Bob Dylan – Nashville Skyline (Reviewed in 2008)

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

STUNNING MASTER TAPE SOUND ON SIDE ONE, BACKED WITH A TOP SHELF SIDE TWO! It ain’t easy to find Hot Stamper copies of this album, but when you play one like this it is worth all the trouble. When Johnny Cash starts singing, it is positively chilling. That’s the Man In Black, folks, and the immediacy of this copy puts him right there in the room with you! 

The presence and clarity of the vocals on this copy are BEYOND ANY REASONABLE EXPECTATION! Folks, believe me when I tell you that for Nashville Skyline, this copy is As Good As It Gets (AGAIG) on side one and darn close on side two.

Not only that, but the vinyl is unusally quiet — mostly Mint Minus for both sides with much less inner groove distortion than we’re used to hearing. It’s one of the QUIETEST Hot Stamper copies of this album we’ve ever put up!

Gimme Some Top End!

Having just done a big shootout of about a dozen original pressings, I’m amazed at how bad most 360 pressings sound. Many of them are as dull as dishwater. The top end is rolled off and there is very little presence in the vocals. Often the first track of either side will sound good, but the following tracks are dullsville. If you think that buying an original of this record guarantees you any sort of sound quality, I’m here to tell you it does not. Not unless you are very lucky, and actually end up with a record that was properly mastered and pressed. These I have found are few and far between.

What’s most striking about this album is the sound of Johnny Cash’s voice in the duet he sings with Bob (we’re on a first name basis, don’t you know). I can’t remember when’s the last time I heard Johnny Cash sound better. The stuff he did for American Recordings had much to recommend it; the first album sounded especially good. It was practically Mono. But you just can’t beat a well produced, well engineered Columbia from this era. There’s a richness and a naturalness to the sound that has almost completely disappeared from the modern world of music. You really do have to go back to these old originals to find it. And then you have to find just the right old originals for it to be there.

Superb Sound On Both Sides

When we dropped the needle and heard the sound of fluffy, correct tape hiss, we knew we’d finally found a copy with some top end. The vocals on this copy are STUNNING — mind-boggling presence, uncanny clarity, and loads of texture. The richness of Johnny Cash’s voice on the first track made our hair stand on end! The overall sound is super tubey magical — rich, sweet, warm, and full-bodied. The superb transparency allows you to clearly hear the acoustic guitar transients. The percussion is surrounded by lots of ambience and positively JUMPS out of the speakers. Folks, we DEFY you to find a better sounding copy of this album than this one! We rate this bad boy A+++ for side one and A++ on side two — very hard to beat.

Quiet vinyl? Here at last!

By the way, those of you who are picky about quiet surfaces probably aren’t going to be happy with the typical 360 Label pressing of this album. Most copies get suffer from inner groove damage and get pretty noisy for the last track on each side. This copy is one of the quietest ones we’ve ever played — mostly Mint Minus on both sides, with just a slight touch of IGD for the last quarter inch of side one. 


Side One

Girl from the North Country 
Nashville Skyline Rag 
I Threw It All Away 
To Be Alone With You
Peggy Day 

Side Two

Lay Lady Lay 
One More Night 
Tell Me That It Isn’t True 
Country Pie 
Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You 

AMG 5 Star Rave Review

John Wesley Harding suggested country with its textures and structures, but Nashville Skyline was a full-fledged country album, complete with steel guitars and brief, direct songs. It’s a warm, friendly album, particularly since Bob Dylan is singing in a previously unheard gentle croon — the sound of his voice is so different it may be disarming upon first listen, but it suits the songs. While there are a handful of lightweight numbers on the record, at its core are several excellent songs — “Lay Lady Lay,” “To Be Alone With You,” “I Threw It All Away,” “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You,” as well as a duet with Johnny Cash on “Girl From the North Country” — that have become country-rock standards. And there’s no discounting that Nashville Skyline, arriving in the spring of 1969, established country-rock as a vital force in pop music, as well as a commercially viable genre.