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GREATEST HITS ALBUM REVIEW
Released - March 27, 1967. Produced by John Hammond, Tom Wilson and Bob Johnston
Bob Dylan - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica, Keyboards
Note: Many session musicians played on these songs with Dylan who are not credited on the album.
All songs written by Bob Dylan. Year of each song's released in parenthesis.
Today this album is known by many as "Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Volume 1", but it wasn't ever titled in that way. The truth was, in 1967 when this was released, this contained his best known songs, but perhaps not all of the best ones released by Dylan up to that point. Yes, seven of these ten songs were hits put out by Dylan himself, but the others were only made popular and known mainly by non-Dylan fans as hits and songs covered by others. "Blowin' in the Wind" was a Folk hit single for Peter, Paul and Mary; "It Ain't Me Babe", a big hit for The Turtles; and perhaps the greatest Dylan cover of all time (if not plain out the all-around greatest cover ever made period), "Mr. Tambourine Man", was recorded by the Byrds - a wonderful version made by them even if they cut out an entire verse of lyrics!
Every song on this greatest hits album gets a 10 rating, including the aforementioned songs covered by the others; Dylan's original take of them are still excellent, even if the covers are even better. The first few songs are not Rock, but Folk, and I feel there is no question that although Dylan's raspy voice sounds good enough on them, his voice fits in with his rock songs better.
This album at first glance today would seem to be for mainly those younger music fans who don't yet know too much about Dylan, or for those who are older and only like his hits. I find that I myself never listen to this CD when I want to hear Dylan, I rather play one of his other, non-greatest hit studio LPs instead. In fact, I purchased this CD many years ago when it first came out on CD and never can recalled playing it again since - not until today, when I decided to reviewed it. So to hear these songs in the order they appear on this album was actually very cool, it was almost like hearing them for the first time in this way. Very enjoyable and I will have to play this CD now a bit more often, along with the other LPs I have of his that I do play.
My own two personal favorite numbers on here are "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 ". "Like a Rolling Stone" was written about the late debutante Edie Sedgwick, who was one of Andy Warhol's regular hangouts at his NYC Factory and who appeared in some of his films. Dylan deep down didn't like Warhol, but met Sedgwick at the Factory and had an on and off affair with the doomed and very troubled heiress, which she ended, after learning he was secretly married to another woman.
"Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 ", a song that has a double meaning to it, is a plain out fun song, something we don't hear too much from Dylan. It was recorded in one take after Dylan ordered his entire group of Nashville session players to first get either stoned on weed, or drunk on booze, before they recorded the song. He also had all of them switch instruments when they recorded it. He wanted the band to sound rough and sloppy to go with the key lyric to the song - so everybody really did get stoned for this wonderful tune (just not in the biblical way, which was the other meaning of the word "stoned" in the song)! The thing was, the honky tonk sounding piano played by the well known Country bassist Henry Strzelecki turned out excellent, and the only time he ever played piano in the studio. But yes, the band still did sound sloppy otherwise on this number and that was what Dylan exactly wanted to hear on this "joke" song, which he at first didn't plan on releasing.
- Keno, February, 2010
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