Bob Dylan 101: Street Legal
Street Legal – Columbia – 1978
“Street Legal” is “Blood On The Tracks” evil twin. Cut in a remote truck that was equipped with 24-track capabilities, they went for a live sound. Do not listen to those who dismiss this record, because if you want to hear Bob looking directly into the abyss look no further.
Dylan sounds as if he’s been cast adrift with no net and nothing to fall back on. Sometimes the only security we can find is in our own insecurities and facing them without evasion or compromise. He’s on a collision course with his invisible self, and it’s tearing up his mind. Listen to “Baby, Stop Crying” and think about Billie Holiday or Jimmy Scott covering this broken and discarded valentine. “Señor (Tales of Yankee Power)" (one he still does from time to time in concert) is manifest destiny set to music. Think Aaron Copeland, as well as Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire”.
What would happen if Bob did “Changing of the Guards” or "Where Are You Tonight? (Journey Through Dark Heat)" in concert today? The place would most likely erupt into screams of delight and complete shock. Perhaps someone would scream “Judas” like they did back in ’66. Maybe he could even bring back the backup singers for this colossal event. Ask yourself if on the front cover it’s his fans he’s waiting on to catch up, because this record really seems to have left many in the dust.