Rolling Stone - 12/11/03, p.136Ranked #174
in Rolling Stone's "The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time"
Q (Magazine) - p.111
"[I]t's probably best known for 'Hurricane,' a rousing account of boxer Rubin Carter's wrongful conviction for murder."
Personnel: Bob Dylan (vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano); Vincent Bell (bouzouki); Scarlet Rivera (violin); Dom Cortese (accordion); Rob Stoner (bass, background vocals); Howard Wyeth (drums); Luther (congas); Emmylou Harris, Ronee Blakley, Steve Soles (background vocals).
Personnel: Bob Dylan (vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano); Scarlet Rivera (violin); Dominic Cortese (accordion); Howie Wyeth (drums); Emmylou Harris, Ronee Blakley, Steven Soles, Rob Stoner (background vocals).
Liner Note Author: Allen Ginsberg.
Recording information: Quadrophonic Sound.
Photographer: Ruth Bernal.
DESIRE was the studio realization of the Rolling Thunder revue's sound. The musicians involved in this mid-'70s Dylan project were more than a backup band; they forged a distinctive musical vision, loose and swirling, the perfect aural equivalent of the traveling gypsy/carnival image they affected onstage. Drummer Howie Wyeth, who possessed an uncannily sympathetic ear for accompanying singer-songwriters, and violinist Scarlet Rivera, built their careers on the foundation of the Rolling Thunder band.
Many critics balked at Dylan's lyrical collaborations with Jacques Levy on this album, but their reservations were just glorified xenophobia. Levy's flowing, colloquial style suited Dylan's music and delivery perfectly, and the two produced several gems. "Isis" is an exotic tale of intrigue that turns out to be a unique love story. "Hurricane" breathlessly tells the true story of Ruben Carter, a boxer framed for murder and acquitted years after DESIRE's release. It still stands as one of Dylan's most exciting, emotional tunes.