8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dylan's Historic Debut Still Dazzles and Delights!
The eponymous debut album of the greatest poet and songwriter of the Twentieth Century sounds as fresh today as it did forty yeares ago. This collection sees Dylan pay homage to and reinterpret his sources of inspiration from the blues and folk genre. Traditional favourites such as Fixin'To Die, Pretty Peggy-O and House of the Rising Sun get vigorous treatment from...
Published on 11 May 2001 by Mr. T. J. Armitage
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Columbia Version is the 'Go-To Version'!!
Columbia is Dylan's official label, they own the official masters - this CD can be bought for more or less the same price on the Columbia label (the 2005 version is the most recent: Bob Dylan) but you'll have bought the remastered version from the original masters. Although Hallmark may be cheaper, more often than not they tend to offer the buyer highly compressed vinyl...
Published 14 months ago by GARY HIBBS
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Underrated Dylan,
This is an album I bought by chance and I was completely amazed its not a more talked about Dylan album. The main difference between this album and his others that he released a few years later was that the songs here are not his except for "Song for Woody" and "Talkin New York". This means that on this album its more about the playing and the feel of the music and voice rather than the lyrics itself. I think this album shows how talented and skillful Dylan really was on guitar and he had pretty much mastered the blues by the time this was out.
I absolutely recommend this album but just don't expect songs with lyrics like "Blowin in the Wind" or "The Times They Are a-Changing", this is simple plain music played from the heart.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing!,
By A Customer
This is my kind of Dylan!! I love early bob dylan stuff, the guitar playing is excellent and his voice has a youthful country rasp about it which is just ace, ace selection of songs. just ace all round!
5.0 out of 5 stars Still love it!,
I bought the original vinyl when it was first released. Still love it!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ylan's schooling in Americana; essential to Dylan students, October 10, 2007,
BOB DYLAN, like the debut LPs by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, are stunning collections of music for their perspective genre, but has long been outclassed by the band's subsequent work. However, the album is an (imperfect) snapshot of Dylan's early days, and in its own way an important indicator of Dylan's musical roots. Unlike The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, BOB DYLAN was recorded for a much smaller audience in mind, and sold in rather slim numbers.
The album is comprised of eleven traditional songs and two covers. The reason was because in the early 1960s folk revival, the artists of that movement focused primarily on traditional material, they were much more concerned with interpretative songs than singing original compositions, a thing which Dylan himself would soon be changing.
In a mid 1960s review, Bob Dylan he was disgusted that all these people suddenly deciding they'd just start writing songs without any real knowledge of the traditional body of songs that have been before them. When asked about his own songwriting, Dylan said he didn't start writing his own songs until he had immersed himself in the tradition of his chosen field: songs from the American tradition. This proved to be a very rich tradition, as Dylan has gotten a lot of great music from that musical background. Over forty years later Dylan's newest music is a testament to this fact.
On his debut he was practicing and doing his own research in the Americana tradition to give his work much more depth than those people who just began writing songs without any sense of history behind it. That is what makes LOVE AND THEFT and MODERN TIMES so rewarding: you feel Dylan giving us a history of modern musical traditions other than rock and presenting it in a rock context. In an interview from 2001, Dylan said that the radio made "hideous noises," and there was none of the great musical tradition which made radio in his day so rewarding. So with LOVE AND THEFT and MODERN TIMES, Dylan gives us a study in the musical structures of the past, and instead of it being a pale imitation. LOVE AND THEFT and MODERN TIMES raises to the level of a grand artistic statement that ranks among his best work.
So why am I going on and on about an albums released decades after this release? It's because his newest music would not have been possible without Dylan steeping himself in the American musical tradition, of which this is his first studio foray.
It should be noted that when Dylan recorded this album, he was careful in what he recorded. He said in the Scorsese biopic that he didn't want to be pinned down, and didn't want to reveal all his secrets and protect his better material from other people on his first album. Dylan haphazardly recorded a number of songs that had been in his repertoire, but also standards in many of the of the other Greenwich Village regulars as well.
BOB DYLAN is Dylan trying to pass for a rough, gravelly voiced old singer who's been thru hell and back and lived to tell all about his adventures. Now he really is an old gravelling singer whose has a tremendous amount of experience and has actually become what he was trying to be over four decades ago.
His voice has always been one of controversy, and this is just as rough hewn as any of his releases. If you're this far into Dylan's body of work, you've come to the same conclusion that most of us have: Dylan's actually a very good singer, just not in the traditional sense. His voice adds much to these songs, giving them that edgy feel which they need to accomplish what Dylan wants them to accomplish. Amazingly, Dylan sings these songs with a world weariness and a wise-beyond-his-years approach that should simply not b e possible for a 21 year old, which is how old he was when he recorded this.
Dylan goes through 11 standard folk songs with a faster tempo than you'd expect (the tempo gives the album that edgy, paranoia feel) and each carry the weight of tradition behind it. Dylan, in a truly skillful way, captured the sense of history that accompanies each of these songs. Each song sounds personal and very relevant to the singer himself, which is amazing because of all the death obsession prevalent on the album. Dylan was only twenty at the time this record was cut, and yet he truly made you feel he was "fixin' to die," (which, coincidently, is more famous as the eleven minute monster on Led Zeppelin's PHYSICAL GRAFFITI) and that when he did you would need to ensure his grave was "kept clean." In "Freight Train Blues," Dylan holds a note for probably the longest in his career, and after he finishes you expect him to be sucking air and yet he keeps right on singing. For you Animal fans here, we have the five-minute "House of the Rising Sun," which Dylan appropriately sings in high anguish.
And what of the two original songs? Dylan, the poet laureate of rock and roll and one if its most important songwriters, only has two original songs on his debut. For reasons already discussed, it is obvious why. "Talkin' New York Town" deals with Dylan's arrival in New York and his struggles there, and "Song to Woody" is his own tribute to Woody Guthrie, the most influential person in Dylan's young life. Each is startling.
Although this record does not point to THE FREEWHEELIN' BOB DYLAN (judging from this, you could not deduce that Dylan's next lp would be one of the top albums of the 1960s), this album stands as an important introduction to Dylan and his muse. For those who want folk Dylan, I personally recommend his next three albums before turning to this. Although this is a fine LP, Dylan's body of work is large enough to make this more for the student of Dylan and music in general (which is impossible to study without a strong focus or emphasis on Dylan and his counterpart The Beatles) as opposed to the fan of Bob Dylan.
BOB DYLAN becomes much more important in retrospect than it ever did upon its original release, and without Dylan soaking himself in all these traditional songs we would never have gotten a lot of the top rate material on THE BASEMENT TAPES (official and otherwise) or LOVE AND THEFT or TIME OUT OF MIND or MODERN TIMES or much of his other material. Of his nine studio releases in the 1960s, this one should be the last on your list to buy, but for anyone who really wants to know Dylan (which is a very hard thing to do: people have built entire careers on the foundation of trying to figure him out) this is essential. Listen to this and then listen to his newest music and his live performances on the Never Ending Tour, and you can see the process which Dylan has been going through. He still covers a good number of traditional songs in his concerts.
Overall, the album is an interesting listen, but only a very limited snapshot of Dylan's early influences. Bootlegs from this period, such as the Minnesota Tapes, the Gaslight Tapes, the Witmark Demos, and other known recordings, in conjunction with this album, give you key insight into Dylan's musical evolution and how important traditional music was, and is, to Bob Dylan's art.
As it stands, this album is a key piece to study to gain understanding of Dylan's pre-fame days, largely because it's been officially released. There are other, much more representative albums in Dylan's early era that gives you insight into how his art evolved, but unfortunately they are mostly bootlegs. Still, this album gets the job done in what it's trying to do, which is a folkie playing music from his repertoire to a, admittedly limited, audience for the first time.
For all you songwriters (and writers in general, for that matter) out there, take a lesson from Dylan. Study and immerse yourself in what's gone before and it will greatly broaden and enrich your own work.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Underrated wee snapshot of Dylan's beginnings,
Short wee review this, as not much really needs to be said about such a simple little album. Obviously this is dylan's debut and is not his most evolved in terms of style or quality, but you know what? doesn't have to be, just accept and listen to it for what it is: a snapshot of Dylan's early life in Greenwich Village, a snapshot of all the songs and styles he loved at the time, that drove him to be one of the greatest artists of all time: this album is the sound that inspired him, basically, and whilst not as effective a "covers album" as "World gone wrong" from 1993, it's still an underrated piece, and Like I said, a great representation for Dylan's early sound.
Mostly covers on this one, which I pretty much all found effective. House of the rising sun, time of dying and Baby let me follow you down I found to be particular highlights amongst the classics are personal Dylan favourites for me personally. The two original songs are crackers, to - again, they aren't the sophisticated rock of highway 61 and Blonde or even the actually pretty basic mixture of folk and rock on Bringin it all back home, so just take em for what they are - great, highly folky early Dylan greats: Talkin new york is a real fave of mine, my fave "talkin" song he ever produced: I just like the lyrics and the rythmn of his voice, whilst Song to Woody is a great exmaple of MELODIC folky Dylan, which would really be fully exploited in Freewheelin. I think it's a lovely song with a great production and a very intimate, emotional delivery and melody (most likely nicked from some traditional, but that's Dylan for you lol)- absolute cracker and still one of my favourite dylan songs.
So nothing perfect, in terms of quality or whatever, but a fascinating snapshot of early dylan, and as such, a massive must listen for a fan of the man as an artist and not just his "hits". Don't expect a hidden masterpiece, but DO expect to enjoy this hidden treasure.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars,
this is how he should play guitar today wonderfull
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars,
This review is from: Bob Dylan (MP3 Download)
Great early Dylan at his folky best!
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Original Dylan,
This was the Dylan that crashed into our lives. People of my age will remember the shock. Todays generation will see why it started.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FIVE STARS,
There's no doubt about it - this is a 5 star album. Many people seem to see this as a footnote in Dylan's discography, I beg to differ.
To me, even now after listening to this album for over forty years, it seems phenomenal that an unknown young man of twenty years should walk into a recording studio and produce this. It seems like he chose the right songs and matched them to a raw unselfconscious energy that, in a sense, Dylan could never achieve again.
And that Song To Woody is still one of my favourite Dylan songs, truly heartfelt in its sentiment and performance, succinct yet direct in it's meaning.
Listening to Dylan has introduced me into so many ideas musicians poets philosophers and perhaps best of all was the inspiration to go search the work of Woody Guthrie.
I only have one complaint and that's the awful stereo mix, I have the CD but I'd rather listen to my old vinyl in mono. Just for the record (no pun intended) the same applies to Freewheelin.
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