ARTIST: Bob Dylan
TITLE: The Times They Are A-Changin’
YEAR RELEASED: 1964
CHART ACTION: #20 US, #4 UK
SINGLES: The Times They Are A-Changin’ (#9 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I think every song on this album is known either by Dylan or as a cover. The most notable: “Boots of Spanish Leather”, “Ballad of Hollis Brown”, “With God on Our Side”, “One Too Many Mornings”, “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”
LINEUP: Bob Dylan
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A true protest album. All of the songs have Dylan as the righteously indignant poet / singer. While important, the tone of the album is strident and a bit preachy.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: As he would going forward, Dylan laid down a lot of songs in the various sessions leading to the compilation of this album. This time, though, he centered the record around a protest theme backed by the title song, one of the most famous and timeless protest songs ever written.
As a listener, though, the album seems to be rather one-note and relentless. Yes, there was a chasm between the establishment and the young people and there was must injustice done to all of the voiceless and unfranchised. But this was an album that was very serious, and devoid of the humor that even Phil Ochs would bring in from time to time.
Dylan may have known that – he may have spent himself on pure protest. It also may have been the Kennedy assassination, which happened shortly after these sessions wrapped. But this would be the last full ‘protest’ album by him even though he had that label going forward for many years. Yes, there would be protest songs going forward, but they’re always balanced by other, more personal, material.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The title track has been used for commercials. Not sung by Dylan, but by Richie Havens and Pete Seeger.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: B+: As material for a history lesson it’s invaluable. It’s not fun to listen to all the way through, especially now. Still, almost every song is well known.