Bob Dylan – The Times They Are a-Changin’ (released Jan 13, 1964)

Redirecting to a newer version of this post….

The message isn’t in the words, …. I don’t do anything with a sort of message.
I’m just transferring my thoughts into music. Nobody can give you a message like that.
~Bob Dylan (to Ray Coleman, May 1965)

Dylan’s third album reflects his mood in August-October 1963. It is also a product for his need to live up to and expand on the role he found himself in, topical poet, the restless young man with something to say, singing to and for a new generation.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan Performing Artist I: The Early Years 1960-1973)

Released January 13, 1964 – 54 years ago today…  it is one of his weakest albums from the 60’s.. and still a fantastic album.

“The Times They Are A-Changin'” @ The White House in Feb 2010:

The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll – 5/7/65 – Free Trade Hall, Manchester, England:

Oh, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Bury the rag deep in your face
For now’s the time for your tears
(The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll)

The story I took out of the newspaper and I only changed the words.
~Bob Dylan (to Steve Allen, Feb 1964)

From Wikipedia:

Released January 13, 1964
Recorded August 6 – October 31, 1963 at Columbia Studios, New York City
Genre Folk
Length 36:00
Label Columbia
Producer Tom Wilson

The Times They Are a-Changin’ is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released in January 1964 by Columbia Records.

Produced by Tom Wilson, it is the singer-songwriter’s first collection to feature only original compositions. The album consists mostly of stark, sparsely-arranged ballads concerning issues such as racism, poverty, and social change. The title track is one of Dylan’s most famous; many felt that it captured the spirit of social and political upheaval that characterized the 1960s.

BD 1963

Some critics and fans were not quite as taken with the album as a whole, relative to his previous work, for its lack of humor or musical diversity. Still, The Times They Are a-Changin’ entered the US chart at #20, eventually going gold, and belatedly reaching #4 in the UK in 1965.


Recording sessions

Dylan began work on his third album on August 6, 1963, at Columbia’s Studio A in New York City. Once again, Tom Wilson was the producer for the entire album. Dylan had, by the time of recording, become a popular, influential cultural figure.

There were to be 6 recording sessions for The Times They Are a-Changin’, I have posted 2 articles earlier about the 4th & the 5th recording session:

For facts about the other sessions – check out “Still On The Road

bd 1963_10

With God on Our Side – BBC Tonight Show (1964):

If The Times They Are a-Changin’ isn’t a marked step forward from The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, even if it is his first collection of all originals, it’s nevertheless a fine collection all the same. It isn’t as rich as Freewheelin’, and Dylan has tempered his sense of humor considerably, choosing to concentrate on social protests in the style of “Blowin’ in the Wind.” With the title track, he wrote an anthem that nearly equaled that song, and “With God on Our Side” and “Only a Pawn in Their Game” are nearly as good, while “Ballad of Hollis Brown” and “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” are remarkably skilled re-castings of contemporary tales of injustice. His absurdity is missed, but he makes up for it with the wonderful “One Too Many Mornings” and “Boots of Spanish Leather,” two lovely classics. If there are a couple of songs that don’t achieve the level of the aforementioned songs, that speaks more to the quality of those songs than the weakness of the remainder of the record. And that’s also true of the album itself — yes, it pales next to its predecessor, but it’s terrific by any other standard.
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine (

bd 1963_11

Only a Pawn in Their Game – Newport 1963:

Track listing:

All songs written by Bob Dylan.

Side one
  1. “The Times They Are a-Changin'” – 3:15
  2. “Ballad of Hollis Brown” – 5:06
  3. “With God on Our Side” – 7:08
  4. “One Too Many Mornings” – 2:41
  5. “North Country Blues” – 4:35
Side two
  1. “Only a Pawn in Their Game” – 3:33
  2. “Boots of Spanish Leather” – 4:40
  3. “When the Ship Comes In” – 3:18
  4. “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” – 5:48
  5. “Restless Farewell” – 5:32

My ratings:

  1. The Times They Are A-Changin’ – 9,5 (0-10)
  2. The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll – 9,5
  3. With God On Our Side – 9
  4. When the ship comes in – 9
  5. North Country Blues Bob Dylan – 8,5
  6. Only a Pawn in Their Game – 8
  7. Boots of Spanish Leather – 7,5
  8. One Too Many Mornings – 7,5
  9. Ballad of Hollis Brown – 7,5
  10. Restless Farewell – 7

North Country Blues – Newport, Rhode Island – July 27, 1963:


  • Bob Dylan – vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica
Technical personnel
  • Tom Wilson – production


8 thoughts on “Bob Dylan – The Times They Are a-Changin’ (released Jan 13, 1964)”

  1. For me it is so strange that The Times is considered as one of his weakest from the sixties, it has a strong unity and unique stark atmosphere that gives me cold chills, for humor there was just no place in this masterpiece and I know it was hallowed here in the Netherlands for good reasons. Although Freewheelin’ came like a comet on the scene with an amount of devastating classics, it has a number of songs that, even if funny sidesteps, are filler, and the ending of that album to me is disappointing, had he left of Down the Highway and the irritating Honey Just Allow Me One More Chance the flow would have improved, not to mention that Let Me Die In My Footsteps is sorely missed. Another Side, cherished by me, has also some filler but there they help to build the rebellious character of the record, still it ranks below The Times. Nashville Skyline offers no competition. John Wesly Harding comes close, but is less iconic. Only the holy trinity is, if you want to rank, better. Yet, to each his own, of course…

  2. “One too many mornings” is in my opinion one of his 10-15 best songs. ” Boots of Spanish leather” is easily on the top thirty. Both is more personal but beautiful crafted. “When the ships come in” has the same quality as the aforementioned.
    “The Times They Are A-Changin’” is one of his best “finger-pointing” songs. so its up there too

  3. Frankly, this still remains my best Dylan LP, not Blood on the tracks. I still remember the Times when there would be “pindrop ” silence among the listeners as Dylan sang. Such respectful attention is hardly thinkable today. Even so, the attached songs above held my rapt attention as if I’d never heard them before. There’s so much charismatic power that Dylan still holds for us. Thanks for your post today and almost everyday.

Comments are closed.