Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A-Changin

Bob Dylan: The Times They Are A-Changin

Episode 3

Episode date - June 23, 2007

How Music Changed

    For our third installment on Bob Dylan, we cover the music featured on his third album, “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” It might surprise (or pain) a few listeners to find our chronological coverage of Dylan has only progressed through three albums in as many shows, but in our defense I would say that “How Music Changed” is dedicated to conveying the influential importance of each artist we choose to represent. Very few recordings artists can claim to be as influential as Bob Dylan, and even less could claim to have had the impact of Dylan in the sixties. Sometimes, a good thing just cannot be rushed, and we are in particular hurry to gloss over Dylan’s relevance to the development of popular music.

    “The Times They Are A-Changin’” is important in that it represented Dylan more or less fulfilling the ambitions of his fans, while simultaneously challenging them. It is a tense and bleak record, sometimes difficult in the intensity of its topicality, but the folk world of 1963 practically demanded that the singer convey a conscious awareness of social inequities. None were better at this than Bob Dylan, and no single album better conveys this than “The Times They Are A-Changin’.”

    I don’t mention this in my commentary, but one thing worth listening for is the ease with which Dylan moves from one perspective to another. For example, “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” castigates our country’s legal system for showing favoritism to the wealthy and the connected, while “Percy’s Song” conveys a sense of hopelessness when the legal system proves unyielding and ruthless in the case of an ordinary man. This particular era of Dylan’s career represents an era in our country’s social climate when actions spoke louder than words, but those who took action needed words to rally them and unite them. For a short while, Bob Dylan was the standard bearer, and his fans came to expect more of this, often feeling that it was a sort of obligation on his part to provide commentary for the liberal folk agenda. It would not be long before he recoiled at the notion of being the spokesperson for a generation, but today’s represents the period of time when he did so willingly, gracefully and unflinchingly. Here’s a list of songs featured in today’s show;

    The Times They Are A-Changin’ (non-LP version)

    The Ballad of Hollis Brown

    With God on Our Side

    Only a Pawn in Their Game

    Boots of Spanish Leather

    When the Ship Comes In (piano version)

    The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll

    Percy’s Song

    Channel 133 - Bob Dylan