John Wesley Harding
First Appeared in The Music Box, January 1997, Volume 4, #1
Written by John Metzger
Dynablob is the first in a series outtakes collections by John Wesley Harding, and this installment emphasizes material that was recorded between 1986 and 1994. Just rearrange the letters in the title to find the obvious influence here: Bob Dylan. These are stripped-down, raw studio recordings — some of which were re-recorded and appeared on albums, and some which haven't seen the light of day until now. This is Harding at his best, without pressure from a record company to polish his folk-rock works of art, and it very much sums up any of his outstanding concert performances.
The Attractions' Bruce and Pete Thomas make appearances on Dynablob, just as they did on some of Harding's major label releases. Not listed is Rob Wasserman, who likely is making an uncredited appearance on Election Night. Other highlights include Dead on Arrival, which was culled from Harding's first sessions with a band and Build Me a Coffin, a catchy folk song. Talking Return of the Great Folk Scare Blues captures Harding's good sense of humor. One notable missing track is When the Beatles Hit America, which hopefully will appear on the series' second volume. (Editor's Note: It eventually was issued on the Furthur Festival sampler CD.) ½
Of Further Interest...
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 1997 The Music Box