|Released June 15, 1978|
There's enough spiritual tension on Street Legal to fill a Bergman film. So it's difficult not to read the album as a prologue to Dylan's conversion to Christianity.
"Changing of the Guards," immediately places the listener into a forsaken world of theologies at war, one of Dylan's more ambitious compositions. The beefed up production and back up vocals adds a nice dimension. This live version is way more upbeat than the album track, almost as if Dylan took inspiration from the E Street Band.
"Baby, Please Stop Crying" is a soul song and a good one at that. Dylan plays the consoling friend to a woman he's secretly in love with. A far cry from the bluesy swagger persona he typically inhabits. Here we get dull desperation.
"Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)" remains a highlight: a sobering portrait of purgatory and nice companion to a Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory or Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry. Take your pick.
"True Love Tends to Forget" is resigned and cynical on love. Not a bad tune, but also a bummer.
The production values were heavily criticized on the initial vinyl release, but a splendid remastering has captured the rich sound of Street Legal.
After a heady decade Street Legal sounds like one big coming down, an epic hangover starting to wear off. You can hear that slow train a comin'.