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Monday, August 26, 2013

The Valley Below: Unreleased Live Recordings, 1975 - 1976



The Valley Below: Live 1975 - 1976

 If You See Her, Say Hello (April 18, 1976)
Abandoned Love (July 3, 1975)
One More Cup Of Coffee (April 22, 1976)
Spanish Is The Loving Tongue (May 11, 1976)
Deportees (May 16, 1976)
Dink's Song (April 25, 1976)
Railroad Boy (May 16, 1976)
Wild Mountain Thyme (April 18, 1976)

Isis (May 16, 1976)
Hurricane (September 10, 1975)
Never Let Me Go (October 31, 1975)
Seven Days (April 22, 1976)
Rita Mae (May 3, 1976)
Simple Twist Of Fate (September 10, 1975)
You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (May 16, 1976)
Oh Sister (September 10, 1975)
Tangled Up In Blue (May 23, 1976)

Lossless Links:

MP3 Link:

These come primarily from the Rolling Thunder Revue, though "Abandoned Love", "Hurricane", "Simple Twist of Fate" and "Oh Sister" narrowly pre-date it. All original songs were composed in the same mileu, a tempestuous maelstrom of creativity that the singer experienced from 1974 to 1976. The traditional songs and covers, too, reflect this theme. Many songs were reinvented on the Rolling Thunder Revue, but those songs are products of that era rather than rearrangements of earlier material; you can find them in quantity on other live collections. This compilation is concerned exclusively with contemporary songs.

"If You See Her, Say Hello" appears with dramatically re-written lyrics, and serves as an introduction to the pained ballads of this CD. "Abandoned Love" is similar to the recorded take that was published on Biograph, but the intimacy of the club performance is startling. The audience laughter during the phrase “I love you but you're strange” offer some levity to this otherwise grim meditation on a broken relationship. "One More Cup Of Coffee (The Valley Below)" is a duet of singer and violin, and is the only recorded performance of this song without a band. "Spanish is the Loving Tongue" is easily one of the most agonizing vocals committed to the stage by this performer, as he breathes out this passionate but doomed romance. "Deportees", "Dink's Song", "Railroad Boy", and "Wild Mountain Thyme" are all duets with Joan Baez, and rarely have the two complemented each other so well. In particular, "Dink's Song" is as excellent a rendition as it is poorly recorded, though the beauty shines no less brightly. "Wild Mountain Thyme" offers a surprising contrast to its 1969 guise.

And then we are on to the electric side of the set. "Isis" leaps and bounds off the tape, as the band revs up on a take rather different from the previous year. "Hurricane" is a masterfully restrained trio performance. "Never Let Me Go" is longer and more passionate than the recording released as a Renaldo and Clara promo. This version of "Seven Days", used to copyright the song, moves a more relaxed, reggae-like pace than the version that appears on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3. "Rita Mae" is another surprise, as it is the only live rendition of the song. On "Simple Twist of Fate", Bob Dylan's harmonica and Scarlet Rivera's violin weave around each other in a not-entirely-successful duet, but the mood is just right. "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" is a very jaunty take on the Blood on the Tracks classic. It marries the country twang of the original with a start-stop arrangement typical of the Rolling Thunder Revue. Dylan's cryptic introduction to "Oh Sister" kicks off my favorite performance of this song, and the smaller ensemble befits the conversational tone this song deserves. Finally, we end with the famous off-the-rails 1976 electric "Tangled Up In Blue". This performance is legendary, and it's only a pity I was not able to do more to improve the quality of the tape. Still, it stands as a testament to the wild feeling of the Rolling Thunder era, and a fitting conclusion to this set.

All tracks are WAV quality as well, and artwork is included.

If you do find these a pleasant listening experience, I would encourage you to purchase The Bootleg Series Volume 5: Live 1975 and Hard Rain, which together act as the official document of this period in Bob Dylan's career. Both are excellent, with the former containing a truly heartfelt performance of one of my favorite songs, "Mr. Tambourine Man," and the latter including definitive renditions of "Idiot Wind," "Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again," and "Shelter From The Storm." Biograph may also be of interest, as it contains what many consider to be the best live recordings of "Romance In Durango" and "Isis."

The Valley Below contains unreleased live performances of songs which originally appear on the following official releases:


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

Next week we will continue with live field recordings from the 1978 world tour, showcasing dramatic reinventions of classic songs alongside material from the contemporary Street Legal record. Until then, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes!

11 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing and for the care you put into this.

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  2. I've been reeling from a horrible breakup recently. I can't tell you how happy this blog has made me today. I am so thankful I found it. The mixing is brilliant, and the tunes are healing. I was listening to 'Basement Noise', and came across 'Nothing Was Delivered'. It was like listening to it for the fist time! The quality is phenomenal; they gave me chills.

    I'm going to finish some errands, and then spend this lazy Sunday perusing these compilations, accompanied by a bottle of red.

    Thanks again! :-)

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    1. You know, that's really great to hear that this is reaching out and meaningfully helping someone else in a tough time. It's great music, so I shouldn't be surprised! Glad I could help pass it along to you :)

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  3. Replies
    1. Hm, it seems that the MP3 link was erroneously flagged by Mediafire, which has happened to me from time to time; I suspect it has to do with run-times or metadata giving a false indication of some malfeasance, since the WAV files were not flagged.

      In any case, I've re-upped the MP3 file on Sendspace. If anyone reading this knows why the links should be removed, or believes this to contain officially released material, please notify me and I will be happy to remove it.

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  4. Hi CWS. Dont know if you've seen or heard the comp I did of '76 RTR?

    Check it out here - let me know what you think. Happy for you to link to it on your blog if you feel it would merit attention.

    http://www.theneverendingpool.org/component/option,com_fireboard/Itemid,22/func,view/id,94213/catid,6/

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    1. Hey, I'm downloading this now. Looks great! Hopefully I'll be able to give it a listen this week. Thanks for the link. Funny enough, despite my fairly significant involvement in Expecting Rain with regard to creating these compilations since 2010, and downloading tracks since about 2006, I had never visited the Neverending Pool website until you linked me to it today.

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  5. love Rolling Thunder...thanks for sharing these selections...

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