Another Side of Bob Dylan
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2006
I really don't know what Bob Dylan means to this generation of music lovers. I can only say that I came of age at a time when this music was indescribably, absolutely, magnificently, magically "what we wanted to say". No one could speak the truth so eloquently, succinctly, metaphorically, absolutely. To all people. I don't think he or I or anyone could explain so many of his songs. They just touch you so deeply in places that I really couldn't explain even if I tried. They have the same effect as when I heard them at 13; "my existence was led by confusion boats, mutiny from stern to bow". Just listen to "Chimes of Freedom", My Back Pages", and if you're not moved, just find someone who moves you. I really have no idea what makes this music and these words take hold of your soul; I have no desire to talk anyone into anything. Bob Dylan's words and songs soothed me when I was despairing and maybe provided some way of grieving when I hated life and everyone in it and helped me understand some things in life. So many people hated the discrimination and injustice in the country but needed someone to help us put into words our feelings like "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll", "Masters of War", "When the Ship Comes In" and on and on. Dylan was our philosopher and poet whether he liked it or not. Knowingly or not, willingly or not, he led millions and we followed. It has only helped us; exposing the truth is often painful but, in our hearts, we know the truth and it really does set us free. Just put on "Only a Pawn In Their Game"; these themes are universal; they will come up again and again. And his love songs are great. We don't think he was Jesus Christ or anything. We respected his fabulous talent but didn't blindly idolize him; make up your own mind. I don't know any other songwriter I love to listen to more than Bob Dylan.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2000
I just have to put in a good word or two for this magnificent piece ofwork. Chimes of Freedom-Can't just listen to it once. It means somuch to people, the best written song on the album.
I Shall Be Free No.10-I don't ever hear anyone talking about this song, but it cracks me up everytime I hear it. We all know he had a sense of humor, political and otherwise. (Motorpsycho Nitemare falls under this category as well)
My Back Pages-Incredible
I Don't Believe You-The song that has affected me the most. It's a good song to listen to you if you've just lost your girlfriend and you want to be looking up on things. At least it helped me.
Ballad In Plain D-another stunning song about love...who tells a story better than Bob? that's what I thought
It Ain't Me Babe-Classic.
That's all i have to say(thank God right?) and I hope some of you find it useful. END
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2001
This record has a special place in my heart, as this is the very first Dylan album I listened too all the way through. And let me tell you, it has all the prerequisites of a great record to boot!
This release, recorded in an single night session (what a session that must have been!), is the true followup to his phenomenal FREEWHEELIN' release of 1963. Going through 11 compositions, with 5 being covered by other artists to later become big hits, this release shows Dylan far and away from the protest of the lp before this. Indeed, "My Back Pages" points toward his turning away from the protest movement. The opening track, as I read it, is telling the rest of the world Dylan doesn't want to be any spokesman, but just your friend. And "It Ain't Me Babe", besides the literal reading of a person saying he won't be a woman's lover, is much the same message as the opening track, but this time much more direct and confrontational. He ain't the spokesman for the protest movement, so get over it.
The rest of the collection stands out, from the poetic imagery reminiscent of "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" dispensed in "Chimes of Freedom", pleasant throwaways ("I Shall Be Free #10", "Motopyscho Nitemare"), and while I found the line about the monkey doing the cat troublesome, but the reference to Hitchcock in "Nitemare" is worth the price of admission.
The rest really stand out, but a particular highlight is "Ballad in Plain D", the story of his breakup with Suze Rotolo (for those of you who are curious, she is the girl pictured with Bob on THE FREEWHEELIN' BOB DYLAN. According to family members, she still gets recognized for this contribution to Dylan's album. Now she's a freelance artist and still lives in the Village). As a previous reviewer noted, Dylan said this is the one track he wish he had left in the vaults, because it is so personal. Never again in the 1960s would we get such an intimate look at Dylan's personal life as we get on this track. As a man notorious for his love of privacy (although that is only reasonable), this is indeed a very rare opprotunity, Dylan won't grant that liberty till the 1975 release BLOOD ON THE TRACKS, a full 11 years later. For that reason alone we should pay attention to it. "I Don't Believe You" is another favorite of mine, and you really should check out the electric interpretation found on THE BOOTLEG SERIES VOLUME 4: THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL CONCERT. "Black Crow Blues" is notable for its piano, the only track to have an additional instrument besides guitar and harmonica.
Just as a side note: Dylan didn't want to name it ANOTHER SIDE. He thought that was stating the obvious. And to some degree it is. You can tell by this record he's getting bored with folk music and instead wants to go onto bigger and better things. Rock and roll is the natural progression for Dylan at this stage in the game. Again, it's easy to point at now, but for those folk listeners in the 1960s it must have been a major surprise when Dylan's next lp came out. Ah, but that is another story.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2007
This is my favorite of Dylan's early folk albums. I really don't like political writings, because as Dylan said in a 1984 interview "politics is the tool of the devil". I understand why he got the hell out of the political movements, and went on to record more poetic, personal, and mysterious stuff. As for the songs here, they're pretty much all brilliant, especially the caustic I Don't Believe You, the hilarious Motorpyscho Nitemare, the epic poetry of Chimes of Freedom, and the beautiful, poignant, precise My Back Pages. I feel like Bob did when he wrote that song. Politics can overwhelm you to the point that's all you think about, and you think you got all the answers. No one has all the answers, including Bob, but he knows that. Beware of those who will tell you they have all the answers, because many will, and none of them, regardless of their ideology, have all the answers. I love Dylan's music. It's almost always universal. It can be listened to at any time. I don't really like the title of this album (it was producer Tom Wilson's idea, and Dylan protested vigorously, saying it was overstating the obvious, something Dylan never does), but the music is superlative.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2002
I first heard Another Side of Bob Dylan about a year ago. It made me want to hear more. Now I have seven of his albums, but Another Side of Bob Dylan is my favorite. This album is more personal and less political, so it's not dated. The lyrics mean just as much now as when they were written.
This is just an overall great, personal, poetic album. None of the individual songs are as powerful-sounding as "Like a Rolling Stone" or have as beautifully melodic instrumentation as "Desolation Row" (both from Highway 61 Revisited). However, I think songs should be appreciated in their places in an album, the way the artist intended. (Don't skip around on cd's! Especially not on a cd as good as this.) I read in the liner notes to Another Side of Bob Dylan (or somewhere) that the whole thing was recorded within one 24-hour session. I think I remember reading that each track was even recorded in the order it appears on the album. This gives the album a raw sound. (You can even hear him laugh at himself in a few tracks.)
The real beauty of the album is in the way you get to hear what you've felt before. Bob Dylan makes it so personal to himself, anyone can relate to his feelings. But also, almost anyone listening will be able to relate to at least one of the songs with something very specific in mind from their own life. It's hard not to think about a particular person when you hear "It Ain't Me Babe". Anyone who has ever needed advice or given it to a friend dealing with personal tragedy can relate to "To Ramona". "Chimes of Freedom" and "I Shall Be Free No.10" are just plain good songs (although I don't expect everyone to fully appreciate "I Shall Be Free No.10"). "My Back Pages" is for anyone who has ever matured or done the opposite or ever changed without trying to and didn't realize it until later. (It sort of reminds me of A Catcher in the Rye.)
Like I mentioned earlier, the best part of any great album is not the individual songs, but the album itself. I especially like how this album progresses. It almost grows up and matures. The last few songs have a different feel than the first few (if you listen to them as part of the album, not just individually). Kind of like life - maturity through understanding through loss. Like in "My Back Pages" - loss of that raw, un-rationalized, un-economical, pure idealism that hasn't yet had to explain or defend or examine itself. "I Don't Believe You" and "Ballad in Plain D" - losing any idea that he might have it "figured out" and losing innocence, both through lost relationships. Then, to finish it all off, in "It Ain't Me Babe", he takes what he has lost and what he has learned and gains enough maturity to avoid being reckless with another person's feelings - to avoid risking that they might lose what he lost. It might take a few listens (to get familiar with the songs and hear all the words and know what is coming next) to fully appreciate this album. By the third listen, though, it's just beautiful. At the end of the album, the listener feels that just listening was a maturing experience. It makes your perspective a little more seasoned and experienced. Maybe it leaves you feeling a little sadder, maybe a little wiser. At the very least, I can say that anyone who REALLY listens to this album will feel a little bit different when it is finished.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Let's face it: the majority of rock albums sound painstakingly prepared and preconceived. From repeated takes and overdubs, to the finally ready for public consumption polished sound, albums are rarely spontaneous.
And then there's Bob Dylan.
A Bob Dylan record is straight from the hip; there is no messing around and there is nothing hidden. The songs stand on their own, and Bob Dylan's songwriting was hitting it's stride with this album. From the lovingly poetic "To Ramona", to the playfully romantic "All I Really Want to Do", Bob Dylan rushes through all of his songs with an almost careless precision, creating some of the most enduring and original music of all time.
This album is a key addition to those interested in his early folk sound, and it stands along with "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" in terms of charm and overall brilliance. Don't miss out on this; it's like nothing you'll ever hear. Simple but effective melodies combined with some of the best examples of poetry in music, Another Side of Bob Dylan is a wonderful addition to any Bob Dylan collection, or any music collection for that matter (though for beginners I would recommend "Bringing it All Back Home" or "Highway 61 Revisited" to catch a first glimpse of Bob).
Bob Dylan dared to be himself, which is a truly rare and unique gift in music.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 1999
The name of the album says it all. Dylan goes from the prophetic, and at times somber, The Times They are a Changin, to a lighter, quirkier, much more personal album. Although Dylan's early protest songs have profound depth and poignant social commentary, this album has a quality that the earlier albums lack, personality. Dylan finds a perfect medium between the comedian, and the romantic. The humor and social commentary of "I Shall be Free" had me rolling on the gound laughing, while the beauty of "Ballad in Plain D" causes my eyes to well up with tears every time i hear it. "To Romona" is one of my favorite Dylan songs, and "Motorpsycho Nightmare" is a riot. Furthermore, the giggles in "All I Really Want to Do" adds a whimsicality to his music that sustains throughout much the album. Ending with "It Ain't me Babe" serves as a brilliant buffer for the albums to come. This is a piece of art that shouldn't be passed up. Personally I enjoy listening to this "lost gem" much more than his later, more refined albums, such as Blonde on Blonde and Highway 61. This is a must for any Dylan fan.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2007
Bob Dylan released his fourth studio album, ANOTHER SIDE OF BOB DYLAN, in August 1964. Due to the prolific nature of many recording artists during the 1960s, this was his second album of the year. And what an album it is. This record has a special place in my heart, as this is the very first Dylan album I listened too all the way through.

Earlier in the year, Dylan had released his third album, comprised solely of protest music, entitled THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN'. That album was very dark and starkly depressing. Dylan, not one to be tied down to a "movement," completely changed directions, abandoning the heavy protest music of his previous LP, TIMES THEY ARE A'CHANGIN', and instead focusing on a more cerebral, beatnik style of music and lyrics. Dylan lays all the groundwork for his next three releases on this album.

The critical appraisal of ANOTHER SIDE is that it is a transitional album, which is largely true. From an artistic standpoint, ANOTHER SIDE belongs with the electric trilogy both thematically and lyrically. The writing marks a significant change and evolution of Dylan's music, branching out more into interpersonal songs, surrealistic songs, comedy songs, and devastating love songs.

Dylan wisely moved beyond the folk protest movement, and pretty much establishing the folk-rock movement. Acts such as The Turtles, Johnny Cash, and The Byrds took five of the songs on the album to the upper echelon of the singles charts. This chart success helped established Dylan has one of rock's premier new song writers, a status which would only grow as the decades rolled on.

Dylan states with the opening track that he doesn't want to be a "spokesman of a generation," but just a friend. "It Ain't Me Babe", besides the literal reading of a person saying he won't be a woman's lover, is much the same message as the opening track, but this time much more direct and confrontational. He ain't the spokesman for the protest movement, so get over it.

"My Back Pages" continues this theme of abandoning protest sentiment for a more personal, intimate approach. He states he wasn't as wise as he was pretending to be, and has been returned to a sort of innocence ("I was so much older than, I'm younger than that now). Almost thirty years later George Harrison, Tom Petty, Eric Clapton, Roger McGuinn, Neil Young, and Dylan would play an electric version with each singer trading off verses at Bob's 30th anniversary celebration. Great version, great video, and great guitar solo by Clapton.

The remaining tracks are Dylan following the poetic techniques he first pioneered in "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" to their logical conclusion, culminating in "Chimes of Freedom," his undeniable masterpiece from ANOTHER SIDE. "I Shall Be Free # 10" and "Motopsycho Nitemare" glady restore Dylan's sense of humour on prominent display, which was so sadly lacking on his grim, humourless affair of TIMES THEY ARE. The reference to Hitchcock in "Nitemare" is worth the price of admission. "Spanish Harlem Incident" and "Black Crowe Blues" are minor gems in Dylan's 1960s songbook. "Black Crow Blues" is notable for its piano, the only track to have an additional instrument besides guitar and harmonica. It is also Dylan's first commercial recording where he plays piano. To date, he's never played "Black Crowe Blues" live.

"To Ramona" is one of the most memorable songs of Dylan's acoustic material. "I Don't Believe You (She Acts like We Never Met", Dylan later radically rearranged and played an electric version with the Hawks (before they became The Band) in the famous '66 tour. You really should check out the electric interpretation found on THE BOOTLEG SERIES VOLUME 4: THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL CONCERT.

"Ballad in Plain D" is a poignant anomaly in Dylan's canon. The song details his bitter breakup with Sue Rotolo, his girlfriend in the early 1960s and the woman pictured with Bob on THE FREEWHEELIN' BOB DYLAN. (Over forty years later she still gets recognized from that photograph). The song is a very intimate look at Dylan's love life, shocking for a celeberty known for his love of privacy. In 1985, when asked by an interviewer of there was any song he wished he had not written, Dylan [told an interview that] singled out this song, wishing he had left it unrecorded, or at least unreleased, due to the highly personal nature of its lyrics. For such a private man, "Ballad in Plain D" is a very rarely afforded view into Dylan's personal life at the time. Dylan wouldn't grant that liberty again till the 1975 release BLOOD ON THE TRACKS, a full eleven years later. For that reason alone we should pay attention to it. For this listener, it's a great song.

The album was recorded in a single session, with Dylan polishing off two bottles of Beaujolais wine. Fourteen songs were recorded with complete takes, of which eleven made the final cut.

The first of the three songs left on the cutting room floor was the first take of one of Dylan's most famous songs, "Mr Tambourine Man." Dylan cut the song with Ramblin' Jack Elliot singing harmony on the chorus, and with Dylan flubbing some of the lines. This would not be released until 2005's BOOTLEG SERIES 7.

The second is "Mama You Been On My Mind," a song Dylan gave to Joan Baez who would make it an international hit as "Daddy, You Been on My Mind." Dylan and Baez would duet on the song during the mid 1960s.

The third song, and still unreleased (though widely available via bootleg), is "Denise". The song uses the same music as "Black Crowe Blues," but has different, and for many fans superior, lyrics.

Dylan in later years has expressed dissatisfaction with the title. He thought that was stating the obvious. And to some degree it is. You can tell by this record he's getting bored with folk music and instead wants to go onto bigger and better things.

ANOTHER SIDE OF BOB DYLAN sounds like the next evolutionary link in Dylan's artistic journey. While TIMES sounded like a forced protest album (which it largely was, despite containing some phenomenal music), ANOTHER SIDE sounds like the real successor to FREEWHEELIN'.

FREEWHEELIN' featured Dylan the protestor with Dylan the poet. His next two albums would later explore that dichotomy. During the TIMES sessions Dylan was recording music far outside the straightjacket scope of "traditional protest" music, but rather than release an accurate snapshot of where his music at, he released only his most adamant protest music. Just like he changed his focus to protest music for TIMES, Dylan again shifted gears for ANOTHER SIDE. While TIMES was a one-off, ANOTHER SIDE represented the direction Dylan's career would go for the next several years.

Ultimately, ANOTHER SIDE stands as one of Dylan's best albums. For all intents and purposes, it is the precursor to his electric trilogy, though it has no electric instruments. Dylan naturally progressed from this to the rock and roll music of his next three releases. While that fact is easy to point out decades after the fact, it was quite the shocker to the folk critics, fans, and establishment. Ah, but that is another story.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2000
A very sloppy album.....but that helps give it warmth, charm and realness. "Another Side of Bob Dylan" is a departure from Bob's earlier, more politically and socially motivated albums to one dealing more with the politics of love.
From the opening, humorous number, "All I Really Want To Do", straight through to the final cut, "It Ain't Me Babe", this is a wonderous journey through Bob's creative, personal soul.
Some of the other songs on the album are classics including "My Back Pages", "She Acts Like We Never Have Met", "Spanish Harlem Incident", "To Ramona", and "Chimes of Freedom".
I belive this album was recorded in just a night or two so the performances are not perfect but it all seems to come together and work, setting a certain mood that is bound to intrigue.
Maybe not for first time Dylan listeners but a must have for any true Dylan fan.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2011
Bob Dylan does not need my opinion to secure his position as an outstanding artist, but because my age parallels his and I attended one of his concerts (in May, 1965), I would like to leave a few comments about this collection, which is, without doubt, one of his finest and most representative of the earlier phase of his "becoming." The exuberance in the arrangements, in his voice and in the material itself makes this disc noteworthy and a must-have. Listen to the enthusiasm with which he sings "All I Really Want To Do" or the passion in "The Chimes of Freedom" or the scorn in his "It Ain't Me, Babe" and you will easily see that he was at the summit of the early portion of his multi-textured career when he wrote and recorded this material. I recall how confused his "fans" were as he shifted phases, always true to the essence of himself. It was the changing form that confounded listeners, those who could not or would not recognize that in back of the form, the artist was always consistent to his essence--the "I am" that he is. They called him a traitor, and indeed he was or is...a traitor to Bob Dylan...if being a traitor means refusing to be locked into a rigid concrete form. More power to you, Bob Dylan. You are 100% right when you say that an artist has to be careful never to reach a mental state of having arrived. May you never arrive, but keep on becoming etc., etc.
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