Numbered, limited edition Hybrid SACD
Multi-platinum 1976 record made with the Rolling Thunder Revue and Emmylou Harris
Bob Dylan cut Desire flanked by more than a dozen musicians, aided by a producer averse to multitracking, and bent on tequila. Reeling from the effects of his disintegrating marriage, the singer penned several of the most heartfelt songs of his career, including "Sara," the most overtly public broadcasting of his private life and emotions committed to tape. Straddling lines between haphazard and organized, loose and planned, Desire lives up its title, a masterwork that Dylan would not equal in creativity, performance, and lyricism for another two decades.
Mastered from the original master tapes on Mobile Fidelity's world-renowned mastering system, this audiophile-standard SACD lays bare the catch-all ambience of the sessions as well as the unguarded emotionalism that fueled them. Largely captured at one unruly New York studio date, many songs are first-take arrangements, experienced on this reissue in a raw, realistic fashion that allows chords to swell, vocals to naturally carry, and percussion to span a seemingly bridge-wide soundstage. Accenting instruments-bouzouki, accordion, mandolin, violin, congas, piano-gain their own space and color the music with intriguing textures.
Surging with a nothing-to-lose disposition, Desire juggles myriad styles and owns up to no single theme. Disappointment and loss related to Dylan's broken relationship surfaces directly and metaphorically, but the album isn't mired in depression or sadness. More often than not, it howls, the sprawling canvas needlepointed with complexity and diversity. In pairing with lyricist Jacques Levy, Dylan invites narrative collaboration he never again repeated, as well as an eclecticism that gives the effort its fascinating charm.