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Monday, September 2, 2013

The Road Is Long: Unreleased Live Recordings, 1978 World Tour



The Road Is Long: 1978 World Tour
Repossession Blues - February 24
It's All Over Now, Baby Blue - July 6
I Threw It All Away - February 24
We Better Talk This Over - December 10
Tangled Up In Blue - June 7
I Don't Believe You - June 7
True Love Tends To Forget - July 8
Coming From The Heart - October 31
Am I Your Stepchild - December 9
Senor - December 10
If You See Her, Say Hello - February 24
The Man In Me - July 6
One Of Us Must Know - July 7
You're A Big Girl Now - February 24
Do Right To Me, Baby - December 16
Girl From The North Country - December 10
Changing Of The Guards - December 10

Lossless Links:

No MP3 links by request of the tapers

This is a companion to the long and winding road that Bob Dylan took through the year of 1978. Biographical details aside, it was a fascinating year for Dylan's art, as he released a loud, brassy record full of mysticism and imagery while touring the world performing some of the most radical rearrangements of his back catalog. Surely, it's a lot to take in.

Unfortunately, the tapes from this era are inconsistent in quality, due to the technical limitations of the time. The complexity of the arrangements were ill-suited even to the studio process for Street Legal, so it is not surprising that the enterprising bootleggers of 1978 were able to capture the mystery and majesty, but not always the subtlety of these rapturous concerts. Some tapes stand out, however, as the cream of the crop - these are a stronger document than even the contemporary release of Dylan's At Budokan. I'm speaking of tapes like Charlotte, Tokyo, Paris, Columbia, and more. Without these brilliant tapers, who but those in attendance could have heard the passionate "Coming From The Heart" from October 31, or this dramatic "Tangled Up In Blue" from June 7? Please bear in mind that this compilation focuses on the cleanest tapes of '78, so some brilliant performances on muddier recordings have been omitted.

Though the tour has its detractors, and fits somewhat uncomfortably between the fire of the Rolling Thunder Revue and the brimstone of the Gospel Tours, there is brilliance to be found here. I set out to make a companion to At Budokan that would round out the year's best performances of songs not included on that release. This CD has what I would consider to be the definitive "Man In Me" and "Changing of the Guards." Also, "Do Right To Me, Baby" appears here, the first performance of a Gospel-era song. Change was in the air at Dylan's December shows in 1978, and this song points toward the years to come. I wanted to get these and more songs down in one place for the newcomer to Bob Dylan's live bootlegs. Hopefully the veterans will find something of merit here as well.

In any case, this one is coming from the heart, and should be a pleasant listen on the long road ahead, whatever the destination.

Enjoy!

If you like this release, I would strongly encourage you to check out the official release from the Spring portion of the 1978 tour, At Budokan. In addition, the 1978 studio record Street Legal has a strong presence on The Road Is Long. All other tracks here are from older releases, except for "Do Right To Me, Baby," which would be rearranged and recorded in '79 for the Slow Train Coming LP, and the otherwise unreleased "Coming From The Heart."

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 begin our documentation of Dylan's Gospel-Era live performances (1979-1981); these are not to be missed, and many describe the live shows as even more rewarding than the studio records. Until then, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes!

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for all your work on these collections. Like many veterans I have loads and loads of recordings but have long forgotten where the highlights are. Through your collections I'm rediscovering many forgotten gems and finding a few that I've never heard. It is wonderful stuff and I'm looking forward to the volumes to come...

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