Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bob Dylan-The Freehwheelin' Bob Dylan


Artist: Bob Dylan
Album: The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
Label: Columbia
Year: 1963

Bob Dylan's first four albums, when he was just a folkie still, often rank just below the quality of his work in the middle of the 1960s when he revolutionized rock and roll. His second record, Freewheelin' is the first in which he took over most of the songwriting duties, and is certainly an...interesting album.
Don't get me wrong, the songs here are mostly excellent. "Blowin' In The Wind" is the classic and "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" is one of my favorite songs by the man. On top of that, even the protest songs like "Masters of War" and "Oxford Town" work because of their A) brevity B) sarcasm and C) spite. When Bob did touch on topical/political issues, he never whines. Bob's songs have a timelessness to them on this album, and they mostly hold up lyrically.
I say mostly because Bob writes a LOT of words in his songs. I think that on Highway 61 and Blonde On Blone...once he had a BACKING BAND, it worked well. He had more tangible song structure and there really was a full ensemble aiding to his lyrics. But they are often so a-melodic, and an acoustic guitar just isn't enough to hold everything else up.
So what I'm trying to say is Freewheelin' Bob Dylan is a great album with some awesome songs. But it still pales in comparison to what he'd be doing merely a year later, and it's definitely hard to listen to it outside of a context of "this was only the beginning," as opposed to enjoying it for what it is.

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