By Bill Shapiro
KC Pitch — August 1986
Bob Dylan | A- | Knocked Out Loaded | CHS 40439 | $9.98 list
Side one of Dylan’s latest is a bit of a disappointment, but side two is a knockout. The second side opens with “Brownsville Girl,” an 11-minute epic which Dylan wrote with actor/playwright Sam Shepard. It captures the majesty of Dylan and is an eloquent testimonial to America’s recent past. This one is followed with “Got My Mind Made Up,” co-written with Tom Petty and played with obvious enthusiasm.
The record closes with a cut Dylan wrote with the highly unlikely Carol Bayer Sager. It seems that even on the weakest of Dylan’s albums there is always one extraordinary song that reaffirms his unique genius. And while there is other strong material on this LP, “Under Your Spell” is the absolute stunner, ranging as it does through ’40s pop sensibilities to gospel and r&b and closing with yet another Dylan lyrical irony.
Knocked Out Loaded is not a great Dylan album. (Something of its diversity reminds me a bit of Self Portrait.) But there is only one Bob Dylan and this release is a worthwhile addition to an amazing body of work.