Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bob Dylan - "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan"

Bob Dylan - "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" (180 Gram Vinyl)
Columbia/Sundazed LP 5115
Original Release - 1963

Two things I need to get out of the way:

1. I'm reviewing Dylan vinyl while listening to The Sex Pistols, try it sometime. I feel like I have hit a creative groove with Sid's interpretation of "My Way" on, brings back memories of one of the finest films ever to hit the silver screen: "Goodfellas".

2. Some readers have expressed concern over my grading system. To some, I seem to give high scores... all the time. Well, I think the best way to explain this is I listen to excellent music, and how can you not give A's to classics like "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan"? I think its against the law, I haven't checked, but I'm pretty sure.

Lets start with the iconic photograph that graces the cover, by Don Hunstein. This is an iconic photograph if there ever was one, Dylan and a companion walking together in the snow filled streets of NY. I bet you can picture it just from that description.

Photographs of Dylan, especially in the 60's will tell you a lot about the man, and the legend. Any photo of him walking is especially interesting to a fan like me, because though he hails from Minnesota, the man was from everywhere. He was freewheelin' for heavens sake, I mean it tells you in the title of the album. Thats how icons become legends, I'm not sure which of the Dylan legends are true and which are false, but I don't care, he is an American legend and the tales simply add to the mystique.

Look no further than "Blowin In The Wind", one of my favorite "track one, side one's". Dylan asks his famous rhetorical questions here, but when looking back on his (seemingly endless) career, its actually the idea of him that blows in the wind, he seems to have been everywhere at once. I'm wondering why we have been at war for as long as I can remember, yet not a single living artist can write a great anti-war anthem like "Masters of War", save for maybe Neil Young.

Stark The Vinyl Shark's favorite Dylan song (well tied for #1... don't make me choose) closes side one, "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall". Written during the Cuban Missile Crisis, its a brilliant song that consists of many beginnings. Listen to it an you will know what I mean, the imagery is second to none.

Side two consists of classic Dylan folk, "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" has more layers than you think, and the simple "Corrina, Corrina" will make you wish this album was twice as long. The album closes with the iconic "I Shall Be Free", which if you feel like doing some digging, is a beautiful live track on the Dylan/Band live album "Before The Flood".

I haven't been overly impressed with the Sundazed remasters in the past, but this one is pretty good. Its pressed on 180-gram black vinyl, and is housed in excellent replica packaging. The back includes liner notes from Nat Hentoff. If you are still searching for an original like I am, this would be a nice place to start.

Album - A

Vinyl - B

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