WHAT I’M SPINNING NOW

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Discounting the unaccountable misdirection of “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35”, this is an album of songs about love, romance, sex — mostly sex. You could think of it as Dylan’s Smiles Of A Summer Night — a roundelay of amorous interludes recounting a young man’s erotic adventures in the downtown world of New York in the 1960s.

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Before Blonde On Blonde Dylan’s love songs had been either songs of worship or songs of rueful farewell. Things get more complicated here — worship and rue get subsumed in bewilderment and awe. The album ends, as Smiles Of A Summer Night ends, with a lyrical paean — in this case to the woman Dylan would soon marry.

Sad Eyed Lady Of the Lowlands was, however, only a first-act ending — the third act would play out in excruciating pain on a later album, Blood On the Tracks. But this album captured forever the feckless romance of youth in Manhattan before Manhattan became a posthumous realm, a yuppie feedlot.

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