Wednesday, August 13, 2008

CD Review: The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan

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) Talkin' World War III Blues
11) Corrina, Corrina
12) Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance
13) I Shall Be Free
A long time ago, Bob Dylan's debut album, consisting mostly of covers, came out. Bad idea. People hated it, but the label still thought the new guy had potential - despite that annoying voice - and let him put together a follow-up made up mostly of originals.
Good idea. Right from the start, Dylan was writing classics. You know you've written a good one when, decades later, Sesame Street uses "Blowin' in the Wind" to teach kids how to count.
In all seriousness, much of this disc is timeless. We're still searching the wind for answers to the continuing threats of oppression and war, and still fearing the nuclear apocalypse of "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall". "Masters of War" remains a scathing indictment of the world's commanders.
The album's more dated numbers are equally enjoyable. One needs to know a little history to get Bob's references to the Lone Ranger, Tonto, and five and ten cent women in "Bob Dylan's Blues". It may seem like an insult to compare "I Shall Be Free" to the [insert genre here] Movie franchise, but Bob's song is a humorous time capsule in the same vein...except, you know, humorous.
Behold Bob's breakthrough! Feast your ears to the moment when Bob started making timeless, influential classics that other artists rushed to cover! Before he was the aging superstar in Victoria's Secret commercials, he was the best thing that ever happened to folk.
****1/4 out of five

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