Monday, September 30, 2013

Still The Same Man - Volume Two: Unreleased Live Recordings, 1981

Still The Same Man - Volume Two
World Tour, 1981

Gotta Serve Somebody - June 29
Girl Of The North Country - June 27
Like A Rolling Stone - June 28
I Want You - November 10
Man Gave Names To All The Animals - November 12
Maggie's Farm - June 29
Solid Rock - November 12
Watered-Down Love - November 10
In The Summertime - July 25
Shot Of Love - July 25
Simple Twist Of Fate - November 10
Barbara Allen - July 4
Mr. Tambourine Man - July 9
When You Gonna Wake Up - June 29
Thief On The Cross - November 10
Dead Man, Dead Man - July 4
A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall - November 12

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.

It’s a great thing that Bob Dylan’s 1981 European and American tours were so well documented, because they just sound so great. The band was on fire, the vocals were among the consistent of his career, and the selection of songs is fabulous. When else could you have heard songs from the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s all played like they’d just been written?

Every song here has a unique arrangement, similar to the technique of 1978. “Gotta Serve Somebody” has cascading drums, “Girl of the North Country” has a delicate piano accompaniment (which reminds this listener of Dylan’s trio performances in 1987 performances), “Like A Rolling Stone” has a Caribbean feel, and the list goes on. “Man Gave Names To All The Animals” and “Solid Rock” are especially improved by the laid-back readings they get here, while the building crescendo of “Mr. Tambourine Man” would not be repeated again. You’ve also got the only recording of “Thief On The Cross” known to exist, along with an intriguing introduction to “Dead Man, Dead Man,” a song always better on tour than in the studio.

Editing has been minimal, though the beginning of “Gotta Serve Somebody” is spliced to remove some distracting feedback, and most of the songs from Houston and New Orleans have had audience noise added to the beginning and ends, since the tapes include some fairly abrupt transitions. It is worth noting that all tracks here are sourced lossless, with the possible exception of Houston (11-12); the best quality recording of that show, as far as I know, is said to be derived from a lossy original source, but you couldn’t tell by hearing it!

Though the collector will undoubtedly want the best shows of this tour in his or her possession, as they represent quite a variety of performance and song selection, I believe that this compilation represents the finest songs and sources available as of Fall, 2013. Hopefully you will agree!

If you like these songs, I would encourage you to check out the official releases from this period. Though there remains no significant documentation of Dylan's 1981 tour, you can find an exquisite "Heart Of Mine" from the New Orleans show (November 10) on Biograph. In addition, a performance of "Dead Man, Dead Man" from the same night is available for purchase somewhere, though I could not find it for this blog post. It was remixed by Daniel Lanois at the time of Oh Mercy's release in 1989.

This compilation includes unreleased live recordings of songs which were originally recorded for the following studio records:

And now, a very important announcement: this will be the last entry until November 4, 2013. I am getting married in October, and will be away from the blog until the end of the month. This will be the perfect opportunity for you to catch up on some of the older posts! When I return, we will continue moving on into the 1980s, beginning with an exploration of the unreleased songs from Infidels. Until then, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes.



  1. Congratulations! It is of course a little worrying that your soon-to-be spouse is not holding your nose to this particular grindstone, and I do hope that s/he is sympathetic to this hobby, which must be rather time-consuming and is very much appreciated. Meanwhile ... enjoy yourselves!

  2. Congratulations ! An acceptable excuse ;)

  3. May you have a wonderful wedding day and a most memorable honeymoon! You've given us a lot to digest and we shall be patient as we await your return. Thanks again for sharing your collection and curatorial expertise.

  4. thanks from a long time fan of both Dylan and the Band.

  5. congratulations! thanks for this blog!!!! i enjoy your comments very much! and the music of course!

  6. Congratulations! belated but sincere. I wish you both many happy anniversaries.