Every Record I Own - Day 353: Bob Dylan The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan
I already owned this on CD when I bought this used LP off a vendor for a couple bucks a decade or so ago, and a few years later yesterday’s boxset dropped in my lap, so there’s no real reason to own this… except that it’s the definitive distillation of Dylan’s early work. I guess I’m holding onto it so that I can hand it off to someone down the line, someone who needs it in their life. It’s a record that means too much to me to sell off a spare copy.
There’s a lot of memories bound up in this record. Listening to “Blowin’ in the Wind” during my college-years infatuation with Dylan. Hearing Rocky Votolato covering “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” every night for six weeks when he toured with my old indie rock band Roy. Watching the No Direction Home documentary on the Russian Circles / These Arms Are Snakes European tour and getting choked up when Alan Ginsberg talks about hearing “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” for the first time while the song plays over a montage of tragic newsreel footage from the ‘60s. Hunting down the location of the photo on the cover in the first months of living in New York. They seem like small little events when written down, but they’re things I think about every time I hear these songs.
It’s a record with substantial historical significance, but on a smaller scale it’s also a record that seems to thread so much of my own adult life together. And maybe that’s the beauty of those early Dylan records… his songs were a part of the zeitgeist in a pivotal point in American life, but there’s an intimacy in the records that makes them feel like reflections of our own little private worlds.