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Sunday, January 2, 2011

The First Bob Dylan Album

Similar to Robert Johnson in the late 1930s, Bob Dylan dominated the pre-Sgt. Pepper 60s.  Not popularity wise (just like Robert Johnson) but in a way he was just making great collections of songs over and over again and made certain the album was much more important than the single.  What I love most about this album, is all the traditionals he chooses basically give us a glimpse of his biggest influences, thus folk music’s biggest influences.  Whether it’s Irish traditionals, blind man’s blues, or old gospels, Dylan crammed them all into his style, and brought folk music into the pop culture, and the great 60s counter-culture would soon follow. 

13.  Gospel Plow – Bob Dylan (1962) – (Folk)
12.  Freight Train Blues – Bob Dylan (1962) – (Folk)

Bob makes a really obnoxious sound on this.   He’s yodeling a lot in this one, but one of his quote unquote yodels … eeesh, bad sound. 

11.  Fixin to Die – Bob Dylan (1962) – (Folk)
10.  Man of Constant Sorrow – Bob Dylan (1962) – (Folk)

Sadly, this is the only version of the song on my entire ipod, minus the 2000 studio sessions of the Soggy Bottom Boys and a Jerry Garcia live cover, which means it’s the only one that qualified for these lists and well, I’m not a big fan of Dylan’s arrangement. 

9.  You’re No Good – Bob Dylan (1962) – (Folk)
8.  Pretty Peggy-O – Bob Dylan (1962) – (Folk)
7.  Highway 51 – Bob Dylan (1962) – (Blues)
6.  See That My Grave’s Kept Clean – Bob Dylan (1962) – (Blues)**

Blind Lemon Jefferson has to be covered on this album. 

5.  House of the Rising Sun – Bob Dylan (1962) – (Folk)

Tracing this song, which the Animals made a classic and Scorsese killed many Mafioso types to, isn’t that easy.  We all know the Animals bit it from Dylan, but Dylan bit it from Dave Van Ronk, who bit it from some old Texan,  who had a recording of some woman named Georgia Turner singing it.  Maybe I’d be better off tracing the roots of “traditional” songs so proper song writing credit can be given than simply ranking my favorites … but c’mon, without ranking, how else do you know? 

4.  In My Time of Dying – Bob Dylan (1962) – (Blues)

Here’s a Blind Willie Johnson (not to be confused with Blind Lemon Jefferson) song, that was also covered by Led Zeppelin years later.

3.  Baby, Let Me Follow You Down – Bob Dylan (1962) – (Folk)

Aside from tipping his hat to the old-timey, he also covers some of the contemporary folk songs like this one. 

2.  Song to Woody – Bob Dylan (1962) – (Folk)

This album is like his big “thank you” to his influences before he changes the history of song. 

1.  Talkin’ New York – Bob Dylan (1962) – (Folk)

I love Dylan’s style of talking over a song.  More importantly, this is one of only two originals on this album, so it’s technically “his” first song ever recorded.  

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