Album no. 36/1001
This is Bobby D’s second album, and all but two songs were written by the man himself.
Track 1 is ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’, which is still one of his best known songs over fifty years later. Dylan was 22 when this album came out, which is a fair effort by any measure. This is the album that really put him on the map, and lead some people to start calling him the spokesman of a generation, which he wasn’t a big fan of.
There are songs with lyrics that could be from newspaper headlines; civil rights, the fear of nuclear war, changing times. But there are also love songs that sound like they were written by a veteran of heartbreak rather than a fresh-faced kid of 22.
Have you listened to this album before?
NK: I have, only a couple of times though. Through my parents I’ve heard pretty much every Dylan album up to Desire, not that I had any say in the matter.
CL: NOPE. Unlike Ned, I was not raised on a diet of folk music – my parents, particularly my dad, do NOT enjoy Bob Dylan – so this is a very new experience for me.
NK: ‘Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright’ is the best song on the album. I love ‘Girl From The North Country’ as well, but that’s partly because I really like the Joe Cocker version. ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ and ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’ are the other stand outs. There are a stack of cover versions of all of these. Within three weeks of Dylan releasing the album Peter, Paul and Mary had covered ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ and apparently (I can’t find confirmation anywhere) it sold so well Dylan made more money from royalties off than than he did from his own album.
CL: ‘Girl From The North Country’ is definitely the best track on this album, closely followed by ‘Corrina, Corrina’. ‘Oxford Town’ is pretty good and I liked ‘Talking World War III Blues’ as well. ‘Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance’ at least had a “woohoo” in it. I definitely preferred the ones with a bit more kick to them, rather than old mate just howling over his boring guitar. ‘Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright’ was just that. Alright.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
NK: I think this is a good album to listen to by yourself. Driving, walking, cleaning, cooking, fixing stuff, whenever, but on your own.
CL: When cooking food with string beans. In not one, but two songs he mentions string beans. What a weird food to reference.
Why has this album been included on the list?
NK: This was kind of revolutionary I guess, mixing the traditional folk with ultra-modern political themes. It helps that there are some really good songs here, and it was the starting point for Dylan to be one of the most important figures in music for the next decade and a bit. I can see why this album would be on the list. ‘Don’t Think Twice’ would have been enough to convince me.
CL: You really like that song, huh. I think it’s pretty interesting to have listened to this and to Ramblin’ Jack Elliot because there are some serious similarities. Poor mate Jack probably never really got the credit he deserved.
Will you be listening again?
NK: I quite like this, but Dylan has a lot of albums, and some of the songs on this aren’t as good. ‘Bob Dylan’s Dream’ and ‘Bob Dylan’s Blues’ are both relatively forgettable, ‘Down The Highway’ never really gets going, ‘Talking World War III Blues’ is way too long and unfocused…I think he has better albums, put it that way.
CL: You’re totally right – some of the songs are waaaaaaay too long. But ‘Talking World War III Blues’ is great! I don’t know if I’d listen to the entire album again. It did go on for a long time. But there’s definitely a decent handful of tracks I’d be happy to hear again.
NK: but ‘Don’t Think Twice’ is up there as one of the best songs we’ve had so far.
Yeah, alright mate, we get it, you like the song.