Ranking Bob Dylan’s 39 Studio Albums- #27- Bob Dylan -1961- 3 stars. Dylan’s debut album which was released on March 19, 1962
The countdown so far 39- Dylan -1973 38- Down In The Groove -1988 37-Knocked Out Loaded- 1986 36-Christmas In The Heart- 2009 35-Under A Red Sky- 1990 34-Saved- 1980 33-Fallen Angels 2016 32- Good As I Been To You- 1992 31- World Gone Wrong 1993 30- Triplicate 2017. 29- Shadows In The Night. 28- Self Portrait and now 27- the self titled debut album Bob Dylan- 3 stars.
You will not find the debut album by Bob Dylan on any lists of great debut albums- because it wasn’t great. I wonder how it sounded to people when it was released? In the review last week of #28 Self Portrait I wrote of the hostility it received from most of the music critics- the debut received none of that- it received a mass of indifference.
Dylan at the time was a 20 year old folk singer signed by the great talent scout John Hammond. Hammond produced the record. When it was released it didn’t sell well at all- not making the album charts and Dylan became known briefly as “Hammond’s Folly.” I wonder what I would have thought of this if I were of age when it was released? One thing that I probably wouldn’t have thought was- that nearly 60 years later this young man- would be approaching eighty and would still be out there touring and releasing new material.
What sticks out to me on this album is Dylan’s voice- and two songs- and the happen to be the only two songs that Dylan wrote that are on the album- “Talkin’ New York” and the first Dylan classic the song he wrote for his hero Woody Guthrie “Song For Woody.” Those two Bob originals certainly showed promise for his future. The rest of the songs are folk songs written by others and Dylan’s enthusiasm and voice carry the album. It’s not a classic album by any means but a thumbs up for sure. Not that he would have had a very long career just doing folk covers- he had to eventually deliver on his own and he would certainly do that on his sophomore album.