The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1963)


 
1. Blowin' in the Wind 2. Girl From the North Country 3. Masters of War 4. Down the Highway 5. Bob Dylan's Blues 6. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall 7. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right 8. Bob Dylan's Dream 9. Oxford Town 10.Corrina Corrina 11.Talking World War III Blues 12.Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance 13.I Shall Be Free

 

You've heard that all-familiar praise for a very rare piece of special work described as something as "this type of album comes along once a generation". Well, the second album by Bob Dylan is one of those records that comes along about once a century. Had this record not coincided with a particular up and coming band's debut, that called themselves "The Beatles", you probably would have heard more about this record when the history of music is discussed. No one denies its impact that it had on a particular generation, however. Depending on your viewpoint of history, this record was released before the assassination of JFK (a.k.a. "before the world changed") which might be why it's not a particularly heavy record, even though the sentiments are at often times serious enough to warrant discussion.

Bob Dylan's first effort was more of an introduction to what the artist could do musically. This sophomore release trumps that record in many ways. Mainly, Dylan has established himself as a lyricist......and/or poet. Almost half a century later, such songs like Blowin' in the Wind and A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall are still so familiar with music aficionados that no one can deny their place in history. He later confessed that most of his music, while composing, was done so with effortless effort. Another testimony to the man's genius. These songs flow so easily, that it's quite plausible that the tunes weren't labored over for too long.

Musically, this album features mostly Dylan's trademark voice and acoustic guitar - which was the norm for the first few Dylan releases. Even before his voice turned raspy by the seventies, there were some who never cared much for his singing voice - yet it was the fact that he was not a threat to Luciano Pavoratti that essentially added flavor and simpleness to his narratives and made him so much more accessible.

As mentioned, he sings about serious subjects - war and racism, yet unlike some of his latter melodies, he presents them in such a way that you don't feel knocked over by the message. In other words, it's hard not to like these songs. He even shows a bit of folksy, hillbilly humor on many of his tunes (the two songs with his name in the title, and, ironically, Talkin' World War III Blues). This was sort of par for the course for folksingers in the early sixties. Again, it was the fact that he did it so well.

Arguably one of the best, if not the best of his entire career. It was certainly the most influential, and still sounds incredible all these years later - even if many of the topics and people that he mentions in the songs have long since come and gone.


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