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on 2 October 2007
Bob Dylan released his fourth studio album, ANOTHER SIDE OF BOB DYLAN, in August 1964. Due to the prolific nature of many recording artists during the 1960s, this was his second album of the year. And what an album it is. This record has a special place in my heart, as this is the very first Dylan album I listened too all the way through.

Earlier in the year, Dylan had released his third album, comprised solely of protest music, entitled THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN'. That album was very dark and starkly depressing. Dylan, not one to be tied down to a "movement," completely changed directions, abandoning the heavy protest music of his previous LP, TIMES THEY ARE A'CHANGIN', and instead focusing on a more cerebral, beatnik style of music and lyrics. Dylan lays all the groundwork for his next three releases on this album.

The critical appraisal of ANOTHER SIDE is that it is a transitional album, which is largely true. From an artistic standpoint, ANOTHER SIDE belongs with the electric trilogy both thematically and lyrically. The writing marks a significant change and evolution of Dylan's music, branching out more into interpersonal songs, surrealistic songs, comedy songs, and devastating love songs.

Dylan wisely moved beyond the folk protest movement, and pretty much establishing the folk-rock movement. Acts such as The Turtles, Johnny Cash, and The Byrds took five of the songs on the album to the upper echelon of the singles charts. This chart success helped established Dylan has one of rock's premier new song writers, a status which would only grow as the decades rolled on.

Dylan states with the opening track that he doesn't want to be a "spokesman of a generation," but just a friend. "It Ain't Me Babe", besides the literal reading of a person saying he won't be a woman's lover, is much the same message as the opening track, but this time much more direct and confrontational. He ain't the spokesman for the protest movement, so get over it.

"My Back Pages" continues this theme of abandoning protest sentiment for a more personal, intimate approach. He states he wasn't as wise as he was pretending to be, and has been returned to a sort of innocence ("I was so much older than, I'm younger than that now). Almost thirty years later George Harrison, Tom Petty, Eric Clapton, Roger McGuinn, Neil Young, and Dylan would play an electric version with each singer trading off verses at Bob's 30th anniversary celebration. Great version, great video, and great guitar solo by Clapton.

The remaining tracks are Dylan following the poetic techniques he first pioneered in "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" to their logical conclusion, culminating in "Chimes of Freedom," his undeniable masterpiece from ANOTHER SIDE. "I Shall Be Free # 10" and "Motopsycho Nitemare" glady restore Dylan's sense of humour on prominent display, which was so sadly lacking on his grim, humourless affair of TIMES THEY ARE. The reference to Hitchcock in "Nitemare" is worth the price of admission. "Spanish Harlem Incident" and "Black Crowe Blues" are minor gems in Dylan's 1960s songbook. "Black Crow Blues" is notable for its piano, the only track to have an additional instrument besides guitar and harmonica. It is also Dylan's first commercial recording where he plays piano. To date, he's never played "Black Crowe Blues" live.

"To Ramona" is one of the most memorable songs of Dylan's acoustic material. "I Don't Believe You (She Acts like We Never Met", Dylan later radically rearranged and played an electric version with the Hawks (before they became The Band) in the famous '66 tour. You really should check out the electric interpretation found on THE BOOTLEG SERIES VOLUME 4: THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL CONCERT.

"Ballad in Plain D" is a poignant anomaly in Dylan's canon. The song details his bitter breakup with Sue Rotolo, his girlfriend in the early 1960s and the woman pictured with Bob on THE FREEWHEELIN' BOB DYLAN. (Over forty years later she still gets recognized from that photograph). The song is a very intimate look at Dylan's love life, shocking for a celeberty known for his love of privacy. In 1985, when asked by an interviewer of there was any song he wished he had not written, Dylan [told an interview that] singled out this song, wishing he had left it unrecorded, or at least unreleased, due to the highly personal nature of its lyrics. For such a private man, "Ballad in Plain D" is a very rarely afforded view into Dylan's personal life at the time. Dylan wouldn't grant that liberty again till the 1975 release BLOOD ON THE TRACKS, a full eleven years later. For that reason alone we should pay attention to it. For this listener, it's a great song.

The album was recorded in a single session, with Dylan polishing off two bottles of Beaujolais wine. Fourteen songs were recorded with complete takes, of which eleven made the final cut.

The first of the three songs left on the cutting room floor was the first take of one of Dylan's most famous songs, "Mr Tambourine Man." Dylan cut the song with Ramblin' Jack Elliot singing harmony on the chorus, and with Dylan flubbing some of the lines. This would not be released until 2005's BOOTLEG SERIES 7.

The second is "Mama You Been On My Mind," a song Dylan gave to Joan Baez who would make it an international hit as "Daddy, You Been on My Mind." Dylan and Baez would duet on the song during the mid 1960s.

The third song, and still unreleased (though widely available via bootleg), is "Denise". The song uses the same music as "Black Crowe Blues," but has different, and for many fans superior, lyrics.

Dylan in later years has expressed dissatisfaction with the title. He thought that was stating the obvious. And to some degree it is. You can tell by this record he's getting bored with folk music and instead wants to go onto bigger and better things.

ANOTHER SIDE OF BOB DYLAN sounds like the next evolutionary link in Dylan's artistic journey. While TIMES sounded like a forced protest album (which it largely was, despite containing some phenomenal music), ANOTHER SIDE sounds like the real successor to FREEWHEELIN'.

FREEWHEELIN' featured Dylan the protestor with Dylan the poet. His next two albums would later explore that dichotomy. During the TIMES sessions Dylan was recording music far outside the straightjacket scope of "traditional protest" music, but rather than release an accurate snapshot of where his music at, he released only his most adamant protest music. Just like he changed his focus to protest music for TIMES, Dylan again shifted gears for ANOTHER SIDE. While TIMES was a one-off, ANOTHER SIDE represented the direction Dylan's career would go for the next several years.

Ultimately, ANOTHER SIDE stands as one of Dylan's best albums. For all intents and purposes, it is the precursor to his electric trilogy, though it has no electric instruments. Dylan naturally progressed from this to the rock and roll music of his next three releases. While that fact is easy to point out decades after the fact, it was quite the shocker to the folk critics, fans, and establishment. Ah, but that is another story.
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on 25 November 2006
This has got to be one of my favourite dylan albums. it isn't necessarily the most impressive; it isn't full of political anthems and doesn't have as many classics as other albums (though obviously it has the dylan lyrics and sense of musicality to it). i think though it's one of the best balanced dylan albums in terms of mood. there are upbeat, fun songs like 'i shall be free no10' and 'motorpsycho nitemare', and tongue-in-cheek love songs like 'to ramona', balanced against the moving 'ballad of plain d' and the unrelenting intensity of 'my back pages' and 'chimes of freedom'. for people who can find dylan a bit grim and political, try this album! the balance between the songs makes it a great listen. dylan sounds much more relaxed than normal and as if he's really enjoying himself, which is such a pleasure to listen to, and makes the songs sound very unforced and effortless. i suppose this is (whisper it) one of the most accessible albums he's made.
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on 20 May 2000
I really enjoy listening to this album because of the great songs and fantastic lyrics. It's also a really fascinating departure for Dylan. His previous album, "The Times are a-changin'" was straight no-nonsense protest and folk, including what Dylan himself didn't like ie 'finger pointing' songs. But for me, the move to this album was the real turning point. He stopped singing about the world and started singing about himself. The amount of first person songs are amazing, especially for a 'protest' singer. Of course we all know now that he was anything but and here's where it all really begins. One of the best and most complicated songs was 'Chimes of Freedom' which appears to be a straightforwward folk song but is really much more complex and requires and rewards repeated listening. The heavy stuff is really well balanced by funny and topical songs like 'Motorpsycho nitemare' and 'I Shall be Free'. It amazes me that the people who booed when he went electric were surprised at this seemingly sudden change in their hero , surely if you listen to the sarcasm in 'I don't believe you' or My Back Pages' or the apathy in 'It ain't me babe' that 'their little Woody Guthrie'(J.Baez) was going through a few changes. Anyhow, not too many albums mention Fidel Castro and his beard in the same song so sit back and enjoy the fun as little Bobby Dylan starts to turn into Dylan and he hasn't even plugged in an electric guitar yet.
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on 8 October 2015
My first review for Bob Dylan was for "The Best Of.." which will give the uninitiated a glimpse into his background. I love this album because it is the Bob Dylan of the sixties, recorded in 1964 it contains 11 tracks, each a gem in their own right. Jake Bugg reminds me very much of the young Dylan in both prose and vocals. The tracks are:
I'll give no background history because it's boring, 'nuff to say you may recognise one or more of the tracks and if you buy this album you'll be glad to know you'll be introduced to several more which will linger in your memory. Particular favourites for me, CHIMES OF FREEDOM, and the very funny I SHALL BE FREE NO.10.
The storytelling is unsurpassed, the clarity of the recordings are superb. A man, a guitar and harmonica - that's Bob Dylan. It is great to play anytime, he draws you in and, if like me you have it on background whilst on the computer, you will find yourself stopping to listen, reflect and smile.
To many people Bob Dylan was the sixties; I'll not argue with that, not while he's playing. For the younger people especially those fans of Jake Bugg; give this guy a try you never know you may like it.
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on 28 April 2005
By my reckoning this is possibly Dylan's best album before he plugged in some guitars and added a drum kit etc. Some of his best songs are here, the origin of the High Surreal Beat ( as in Rimbaud/Burroughs/Ginsberg ) lyricism that flowed forth in a virtually unstaunched torrent- at least until John Wesley Hardin. Another Side Of Bob Dylan is simply the acoustic 'unplugged' template for the trio of amplified masterpieces to come. The songs are more autobiographical and less protest-orientated than before. His precocious gifts were in full flower. If you want to find out why folkies and others were in awe of Dylan, and never really felt he needed more electricity, start listening here. You need the remastered version of course.
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on 7 June 2013
This is the Dylan I like, not the modern one with his rockalbums who follows the streams and is searching for some mainstream sound (with all respect for the man and his age) but this one, the young one, the rebel one, acoustic and looking for an electric way to do his thing.
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on 3 April 2013
Another Side of Bob Dylan...For me any of his 60s albums up to and including Blond on Blond are his most significant works...Personally after that he became more and more irrelevant like a lot of our 'superstars' did...and still do...:~)
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on 26 November 2014
Apparently recorded unaccompanied in one rapid-fire evening over a couple of bottles of Beaujolais, this revealingly-titled LP of rough-and-ready acoustic folk from 1964 isn't tremendously popular, and is often overlooked. That is a shame as it features a few of the most enduring songs in Dylan's vast back catalogue - 'All I Really Want to Do', 'My Back Pages', and 'It Ain't Me Babe' - and is also historically significant in his career, as it sees him beginning to renounce the role of finger-pointing, poet-prophet of the Greenwich Village folk scene, who had sung piously about 'Blowin' In The Wind', and how 'A Hard Rain's Gonna' Fall'. The likes of 'Spanish Harlem Incident', and the stunning waltz 'To Ramona', have romance rather than revolution as their subject matter, as Dylan began to draw more heavily on the opaqueness of the Beats and the symbolists, than he did the austerity of the Old Testament and Woody Guthrie. Though the results of that development aren't uniformly good here, even a marmite song like 'I Shall Be Free - No. 10' has its admirers: obscure 60s garage-punk act Race Marbles' novelty song 'Like A Dribbling Fram' borrows heavily from it.
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on 22 November 2015
Dylan released this 11-song album in 1964— it's Dylan’s final (for the period) folk album; its songs contain social as well as deeply personal lyrics, fueling the folk-rock explosion of American bands (The Byrds covered several songs, including “Chimes Of Freedom;” The Turtles had a big hit with Dylan’s quintessential anti-love song—“It Ain’t Me, Babe;” Sonny & Cher released a chart-topper with “All I Really Want To Do.” Despite those great songs, the album is however, diluted by the inclusion of two talking blues songs and the much too long and (yawn) boring “Ballad in
Plain D.”
This album review, as well as 36 others, is available in my new book--6 Decades of Dylan. 6 DECADES of DYLAN: 37 Studio Album Reviews (1962 - 2015)
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on 6 April 2013
In its day this must have been a must for fans, but it sounds so dated and rather amateurish now. If you want some early Dylan to try out, best to go for Highway 61 Revisited or Bringing It All Back Home, which have stood the test of time much better. Still, for less then £4 you might risk it and find it suits your taste.
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