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Monday, February 1, 2016

From New Orleans To New Jerusalem: Unreleased Live Recordings, 1997



From New Orleans To New Jerusalem
Live Recordings - 1997

Shooting Star - Live - Fukuoka - February 14, 1997
I & I - Live - Fredericton - April 7, 1997
Maggie's Farm - Live - Lincoln - August 3, 1997
One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later) - Live - Scranton - August 12, 1997
Obviously 5 Believers - Live - Waltham - April 12, 1997
Blind Willie McTell - Live - Montreal - August 5, 1997
Can't Wait - Live - Starkville - October 24, 1997
Long Black Veil - Live - Wheeling - April 28, 1997
Cold Irons Bound - Live - Lisle - November 11, 1997
Pretty Peggy-O - Live - Albany - April 18, 1997
Don't Think Twice, It's Alright - Live - Los Angeles - December 20, 1997
Shelter From The Storm - Live - Tokyo - February 10, 1997
God Knows - Live - Bournemouth - October 2, 1997


This was a deeply challenging collection to assemble, because 1997 is one of the best years of Bob Dylan's Never-Ending Tour.

As a bit of history, this was the year that Dylan released his notable comeback record, Time Out Of Mind. That album, possibly influenced by the preceding half-decade of performing and recording songs from the traditions of North America and the British Isles, offered a unique and forward-looking interpretation of the singer's past. While rooted in history, Dylan had enlisted the help of Daniel Lanois to produce a lush modern sound. He soon took these songs on the road, and turned increasingly away from the earlier songs that had characterized much of his 1990s live show.

To that end, this compilation includes two new songs from Time Out Of Mind, along with some traditional songs, some recently introduced songs from Dylan's 1960s catalog, and some intriguing songs from his past handful of releases.

The first track, "Shooting Star," is admittedly a peculiar start. It's a slow, tentative rendition that picks up steam as it rolls along. The portrait feels like an artist performing, as he would describe on-stage the following year, for himself rather than an audience of adoring fans; the results are transcendent.

"I & I" is one of Dylan's more successful songs of the preceding decade, though it had a tendency to get mired in lengthy jams throughout much of the 1990s. The version here was already excellent, but I slimmed it down just a touch through the editing process. This is the first song on the set emphasizing two sounds that would dominate the band's profile throughout the year - jagged, distorted guitar and resonant drums.

"Maggie's Farm" is among the best arrangements of this song performed in the half century since its conception. It gets the full Time Out Of Mind treatment, pulling back from what can some times be a bombastic approach to instead be represented by a slick beat and snaky guitars.

The next song, "One Of Us Must Know," is a very rare outing for this Blonde On Blonde classic. After one or two performances in 1976, and a strong showing in 1978, it only appeared again at a handful of dates in 1997 before disappearing permanently (as of 2015). The listener may take issue with the occasionally less than perfect lyrical recall, but the passion of the vocals, both primary and backup in the final chorus, put the song across with feeling.

"Obviously 5 Believers" is another Blonde On Blonde song that has been played only rarely outside the studio. Though it was played with some regularity in 1995, it only appeared briefly in 1996 and 1997 before fading away entirely. One suspects that it was part and parcel with Dylan's refocus on sparse, riff-oriented rhythmic blues tracks in the mid-1990s; this was the same impulse that produced much of the comparatively sparse, focused record referred to above. While his session players had evidently struggled with the rhythm in 1966, his 1997 band proves more than up to the challenge of producing the scathing blues track here.

The sixth performance, "Blind Willie McTell," is an exciting first. The song, which had only grown in stature since its release on 1991's The Bootleg Series, Volume 1-3, has often been declared one of the writer's masterpieces. Its sudden appearance in 1997 was not a coincidence though - apparently Dylan had heard The Band performing this song earlier in the decade and decided he could do it better than them onstage. This friendly rivalry would produce wonderful results for fans, as the singer would go on to play the song beautifully throughout the next two decades.

"Can't Wait" is one of the two songs from the recently released Time Out Of Mind, and it does not stray distantly from its studio incarnation. For better or for worse, though fans generally hew to the former assessment, it is rendered here in a cleaner sound than would be possible under Daniel Lanois' style of production. Many of the songs from those sessions would see release in the late 1990s on semi-obscure Sony/Columbia releases in live form, reinforcing the impression that Dylan had not necessarily been happy with the overwhelming swampy presence of the producer on his most recent record.

The next track, "Long Black Veil," is one of a variety of songs that many fans had long wished Bob Dylan to cover in performance. Having done justice to so many American, Scottish, British and Irish songs over the previous thirty years, listeners were delighted when the singer finally unveiled his deeply atmospheric rendering of this beloved ballad. Though many of his Americana covers in the 1999 - 2002 era would be produced in acoustic arrangements (and indeed you can find a later performance of this song on the Thousand Highways compilation Keep Humming), this rendition is in a slow, brooding electric style.

"Cold Irons Bound" is one of the highlights of this compilation, and it would go on to be one of the highlights of the next ten years. David Kemper's addition to the band is nowhere more valued than in his drumming contributions to this powerfully rhythmic experience.

Though "Pretty Peggy-O" already appeared on the One More Night overview compilations, I couldn't bear to leave it off of my 1997-focused collection. Since its appearance on a noted bootleg compilation, Bathed In A Stream Of Pure Heat, this recording from Albany, New York has long been considered one of the gems of the Never-Ending Tour, and I'd be inclined to agree.

"Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" represents a song that was really starting to come into its own. This may seem to be a bit absurd as a remark about a song originally recorded in 1962, but Bob Dylan had avoided performing the track for a fair amount of his middle period. After he "went electric" in 1965, the song would go on to appear with regularity in 1974 and 1978 alone before becoming something of a standard in 1986 and later. Outside of an inventive reggae arrangement in 1978, it had often been performed either solo or with minimal accompaniment, so the song hadn't really been able to evolve past its simplest form; this began to change in the mid-1990s, though, as the song rapidly transitioned into something of a bluegrass stomper. Sometimes it was more relaxed, while other times it was more reflective, as it appears here; either way, it soon became one of the most reliable songs in the singer's songbook.

The penultimate performance, a Tokyo rendition of "Shelter From The Storm," was both an early and a late addition to the compilation. I love this unique, bouncy arrangement, but it went by the wayside as I came to emphasize the darker side to Dylan's 1997 performance catalog; only in the last few days before publishing did the song come back to its place in the setlist. It's admittedly a bit meandering, but the overall tone of the recording is remarkable - the song evolves dramatically from its relaxed early minutes to an intense conclusion. My recommendation is to just get into the groove and go with it. One intriguing note about this one - the inventive arrangement of "Shelter From The Storm" that appeared on One More Night: Volume Four would also originate in Tokyo. I wonder what it is about that city that inspires such remarkable, bizarre versions of this song?

"God Knows" is a song that I'm drawn to, and this version is an exemplary one. Beginning with an almost solo vocal and guitar performance, the song grows into a powerful electric fervor before slowing to an elegant closure. Again, Kemper's drumming pulls the track together from start to finish.

Listeners may find a couple of omissions to take issue with here: other Time Out Of Mind songs are absent, including "Love Sick," "'Til I Fell In Love With You," "Make You Feel My Love," and "Not Dark Yet" were played in 1997 but are not represented on this release. The first three of those are likely to appear on next month's 1998 compilation, After Hours; while "Not Dark Yet" would go on to attain extraordinary stature by 1999 and demonstrate that quality time and again over the following decade, it was still evolving in its earliest performances. One other notable performance from this year, "When I Paint My Masterpiece," from the singer's December El Rey residency, is not present here - I don't agree with the common consensus, and find it a bit rushed. You might want to seek it out, since your take could very well differ from my own.

Whatever you take away from this release, I hope you find something to enjoy. 1997 was a remarkable year for the evolution of Bob Dylan's performance art, and I'm happy to finally add it to the Thousand Highways Collection.

Next month will feature another long-awaited compilation: 1998. A handful of songs from that year are featured on the overview set, One More Night, but this one will be a keeper you don't want to miss.

As always, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes. Thanks for listening!

-CS

February 3, 2016 Update: I've been informed that the date on the rear art is incorrect for "Blind Willie McTell" - it should read August 5 instead of April 5. I'll try to get new art up as soon as possible.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

DIY Playlist Corner: The Cutting Edge


Good morning/afternoon/evening folks,

In the spirit of keeping the blog alive between posts during these cold winter months (people in the Southern Hemisphere can use their imagination), I've decided to start up a new section called DIY Playlist Corner. DIY, of course, is short for "Do It Yourself," and that spirit is necessary here since what we'll be covering are officially released recordings. I'll do my best to supply links to popular retailers where these tracks can be bought, though there may be some obscurities as the series continues.

For the first iteration, however, I will only be concerned with a single release - the mammoth Cutting Edge: Bootleg Series Volume 12. Be aware that some of the tracks may only exist on certain editions of the set; if you got the 6 CD version, you'll have the vast majority of these. In the notes below, I'll recommend alternatives for the handful that only exist on the 18 CD Collector's Edition (which feature an asterisk in the tracklist).

Volume One

It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry - Take 3 Incomplete (July 29, 1965)
I'll Keep It With Mine - Take 1
I Wanna Be Your Lover - Take 6 (Mis-Slate) *
Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues - Take 3 Complete
On The Road Again - Take 1 Complete
Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window - Take 17
Sitting On A Barbed-Wire Fence - Take 2
Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again - Take 13 Breakdown
Visions Of Johanna - Take 5 Complete
Bob Dylan's 115th Dream - Take 2 Complete (Solo Acoustic Complete)
Absolutely Sweet Marie - Take 1 Complete
She's Your Lover Now - Take 6 Complete
Tombstone Blues - Take 2 Complete (Vocal Overdub) *
Positively 4th Street - Take 4 Complete
Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat - Take 8 Complete
Sad-Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands - Take 1 Complete

Volume Two

Instrumental - Take 2 Complete
Visions Of Johanna - Take 14 Complete
Outlaw Blues - Take 2 Remake Complete
Queen Jane Approximately - Take 5 Complete
If You Gotta Go, Go Now - Take 2 Complete
Pledging My Time - Take 1 Breakdown
She Belongs To Me - Take 1
I Wanna Be Your Lover - Take 1
Just Like A Woman - Take 4 Complete
Temporary Like Achilles - Take 3 Complete
Love Minus Zero/No Limit - Take 3 Remake Complete
It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry - Take 8 Complete
She's Your Lover Now - Take 16 Complete
One Of Us Must Now (Sooner Or Later) - Take 19 Complete
Highway 61 Revisited - Take 3 Complete
Desolation Row - Take 5 Remake Complete

Since I won't be providing links or artwork for this one, I'd like to elaborate a bit more on the tracks, one by one:

Volume One

1. It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry - Take 3 Incomplete

This is a version of the song in transition, recorded just four days after the live debut of the song at the Newport Folk Festival. As such, the atmosphere is fairly jubilant. Mike Bloomfield gets some hot guitar licks in, and Dylan comments "Rockefeller Center calling!" The track breaks down after Dylan mistakenly (?) repeats a verse he's already sung before commenting "I'll sing it again, I don't care." This is an appropriately playful way to begin our behind-the-scenes look at Bob Dylan's 1965 - 1966 studio sessions.

2. I'll Keep It With Mine - Take 1

Sadly, this is the only extant recording of this song from the Bringing It All Back Home sessions. It would also be recorded in a less effective arrangement for Blonde On Blonde, but most of those recordings are instrumental. There is some playful studio banter with Tom Wilson at the start of the track, which was sliced off for its earlier appearance on Biograph, that shows what may be a growing (if low-key) tension between the producer and the artist.

3. I Wanna Be Your Lover - Take 6 (Mis-slate)

While this rendition of the song does not appear on the 6 CD version of The Cutting Edge, you can find it on Biograph and Side Tracks, though the mix is truly excellent on its 2015 release. It's very similar to Take 6, so you could happily substitute that version; the mis-slated cut is just a touch more intense. This is perhaps the most surprising outtake to me, since the song was clearly worked up very well in the studio. The singer's comments in the Biograph liner notes confirm this assessment, as he himself wonders why it never made it onto a studio record before the 1985 career overview.

4. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues - Take 3

I'm not sure this one rises above the version released on Highway 61 Revisited, but if not, it's very close. As was typical in that album's sessions, the piano player pulls the track together. In this case, he adds some delightful Southwestern flourishes, appropriate for the Mexican context. The song would go on to grow outrageously on the road, being played excellently in almost every one of Dylan's live outfits, but this version is a laid back rough blueprint for what was to come.

5. On The Road Again - Take 1

No other performance on the 6 CD was more unjustly culled from the 2 CD Best-Of edition. While the full-band version of this song released on that collection is still interesting, this solo rendition is really something else. From the background audio of Dylan playing around at the piano before he's interrupted by Tom Wilson to the foot-stomp rhythm, this performance is one of my favorites from the sessions.

6. Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window - Take 17

In much the same way as "On The Road Again," this version is a bit superior to the one picked for the 2 CD edition. Unlike that, though, this performance is very similar to the one on the reduced set. Take 17 had circulated for years on bootlegs - it was actually found on this very website before the release of a much-improved mix on The Cutting Edge - so perhaps Sony/Columbia wanted to include an unheard version for the most affordable version of the collection. Whatever the reason, I would recommend using Take 17 for your playlist, since it's one of the singer's most effective vocal performances from the 1965 recordings. His pronunciation of each line, particularly "come on out, the dark is beginning," could send chills down your spine. Again, Paul Griffin's piano playing is gorgeous. The song would re-appear as something of a more jocular take in the earliest Blonde On Blonde sessions, one performance of which you can find on Biograph, but it was strongest in its earlier arrangement.

7. Sitting On A Barbed-Wire Fence - Take 2

This song is present in two different edits on the 18 CD set, but the one found on the 6 CD edition is perfect. I'd originally heard this as a promotion for the new Bootleg Series release, and was underwhelmed, but it really grows on you. For whatever reason, positioning it directly after the epic "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window" enhances its power, as it is something of a sigh of relief after that emotional ride. This take includes the delightful riffing on a "woman in LA" not being as good as "this guitar player I got right now," leading Mike Bloomfield into a hilarious shout and solo. Clearly the most realized version of this song, which I assume evolved into "It Takes A Lot To Laugh," given their proximity in studio sessions.

8. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again - Take 13

Take 13 was one of the songs chosen to represent The Cutting Edge in pre-release material, and you can hear why. It's groovy, has a unique inter-verse classical-sounding guitar fill, and is very different from take released on Blonde On Blonde. It is still in transition from the earlier chorus, "I just need a friend," to the chorus we've all come to know and love. In one chorus, Dylan even describes himself as "stuck inside of Nashville with the Memphis blues again"! The cut breaks down at the end, but the song is basically complete.

9. Visions Of Johanna - Take 5

This is described as "Complete" in the 18 CD notes and "Rehearsal" in the 6 CD notes, but whichever way you describe it, it's one of the finest performances of this song that was recorded. I like this one and Take 14 a bit more than the one picked for Blonde On Blonde, but can see why that one was chosen for the 1966 release; it clearly came much easier in the studio, as only a brief period of time was needed to record the song with the session players assembled for that record. Dylan struggled quite a bit more when recording it in New York ahead of the Nashville sessions, so it likely left a bitter memory. In fact, it presents one of the most interesting experiences on The Cutting Edge - Collector's Edition, as he tries to get the band to slow it down and present a more mellow atmosphere; this is largely unsuccessful, but the listener has luckily been left with a few very different variations on the theme. Take 5 presents the song as an up-tempo rocker, a vibe it would shed entirely until a live one-off performance in 1988, after which the rocking version of the song would be permanently retired.

10. Bob Dylan's 115th Dream - Take 2 (Solo Acoustic)

The version of this released on Bringing It All Back Home was also a Take 2, but the one on my playlist is the one performed solo. This one's got a couple of flubbed lines, but otherwise would have been fit for release on the acoustic half of the album for which it was recorded. It's chief advantage over the one that was eventually chosen for the 1965 record is the emphasis placed on the surreal narrative. It wouldn't have been out of place in one of Dylan's 1964 or 1965 live sets, though it was never performed in that setting.

11. Absolutely Sweet Marie - Take 1

"Absolutely Sweet Marie," like many of the later tracks on Blonde On Blonde, only had one complete outtake. The lyrics are still in flux here, and would pass through one more revision before the final take. Perhaps the chief improvement on this alternate performance is the band's playing the chorus.

12. She's Your Lover Now - Take 6

Though the solo piano performance and an uptempo rendition of this lost masterpiece had surfaced previously, on a bootleg and on The Bootleg Series, respectively, Take 6 had not been heard by the public before 2015. Like the two other (mostly) complete takes, this one presents only one angle of the story. The lyrics vary in specifics from performance to performance, but this take has one of the more amusing aspects, as Dylan asks one of the two targets of his derision "what are you, some kind of moose?" Much ink has been spilled on this song, and I won't be able to do it justice here, but I recommend seeking out the writings of Paul Williams, Clinton Heylin and Michael Gray. I'll write a bit more about it later in these notes, but for the moment it's worth noting how much the band struggles to transition in this take from the verse to the pseudo-chorus. They would improve dramatically on the road, but the session for "She's Your Lover Now" make it plain to see why the singer chose to work primarily with Nashville session players for the remainder of the Blonde On Blonde sessions.

13. Tombstone Blues - Take 2 (Vocal Overdub)

I could be wrong, but this version sounds to me like the album version with an overdub on the chorus. It is not present on the 6 CD version, but you could pretty well just substitute in the excellent Take 1 from that edition. Take 2 preserves the scathing guitar and tempo from the one selected for Highway 61 Revisited, but also includes a group of backing singers on the chorus that complement the song marvelously. Humorously, they miss their cue on one chorus and you can hear the smiles creep into their voices! Take 1, which appears on the 2 CD edition of The Cutting Edge, is a more laid-back performance that lacks the intensity of the final take but makes up for it with some cool lyrical variants, including "John the blacksmith" instead of "John the Baptist." Weird, huh? For an extra treat, I recommend seeking out the live acoustic performance from the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, finally having seen the light of day as bonus material on The Cutting Edge Collector's Edition. It sounds almost like "It's Alright Ma," and lacks the chorus that would come to define the song. Without the band and Mike Bloomfield's guitar, it is a plainly inferior version, but it remains a captivating curiosity nonetheless.

14. Positively 4th Street - Take 4

Here is one of the gems of The Cutting Edge, a performance that is (in my opinion) superior to the one chosen for official release in 1965. It lacks some of the artificiality that necessarily edges into a song through repeated performances, and instead gives the song a gentler quality. The mournfulness that would later appear in live performances is present in this version, and enhances it dramatically. On a related note, the session for "Positively 4th Street" is one of the highlights from the Collector's Edition, as the song breaks down a few takes from its conclusion; there's even a brief, tense confrontation between Dylan and Bob Johnston over whether the singer needs a lyric sheet. Luckily, the song had already been cut in several releasable takes by that point anyway.

15. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat - Take 8

This could be something of a love-it-or-hate-it affair, but I've eventually come down on the side of loving it. The call/response opening and the car horn chorus are certainly oddities, but they represent some of the freewheeling nature of the sessions. More importantly, the verses have a hard-driving quality that was not felt elsewhere in the recording of this song. Perhaps most interesting is the fact that the heavy groove of the verses resembles rather closely the song "Tell Me, Momma," which would open each one of Dylan's fabled 1966 concerts; this may be the closest we'll ever be to hearing a studio performance of that song.

16. Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands - Take 1

Commentators have written quite a bit about this performance since the release of The Cutting Edge, and rightly so. The close listener, depending upon his or her inclination, may hear the singer say "Sara" a couple of times throughout the song, drawing an even closer connection between this track and the 1975 recording that references it, Desire's "Sara". I'm not completely sold, since it sounds like an accidentally uttered slurring of "sad-eyed," but to each his/her own. Regardless, I find this take to be, like "Positively 4th Street," an improvement upon the one that was originally released. It evokes more perfectly the dreamlike nature of the song, and benefits from a lack of repetition.

Volume Two

1. Instrumental - Take 2

Some of you may find the inclusion of an instrumental track a bit questionable, but I think you'll find it pretty compelling in the context of the full CD. It manages to subtly evoke "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" and "One Of Us Must Know" through its four minute run-time. It settles the listener in for what will be a somewhat more evocative and strange experience than the first volume. It also represents something of a prophetic indicator of how cohesive Dylan and The Band would sound over the next few years.

2. Visions Of Johanna - Take 14

This rendition of "Visions Of Johanna" had circulated on bootlegs over the years, but as is usually the case, the version released by Sony/Columbia is vastly improved in terms of its mix. Dylan's voice cuts you to the core on this one, nowhere more than the final imprecise moaning at the end of the track. This may be the most fully realized studio performance of the song, though of course you may feel differently.

3. Outlaw Blues - Take 2 Remake

Bob Dylan's studio band provides its best Bo Diddley backing for this performance. After attempting the song in a different guise as "California" and in an unsatisfactory acoustic arrangement, Dylan and the assembled players tried a variety of electric arrangement. This one is my favorite, though a drummer would have enhanced it further. Interestingly, the vocals are not quite in line with the rhythm during the first verse, but they and the band all come together for the remainder of the track. This is also one of the rare occasions when someone besides Bob Dylan plays harmonica on one of his recordings!

4. Queen Jane Approximately - Take 5

The piano playing at the start of this may be Paul Griffin's finest contribution to the Highway 61 Revisited sessions, though we happily now have a vast group of recordings to debate that point over. Otherwise, this hews pretty closely to the model established for this song - it is not significantly different from the one selected for the final record.

5. If You Gotta Go, Go Now - Take 2

Here is one of the lost gems of Bob Dylan's 1964 - 1965 era, as it never managed to make it onto a released record at the time it was recorded, much like "Mama You Been On My Mind" or "Farewell Angelina." It ended up being fully worked out, but was left off of Bringing It All Back Home for one reason or another. While several of the versions recorded are very nice, the backing vocals by Angelina Butler send this one over the top; one of the best aspects of the liner notes for The Cutting Edge is a brief behind-the-scenes look by Butler at the recording session for this track. It was never performed live with a band, but it was played quite frequently from 1964 to 1965, and seems to have been something of a fan favorite. You can find live performances on The Cutting Edge bonus live content or on The Bootleg Series Volume 6.

6. Pledging My Time - Take 1

This is said to be a breakdown recording, but it captures the entirety of the song, including a previously unheard verse about playing wigwam. Wacky! That aside, the jaunty tempo of this is in stark contrast to the slower groove found on its Blonde On Blonde iteration. Bob Dylan's harmonica playing is one of his best efforts at that instrument during these sessions. I'm very glad that this performance finally got released, since it's been rumored for years.

7. She Belongs To Me - Take 1

While I generally prefer Dylan's band-backed recordings, this is an excellent example of what the singer can pull off when playing on his own. He puts on the warmest voice possible and tells the evergreen tale of an artist who's clearly on something of a higher plane than the narrator. Given that this song has been played effectively in so many arrangements over the following decades, it's impressive to hear that it could work so well with just a man and his guitar. On a side note, I had originally had a different take for this song, realizing only shortly before posting this that my chosen version was the one that made it onto Bringing It All Back Home.

8. I Wanna Be Your Lover - Take 1

Two versions of this exist on The Cutting Edge Collector's Edition, though only one is present on the 6 CD edition; you can take your pick, though I prefer the longer edit for obvious reasons. Though others may see "She's Your Lover Now" as the lost masterpiece of these years, I might make the case for this early arrangement of "I Wanna Be Your Lover." It lacks the fully formed chorus that would later anchor the song, and features the alternate lyrics "I wanna be your partner,"but the primary difference is in its musical environment. This is probably the hottest, coolest groove that Dylan and The Band played in 1965, and it's disappointing that it got lost along the way to the (also great) final recordings of the song. Still, I'm grateful that this fragment exists. It would be cool to hear remixed into a full length song by some ambitious DJ, that's for sure.

9. Just Like A Woman - Take 4

Here again is one of the highlights of The Cutting Edge. Bob Dylan and his Nashville studio players play one of his most popular 1960s song to "one hell of a beat," as Bob Johnston described it at the end of the recording. It's hard to imagine this having been the version released on Blonde On Blonde, and while they made the right decision in the end, this functions as a window into a much funkier parallel universe. While the lyrics haven't been quite set down as they would be in later takes, the hesitance in Dylan's voice actually contributes to the vulnerability of this songs narrator. We are quite lucky that the tape was running for this one.

10. Temporary Like Achilles - Take 3

We've finally reached another of the songs that may have been more fully realized in a previously unreleased performance. For one reason or another, I felt like I hadn't really gotten to the essence of this song until hearing this take. The album version is a bit too harsh, and Take 3 preserves the darkness of the outcast narrator more effectively. The harmonica remains a bit piercing, but the mix is otherwise immaculate.

11. Love Minus Zero/No Limit - Take 3 Remake

I'm not sure if this is the version of the song that had circulated on bootlegs, but it's a pretty nice alternative to the one featured on Bringing It All Back Home. After the songs had been played acoustically and then with a full band, Dylan played a few of the album's songs with a small backing combo, resulting in some of the finest takes of the sessions. The bass, in particular, stands out as a beautiful complement to the guitar-oriented arrangement; it reminds this listener of the sound that Dylan would later achieve on some of the Blood On The Tracks recordings. The vocals are not as effective as the one chosen for the album, but it's a cool alternative rendition nonetheless.

12. It Takes A Lot To Laugh, it Takes A Train To Cry - Take 8

This performance of the song actually predates the 1965 Newport Folk Festival and the version found on the first volume of this playlist, so it would more accurately be called "Phantom Engineer." It also likewise preserves a notable verse about the engineer and the compasses that would be excised from later recordings. While I almost selected one of the alternative slow versions of the song that resemble the album version, I found that this uptempo performance provided a more unique vision. Similarly, it lacks the somewhat disruptive harmonica found on the slower recordings.

13. She's Your Lover Now - Take 16

Take 16 of "She's Your Lover Now" is one of Bob Dylan's greatest studio achievements, and I'm glad it's finally been properly mixed and released by Sony/Columbia. From the melancholy humming over its introduction to the scathing final verse, this is the most fully realized of the song's three complete recordings. It was also the final one recorded, after the singer had gotten burned out trying to record it with his backing band. Listening to the full session, it's unclear why the song never quite came together, but we should be grateful that the three complete takes present three rather different perspectives on the central theme of a man's complex relationship with his ex-lover and her new flame. The song is one of the writer's most fascinating tales, and is eminently understandable to anyone who has been in a similar situation. It also includes one of Dylan's most beautifully scathing and melancholy passages: "Your mouth used to be so naked, your eyes used to be so blue, your hurts used to be so nameless, your tears used to be so few; now your eyes cry wolf while your mouth cries 'I'm not scared of animals like you.'"

14. One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later) - Take 19

Their juxtaposition on The Cutting Edge makes the similarities of "She's Your Lover Now" and "One Of Us Most Know" more evident than ever before, and I've sought to preserve that with the playlist here. One can speculate that the former evolved into the latter, losing some of its complexity in the transition but gaining a much stronger musical structure. Paul Griffin remains something of an MVP, as he provides lovely piano flourishes between the verses of this Blonde On Blonde outtake. Given the time and effort dedicated to this song in the studio, it's a shame that it never achieved a greater position in the singer's catalog; it went on to be played live only a handful of times outside of 1978, though it was at least realized beautifully on that year's World Tour.

15. Highway 61 Revisited - Take 3

Many listeners love the police whistle on the performance of this song found on Highway 61 Revisited, but I don't count myself among their number. Happily for malcontents like me, this take of the song was recorded before Al Kooper introduced that instrument to the session. A later take also included some excellent harmonica, but this one had the finest vocal performance. You can hear Dylan being rather amused at the surrealist masterpiece he'd painted.

16. Desolation Row - Take 5 Remake

This song seems to have proven a bit difficult to record, though the lyrics are fairly uniform throughout. A number of complete recordings are extant on The Cutting Edge, so it seems that it was a matter of getting several arrangements down on tape, from which the best could be chosen. This has luckily resulted in us having five distinct versions to pick from for a playlist - the fragmentary solo piano version, the solo guitar version, the somewhat baroque classical guitar version (Highway 61 Revisited), the strangely dark electrical guitar version (No Direction Home), and the full-band version I've picked for this playlist. It was something of a toss-up between this and the one originally released on No Direction Home, but this one's uniqueness and the dynamism provided by the keyboard backing made the decision  a bit easier. It's also nice that this one appears on the 6 CD edition, while the alternative appears only on the 18 CD version, and of course No Direction Home. This performance, while not quite up to the standard of the one selected for Highway 61 Revisited, is still quite effective at demonstrating the central narrative's mysterious beauty.

So there you have it. Assemble these yourselves and I'm sure you won't be disappointed. As for what's not included, the most conspicuous tracks missing are:

(A) The fragmentary songs, including "You Don't Have To Do That," "Medicine Sunday," "Jet Pilot," and "Lunatic Princess." Given their incomplete nature, I don't think you'd be missing out much by losing these.

(B) "Mr. Tambourine Man" backed by a band. This is a curiosity, but is ultimately significantly less effective than the solo version released on Bringing It All Back Home. It's worth hearing for Dylan's commentary, but is sadly incomplete.

(C) "Like A Rolling Stone". This song ended up so perfected on Highway 61 Revisited that none of the alternate recordings felt very strong. If you really wanted it included, I'd remove the instrumental track from Volume Two and find a place for its solo piano rendition (Take 4 Rehearsal) on there.

(D) The solo piano "Desolation Row." While this is one of the more fascinating revelations of The Cutting Edge, it ends up feeling a bit fragmentary. Additionally, the harmonica is too piercing, and goes some way to reducing the ethereal quality of the recording.

(E) A bunch of Blonde On Blonde songs, including "Obviously 5 Believers," "Most Likely You'll Go Your Way," "4th Time Around," and "I Want You." While outtakes were present for all of these songs, they were nothing notable. The version of "Obviously 5 Believers" that appears on Blonde  seems to have been something of a minor miracle, as the session demonstrates that the band struggled with its tempo. The versions of "4 Time Around" hew very closely to the album version, while the outtakes of "Most Likely You'll Go Your Way" simply feel unfinished. Finally, there is a reasonably attractive and harmonica-less performance of "I Want You" on The Cutting Edge, but it's similar enough to to the album version to feel a bit superfluous. Like (C) above, if you'd like it included, I suggest swapping it with "Instrumental - Take 2" on Volume Two.

I hope you enjoy the playlist. It was originally designed around Volume One as a daytime experience and Volume Two as a nighttime experience, but I don't think either volume must be listened to in such a rigid fashion. Enjoy it however you'd like, and post you thoughts in the space below. I've listened to the whole 18 CD set, and found that these stand out as the best recordings on there - hopefully you'll feel the same.

Future iterations of this playlist feature will include The Basement Tapes, live performances from the 1970s, live performances from the 1990s, studio recordings from the 1980s, studio recordings from the 1990s, and more! You all seem to enjoy my curation, so this seems like a nice way to incorporate the artist's vast body of officially released content into the context of this playlist website. Until next time, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes.

Cheers,
CS

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Roadhouse Hymns: Unreleased Live Recordings, 1996



Bob Dylan
Roadhouse Hymns: Live 1996

Drifter's Escape - Live - Berlin - June 17, 1996
Shake Sugaree - Live - Berlin - June 17, 1996
Watching The River Flow - Live - Liverpool - June 26, 1996
She Belongs To Me - Live - Cleveland - May 17, 1996
Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I Go Mine) - Live - Burgettstown - May 18, 1996
Love Minus Zero/No Limit - Live - Orono - April 23, 1996
Ballad Of Hollis Brown - Live - Mannheim - July 2, 1996
Visions Of Johanna - Live - Differdange - June 24, 1996
Tombstone Blues - Live - Copenhagen - July 23, 1996
Seven Days - Live - Burgettstown - May 18, 1996
Disease Of Conceit - Live - Buffalo - May 11, 1996
Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 - Live - Konstanz - July 3, 1996
The Times They Are A-Changin' - Live - Konstanz - July 3, 1996


Welcome back to the first Thousand Highways compilation of 2016!

1996 was not an especially noteworthy year of performances for Bob Dylan, though it would be the last full year of touring before Dylan shifted towards performing new and traditional material with his 1997 release of Time Out Of Mind. In the interim, he and his band stuck to the sound they had established over the past two years.

One significant difference was a country sound beginning to creep in, replacing some of the hard rock sound of the previous year. The first electric set on Roadhouse Hymns emphasizes this aspect of the band, particularly in the early My Morning Jacket/Johnny Cash fusion of "Watching The River Flow" (my favorite rendition of the song) and a version of "She Belongs To Me" that sounds like it could have been played by Buck Owens.

The acoustic set is a bit different, with "Love Minus Zero/No Limit" and "Visions Of Johanna" getting across the mystical presence of Dylan's 1966 style, albeit in a more precise fashion. "Ballad Of Hollis Brown" is as good a performance of this harrowing song as you're ever likely to hear, with Dylan improvising a new line or two in the middle of the recording. It is in some ways reminiscent of the version he'd recorded with Mike Seeger that saw release on Seeger's Third Annual Farewell Reunion LP, though the song would have to wait until the following decade to have a banjo arrangement played live.

The second electric set is less countrified. "Tombstone Blues" and "Seven Days" rock hard, and wouldn't have been out of place in the previous year's tours. "Disease Of Conceit," as ever, brings out some of Dylan's most committed vocals. It's interesting that this song regularly inspires its singer to some breathtaking performances, though it is one of the least impressive recordings from its original studio release.

I would like to draw special attention to the final two tracks, which feature members of the Dave Matthews Band on saxophone and violin. Andrew Muir's definitive telling of the Never-Ending Tour, One More Night, discusses this Konstanz show in some detail, leading me to seek out the performances. They do not disappoint! "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" is raucous, and "The Times They Are A-Changin'" is as moving as ever, perhaps moreso given the dramatic violin and harmonica duet at the end of the song.

As an important production note, "She Belongs To Me" is slightly shortened here; the edit is not intrusive. I hope you don't mind, and I suggest seeking out the original tape if you'd like to hear the full track.

1996 has not generally been high on my list of Never-Ending Tour years, but compiling this CD gave me a new perspective. If you've not previously enjoyed the year's recordings, I encourage you to listen to this with an open mind. You might find something you hadn't heard before.

Next month brings us a compilation of the best recordings from 1997. This is an extremely fascinating and impressive year for Bob Dylan's performance art, so don't you dare miss it.

Until then, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes.

Cheers,
CS

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Melancholy Mood: Unreleased Live Recordings, Fall 2015



Melancholy Mood
Fall Tour of Europe - 2015

Melancholy Mood - Live - Basel - November 13, 2015
Where Are You - Live - Copenhagen - October 8, 2015
The Night We Called It A Day - Live - Hamburg - November 9, 2015
Why Try To Change Me Now - Live - Hamburg - November 9, 2015
Full Moon & Empty Arms - Live - London - October 22, 2015
All Or Nothing At All - Live - Saarbrucken - October 17, 2015
Come Rain Or Come Shine - Live - Basel - November 14, 2015
I'm A Fool To Want You - Live - Bregenz - November 16, 2015
What'll I Do - Live - Copenhagen - October 8, 2015
Autumn Leaves - Live - Oslo - October 1, 2015


Welcome to a special installment of the Thousand Highways Collection. By special request, I turned my attention to Bob Dylan's covers on his 2015 Fall Tour of Europe. There was quite a bit to pick through, since he and the band performed about seven of these each night, and most nights were recorded.

Choosing the best recordings was the greatest challenge. As can sometimes be taken for granted, the excellent tapers were out with their recording gear throughout the tour. Bach, Spot, RCM, JOY, hhtfp, and Hide presented the songs in lovely sound quality, though the specific sonic landscape changed from night to night. I sought to capture the best tracks in terms of performance, which required significant effort from the singer, and the warmest audio presence. While supremely clean, digital recording does not always present a warm landscape naturally, so some tweaking was necessary at times. I hope I have not caused any harm to the recordings, but for the purest form, as ever, listeners should seek out the source tapes.

One of the greatest obstacles for this set was a cold that Dylan seems to have developed in mid-October. In person, and on the harder-rocking songs, the effect would likely be fairly unnoticeable. On the crystal-clear recordings of these ballads, however, the illness could detract from the singer's central role. Most of the tapes from the middle of the tour, then, were taken out of consideration. This eliminated an otherwise excellent rendition of the title track, "Melancholy Mood," from the Paris show on October 19th, among others. By early November, happily, Dylan's voice had again cleared.

The most intriguing songs are those that had not yet been released on Bob Dylan's wonderful 2015 LP, Shadows In The Night. Three such songs were played: "Melancholy Mood," "Come Rain Or Come Shine," and "All Or Nothing At All." Each was rumored to have been recorded for that record, and studio renditions may yet surface in the coming years. Until then, these great live performances will need to tide us over. Unfortunately, three songs recorded for the aforementioned record were not played: "Stay With Me," "Some Enchanted Evening," and "Lucky Old Sun." You can find live renditions of the first and last of these on Things Have Changed - 2014 and Shadows & Rust - Summer 2015, respectively. "Some Enchanted Evening" has not yet been played live as of December, 2015. Though I endeavor not to tip my personal preferences too much, my favorite tracks are likely the last two. This recording of "What'll I Do" epitomizes the warm sound I was seeking, and the final track, "Autumn Leaves," may be Bob Dylan's finest and most committed vocals on the set.

While I hope everyone enjoys this new, abbreviated collection, I especially hope that I have lived up to the expectations of the listeners who requested the album. I've dedicated quite a bit of time to this project, and would like to submit it to you all as something of a Christmas gift. Thanks for visiting A Thousand Highways in 2015, and I look forward to presenting more content to you in the coming year.

Until then, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes.

Thanks,
CS

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Thundering Sky: Unreleased Live Recordings, 1995






The Thundering Sky: Live 1995

Volume One

Down In The Flood - Live - Bethlehem - December 13, 1995
When I Paint My Masterpiece - Live - Bloomington - October 26, 1995
Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues - Live - New York City - December 13, 1995
Under The Red Sky - Live - Philadelphia - December 15, 1995
West LA Fadeaway - Live - Philadelphia - December 17, 1995
Jokerman - Live - London - March 30, 1995
Joey - Live - London - March 31, 1995
Dignity - Live - Brussels - March 23, 1995
What Good Am I? - Live - Philadelphia - June 22, 1995
Highway 61 Revisited - Live - London - March 31, 1995

Volume Two

Visions Of Johanna - Live - Philadelphia - June 21, 1995
Mama, You Been On My Mind - Live - Philadelphia - December 15, 1995
A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall - Live - Philadelphia - December 16, 1995
One Too Many Mornings - Live - Philadelphia - June 22, 1995
Tangled Up In Blue - Live - Philadelphia - June 21, 1995
Mr Tambourine Man - Live - Manchester - April 3, 1995
Dark Eyes - Live - Philadelphia - December 15, 1995
Desolation Row - Live - Bethlehem - December 13, 1995


I hope listeners are ready for some powerful electric performances and some deeply meditative acoustic renditions, because this collection has those in spades.

The Never-Ending Tour rolled steadily through the 1990s, but after shifting from a garage rock sound to a jazz-like aesthetic by 1992, it evolved once again into a heavy rock sound by the middle of the decade. It would change again before 2000, but the only documentation of this ‘heavy’ period in the Thousand Highways Collection so far has been a compilation of the Prague residency in March, 1995. While that residency was a high point of the year, so many more were still to come.

In the electric set, the most notable performances are likely “West LA Fadeaway,” “Dignity,” and “Joey.” The first was a Grateful Dead song that Bob Dylan had been playing at his concerts from the early 1990s, but it really came into its own in 1995. While it was also performed in a semi-acoustic arrangement at Dylan’s unique Fort Lauderdale covers show earlier in 1995, this rendition from the winter tour presents the song at its most elemental. The central riff is in place, and loops throughout the painted picture of Los Angeles’ seedy underbelly. “Dignity,” which was something of a minor hit due to its inclusion on Greatest Hits Volume Three and the MTV Unplugged show, was played intermittently on the 1995 tours. It took some time to find its footing, and would only achieve its full potential a decade later in 2004, but this performance from Brussels is a beautiful, smooth treatment of the song. It’s a little more lively than its studio arrangement, and benefits from the looser style. Finally, this version of “Joey” from London is one of the most stirring performances of the Desire centerpiece. Dylan really lays into the vocals, and though he’s not word-perfect, the passion of the singing and the crunch of the guitars carries you fully into this contentious mobster ballad.

The acoustic set is anchored by “Visions Of Johanna,” “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” “Dark Eyes,” and “Desolation Row.” The first is often spoken of as one of the song’s best outings during the 1990s. The singer’s fully committed, and presents the song with the precision he afforded it back in 1966; his unique way of singing the iconic lines “the ghost of electricity / howls in the bones of her face” is one highlight among many. “Hard Rain” is provided one of the more fascinating arrangement I’ve heard - while the song starts in a typical style, a baroque guitar riff becomes more present as the song continues, spurring Dylan into more curious vocal styles. It has to be heard to be believed, and gives the long song an evolving dynamic to pull the listener in. “Dark Eyes” had previously been played live only once, in a truncated fashion, on Bob Dylan’s 1986 tour. Patti Smith, for whom Dylan had arranged his rare December tour, requested the song specifically, and it was played as a duet throughout the brief stint. It was performed to varying degrees of success, but this rendition from Philadelphia stands out as the best of the recordings available. At last, “Desolation Row” acts as an apt conclusion to the compilation. I’ve heard that author Clinton Heylin has claimed this as the best performance of the song, and you’d be hard-pressed to better it. It really is something of a journey, and the listener will no doubt be compelled to stick with the narrator clear through to the end.

Normally, as the consistent visitor will know, I don’t like to present a tour’s acoustic and electric portions separately. In this case, though, I made an exception. I found that including three acoustic performances on the electric disc truncated the set conspicuously, and it seemed to diminish the power of both styles. In the end, I settled on a full-running electric disc and a briefer acoustic disc, which would be suitable for different occasions. The electric set rocks, ideal for a commute, a workout, or some other kind of activity; the acoustic set, soft and confessional, would be preferable for an evening’s drive in the country or relaxing with a glass of wine after a long day. However you choose to enjoy these songs, I have no doubt you’ll enjoy them quite a bit.

On a humorous, informal note, did anyone notice that the first four songs on Volume Two are from different dates in Philadelphia? Shows from that city make up a full 75% of the songs on the acoustic set! I wonder what was going on in Philadelphia that year that added up to excellent recordings married to excellent performances.

Next month will see the appearance of a long-overlooked year on this website. By popular demand, 1996 will finally be getting its due. It gave us Bob Dylan's spectacular reading of "Shake Sugaree," but it really gave so much more. Check in on January 1 for the full exploration of this content. Until then, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes.

Thanks,
CS

Sunday, November 1, 2015

SC93: Live At The Supper Club



SC93
Live at the Supper Club

Ragged & Dirty - Live - New York City - November 17, 1993 (Early)
One Too Many Mornings - Live - New York City - November 16, 1993 (Late)
I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight - Live - New York City - November 16, 1993 (Late)
Jim Jones - Live - New York City - November 17, 1993 (Late)
Weeping Willow - Live - New York City - November 17, 1993 (Late)
Ring Them Bells - Live - New York City - November 17, 1993 (Late)
Has Anybody Seen My Love - Live - New York City - November 17, 1993 (Late)
Disease Of Conceit - Live - New York City - November 17, 1993 (Early)
Blood In My Eyes - Live - New York City - November 16, 1993 (Early)
Delia - Live - New York City - November 17, 1993 (Early)
I Want You - Live - New York City - November 16, 1993 (Early)
Queen Jane Approximately - Live - New York City - November 17, 1993 (Early)
Jack-a-Roe - Live - New York City - November 16, 1993 (Late)
Forever Young - Live - New York City - November 16, 1993 (Late)


Bob Dylan’s performance at New York City’s Supper Club in November 1993 has gone down in legend as one of his more notable series of concerts. This is due largely to the very unique setlists, acoustic arrangements, and the circulation of excellent soundboard recordings.

I’ve collected the best of these here, and applied a bit of reverb to sweeten the sound, giving it a less harsh aural environment. The vocals are still mixed to the front, and the rhythm section is still crisp. In particular, dig the bass on “Jim Jones.” Spectacular stuff.

A handful of tracks here have appeared on previous Thousand Highways compilations, but they still represent the finest performances from this four night residency. Including them in one place presents a very pleasant listening experience from beginning to end, and I’d encourage the wine-drinking listeners to pour themselves a glass to accompany this collection.

As a word of warning, this is not the best era for Dylan’s voice, and it can come across a bit shrill. There were also a variety of digital flaws present on the soundboard tapes, which I’ve done my best to eliminate with a minimum of intrusion. I think you’ll be happy with the results, as they are an improvement on my earlier efforts with this material.

Highlights of the set include any of the unique songs - audiences of these four shows were lucky to catch the only live performances of “Ragged & Dirty,” “Blood In My Eyes,” “Jack-a-Roe,” and “Weeping Willow.” The Good As I Been To You and World Gone Wrong songs are noteworthy for being played in acoustic band arrangements, even though they appear as solo performances on their original recordings. The singer’s look back into his older catalog is successful as well, with moving renditions of “Ring Them Bells,” “Has Anybody Seen My Love,” “Disease of Conceit,” “Queen Jane Approximately,” and “Forever Young.” “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” and “I Want You” receive light but spirited readings, and serve to quicken the tempo of the set. In one of the more interesting arrangements, “One Too Many Mornings” includes a banjo!

I hope you enjoy the collection. It’s been requested often, and I think it will live up to expectations.

Next month, we'll move on to 1995! That was an excellent year for Dylan's acoustic and electric performances, as he played to the strengths of both styles. This website previously covered only the Prague Residency from March, 1995, so December will bring a welcome expansion. Until next time, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes.

-CS

Thursday, October 15, 2015

In Minneapolis: Unreleased Live Recordings, 1992




In Minneapolis
Orpheum Residency - 1992

To Be Alone With You - Live - Minneapolis - August 30, 1992
If Not For You - Live - Minneapolis - August 31, 1992
Man In The Long Black Coat - Live - Minneapolis - August 31, 1992
I Believe In You - Live - Minneapolis - September 3, 1992
Under The Red Sky - Live - Minneapolis - September 2, 1992
Little Moses - Live - Minneapolis - August 31, 1992
Gates Of Eden - Live - Minneapolis - August 31, 1992
Visions Of Johanna - Live - Minneapolis - September 3, 1992
Idiot Wind - Live - Minneapolis - August 30, 1992
Every Grain Of Sand - Live - Minneapolis - September 3, 1992
Maggie's Farm - Live - Minneapolis - August 30, 1992
Blowin' In The Wind - Live - Minneapolis - August 30, 1992


Bob Dylan's 1992 tours were numerous and varied in tone and content. While the year started out with more variety in song choice, Dylan honed in on the best songs to perform during the late Summer and Autumn. With this in mind, while songs varied from night to night during his residency at Minneapolis' Orpheum Theater, the overall effect was similar. Choosing tracks for this compilation came down to picking not only the most interesting songs, but the best performances of those songs.

Even so, a fair number of these are indeed one-offs. "If Not For You" was performed for the first time in 1992, and the freshness is evident on this performance. "Man In The Long Black Coat" has evolved significantly since 1989, and you can compare this more richly textured rendition with the version found on the Thousand Highway Collection's 1990 iteration, Town Without Pity. The earlier one is no less interesting, but the arrangement has clearly changed with the expansion of the band.

"Little Moses" was performed frequently throughout the year, and this version is representative of its consistent status as a highlight. The two songs performed with a small acoustic combo, "Gates Of Eden" and "Visions Of Johanna," are true standouts of the collection. I'm not quite as sold on this version of "Visions" as most are, but it's quite pretty nonetheless. It's too bad this arrangement and band configuration was not used more often.

In the second electric set, "Idiot Wind" and "Every Grain Of Sand" constitute a fascinating pairing. From the tempest of the former song, being played this year for the first time since 1976, Dylan and the band segue into the peaceful latter song. Between the two, they represent a vast range of the human experience, and being juxtaposed emphasizes the artist's skill at depicting their complex, conflicted themes without losing a sense of identity. 

"Maggie's Farm" is an interesting variation on its arrangement for the prior couple of years, and presents something of an evolution from its appearance on the 1991 compilation Undesirables. "Blowin' In The Wind" concludes the set with something of a calming denouement. The harmonica here is especially beautiful.

As some fun trivia, Bob Dylan and his brother were, for a long time, co-owners of this venue! Additionally, his brother and mother were evidently in attendance at the final night of the residency, September 3. I'm sure they were quite proud of his outstanding performance. Please enjoy the compilation, and I hope it represents these nights well.

Next month, we will finally step into the notable Supper Club shows of 1993. More than a couple of people have requested that I cover these legendary four shows, so I hope my compilation meets their expectations. Until next time, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes.

-CS