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A Simple Twist of Faith

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A Simple Twist of Fate: Bob Dylan and the Making of Blood on the Tracks

by  Andy Gill

Act of Genius

A Review by Adrienne Miller

On the thirtieth anniversary of what is arguably Dylan's best album (and what has definitely got to be the best breakup album of all time … insofar as anything having to do with a breakup can get a "best" award), a musician (Odegard) and a journalist (Gill) seek to explain how Blood on the Tracks got made. Odegard was an uncredited guitarist on the infamous, secretive Minneapolis sessions during which Dylan rerecorded five songs he'd done months before in New York. (Only the New York session musicians have ever been credited.) The insiderish perspective the authors are able to bring to those days in the Minneapolis studio set A Simple Twist of Fate apart from other, longer, Dylan books such as Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited. I mean, anyone who knows even vaguely anythingabout Blood on the Tracks knows it was inspired by Dylan's divorce from his wife Sara; what's of interest here are tidbits like this: During the session, Dylan asked Odegard what he thought of his original, key-of-G version of "Tangled Up in Blue." Odegard responded with the incautious response "passable" and suggested they change it to the key of A. Odegard was right, and "the key change had pushed the song up into the higher reaches of Dylan's vocal range, and the enforced change in his delivery brought a new intensity to the song." A Simple Twist of Fate is so fascinatingly behind-the-scenes that it will make you listen to the album as if you've never heard it before.

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