Thursday, 30 August 2018

Bob Dylan - Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid (1973)

Mama put my guns in the ground....


Released July 1973

Recorded in Burbank, California

Running time 35.19

This is obviously a movie soundtrack album, as opposed to a regular album release, so there are not really quite as many observations to be made. There are some good tracks on the album, though, making it more credible than many think, particularly as it was Dylan's first material for three years.


1. Main Title Theme
2. Cantina Theme
3. Billy 1
4. Bunkhouse Theme
5. River Theme
6. Turkey Chase
7. Knockin' On Heaven's Door
8. Final Theme
9. Billy 4
10. Billy 7                                                  

The Main Title Theme is an appealing piece of Mexican-influenced guitar and rhythm with some addictive, full bass lines coming in half way through. It is actually a really nice piece. The bongos and acoustic guitar of Cantina Theme are attractive too. A notable thing to this album is just how good the sound is. Billy 1 is a harmonica-drenched, Latin-tinged track with some Dylan vocals. Again, it is not a bad song with echoes of the later Romance In Durango. Bunkhouse Theme is a few minutes of slow finger picking guitar, slightly affected by some strange scratchy background noises. River Theme is more of the same, but without the noises and Turkey Chase is a lively piece of country fiddle and guitar fun.

The big track on here, of course, is the mournful and solemnly wonderful Knockin' On Heaven's Door. I have always loved it and still do. It has a great bass line to it too, which is continued in Final Theme, enhanced by some fetching flute passages. Billy 4 is a fine, evocative song too, telling a tale in typical Dylan narrative style, and featuring some trademark harmonica. Billy 7 is shorter but still an atmospheric song.

The presence of the three Billy songs and Heaven's Door make this more than just an album of background music. It is a worthwhile occasional listen.


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