Bob Dylan – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

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The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

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  • This 360 stereo copy has outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides– exceptionally quiet vinyl too 
  • You’ll find this copy surprisingly spacious, full-bodied and natural, with relatively few of the problems that plague most pressings
  • It’s clear these classic songs have stood the test of time: Blowin’ in the Wind; Girl from the North Country; Masters of War; A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall; Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right and many more
  • 5 stars: “This is rich, imaginative music, capturing the sound and spirit of America… Dylan, in many ways, recorded music that equaled this, but he never topped it.”

The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan is clearly our favorite of the early Dylan albums for both music and sound. We’re picking up both mono and stereo copies when we see them clean (which is rare) and both can sound out of this world.

Hearing these great songs sound so intimate and lifelike on a top quality pressing can be a sublime experience. We should know; we enjoyed the hell out of this very copy.

Having done this for so long, we understand and appreciate that rich, full, solid, Tubey Magical sound is key to the presentation of this primarily vocal music. We rate these qualities higher than others we might be listening for (e.g., bass definition, soundstage, depth, etc.). The music is not so much about the details in the recording, but rather in trying to recreate a solid, palpable, real Bob Dylan singing live in your listening room. The best copies have an uncanny way of doing just that.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of older recordings (this one is now 55 years old), I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but less than one out of 100 new records do, if our experience with the hundreds we’ve played can serve as a guide.

Did I mention all the great songs?

Blowin’ in the Wind
Girl from the North Country
Masters of War
A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
Bob Dylan’s Dream
Talking World War III Blues 
and five more

These modern classics make this Dylan album, his second, clearly the strongest of his first four. You have to wait for his fifth album, Bringing It All Back Home, to find material this consistently brilliant and groundbreaking.

What the best sides of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in1963
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

With a pressing this good you appreciate Dylan’s artistry completely. Early Dylan may not be for everyone, but if you’re going to have just one of his early records in your collection, this would make a very strong pick.

The better copies are natural and realistic sounding, adding to the emotional power of these great songs. And a top quality mono copy played on a dedicated two-channel audiophile system lets nothing come between you and the music

Watch out for nasality, thinness and somewhat edgy sound in the midrange. As you may well imagine, we take lots of points off for these faults, but all three are common to practically any vintage pressing you can find. The copies with the least amount of these faults do very well in our shootouts.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Blowin’ in the Wind 
Girl from the North Country
Masters of War
Down the Highway
Bob Dylan’s Blues
Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall 

Side Two

Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right 
Bob Dylan’s Dream
Oxford Town
Talking World War III Blues
Corrine, Corrina
Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance
I Shall Be Free

AMG 5 Star Rave Review

It’s hard to overestimate the importance of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, the record that firmly established Dylan as an unparalleled songwriter, one of considerable skill, imagination, and vision. At the time, folk had been quite popular on college campuses and bohemian circles, making headway onto the pop charts in diluted form, and while there certainly were a number of gifted songwriters, nobody had transcended the scene as Dylan did with this record.

There are a couple (very good) covers, with “Corrina Corrina” and “Honey Just Allow Me One More Chance,” but they pale with the originals here. At the time, the social protests received the most attention, and deservedly so, since “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Masters of War,” and “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” weren’t just specific in their targets; they were gracefully executed and even melodic.

Although they’ve proven resilient throughout the years, if that’s all Freewheelin’ had to offer, it wouldn’t have had its seismic impact, but this also revealed a songwriter who could turn out whimsy (“Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”), gorgeous love songs (“Girl From the North Country”), and cheerfully absurdist humor (“Bob Dylan’s Blues,” “Bob Dylan’s Dream”) with equal skill. This is rich, imaginative music, capturing the sound and spirit of America as much as that of Louis Armstrong, Hank Williams, or Elvis Presley. Dylan, in many ways, recorded music that equaled this, but he never topped it.

Mono Vs. Stereo

Here are some records that have the potential to sound amazing in MONO.

Here are some other records that we don’t think sound very good in MONO.