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Knocked Out Loaded is the 24th studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on July 14, 1986 by Columbia Records.

Knocked Out Loaded
A painting of a woman in a bikini holding a water jug over her head to use as a weapon against a man who is wearing a bandolero and hat while throttling another man
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 14, 1986 (1986-07-14)
RecordedApril–June 1986
GenreRock
Length35:18
LabelColumbia
ProducerBob Dylan
Bob Dylan chronology
Empire Burlesque
(1985)
Knocked Out Loaded
(1986)
Down in the Groove
(1988)
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic2/5 stars [1]
Robert ChristgauB[2]
Entertainment WeeklyB–[3]
MusicHound1.5/5[4]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide1/5 stars[5]

The album was received poorly upon release, and is still considered by some critics to be one of Dylan's least-engaging efforts. However, the 11-minute epic "Brownsville Girl", co-written by Sam Shepard, has been cited as one of his best songs by some critics.[7] Sales for Knocked Out Loaded were weak, as it peaked at  No.  53 on U.S. charts and  No.  35 in the UK.

Contents

CompositionEdit

The album includes three cover songs, three collaborations with other songwriters, and two solo compositions by Dylan. Most of the album was recorded in the spring of 1986, although recording or mixing work on one track, "Got My Mind Made Up", reportedly occurred in June. Several tracks from the album used overdubbing to build on instrumental tracks from 1984 and 1985 sessions.

One song, "Maybe Someday", paraphrases a line from T. S. Eliot's poem Journey of the Magi: Eliot's "And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly" becomes in Dylan "Through hostile cities and unfriendly towns".

Cover artEdit

The cover art is a reworking of the January 1939 cover of Spicy Adventure Stories.

ReceptionEdit

The album earned mostly negative reactions, with only a rewritten version of an outtake ("New Danville Girl'", retitled "Brownsville Girl") recorded during the Empire Burlesque sessions, receiving uniform praise. Robert Christgau called it "one of the greatest and most ridiculous of [Dylan's] great ridiculous epics."

"Knocked Out Loaded is ultimately a depressing affair," wrote Anthony DeCurtis in his review published in Rolling Stone magazine, "because its slipshod, patchwork nature suggests that Dylan released this LP not because he had anything in particular to say, but to cash in on his 1986 tour. Even worse, it suggests Dylan's utter lack of artistic direction." In the Howard Sounes book Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, it is reported that Dylan said "if the records I'm making only sell a certain amount anyway, then why should I take so long putting them together?"

Dylan has played few songs from this album in concert; "Driftin' Too Far From Shore", with 14 performances (all but one in 1988), is the most frequently performed. Four songs remain unplayed, while the other three have together been aired only five times.

In recent years the album has gained a cult following among some Dylan fans who believe it is one of his least-understood works,[8] but critical consensus remains negative, with recent reviews from Salon.com to Rolling Stone calling it a "career-killer" and "the absolute bottom of the Dylan barrel" respectively.

The album was remastered and re-issued in 2013 as a part of The Complete Albums Collection, Vol. One box set.

Track listingEdit

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."You Wanna Ramble"Little Junior Parker3:14
2."They Killed Him"Kris Kristofferson4:00
3."Driftin' Too Far from Shore"Bob Dylan3:39
4."Precious Memories"Traditional; arranged by Bob Dylan3:13
5."Maybe Someday"Bob Dylan3:17
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Brownsville Girl"Bob Dylan, Sam Shepard11:00
2."Got My Mind Made Up"Bob Dylan, Tom Petty2:53
3."Under Your Spell"Bob Dylan, Carole Bayer Sager3:58

PersonnelEdit

ProductionEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Knocked Out Loaded at AllMusic
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: CG: Artist 169". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
  3. ^ Entertainment Weekly review
  4. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide (2nd ed.). Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 371. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Brackett, Nathan; with Hoard, Christian (eds) (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York, NY: Fireside. p. 262. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. Retrieved August 22, 2015.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  6. ^ DeCurtis, Anthony (1986-09-11). "Bob Dylan: Knocked Out Loaded : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2007-10-02. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
  7. ^ Gray, The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, 95-100
  8. ^ "Knocked Out Loaded analysis". Weebly.com.