Die-hard Bob Dylan fans have been teased with mysterious, unannounced drops of two new songs over the past two months, leading to speculation that a new album was imminent. Their predictions were correct, as today the songwriter announced a June 19 release of Rough And Rowdy Ways. To further add to the anticipation, one more new song- the six-minute long “False Prophet”- hit digital outlets today.
“False Prophet” is a swaggering, blues-y number, a ‘40s Cab Calloway big band vibe, with guitars in place of horns and a confident Dylan blues-boasting his superiority while surveying over his flock like a big red rooster.
“Hello Mary Lou, hello Miss Pearl… you girls mean business and I do to”
“I’m first among equals/Second to none/The last of the best/You can bury the rest”
“I’m just here to bring vengeance on somebody’s head”
Dylan hasn’t released a new album of original material in eight years. Rough And Rowdy Ways features ten tracks, available in 2-disc CD, 2-LP gatefold vinyl, and digital formats. The record includes the three new songs released this spring: the 17-minute epic “Murder Most Foul,” “I Contain Multitudes” and “False Prophet.” “Murder Most Foul” will likely appear as a stand-alone track on the 2-disc CD, as indicated by the Apple Music track listing below.
“Murder Most Foul” reflected on the Kennedy assassination, with AS writer Lynne Margolis commenting “the Shakespeare of our times not only turns the assassination of President Kennedy into a narrative device, he also rightly depicts it as the defining event that set this country on in its downward spiral, orchestrated by a series of evil schemers conceiving plots of Shakespearean scale.” “I Contain Multitudes” echoed Walt Whitman, with various name-checks and tasty musical chord changes. “False Prophet” takes its musical form from the 1954 Sun Records “If Loving Is Believing” by Billy ‘The Kid’ Emerson. Interestingly (at least to musician geeks and music transcribers), all three of the released songs are in the key of C, though each have their own unique feel.