Music to My Ears: Bob Dylan

In November of 1975 I attended my first Rock and Roll concert. It was Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue with Joni Mitchell, Roger McGuinn and Joan Baez among others. Each of the aforementioned had their moments, center stage in the spotlight, doing some of their biggest hits. We were treated to a night of various approaches to the music of each artist. It was part Rock ‘N' Roll, part Folk revival, part travelling gypsy commune (there were over a dozen musicians on stage at times) and full of very pleasant surprises, an amazing beginning to my concert experiences!

Bob Dylan made his way from Minnesota to New York City in the winter of 1961. He visited his idol Woodie Guthrie in the hospital and began performing in the Folk clubs around Greenwich Village. Guthrie’s influence on the young Dylan was immense.

Dylan found acceptance in the burgeoning Folk community in the Village and was discovered and signed to a record deal by John Hammond from Columbia Records in the fall of 1961. The rest is history.

Dylan’s songs have influenced everyone from Keith Richards and John Lennon to Jimi Hendrix and Rod Stewart. Critics and historians credit him with bringing a social conscience to popular music.

My favorite Dylan recordings from the library’s collection are:


Blonde on Blonde (1966)

In a 1978 interview Dylan said of Blonde on Blonde, "The closest I ever got to the sound I hear in my mind... that thin, that wild-mercury sound." Blonde on Blonde has the distinction of being the first double album. Dylan and the Band recorded it in seven days spread over two sessions at Columbia's Nashville studios in February and March 1966.

Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again, Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine, I Want You

Blood on the Tracks (1975)

After going through a divorce and wrapping up a tour with The Band (Before the Flood), Dylan returned to the studio to make one of his best albums, period!

Tangled Up in Blue, You’re Going to Make Me Lonesome When You Go, Shelter from the Storm, Buckets of Rain


Tell Tale Signs (2008)

Part of Dylan’s Bootleg series, this collection features alternate versions and unreleased songs written and recorded between 1989-2006. It’s a snapshot of Dylan’s work from the period, he released 9 albums during that time, and a testament to his genius.

Mississippi (stripped down version with Bob and Dan Lanois playing guitars) is my favorite, but every single track is solid.


The library has copies of all of these great releases so head on down to your local branch, pick up one or two!

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