The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan

So I’m surprised I haven’t talked about it yet on this blog, but Bob Dylan was my first concert.  I guess I haven’t mentioned it yet because, unfortunately, I don’t really remember much about it.  See, I was only 10 years old in the summer of 1986 when Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and the Grateful Dead played a triple bill at the Akron Rubber Bowl.  It was a family affair that night, as mi madre is a huge Bob Dylan fan, mon soeur is a huge Tom Petty fan, and mon frere, well, he has his Dead Head moments.  So, being the youngest of the bunch, they packed me up in the family truckster (actually, I think it was a grey Impala) and we made the rare journey outside the Geneva city limits to see the show.  What I do remember is that Petty played first, then Dylan, then the Dead.  And at some point during the Dead’s set, Dylan came back out and played a few songs with them.  I’m pretty sure I fell asleep before the end of the show.

Thanks to the magic of the world wide interweb, I’ve been able to take a look at the set list from that night, and all I can say is damn, I wish I had been older and could remember it better.  Dylan played pretty much everything song of his I would want to hear live, including “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Masters of War” from this album.  Actually, I do remember all the Dead Heads singing along to “Rainy Day Women #12 and #35”.  I wonder if I can find a bootleg of this concert somewhere.  I’d love to hear it again.

As for this album, I picked it up at the Half Price Books on High Street near Worthington for $6.99.   It’s Dylan’s second record and the one that catapulted him in the national spotlight with “Blowin’ in the Wind”, possibly the greatest protest song every written.  The record it mostly folk and blues, but Dylan waxes poetic on “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fail” and he hits hard on “Masters of War” (Edward Louis Severson III and Michael McCready of Pearl Jam fame do a powerful cover of the latter on Bob Dylan’s 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration).  We also get the first example of a Bob Dylan dream song, simply titled “Bob Dylan’s Dream” (although it’s not funny like “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream”), and we also get his first use of the talking blues in “Talking World War III Blues” (witty, but not quite as funny as “Talking Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues”, an outtake that got left off the album).

Other lists: “Blowin’ in the Wind” is #14 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

My favorite track: “Masters of War”

Honorable mention: “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”

Quote: “How much do I know, to talk out of turn?  You might say that I’m young, you might say I’m unlearned.  But there’s one thing I know, though I’m younger than you: even Jesus would never forgive what you do.”

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