Of Dylan’s early albums, this is probably the one most representative of him as a protest singer. Each of the albums that would follow would slowly take him away folk music in general, and towards the pop charts.
There are three things I love about this album. Firstly, The Times They Are A-Changin’ is a fantastic single, and one of my favourites before he went electric. Blowin’ In The Wind always gets selected as the ‘song of a generation’ – mainly because of its resonance (read: vagueness), but in my eyes The Times They Are A-Changin’ is far superior in its relevance to the 1960s.
Secondly, I like the cover. In extreme close-up, Dylan looks almost like he comes from another planet. The vinyl copy I have has a slightly corrugated front cover, which makes it feel nice too.
Finally, I love Boots Of Spanish Leather. I don’t love it as much as Girl From The North Country from the previous album – it’s the same chord progression and finger-picking style – but it’s almost as good. I guess folk music lends itself a little better to being able to mix and match lyrics to chord progressions – at least more than traditional pop music does – and at least if he’s stealing from somebody, he’s only stealing from himself.
Hit: The Times They Are A-Changin’
Hidden Gem: Boots Of Spanish Leather