1001 Albums 0035-0036

Published March 06, 2013

My continued journey through the albums featured in the book
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

0035: The Beatles: With The Beatles (1963)
An album I've already heard

There are different kinds of people in this world. Some don't like The Beatles at all, feeling that they are over-rated and over-hyped. Then there are those who like them, but only the output from circa 1965/1966/1967 onwards. And then there are people like me who are Beatle fanatics since childhood and love everything they ever released between 1962 and 1970.

Their second album, With The Beatles, is no exception. For energy, zest, great tunes, etc etc, you need look no further. And it didn't even feature 'I Want To Hold Your Hand', which was their single at the time of the original album release. It does feature, however, 'Not A Second Time', which prompted William Mann of The Times to point out the "Aeolian cadence" featured in the tune. Fancy that. Or as the song's main writer noted many years later, "To this day, I have no idea what [Aeolian cadences] are. They sound like exotic birds."

0036: Bob Dylan: The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963)

What are the chances that I will enjoy an entire album's worth of a singer accompanied only by acoustic guitar? Very slim. And, unfortunately, this collection of songs is not an exception to that rule.

I've never been a major Bob Dylan fan. His voice is often, although not always, a problem for me. And that whining harmonica heard on far too many recordings has the same effect on me as the high-pitched vocal sounds of his one-time paramour, Joan Baez.

That said, I think he is a fantastic song writer, and some of his classics are on this album: 'Blowin' In The Wind', 'A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall' (I love Bryan Ferry's version of that particular tune) and 'Don't Think Twice It's All Right', for example. But the only track here that really grabbed me was 'Masters Of War', which has a relentlessness that really drew me in, and I also love Dylan's singing on it.

Finally, the iconic sleeve picture is beyond cool - a really romantic vision of New York in the Sixties - I just wish the music on the album matched the expectations raised by the cover image.

Verdict: Many great songs here, but I'd prefer them performed by someone else.

Listen on Spotify


The Beatles: With The Beatles.


Bob Dylan: The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.