Gerry Goffin

Back Room Blood

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Back in the early 1960s, when Bob Dylan was writing protest songs and inventing folk-rock, Gerry Goffin was penning such pop lyrics as "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?" More than three decades later, Goffin, with help from Dylan and some of his sidemen, made a creditable Dylan-style album in Back Room Blood and filled it with lyrics as embittered as any Dylan ever wrote. The similarities began with Goffin's voice, as hoarse and tuneless as Dylan's, though the closest approximation may be to say that Goffin sounded like Billy DeVille after chain-smoking a pack of Camels. Goffin threw down the gauntlet with the opening track, a by-the-numbers rocker called "Never Too Late to Rock and Roll," and then went through a laundry list of concerns, from relationships to politics and religion, all in a tone of serious-as-death pessimism. Unlike Dylan (who co-wrote two songs, co-produced one of them, and was a sideman), Goffin didn't leaven the vitriol with either humor or any of the pop elements he knew so well, which made the record an extremely sour message from a man with a demonstrated ability to be sweet. Still, if you're looking for the otherwise nonexistent 1996 Bob Dylan album, here it is.

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