Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scrape and Scratch of Protest, 22 Feb 2006
This review is from: The Times They Are A-Changin' (Audio CD)
Although not an easy album to listen to by today's standards, the importance of "The Times They Are A'Changin'" in Bob Dylan's catalogue cannot be overstated. There can be no disputing the strength of the writing, be it in the social commentaries, the tender love ballads or the final reflective track, Dylan demonstrated his proficiency at turning his thoughts, ideas and opinions into song. Reaction to the album was less than enthusiastic, Little Sandy Review referred to it as "...45 minutes of gloom" and spoke of its "...spiritual masochism," while High Fidelity said "Dylan will not entertain you...But he will sear your soul." Tim Riley in Hard Rain described it as "...frustration with form," and said that Dylan "...sings to his lovers less as though they have disappointed him than as though he has disappointed himself. The Carnegie Hall concert had been a great success and proved how much Dylan had matured as an artist since the Town Hall concert six months earlier. The only pity was that several of the songs that were performed at the latter concert did not make the album, perhaps because of their planned inclusion in an aborted live album. The studio version of "Seven Curses" was eventually given official release on 1991's "Bootlegs Vols. 1-3" as were the studio versions of "Lay Down Your Weary Tune" and "Percy's Song" on 1985's "Biograph." The live version of the latter from Carnegie Hall is superior, if a little lengthy. Practically every song on "The Times They are A'Changin" has become a Dylan classic, and many are still being performed live today, although in vastly different arrangements. "The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll" was perhaps a strange inclusion in the second half of 1975's Rolling Thunder tour (on one occasion Dylan dedicated it to Arthur Rimbaud!) but it gives some indication of the flexibility of these songs. All things considered, "Times" probably achieved what Dylan set out to achieve and it remains one of his most emblematic albums. With the slight hiccup of his next album ("Another Side of Bob Dylan") he would soon be the most important contemporary artist of the entire decade.
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