Bob Dylan – [Album]

Saturday, 06 November 2010

In this new age that has found established acts returning to their own beginnings and issuing remastered/remixed/re-envisioned/restructured/reconstituted/refurbished/re-packaged renditions of their time-honored and revered catalogue, one has to wonder what the auteurs ACTUALLY think of their own work. While many of the new sets from John Lennon, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix (there are more, but this review isn't a shopping list) sound pretty cool, both common sense and aged wisdom dictate that, “if it ain't broke, don't fix it” don't they? So how insecure and uncertain of their own longevity are artists who embark on these massive 'artistic renovation' endeavors? Was there really something missing? These are the sorts of questions that Bob Dylan must have asked when Columbia proposed a reissue campaign of the singer's early records, and that's why the description of The Best Of The Original Mono Recordings is right there in the title of this Bob Dylan greatest hits compilation. There's nothing fancy about this single-disc best-of, it's simply a disc of great songs  presented on a medium that won't crackle if it gets dusty. The amount of remixing and re-mastering done here has also been an absolute minimum; the greatest difference, in that regard, is that the high end has been raised to such clarity that it's possible to hear Dylan's tongue cross his teeth and feel every articulated note from that acoustic guitar.

It doesn't sound like the changes present should make much of a difference in theory, but the difference in the sound of The Best Of The Original Mono Recordings is noticeable and, for some fans will certainly be worthwhile. Relying on a track list very, very similar to that of Dylan's 1967 Greatest Hits album (in fact, all ten of the songs on that record appear here, plus an additional five), The Best Of The Original Mono Recordings isn't so much designed to entice long-time fans to buy still another Dylan hits comp, it's designed to put the best possible foot forward in introduction to new fans; those who might like the ideas, statements and poetic truths that the singer was putting forth, placed again on new release walls in record stores in plain view for ready consumption. Some cynical naysayers who have previously flocked to the  re-presentation endeavors of other artists just to scream heresy at any changes made and claim that there was nothing wrong with the original recordings of the songs (these are the same people for whom EMI issued a 'Mono' edition of The Beatles' box set in addition to the 'stereo' set) will gravitate eagerly to The Best Of The Original Mono Recordings and hold it up as proof that no rethinking is required for great songs and they're right; the clarity with which songs like “It Ain't Me Babe,” “Blowin' In The Wind,” “The Times They Are A-Changin'” and “All Along The Watchtower” come through is beautiful and the simplicity of them seems almost heroic stacked against the big-dollar productions done by other bands to re-present their songs. In The Best Of The Original Mono Recordings, the idea must have been to present the statement that some songs were great the first time and don't need a bunch of gimmickry to remain timeless – they simply are.



Bob Dylan – “The Times They Are A-Changin'” – Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits (released in 1967, vinyl rip)

Bob Dylan – “The Times They Are A-Changin'” – Dylan 3CD set (2007)

Bob Dylan – “The Times They Are A-Changin'” – The Best Of The Original Mono Recordings (2010)


Bob Dylan's  The Best Of The Original Mono Recordings is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

Comments are closed.