Monday, September 16, 2013

Every Grain Of Sand: Unreleased Recordings, 1980 - 1981

Every Grain Of Sand: Unreleased Recordings, 1980 - 1981

Wind Blowing On The Water - Outtake, 1981
Mystery Train - Outtake, 1981
Caribbean Wind - Outtake, 1980
Heart Of Mine - Outtake, 1981
Shot Of Love - Outtake, 1981
Lenny Bruce - Live at Avignon, 7/25/81
Jesus Is The One - Live at Avignon, 7/25/81
Watered-Down Love - Rough Mix, 1981
Let It Be Me - Outtake, 1981
Is It Worth It? - Outtake, 1981
Let's Begin - Live at Earl's Court, 6/29/81
Dead Man, Dead Man - Rough Mix, 1981
Magic - Outtake, 1981
Hallelujah - Outtake, 1981
Let's Keep It Between Us - Outtake, 1980
Yonder Comes Sin - Outtake, 1980
In The Summertime - Rough Mix, 1981
The Groom's Still Waiting - Rough Mix, 1981
Borrowed Time - Outtake, 1981

Note: Download links removed due to the release of Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series 13: Trouble No More. A revised set of unreleased gospel era content will be published in the future. 

Welcome to a lovely and oft-overlooked corner of Bob Dylan's recording career - the sessions and concerts surrounding the release of Shot of Love. Shot of Love is a remarkably good record, whatever else you've heard, and was Dylan's last to sound like a bunch of people playing in the same room until Love & Theft in 2001. There was no sleek shine to this production, and consequently it breathed with the passion found in much of the man's best work. Unfortunately, many of the finest recordings from these sessions were not released on that album. In particular, "Yonder Comes Sin" and "Caribbean Wind" are absolutely essential, and "Heart of Mine" was recorded in a much better rendition than the one that appears on the official release.

Outside of these classics, more minor gems were recorded. No collection of Dylan outtakes would be complete without this cover of "Mystery Train," or this live performance of "Lenny Bruce" from the '81 tour. The fragmentary songs, including "Hallelujah" (not the Leonard Cohen song) and "Borrowed Time" make one wonder what could have been; "Is It Worth It" points to the reggae-influenced road ahead to Infidels, and contributes to the overall Caribbean sound of this era.

The other studio cuts are intriguing as well. "Let's Keep It Between Us" is a fairly recently unearthed prototype for a song that would become transcendant on the road in Fall, 1980. The rough mixes of "Dead Man, Dead Man," "Watered-Down Love," "In The Summertime," and "The Groom's Still Waiting At The Altar" are all interesting, but "Watered-Down Love" stands above the others, retaining an extra verse not present on the official release. "In The Summertime," too, stands out for the inclusion of a mournful harmonica that has been truncated on the Shot of Love LP.

The listener familiar with Dylan's unreleased output may wonder why more of the fiery performances from 1980 and 1981 are not present here. In fact, it is because the next two volumes of this series will be dedicated exclusively to those tours; I've saved the best live material for those releases. This should act as a primer though, since you will be able to hear "Caribbean Wind" and "Let's Keep It Between Us" develop into artistic triumphs on the 1980 tour, and "In The Summertime" and "Watered-Down Love" become centerpieces of Dylan's 1981 performances. It is always fascinating to watch the progression from studio recordings to on-stage renditions, after all.

I hope you enjoy this newest compilation, and include it in your collections alongside the inimitable Shot of Love. It was a blast to put together.

If you like the songs here, I would encourage you to buy the official release, Shot of Love. You can also find many of the best outtakes from these sessions on The Bootleg Series, Volume 1-3; these include the extraordinary "You Changed My Life" and "Angelina." There's even an acoustic demo of "Every Grain Of Sand" with a dog barking in the room! To get the full picture, you will also want to purchase Biograph, as this contains a 1981 reworking of "Caribbean Wind" that is radically different from the 1980 recording on Every Grain of Sand: Unreleased Recordings, 1980-1981. Note that these links are to, but these recordings are available at Amazon, iTunes, and possibly your local music store (if it still exists).

Next week we will move back onto the stage with live performances from Dylan's "Musical Retrospective" tour of Fall, 1980. These include live recordings of several of the songs found above, along with special guest appearances, rare covers, and old classics born anew. Until then, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes!



  1. Part 2 of the lossless not cooperating.

    1. Thanks for letting me know. I downloaded it and extracted it with no trouble on my end, so it may be a technical issue at your PC. If anyone else is experiencing difficulty with this link, please chime in.

    2. These are terrific. Thanks for sharing.

  2. This stuff is fantastic; thanks for sharing.

    I have a question: Is the rough mix of "Groom's Still Waiting at the Altar" the same performance as the commercially released version? I ask because it somehow sounds like it is, yet it's slower. Is that possible? I can't tell if my mind is playing tricks on me.

    1. It may be a different take, but I'm almost 100% certain it's a very different mix of the take on Shot Of Love. I suspect it's the studio performance prior to overdubs, since much of that record was recorded live with the band. It's possible they slightly sped it up at the mixing stage, but who knows?

    2. You are correct

  3. Add me to the growing list of fans of your website. You've got me looking forward to Monday evenings; coming home from work and relaxing with a set of Dylan's music that I'm not familiar with. The effort you put into this is greatly appreciated!

  4. Hi - I have a question about "Yonder Comes Sin", one of my favorite songs from this bunch - via Expecting Rain, last week I downloaded a "Bootleg Series vol. 0" one of the members had put together a few years ago. It included "Yonder Comes Sin", in what appears to be the same performance, but a full minute longer. The extra minute is at the beginning, so there's several additional lyrics.

    I'm not sure what I'm asking, or if just bringing to your attention if you didn't know about it... maybe your sources are somewhat different (I'm extremely new to this outtakes business, haha).

    1. Richard, thanks for noting that - I really should have included a note in the CD. The version of Yonder Comes Sin on my compilation is sourced the same as that on Bootleg Series Volume 0 (one of my favorite Dylan bootlegs, in fact). It bugged me that the circulating take cuts in partially into a verse, and I though it much more pleasant to sound like a complete artifact. I also altered the equalization a little bit to give it some more punch. While I was happy with the result, it would be best for people to know that there is a longer version circulating, though sadly the complete song has not yet become available to listeners. Maybe a future official Bootleg Series release? One can hope.

    2. Ah, that makes sense. Thanks!

      And, yeah, I would love future Bootleg Series on the live and outtake stuff from 1979-1989... as much as I can agree that the 60s represents Dylan's greatest work, I'm not really interested in that period, at least insofar as remaining extras, etc.

  5. rummaging around in my hard disk, I came across an old file of yours that Id download from ER a while ago ... City Of Gold ... is this Every Grain... an updated version of that one ? There is some overlap ... or ?

    1. Well done! I will give some history on this:

      "City Of Gold" was my initial foray into making these compilations, which resulted from reading Clinton Heylin's "Still On The Road - Volume Two." I noted the large number of "Shot of Love" recordings that were available in disparate places, and intended to arrange them into a compelling single disc. That worked out, but I ended up using low bitrate recordings and having the tracks remastered by an acquaintance, resulting in a largely 'brickwalled' CD; don't get me wrong, I appreciated the work but it wasn't for me. After a time, I went back and re-created the CD from lossless sources with a greater focus on some of the live recordings from 1980 - 1981 added. Even more recently, I created the "Still The Same Man" sets, making much of "City Of Gold" redundant. As a result, when it came time to post on A Thousand Highways, I thought a retooled one would be best. Since the title track had been removed and added to "Still The Same Man - Volume One," it was re-titled. You are now the owner of a digital antique, haha.

      A similar thing happened with the old "Long Hard Climb" being gradually replaced with "Basement Noise," "Pastures of Plenty," and "Outside The Law."

  6. aha ! I see ... you bootlegged your bootleg! ... Thanks for explaining it all ... its one of my favourite eras for Dylan's songwriting, so I will be happy to keep my antique alongside the newer editions. Great work !

  7. Hi,
    Thank you for providing us with so many Dylan unreleased songs !
    Any chance you could send me or post Magic but without the fade out that you've added ?

  8. Brilliant stuff - thank you.

  9. This is an excellent collection. Great job! Thanks muchly

  10. cool cant find the dl...can you email the link

  11. A version of these were just released officislly so link was taken down