Monday, August 19, 2013

Dreams Of Iron & Steel: Live Recordings, 1974

Dreams Of Iron & Steel: 1974 Tour Collection

Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues - February 11th, 1974 (Evening)
As I Went Out One Morning - January 10th, 1974
Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat - January 4th, 1974
Tough Mama - January 4th, 1974
I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met) - January 14th, 1974 (Afternoon)

She Belongs To Me - February 14th, 1974 (Afternoon)
Song To Woody - January 6th, 1974 (Evening)
To Ramona - January 6th, 1974 (Afternoon)
Nobody 'Cept You - January 6th, 1974 (Afternoon)
Visions Of Johanna - February 6th, 1974 (Afternoon)
Gates Of Eden - January 11th, 1974
Wedding Song - January 15th, 1974
The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll - January 4th, 1974

Mr. Tambourine Man - February 14th, 1974 (Evening)
Something There Is About You - January 25th, 1974
The Ballad Of Hollis Brown - February 14th, 1974 (Evening)
Forever Young - February 14th, 1974 (Evening)
Maggie's Farm - February 14th, 1974 (Evening)

Lossless Links:

MP3 Link:

And so this series of compilations begins its foray into live Bob Dylan performances. These are always notable, as the songs differ radically from their original studio incarnations. I would make the case that this may be the most interesting aspect of Dylan as a performing artist: the willingness to play a song the way it should sound on the day of performance, rather than trying to recreate an earlier success. Letting the past be the past, and allowing the song to grow with the artist.

The download links do not directly correspond to the three sets listed above. The sets are electric, acoustic, and electric, mimicking the format of the 1974 tour. There are a number of rare, notable tracks here, including the celebrated "As I Went Out One Morning", an electric accordion-accompanied "Mr. Tambourine Man", and Planet Waves songs rarely played outside of this era ("Tough Mama" excluded). Many of the songs are reprises of those played on the '66 tour in radically reinvented guises. The shouting that is typically associated with this tour is less ubiquitous here than it would become by the time of the sons recorded for the official release, Before The Flood. "To Ramona", in particular, receives the most beautiful rendering of the song I've heard. As with so many of Dylan's best recordings, the vocal cuts to the heart of what the lyrics are trying to put across, giving the song truth by performance.

A couple of runner-up tunes included "4th Time Around", a very rare (but also strangely un-engaging) "Desolation Row", and "Hero Blues". "4th Time Around" had very poor sound, while "Desolation Row" felt far too long, and was replaced with a committed "Visions of Johanna". "Hero Blues" exists in either a high-quality fragment or a low-quality full performance, and dragged down the surrounding songs. The set, instead, opens with a positively jaunty "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues", which was omitted from Before the Flood. The bizarre organ diversions that begin halfway through the song really set the tone for the explorations that follow.

One noticeable aspect of this set is that the songs flow into one another to create the illusion of a single concert. I understand that this might not be universally popular, but when listening to the set as a whole it provides a far more satisfying listen. The transitions are not jarring, as they have been smoothed, and many of the rarer songs are available on the Phantoms of My Youth collection with fades-in and out for those that prefer that style.

I truly hope that you will enjoy this collection, and find the performances contained herein as captivating as I have. This really provides an alternate perspective on the frequently panned '74 tour. There was magic in the air, and it was captured on these tapes. Give it a listen!

If you enjoy these performances, I recommend the much better recorded official release of this tour, Before The Flood. The songs on my set were selected to have no crossover with those on the official document, so you have many more songs to explore if you buy that record.

This live CD contains unreleased performances of songs which originally appear on the following official releases:

Note that all links here are to, but these recordings are available at Amazon, iTunes, and possibly your local music store (if it still exists).

Next week, we will continue live 1970s recordings. The next set will focus on the Rolling Thunder era, with performances as intense as any throughout Dylan's career. Until then, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes!


  1. Sorry to bother you, I have a problem with the 2nd file: as soon as the download starts it stops with about 260 kb downloaded

  2. the Flood´s missing third disc no doubt...thank you...

  3. Thank you so much for this- I stumbled in here and found this. This is my favorite Dylan period!! Much obliged!!!