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The New Oldies: #10 Album of the Year 2020: Bob Dylan – Rough and Rowdy Ways

Something seems to be missing these days. It seems that record companies, radio stations, and streaming services are pushing some the great established musicians to the background. As a result these veteran artists are not getting the attention they deserve. Enter the Top 10 Album Countdown: The New Oldies. The main point is simple – to make this list you must have at least 20 years of producing established music. The album by the artist must have been released between November 1st, 2019 and October 31st, 2020.

#10 Bob Dylan – Rough and Rowdy Ways

Bob Dylan is easily one of the most prolific songwriters alive today. He is 78 years and hasn’t released an album of original songs since 2012. That didn’t stop Dylan in 2020 as he released Rough and Rowdy Ways.

The album pays homage to a 1929 Jimmie Rodgers My Rough and Rowdy Ways song. Many consider Rodgers the father of country music. Rodgers’ photo is included in the album’s inner sleeve.

This is going to be quintessential Bob Dylan – a mix of folk and blues songs. We will hear a slight gospel influence on I’ve Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You. There even is a psychedelic element on My Own Version of You (and it’s a song that landed #19 on Dave Burck’s OOPS….20 Songs I Forgot in 2020 list). In the end, the strength of this album is Dylan’s songwriting. It’s true poetry in music, and plenty of meanings behind the songs.

The last track is a pure masterpiece with Murder Most Foul, which can best be described as a 17 minute epic poem on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The penultimate track, Key West (Philosopher Pirate) is a another epic poem (this one at 9 minutes) . This tells the story of a person who goes to character who travels to the southernmost island in the Florida Keys.

This is an album that will grow on you, the more you listen to.

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