This is one of the collections of songs that always open up fresh and crisp every time I listen to it. Any collection that opens with Tangled Up In Blues and follows that with a Simple Twist of Fate is announcing big ambitions and possibly setting itself up to fail. The collection goes on to fulfill those ambitions and even exceed them. There is a huge lyrical density in the songs in this collection, not only are there a lot of words, they are complex and twisting. They create a significant burden for the singer and the listener. They are also interesting and intriguing, they take the listener seriously and require attention.
The music partners with the lyrics in a most unusual fashion, they do not frame the lyrics nor do the counterpoint them. The music propels the music, they lift them and add to the meaning and the emotional resonance. There is a genuine partnership at work which is not often achieved. This is where the craft of songwriting blends into art, that mysterious creative force that communicates directly with us.
While I love Shelter from the Storm and think that Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts may be one of my favourite spaghetti western, the stand out song for me is If You See Her Say Hello. There is a impossible yearning in this song, to repair what has long been broken that just catches me. An astonishing achievement.