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ALBUM REVIEW: Bob Dylan, 'In Concert: Brandeis University 1963' GRADE: B'

Bob Dylan

Album: In Concert: Brandeis University 1963 (Columbia)

In stores: Now

Why we care: There was a time when Robert Zimmerman wanted to be understood. He sang clearly, with smirkish joy, and his poetry was not yet a twisted, albeit mesmerizing, bramble of words that pushed listeners from their true meaning. On this recently unearthed and remarkably clear recording, which gathered 46 years worth of dust and history while lost and buried in the house of music critic Ralph J. Gleason, the 21-year-old singer-songwriter is on the cusp of becoming the Voice of His Generation. Here, though, he is merely a fresh-faced opening act who goes on to steal the show.

Why we like it: Dylan has never exactly been Sinatra when it comes to holding a tune. But his young voice was once smooth, syrupy and downright chirpy compared to the frog-gargling-razors croak it would later become. This live gig occurred between his self-titled debut album and the world-changing Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, but instead of highlighting songs from those albums, most of the cuts he performed would never be officially released (Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues, Talkin' Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues). That said, Masters of War is here, and it's already fully formed and jarring. This is a Dylan freak's dream, but such is the clarity of the recording, and the verve of the performance, casual fans will dig it, too.

Reminds us of: How legends are born.

Download these: Ballad of Hollis Brown and Masters of War (LISTEN)

Grade: B'

Posted by seandaly at 12:33:46 pm on May 16, 2011