Bob Dylan – Freewheelin’

Sonically, both sides of Freewheelin’ present a clear reflection of the master tapes. Dylan’s “voice like sand and glue” is at the front of the mix with a lifelike quality not heard on any digital offering. Hearing this 1963 recording on vinyl is like sitting by the fire with Dylan and his guitar in 1962/1963 when these recordings were made.

Side 1

Blowin’ In The Wind
Recorded July 9, 1962 – the earliest recording for Freewheelin’ to make it on to the final lineup. Dylan’s gentle guitar and confident voice pour out like honey on this legendary album opener. Hear the rhythm of the guitar and how beautifully the bass notes play against the harmonica.

Girl From The North Country
The sonic quality of this┬árecord really comes into focus on this second track, recorded April 24, 1963 with Tom Wilson producing. The brilliant and fine fingerpicking is crystal clear, and you can hear the confident, hesitant, and loving characteristics in Dylan’s voice. Hear it crack on the very last line in the song – “a true love of mine”.

Masters Of War
Similar in quality to Blowin’ In The Wind, this audio here is straightforward with focus on the percussive guitar and Dylan’s simmering vocal.

Down The Highway
Incredible definition is immediately apparent on this track as you hear the familiar playful guitar phrase of this song sounding like it’s played live in front of you. You can hear the changes in microphone dynamics as Dylan moves in the space of the studio.

Bob Dylan’s Blues
This playful “talking blues” song springs to life here. Hear the sustained high strumming with intimate clarity in the first harmonica break, and the abandon as he spirals through the wild words and effortless guitar-harmonica interplay.

A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall
A particularly well recorded vocal track is revealed here, with Dylan again sounding like he’s right in front of you. Hear the slight chuckle as he realizes his “mistake” on the “what did you meet” line preceding the “dead pony” verse.

Side 2

Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright
This is some beautiful and fragile fingerpicking, which you pretty much never heard again from Dylan – at least not quite the same way. Recorded November 14, 1962 – again with Tom Wilson, this is for sure one of the best sounding tracks on the album. You can hear every detail of the guitar with the gravel of Dylan’s voice perfectly captured and presented in a multidimensional picture.

Bob Dylan’s Dream
The driving guitar strumming carries the song down the tracks while Dylan’s half-spoken reflections on the questionable permanence and impact of youthful passion and activism. The harmonica here is full of character and characteristic “wheeze”.

Oxford Town
Straightforward recording with clear guitar and balanced vocal. Hear the emphasis of the clear-as-glass rhythm guitar in between the vocal lines. Dylan sounds closer to the mic than usual.

Talkin’ World War III Blues
Hear the hammer-ons and pull-offs in Dylan’s strumming clearly as he walks the bass notes up and down. His voice is husky and hungry on one of the most well balanced recordings on the album. Super high harmonica notes!

Corrina Corrina
The only track on the final lineup of Freewheelin’ with backing musicians. It’s subtle enough that it fits into the acoustic landscape of the rest of the album. The drums tap gently, and second guitar winds arpeggios around the bass line. Toward the end, the guitar sounds a bit like a banjo. The vocal is especially raspy, in a good way.

Honey Just Allow Me One More Chance
The fastest paced and highest spirited song on the album sounds like one-man-band rock n’ roll. This pressing spreads the sound across the space effectively.

I Shall Be Free
Dylan goes pre-psychedelic in this unpredictable ride of a track. The guitar here sounds especially percussive and the dynamics of Dylan’s vocal performance are on brilliant display.

An unparalleled listening experience with Dylan, his guitar, harmonica, and very little else. This is a record like no other.