Throw My Ticket out the Window: Bob Dylan's Carefree Period

If Bob Dylan was the folkie in the early 1960s, the slick rocker in the mid 1960's, then in the late 1960s into the early 1970s he was the country dad. Many of the songs Bob put out in this period exalted rural family life, and communicated a certain kind of carefreeness that lingers in the air on a spring day. Bob has said in his memoir, Chronicles, that the songs he wrote could "blow away in cigar smoke, and that suited me just fine".

During this time, Bob released John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline, Self Portrait, New Morning, and Planet Waves, five albums that you could easily listen to on a country drive, while tossing your line in the water, or when on a leisurely walk through pastoral fields.

I should that the two albums on the "edges" of this period, John Wesley Harding and Planet Waves, don't quite exemplify this rural carefreeness as much as the other three do, but still. . .

John Wesley Harding might be a bit less carefree than the other two, as it sounds as if it is meant for an English graduate student living in the Berkshires who's flipping through dusty pages and studying old Russian stories along with Thoreau. Planet Waves features a Bob a bit more ready to drink a few by the fire and explore a dark edge or two. Still, generally, all these albums are kin in some way.

Meanwhile, Nashville Skyline goes full-on country, while New Morning preaches rural tranquility and favors acoustic meandering and humming organs over rock n' roll. Self Portrait, originally dismissed, has been received more favorably over the years. A great cover of "Blue Moon" is on this record.

The sounds of familial ties and rural country & nature are best exemplified by the following songs, and I'll get to reviewing them in batches in the near future. I put the songs in the order I thought they'd be best listened to in.

The Best of Bob Dylan's "Carefree Tunes", 1969-1973
1. "Watching the River Flow"
2. "Down Along the Cove"
3. "Blue Moon"
4. "When I Paint my Masterpiece"
5. "I Shall Be Released"
6. "Tonight I'll be Staying Here With You"
7. "New Morning"
8. "You Ain't Going Nowhere"
9. "Time Passes Slowly"
10. "If Not For You" (Alternate Version from Another Self Portrait)
11. "On a Night Like This"
12. "Forever Young"


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