13 Songs, 36 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Famed impresario John Hammond knew he was onto something when he invited a baby-faced, raw-voiced 20-year-old folk singer to the Columbia recording studios in November of 1961. Bob Dylan hadn't even been in NewYork for a full year when he recorded this debut, but his distinctive style — forceful guitar picking, passionate, gruff singing,and mysterious pseudo-hobo persona — had already turned quite a few heads in the Greenwich Village folk scene. Dylan tackles 13 tracks here, 11 of which are urgent, well-executed covers of old blues and folk tunes. Energetic, powerful readings of tracks like Bukka White's "Fixin' to Die," Blind Lemon Jefferson's "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean," and the New Orleans traditional "House of the Risin' Sun" prove that Dylan had immense talent — even without putting pen to paper. But the two original compositions signaled the arrival of an emerging songwriting genius, one clearly still under the sway of Woody Guthrie: "Talkin' New York" is a Guthrie-style "talking blues" that displays Dylan's knack for combining humor and insight, and the poignant, heartfelt "Song to Woody" has an innocence and wonder that would vanish before long.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Famed impresario John Hammond knew he was onto something when he invited a baby-faced, raw-voiced 20-year-old folk singer to the Columbia recording studios in November of 1961. Bob Dylan hadn't even been in NewYork for a full year when he recorded this debut, but his distinctive style — forceful guitar picking, passionate, gruff singing,and mysterious pseudo-hobo persona — had already turned quite a few heads in the Greenwich Village folk scene. Dylan tackles 13 tracks here, 11 of which are urgent, well-executed covers of old blues and folk tunes. Energetic, powerful readings of tracks like Bukka White's "Fixin' to Die," Blind Lemon Jefferson's "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean," and the New Orleans traditional "House of the Risin' Sun" prove that Dylan had immense talent — even without putting pen to paper. But the two original compositions signaled the arrival of an emerging songwriting genius, one clearly still under the sway of Woody Guthrie: "Talkin' New York" is a Guthrie-style "talking blues" that displays Dylan's knack for combining humor and insight, and the poignant, heartfelt "Song to Woody" has an innocence and wonder that would vanish before long.

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Ratings and Reviews

5.0 out of 5
10 Ratings

10 Ratings

Collins dudeieness ,

Great album!

Awesome songs all around, especially song to woody!

Bob'sBigBoy ,

Yes!

Great album. Especially in mono.

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