CD Review: Bob Dylan – The Best Of The Original Mono Recordings

Bob Dylan

There are very few artists who could benefit from a collection of original mono recordings, but one such artist is Bob Dylan. The original mono recordings in the new CD The Best Of The Original Mono Recordings, provides a sense of authenticity to the collection of songs gathered from Dylan’s first eight long-playing albums.

The Best Of The Original Mono Recordings was painstakingly reproduced from their first generation monaural mixes as Dylan originally intended them to be heard. While stereo recordings had been available as early as the mid-1950s, mono was still the predominant – and often preferred – mode of recording and mixing by the top artists of the 1960s. As a result, artists like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan devoted their attention to the mono mixes, leaving the stereo mixing process to studio engineers.

The recordings are clean and quite powerful in their mono presentation, but I don’t think there’s a Dylan fan out there that would say his voice is what makes everything so special. It has been and always will be about the lyrics and the songs. Dylan is undeniably the greatest rock, folk and pop lyricist the world has ever seen. His songs are better than poetry and not only define a generation, they have an impact that has influenced music since his self-titled album came out in 1962.

The essential songs are all there – Like A Rolling Stone, Blowin' In The Wind, The Times They Are A-Changin' and the entire 7:10 of Chimes Of Freedom, a cool tale of the downtrodden and unjust, influenced by the symbolist poetry of Arthur Rimbaud.

The Original Mono Recordings are accompanied by a deluxe booklet, featuring vintage photographs of Bob Dylan and an expansive heartfelt essay from renowned author and critic – and longtime Dylan aficionado – Greil Marcus.

This collection provide a good overview of Bob Dylan’s work during the 1960s, and chronicles his evolution from fledgling songwriter to one of the world’s most inventive and singular recording artists. For historians, rock fans and music lovers, these are some of the most important works in the history of recorded music.