(All Album Reviews by AdmKirk)
Masked & Anonymous was a 2003 film starring the original song & dance man Bob Dylan. The film was strange but lots of fun for Dylan fans since Bob's character of Jack Fate paralleled Dylan in so many ways. Additionally, many obscure references were tossed into the film for Dylanites to pick out.
The soundtrack album is just as peculiar as the film. If features some of the music from the movie including four Dylan performances filmed and recorded exclusively for the album but also features a couple of tracks (Shirley Caesar's wonderful version of "Gotta Serve Somebody" and "City of Gold", a previously unreleased Dylan tune originally recorded by the Dixie Hummingbirds for their 75th anniversary album in 2003) that were not used in the film at all.
The album opens with the beautifully recorded "My Back Pages" sung in Japanese by Japan's Magokoro Bros. Definitely an interesting experience, having Dylan's lyrics in Japanese. Elsewhere, listeners will find an almost Lou Reed type vibe to "Most of the Time". Sophie Zelmani sings/speaks the song while,toward the end of the track, the rhythm guitar work brings to mind Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side".
Los Lobos contributes a bi-lingual version of "On a Night Like This". Perhaps the oddest track is an Italian rap version of "Like a Rolling Stone" by Articolo 31 featuring samples of the original. After hearing that I wasn't really sure what to make of it at all. The soundtrack also features terrific readings of "It's All Over Now Baby Blue" by the Grateful Dead and "Senor(Tales of Yankee Power) by Jerry Garcia.
Of course the highlight of the record are Dylan's contributions. Featuring Dylan's touring band at the time: Charlie Sexton, Larry Campbell, George Recile and Tony Garnier, Dylan and his band rip through "Down in the Flood" and "Cold Irons Bound", blasting Dylan's original version to dust due to the energetic reading by the band and Dylan's snarling vocals. Dylan's band can certainly rock but they also can also play bluegrass as evidenced by the version of "Diamond Joe". This is a completely different song than the one by the same name that is found on Dylan's Good As I Been to You album. Dylan and the band also due a stupendous version of "Dixie" as well.
My only problem with the soundtrack album is an easy one to spot: Not enough BOB!!!!!!!!! It's a strange film and a strange album, but it's enjoyable in its own peculiar way. As His Bobness says in the film: "I stopped trying to figure everything out a long time ago".