming of “Renaldo and Clara” — anyway, I used to have this book, may or may not have read all of it, don’t remember, lost it somehow (I think) — exactly the kind of thing you want to find at a church book sale! (I was also hoping to find some Big Blood vinyl at the sale, but only found Carole King, Michael Franks, and John Sebastian.)

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