A great album, even for non-Dylan fans,
This review is from: Freewheelin (Rm) (Audio CD)I am not a Dylan fan. But I've got an SACD player, and whenever I notice a retailer selling off their SACD stock cheaply, I tend to hoover it up.
I've always felt a bit guilty about not liking Dylan, given that he has had millions of fans, and was, at least until his motorbike accident in 1966, as big as Elvis and the Beatles. I think the problem is that I was born a decade too late, and music has always been much more important to me than lyrics. It may be heretical to say this but, as a teenager in the 1970s, I found the music of bands like Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers more catchy than Dylan (great though the 'Desire' LP was).
But Dylan doesn't go away, and he's now one of the few popular artists to have much of his output available on SACD. THE FREEWHEELIN' BOB DYLAN was one of the key visual references in the recent Cameron Crowe movie VANILLA SKY.
I think you have to have lived through the era to really appreciate the impact of what Dylan was doing. Coming late to the era, it matters little to a new fan that 'Highway 61 Revisited' was the first electric folk rock album. There are now hundreds, if not thousands, of electric folk rock albums to choose from, and if anything, the later ones are likely to smoothe off the rough edges of the first.
But now I have a wad of Dylan SACDs and the opportunity to wade through them in chronological sequence. And I keep coming back to THE FREEWHEELIN' BOB DYLAN because it possesses a great purity and enthusiasm. As other reviewers have said, it's just the man, his mouth organ and his guitar (apart from on 'Corrina, Corrina'). SACD captures the simplicity of his performance superbly. NB This is SACD Stereo -- not Surround Sound, nor Dolby 5.1.
The music is part folk, part blues. Yes, it's slightly repetitive in that it lacks the diversity and creative input you could get from a wider group setting. But for me, this is solo Dylan at the top of his game, bristling with confidence that an enormous audience would take to the album. To enjoy this CD, you don't need to organise a sit-in, protest march or late-night coffee with a few student friends. It really is OK to listen to this in the car or while exercising or even (heaven forbid!) as background music while working or giving a dinner party. Dylan probably foresaw none of these uses for his music, and I suspect the only protest at such abuse would come from his diehard folk fans -- the same ones who protested about his later transition to electric instruments. Me, I just love it because it's so uncluttered. (And normally I don't like folk music!)