The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan: The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan

Album #27 - May 1963

Episode date - June 5, 2024

The Top 500 of The Top 40
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    This is the album where the cresting folk music scene fell head over heels in love with Bob Dylan, and in response, Bob Dylan almost immediately felt objectified.

    As you might imagine, New York City folk fans were an intense and judgmental lot in the early sixties. The recent rediscovery and embrace of ageing blues artists lent them a (somewhat deserved) sense of self-importance, and the leftist politics that united them made the scene feel like a movement. Then, seemingly out of nowhere comes the ‘great unwashed’, ‘the great white hope’.

    After a mediocre debut album, Dylan casually dropped “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and was immediately thrust into the role of head spokesman for a scene, and then a generation. Dylan provided the folk movement with an anthem, but he did much more than simply ask the right questions. He wrote a timelessly gorgeous love song (“Girl from the North Country”) and a cleverly dismissive one as well (“Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”). He directly and personally damned war profiteers (“Masters of War”) with the harshest language he could muster. Most importantly, he also expanded the palette of folk by writing the stunningly poetic observations of “It’s a Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall.”

    On one album, Dylan changed the context and the content of what constituted ‘folk music’ in 1963. He was embraced for his ingenuity, but his fawning fans did not yet realize that he was bristling from the attention and the misconception of his intentions. In a year’s time, Dylan would dismantle and then annihilate the folk scene but for the time being, there was peace in the valley.

    Featured Tracks:

    Blowin' in the Wind

    Girl from the North Country

    Masters of War

    Down the Highway

    Bob Dylan's Blues

    A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall

    Don't Think Twice, It's All Right

    Bob Dylan's Dream

    Oxford Town

    Talkin' World War III Blues

    Corrina, Corrina

    Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance

    I Shall Be Free

    May 1963 - Billboard Charted #22

     

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