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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Pool Of Tears: Unreleased Live Recordings, 2006 - 2009


Pool of Tears: Unreleased Live Recordings, 2006 - 2009

Cat's In The Well - November 2, 2006
Friend Of The Devil - July 19, 2007
The Levee's Gonna Break - November 18, 2006
Moonlight - June 22, 2007
Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again - November 18, 2009
Mr. Tambourine Man - April 8, 2006
Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking - November 15, 2009
Every Grain Of Sand - November 12, 2006
Love Minus Zero/No Limit - June 7, 2008
Billy - March 22, 2009
'Til I Fell In Love With You - November 12, 2006
It's All Good - October 31, 2009
Nettie Moore - November 18, 2006

Bonus Tracks
Senor - November 12, 2006
Handy Dandy - June 27, 2008
Million Miles - October 27, 2008
I Believe In You - November 16, 2008
Like A Rolling Stone - November 19, 2008
Tangled Up In Blue - July 5, 2009
Po' Boy - July 5, 2009


Friends,

This set includes the absolute best of Bob Dylan's years playing the electric organ. Though this instrument extended out to 2012, it was the centerpiece from 2006 to 2009, and the most interesting organ arrangements were delivered during this time.

This period is not a favorite one among most fans. There was said to be a sameness to the arrangements that did not allow the sets to reach the same dynamism of 2004 or 2013. The organ's use came to an end with the introduction of the piano, and it was discontinued entirely after the final tour of 2012.

Before that time, however, there were gems to be found. In particular, this performance of "Friend Of The Devil" stands superior to the earlier renditions in the 1995-2002 era, at least to my ears. Similarly, check out this unique hard-driving arrangement of "The Levee's Gonna Break," reliant largely on the powerful train-like blare of the organ; despite this being the debut performance, the song would revert to an arrangement more reminiscent of the album version in subsequent years. "Mr. Tambourine Man" here, while not as inventive as the recordings from 1981 or 1995, succeeds in making the song truly uplifting. This performance of "Every Grain Of Sand" was the first time that I really enjoyed the song, and once that occurred I've found virtually all versions of it great; there's something of the preacher in this performance, however, and it still stands out as my favorite.

Though many of Dylan's blues songs were played to great effect in this era, the best can be found here: "Cat's In The Well," an end-times jump blues with delightful interplay between the violin and guitar, the fiery "Change My Way Of Thinking," the best "'Til I Fell In Love With You" put to tape, and an absolutely gleeful "It's All Good," with Dylan displaying the love of language that we all enjoy in his finest singing.

And finally, the set closes with a jaw-dropping, definitive recording of "Nettie Moore." The heart breaks with each line, especially with the violin pushed to the fore. You don't want to miss this song.

The bonus tracks have some highlights as well, in particular the only live performance to date of "Handy Dandy" and a truly unique arrangement of "Tangled Up In Blue."

In short, this will not be likely to change your mind if you hated the organ years, but feel free to give it a try. You might find something great that you missed back in the midst of it. Many, like myself, started listening to Bob Dylan during this time - these recordings will always hold a special place as the ones that got me into this music.

Original studio recordings of the songs on this compilation can be found on the following releases, and purchased from bobdylan.com:

Bringing It All Back Home
Blonde On Blonde
Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid
Slow Train Coming
Shot Of Love
Under The Red Sky
Time Out Of Mind
"Love & Theft"
Modern Times
Together Through Life

Next week we will give a listen to a similar compilation of performances during Dylan's years of "center stage" singing, 2008 to 2013. That one is a real gem, and I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Until then, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes.

7 comments:

  1. Wow these are truly a labour of love! I am unsure of the 'organ years' so can't wait to study this compilation. Some of the performances seem so throwaway almost amateurish but this and your detailed notes have made me what to check it out and hopefully find I have been mistaken.
    Once more power to all you do and know you have a fan out here!

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    1. I will be the first to admit that neither this CD nor last week's Brixton Residency release are among my favorites, but both are quite listenable - next week's is top notch, on the other hand. It's good to know that so many people enjoy these weekly posts!

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  3. I wasn't very interested by late 00s Dylan but your compilation is exquisite !

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    1. Thanks! It's funny - I haven't listened to this one in a while, but I just loaded it onto my Amazon Cloud this morning so I can listen to it this afternoon. I was pretty proud of it, and the sound quality was top-notch, if memory serves. It's a pretty good rule that there are excellent performances even in Bob Dylan's less impressive touring years - I'm glad to comb through and pull those classics out for preservation!

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