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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 26 April 2007
When Bob Dylan has a fire in his belly and is on top form, there are few things finer in this world. With two albums under his belt and a confidence that could only have come from rapturous applause, he embarked upon this most serious of collections.

Very few albums have what you'd call the perfect sleeve art, in the sense that it is a visual representation of the music within. On The Times They Are A Changin' it is perfect. Stark, moody, monochrome, almost archaic even in 1963. Bob looks 23 going on 53, a man with the world on his shoulders.

From the off, Bob has some serious things to say. Let not over-familiarity dilute the title track, a revolutionary and almost Marxist desire to see the old order crumble and for the young to take over. Its actually startling that he got away with it! The subject matter is largely grim; he sings about murders on The Ballad Of Hollis Brown, Only A Pawn In Their Game, and The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll. There's one about the horrors of a closing mining town (North Country Blues) and another couple that directly relate to his anger against the establishment (With God On Our Side and When The Ship Comes In).

Its predecessor, Freewheelin', was liberally sprinkled with his Chaplinesque humour, and he wouldn't be railing against anything except women on its follow up, Another Side Of... again doused with that silent movie farce as was his wont. The Times They Are A Changin' is pretty hardcore stuff; one man, a guitar, both as harsh as the words he was putting across.

For me, a special place in my heart is reserved for With God On Our Side and The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll. These are stunning pieces of poetry set to music that's so gorgeous as to make you want to weep. I personally prefer Freewheelin' for its greater scope, but like that album, this is purely timeless.
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VINE VOICEon 18 June 2008
'The Times They Are A-Changin'' doesn't progress from what Bob Dylan did on 'Freewheelin''. Rather, it broadens his protest-oriented repertoire. Perhaps the gloomiest of his albums, it seems to be the only one from which his sense of humour is entirely absent. There is a slight shift in emphasis from anti-war songs to the effects of social injustice and hardship. Nevertheless, 'With God On Our Side' would have fitted in with the dominant theme on his previous album. The lyric, and in particular, its closing verse, is brilliantly crafted, though Dylan's delivery is occasionally disjointed by sloppy tempo changes, perhaps an attempt to break up its seven minutes.

The title track is probably the best-known item on the album, in large part due to the status it gained as a slogan, a kind of rallying call. It sets the tone for the whole album, characterised by Dylan's sober drawl and songs of relentless, unchanging form. The latter technique works well on the folky blues of 'Hollis Brown'. Dylan uses the guitar to add sombre colour to the song, which is a 'what-drives-a-man-to-kill' lyric of the sort featured liberally on Bruce Springsteen's early 1980s album, 'Nebraska'.

'North Country Blues' is probably the gloomiest recording, relating the anguish and hardships endured by redundant miners. Sandwiched between this and 'With God On Our Side', the reflective 'One Too Many Mornings' almost seems like light relief. 'Hattie Carroll' is another death song. It's one of Dylan's more articulate performances, though, ironically, I believe, there are doubts as to the authenticity of the slant Dylan puts on the story.

This album may not be perfect then, but it's still blindingly powerful and a remarkable forty-five minutes for 1964.
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I am not going to argue that "The Times They Are A-Changin'" is the best of Bob Dylan's early albums, because that honor clearly belongs to "The Freewhelin' Bob Dylan," when the prospects of war gave Dylan's protest songs greater potency. But this is the one that is his most earnest attempt to emulate the great Woody Guthrie, a fact that I think is perfectly clear just from the black & white cover photograph of Dylan. The point is underscored in Dylan's "Outlined Epitaphs" that takes the place of traditional liner notes. There Dylan writes "In time behind, I too wished I'd lived in the hungry thirties an blew in like Woody t New York City an sang for dimes on subway trains satisifed at a nickel fare."
This year I have been listening to a lot of Woody Guthrie's songs and as great as Bob Dylan was in the Sixties and beyond, if there are people who do not remember when Guthrie was America's troubadour that is truly a shame. Listening to these songs you can clearly see the strong parallels between the two, with Dylan providing the same angry arrogance as his hero in the title track on "With God On Our Side." But Guthrie could also tell stories and Dylan takes his turn at that as well, with "Ballad of Hollis Brown" and "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll." There are not as many Dylan classics on this one as "Freewheelin'," but this is perhaps an even better collection of the really early Dylan, in off the bus from the Hibbing in the big bad city.
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on 27 September 2005
Possibly Dylans darkest work, this album is full of acoustic work that is is simply amazing. It is not a 'feel good' album, with dark songs such as 'Only a Pawn in Their Game', 'Ballad of Hollis Brown' and 'The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol', all the songs on this album tell stories. The songs that realy stand out are 'The Times They are A-Changin', 'Spanish Boots of Spanish Leather' and 'When the Ship Comes In'.
In short: Buy this album.
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on 8 November 2015
Recorded in the October of 1963, this 1964 released album contains ten beautiful, clear, acoustic MONO recordings that to my mind epitomised the period. This again is BOB DYLAN at his best, a story-teller sublime, and a poet supreme. The tracks are:
This album needs just to be played whilst you sit in solitude and let the words flow evenly over you; it really is beautiful. It is great background if your computing, but not if your a brain-surgeon because every now and then you'll want to stop an listen. Listen to "The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll" a 51 year old mum of 10 children who was brutally attacked in the Hotel where she worked on the 9th February 1963 by a drunken 24 year old William Zantzinger. Because she never served him quick enough he struck her on the head with his cane, she died the day after. He served time for manslaughter.
ONLY A PAWN IN THEIR GAME tells of the assassination in June 1963 of MEDGAR EVERS, a civil rights activist by Byron de la Beckworth.
HOLLIS BROWN was a poverty stricken Dakota farmer who, in the depths of deep depression, killed his wife, his children, and then himself.
WITH GOD ON OUR SIDE is my highlight. This song is as true today as it was in 1963, my how time circles us, with Russia once again one of our biggest threats. And of course the album title needs absolutely no comments from me. On its release back in '64 there were those who reckoned it did not contain enough humour! They should have bought Bob Newhart. A must for your Dylan collection, and as I have previously stated, also good for Jake Bugg fans. Enjoy.
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on 1 January 2004
This being Bob Dylan's third album is commonly classed as his 'protest album'. Rightly so as there a five songs of the like on here. Including 'The Ballad if Hollis Brown', 'With God on Our Side', 'The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll', ' Only a Pawn in Their Game' and the title track.
However after looking past these there is a song lurking here which I have grown very fond of taking the name of ' Boots of Spanish Leather'. I overlooked this song at first but never again, it is a gorgeous love song.
Bob Dylan is capable of writing angry protest songs, brilliant rock songs and quiet, moving love ballads. If it was up to me there would be a copy of every Dylan album in every country in the world!! If you ever want to see a living legend before your very eyes go see him live you will never forget it.
As with all Dylan albums all the songs are great some even greater and this is an essential album. The last song 'Restless Farewell' is a little hint ( i think ) that Dylan had had enough and wanted to go his own way and shake off the protest songwriter image, what followed was 'Another Side of Bob Dylan'. After that certainly did go his own way! If you don't have it take my humble advice, BUY IT !!
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This 1964 release is the third studio album from icon of the age Bob Dylan. Building on the success of the previous year's `Freewheelin Bob Dylan' he continued to develop his own unique style, moving away from the pure folk of his debut and developing his political and surreal song writing styles. It's a dark album, full of death and bleak imagery, that culminates with the Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, probably one of Dylan's most topical and angriest songs that deals with the murder of a black woman and the racist legal system that let her murderer off with a joke of a sentence. Other highlights are the titular song, in which hope is expressed that things are changing (but the rest of the album seems to be trying to prove that they aren't) and `One Too Many Mornings', a paean of hurt and loneliness that we can all relate to.

It's perhaps not as instantly accessible as Freewheelin, but it grows on you. The imagery Dylan conjures up is vivid and makes you think. It's one of the great protest albums, 4 stars. The
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on 21 October 2001
This is definatly Bob Dylan's best album ever. The lyrics are thought prevoking, fantasticly performed and contain a moral message that is relevant to everybody. Among the best tracks are "The ballad of Hollis Brown" and "The lonesome death os Hattie Carroll". These tracks are about people who's lives have ended premeturely because of circumstances beyond their control, and also people that nobody really even notices are alive, never mind dead. This album definatly beats "Blood on the tracks" which is often seen as one of Dylan's best. Other tracks like "Only a pawn in their game" and "With God on our side" may not be wonderfully performed, but carry a very prominant and relevant message. As with all true protest music, you can't buy the album just for a good tune. It is worth buying it just for the lyrics, which if you really care, you will listen to.
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on 14 April 2003
This is Dylans protest album and is my favourite Dylan Cd, granted I haven't heard them all but I have heard all of the ones from the 60's and 70's.
This CD is all acoustic with a little bit of harmonica thrown in for good measure. The opening track lives up to it's name and is one of Dylan't most famous thought provoking songs ever. The lyrics are fantastic with my favourite being "Come mothers and fathers Throughout the land, And don't criticize What you can't understand, Your sons and your daughters Are beyond your command"
All of the songs are excellent 5 star material music. However if you want some happy Dylan music then I recommend you leave this page and buy `Blonde on Blonde`.
My personal favourite songs are `With god on our side` and `the lonesome death of Hattie Carroll`. The latter is Bob showing his outrage at the justice in this country
"William Zantzinger, who at twenty-four years
Owns a tobacco farm of six hundred acres
With rich wealthy parents who provide and protect him
And high office relations in the politics of Maryland,
Reacted to his deed with a shrug of his shoulders
And swear words and sneering, and his tongue it was snarling,
In a matter of minutes on bail was out walking."
The real masterpiece on this album though is `with god on our side`. Dylan just lists off wars and how both sides have `god on their side` he goes one further though and after pondering makes a bold statement
"In a many dark hour
I've been thinkin' about this
That Jesus Christ
Was betrayed by a kiss
But I can't think for you
You'll have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot
Had God on his side."
outrageous? yes
tongue in cheek? yes
bitter ? yes
brilliant? absolutely
this track clocks in at just over 7 minutes and has a lot of use of his harmonica.
everybody should own a copy of this cd as it is true excellence.
My only complaint about this album is that `with god on our side` should have been the last track. This would have been the perfect end to a perfect album. As he states with absolute certainty the last lines of the song
"If God's on our side he'll stop the next war"
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on 8 December 2010
They say you can't judge a book by its cover but 'The Times...' is exactly as the cover suggests, downbeat, mournful, melancholly, ragged and dirty. There's no 'I'm a poet/I know it/Hope I don't blow it" quips, there's no joking around on Bob's last 'protest' album, it's about death, desperation, sacrifice, hatred, Bob doesn't offer solutions, just states the facts.
It's just Bob with his harmonica and guitar and he fingerpicks beautifully on a couple of tracks, his vocals are mournful to suit the music and the lyrics are direct, there's no 'mystery tramps' or 'two wheeled gypsy queens' here, this is an album saturated with reality.
To my mind, the only throwaway song on the album is 'When The Ship Comes In' which sound like it's been included to up the tempo a touch and when you consider that 'Seven Curses' and 'Moonshiner'(available on 'Bootleg Series 1-3') were recorded in the same sessions, both downbeat and superior, you can see the reasoning but I'd have plumped for either of the rejected pair.
As far as the remastering goes, I don't hear any difference at all, the packaging is superior by a long chalk but a couple of the songs still sound like they're culled from vinyl or a dodgy mastertape, ironically this adds to the overall sound so it's no bad thing.
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