Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changin’ (1964)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Times They Are a-Changin’ is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on January 13, 1964 by Columbia Records. Whereas his previous albums Bob Dylan and The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan consisted of original material among cover songs, Dylan’s third album was the first to feature only original compositions. The album consists mostly of stark, sparsely arranged ballads concerning issues such as racism, poverty, and social change. The title track is one of Dylan’s most famous; many feel that it captures the spirit of social and political upheaval that characterized the 1960s.

Some critics and fans were not quite as taken with the album as a whole, relative to his previous work, for its lack of humor or musical diversity. Still, The Times They Are a-Changin’ peaked at No. 20 on the US chart, eventually going gold, and belatedly reaching No. 4 in the UK in 1965. (by wikipedia)

If The Times They Are a-Changin’ isn’t a marked step forward from The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, even if it is his first collection of all originals, it’s nevertheless a fine collection all the same. It isn’t as rich as Freewheelin’, and Dylan has tempered his sense of humor considerably, choosing to concentrate on social protests in the style of “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

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With the title track, he wrote an anthem that nearly equaled that song, and “With God on Our Side” and “Only a Pawn in Their Game” are nearly as good, while “Ballad of Hollis Brown” and “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” are remarkably skilled re-castings of contemporary tales of injustice. His absurdity is missed, but he makes up for it with the wonderful “One Too Many Mornings” and “Boots of Spanish Leather,” two lovely classics. If there are a couple of songs that don’t achieve the level of the aforementioned songs, that speaks more to the quality of those songs than the weakness of the remainder of the record. And that’s also true of the album itself — yes, it pales next to its predecessor, but it’s terrific by any other standard. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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A decidedly darker, more serious album than its predecessor, “The Times They Are A-Changin'” has the feel of a young man reveling in his newfound status as the voice of a generation, even as he pretends he does not. While songs like the title track and “With God on Our Side” are universal anthems embracing that status and are similar to some of the social commentary found on Dylan’s prior album, songs like the “Ballad of Hollis Brown” and “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” are mired in bleaker subjects with an angrier mood, unafraid to confront injustice and name names, but reluctant to point toward solutions to society’s ills. There are a few lyrically gorgeous songs about love, but the playfulness and sarcasm that made “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” so unique is completely absent. (by Kenneth Bridgham)

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Personnel:
Bob Dylan (vocals, guitar, harmonica)

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Tracklist:
01. The Times They Are a-Changin’ 3.13
02. Ballad Of Hollis Brown 5.06
03. With God On Our Side 7.08
04. One Too Many Mornings 2.40
05. North Country Blues 4.34
06. Only A Pawn In Their Game 3.34
07. Boots Of Spanish Leather 4.40
08. When The Ship Comes In 3.18
09. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll 5.47
10. Restless Farewell 5.35

All songs written by Bob Dylan

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More Bob Dylan:

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