2012: 15 of the Best. #6 …December 14, 2012
6. Bob Dylan – Duquesne Whistle
Released: September 11, 2012
Buy it: Here
Everyone goes on about the “resurgence” that Dylan’s been enjoying since 1997’s Time Out of Mind, but even when Bob was releasing his duffer albums in the 1980s, had he ever really gone away? He’s kind of always there, and even if you’re not a fan of his not-great-to-begin-with-but-continually-diminishing vocal ability, there’s always a song or two here and there to make you go “wow.” The first time I heard Tempest, I was very excited. The second time, less stuck. Now there are three songs that I’ll go back to again and again, and the best of the lot is the opener, “Duquesne Whistle.” It’s the kind of train song the Old 97’s are continually trying to write and Dylan here (with the help of Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter) tosses it off like it ain’t no thang. I don’t know if it’s the way the thing keeps chugging, that old-timey swing or the boyish wistfulness of the lyrics—the way she smiles through the fence, the wondering about the old oak tree, etc.—that’s pouring out of a man who sound more like death these days than a young buck, but this is the best tune Dylan’s cut since “Things Have Changed.” He’s found the right musical cradle for his voice and it sounds great.
Official video (and it’s brilliant):