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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Princess Diana's childhood record collection is being auctioned as a charity fundraiser. Not surprisingly, it is a rather ho-hum list, heavy on the classical:
 Eagles - Greatest Hits
 John Denver - Rocky Mountain High
 Paul Simon - Still Crazy After All These Years
 Bob Dylan - Hard Rain
 Carmen
 Romeo and Juliet
 Brahms - Hungarian Dance
 Jean Sibelius - Finlandia
 Beethoven - Symphony No6
 Beethoven - Symphony No5
 Mozart - Symphony No40
 Mendelssohn - Overtures La Fille Mal Gardee Faure
Saint Saens Elgar - Enigma Variations
 Liszt - Piano Works"

 It's the Dylan side that is the oddity here. "Hard Rain" is just about the last Dylan record you'd expect to see if there is only one Dylan record on someone's shelf. It wasn't even available on CD until a couple of years ago, and just about everyone I know who rushed out to buy it when it was originally released hated it. It is still a good bet when you are buying used vinyl: there are a lot of copies out there that were played once and then shelved. Christgau gave it a B-. ("The only reason people are disgusted with this record is that they're sick of Dylan--which is understandable, but unfair to the record. The palookas who backed him on this tour sure ain't the Band, and the music and arrangements suffer accordingly--these guys are folkies whose idea of rock and roll is rock and roll clichés. But the material is excellent, and on a few occasions--I gravitate to "Oh Sister" and "Shelter From the Storm"--Dylan sings very well indeed.") I eventually came around to it-- "Hard Rain" is where Dylan started showing us that he would be re-working his material, and he hasn't really stopped since, so it is interesting for that alone. Still, I doubt that Diana Spencer was interested in it for that reason-- girls who are that deep into Dylanology would have a copy of "Highway 61 Revisited" or even "Desire" as well as "Hard Rain". Probably it was a Christmas present. It is certainly the hardest rocking thing on the list, and I'll bet she played it sometimes, just for that.

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