Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Albums of Bob Dylan, Part Four

By Russell Shortt

Musically, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan would change everything and would create clones of Dylan in bars, student haunts and coffee hang-outs for generations to come. But whatever he did - bedding Joan Baez, walking off the Ed Sullivan Show, singing at the March on Washington, added to the allure, there could be no escape.

He wasn't doing himself any favours of escape by releasing the wonderful album The Times They Are a-Changing' (1964), on which he tackled head-on the raging issues of the day - poverty, racism and social change. But Bob was a-changing too, he had never wanted to be leader of the protest, he recorded Another Side of Bob Dylan in a single, hot June's evening; it was a light-hearted affair, chock-full of passionate love songs.

Dylan was heading rock and roll, telling his self appointed disciples, it ain't me babe, he was younger than all that now. His Bringing It All Back Home (1965) was a type of bridge, being half acoustic, half electric; it kept the folkies hoping that Dylan was still with them, that he was only flirting with the new sound. But the writing was evidently on the wall, anyone who composed a song like Subterranean Homesick Blues was not going to be constrained by one medium, indeed the song with it's Beat influenced lyrics was a forerunner of rap and hip-hop.

He plugged in at the Newport Folk Festival, the crowd booing their Judas, but it was too late for all that, Dylan hit the road with his new lieutenants The Band. And he wasn't just making up the rock and roll numbers, from 1965 he began revolutionising it.

Russell Shortt is a travel consultant with Exploring Ireland, the leading specialists in customised, private escorted tours, escorted coach tours and independent self drive tours of Ireland. Article source Russell Shortt, http://www.exploringireland.net

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