I'm a big, big fan of Bob and there were days in the last year or so when all I needed were his albums. I have listened to everything up to 'New Morning' (+ 'Blood On The Tracks' and 'Desire') and nothing has disappointed so far.
People say that it's only lyrics that he's good at, but come on, can good words and good words alone make you so successful in the music business? I don't think so. As revealed by 'Blonde on Blonde' - album where few of the lyrics actually make sense when taken literally - Bob's songs are more than just that. His way of singing (he's a vastly underrated singer), the atmosphere/mood/feeling he creates through everything (lyrics, intonations, melody) and the way he picks his backing musicians, always suitable for the songs in question... He's a master; an artist in a class of his own.
'Blonde on Blonde' is without a doubt his peak, but 'John Wesley Harding' comes very close in my list of favourites. It's his most harrowing, haunting and emotional album. 'I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine' is a big choker for me, and I suggest everybody who hasn't heard the album, to at least give that one song a few listens.
Another favourite songs would be Masters of War, A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, My Back Pages, Spanish Harlem Incident, I Shall Be Free(/10), Mr. Tambourine Man, It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), Ballad of A Thin Man, Desolation Row, Visions of Johanna, Stuck Inside of Mobile..., 4th Time Around, Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands, Dear Landlord, I Pity The Poor Immigrant, I Threw It All Away, New Morning, Days of '49, Tangled Up In Blue, Idiot Wind, If You See Her, Say Hello, One More Cup Of Coffee and Sara.
Can't wait to get to explore the rest of his discography. But all in good time.