Artist: Living Voices
Title: Positively 4th Street and Other Message Folk Songs
Genre: Country
Release Date: 1966
Duration: 00:34:41
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz
Label: RCA/Legacy

The message folk songs that have become so important in popular music in recent months have been heralded for their timeliness. But everything in this album is not that simple, not that easily categorized–not when one really listens to the extraordinarily meaningful lyrics that are virtually always the thing.

Especially are things not so simple when one listens to the words written by Bob Dylan, the young front-runner of the message and/or protest folk song, folk rock, folk ‘n’ roll, anti-protest song, what-have-you. True, his words are as timely as today’s headlines, but, paradoxically, they are also timeless, frequently dealing with social-political ills we can exchange for those headlines but which also could be set down in many a generation and be topical.

Like all truly fine poets, Dylan writes not only for the moment but for all seasons. Take the two Dylan compositions found in this best-of-the-message-songs collection by the Living Voices, as arranged and conducted by Anita Kerr. There’s the package’s title piece, Positively 4th Street, plus Like a Rolling Stone–two of Dylan’s biggest. They sear but they are surprisingly subtle–paradoxes. Dylan is too clever to be blatant, so he clenches his fist, strikes out, but desists from name-calling. Positively 4th Street, on the surface, could by about anyone disappointed by his fellow men. Though our current concern over racial prejudice leaves little question about the intent behind such lines as “Don’t you understand, it’s not my problem” and “You got a lotta nerve, to say you gotta helping hand to lend. You just want to be on the side that’s winning.” Dylan stalks not only injustice but hypocrisy.

Likewise, Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone couldn’t sound more contemporary, title-wise. But it’s really the age-old story of the fallen woman, all dressed up-or down-in message. It’s the tale of a great waste, of a gal who, like the cynic, knew the price of everything and the value of nothing…

Recorded at RCA Victor’s Music Center of the World, Hollywood, California Produced by Ethel Gabriel

Digitally remastered


  1. Positively 4th Street – 4:34
  2. Universal Soldier – 3:04
  3. Where Have All the Flowers Gone? – 3:19
  4. Like a Rolling Stone – 6:04
  5. Eve of Destruction – 3:04
  6. John Brown’s Body – 2:46
  7. Rusty Bells – 2:48
  8. What Color (Is a Man) – 2:12
  9. Dawn of Correction – 3:11
  10. There But for Fortune – 3:44