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Bob Dylan 

Bringing It All Back Home (Sony Legacy Hybrid SACD)

Bob Dylan's 1965 masterpiece has been parsed for decades, and there's no doubt that it's one of the key recordings in rock. All one need say about Bringing is that it represents the apotheosis of Dylan's wordplay, political savvy, and rock-and-roll authority. What's notable about this release is its marketing and timing. It's one of 15 Dylan albums Sony Legacy has remastered for play on regular and Super Audio CD machines. If the vinyl original was vivid and the CD slightly brighter and easier to handle, this recording -- one of 5 of the 15 also to feature 5.1 surround sound -- is the best Dylan has ever sounded. The drums crackle, the piano burns, and his nasal, penetrating voice is actually intelligible; you can hear the fingers slide across the guitar strings.

Why Sony Legacy decided to release these albums now is anybody's guess (Dylan's career is hardly a paradigm of logic). But it's not coincidence that these re-releases -- Dylan's first true remastering -- hit record stores when the industry is in terminal doldrums. Whatever the reason, Bringing It All Back Home is so good, it might convince you to upgrade your stereo.

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