This was the first Dylan CD I ever owned or heard. Indeed, at the age of eighteen, I’d rarely come across any Dylan songs, such is the lack of decent radio here in the UK. I guess the only songs I really knew were "Subterranean Homesick Blues", "Blowin' in the Wind", and a variety of cover versions.
This compilation has loads of great songs, including several not found on any regular Dylan album. "Watching the River Flow" and "When I Paint My Masterpiece" were new songs written and recorded for this album, no mean feat considering they came about during the early-70's, when Dylan was considered washed up.
So I’m deeply impressed by the variety here - gritty roots-rock to finger-picking folk to country/pop. Then there's the lovely "Tomorrow Is A Long Time", another tune not previously issued at the time.
Whilst subsequent compilations are more wide-ranging, for my money this is the perfect Dylan starting point. And the fact that it contains three or four tunes not easily obtainable elsewhere is a plus. It covers the years 1963 to 1971, so if you pick up Biograph
as well, you have everything you could need from the era without having to buy all the regular Dylan albums.Rated:
by Reviewer: Adrian Denning