Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Rites Of Spring - Unreleased Live Recordings, 1966

Rites of Spring - World Tour - 1966
Disc One

She Belongs To Me - Live - Sheffield - May 16, 1966
Fourth Time Around - Live - London - May 27, 1966
Monologue On ‘Drug Songs’ - Live - London - May 27, 1966
Visions Of Johanna - Live - Melbourne - April 20, 1966
It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue - Live - Melbourne - April 20, 1966
Desolation Row - Live - London - May 27, 1966
Just Like A Woman - Live - Sheffield - May 16, 1966
Mr. Tambourine Man - Live - Sheffield - May 16, 1966

Rites of Spring - World Tour - 1966
Disc Two

Tell Me Mama - Live - Liverpool - May 14, 1966
I Don’t Believe You - Live - Liverpool - May 14, 1966
Baby, Let Me Follow You Down - Live - Liverpool - May 14, 1966
Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat - Live - Sheffield - May 16, 1966
Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues - Live - Melbourne - April 20, 1966
One Too Many Mornings - Live - Sheffield - May 16, 1966
Ballad Of A Thin Man - Live - Birmingham - May 12, 1966
Like A Rolling Stone - Live - London - May 26, 1966

Links Removed - See Below For Details

Bob Dylan’s 1966 concerts are considered by many critics to be among the finest achievements of twentieth century rock music. With these recordings, you have the opportunity to judge for yourself.

Though the most notable concert, performed in Manchester, was released to great acclaim in the 1990s, and a few other incredible performances were released over the years, like “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” from Liverpool on Masterpieces and “I Don’t Believe You” from Belfast on Biograph, many other recordings have circulated among collectors over the past half-century. The acoustic sets are, overall, better represented. Many of the electric sets suffer from extreme distortion or truncated run-times. Still, one is able to piece together a ‘full show’ from circulating unreleased recordings. Concerning lineage, the recordings that make up this compilation are drawn entirely from the unparallelled “Genuine Live 1966” box set.

The concert setlists remained static from the start of the tour to its conclusion, excepting some early performances of “To Ramona” and “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” in the United States and “Positively 4th Street” in Sydney (found on The Thousand Highways Collection - Shades of Blue). No good recordings of the American shows are extant as of early 2015.

One of the most interesting aspects of the songs above are the between-song commentary. “Visions of Johanna” is introduced as ‘not a drug song,’ and its author asserts his disdain for British music journalism. “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” is explained as a tale of Tom Thumb, a 125-year-old Mexican painter. Dylan reminds his audience ahead of “One Too Many Mornings” that he, too, was just a baby once. Finally, he gives his only band introductions of the tour before the final, caustic “Like A Rolling Stone,” assuring the audience sarcastically that he and The Hawks have enjoyed every minute of playing for them.

This is a deeply confrontational series of songs. Though the acoustic songs manage to express a kind of delicate beauty rarely found outside of classical music, the electric songs hurl every ounce of raw sound at the audience. At times, the quality suffers, as “I Don’t Believe You” gets a bit distorted and “Like A Rolling Stone” threatens to fall apart throughout its ten minutes, but you just can’t turn away. It’s really fascinating, and sounds no less alive and moving than the day it was recorded. In particular, “Just Like A Woman” is utterly heartbreaking, “Mr. Tambourine Man” is spellbinding, and “Ballad Of A Thin Man” is a truly definitive performance.

I hope you enjoy the songs. If you haven’t purchased it yet, do yourself a favor and obtain the official Bootleg Series release documenting this tour - its sound quality is quite remarkable, and puts this compilation to shame. If you really find yourself wanting more, look into the recently released Side Tracks album for a few more top-notch performances.

Thanks for listening! In May, we will move on to the wild, unknown country of Bob Dylan's 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue tour. Until then, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes.

Update, November 14, 2016: Note that the links have been removed from this collection, since Columbia just released the entire year of concert recordings in extraordinarily great sound quality. You can buy that here. I haven't picked up a copy yet, but I'm looking forward to taking the dive at some point!


  1. Downloading now! Love the photo you found for Disc 2. Not seen that before.
    Thank you!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I have always downloaded from here free and now its saying I have to register and pay when I try to download am I doing something wrong?

    1. Whoa, that should certainly not be the case! I'm not sure I could check very effectively, since I have a Mediafire account, but can anyone else confirm that a paywall exists? It would be a shame to switch from Mediafire, since they seem to offer the fastest downloads, but this music is meant to be free, darn it!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. I have my problem fixed it was something on my end .I cant wait until May for the Rolling Thunder Revue.Thanks for all this awesome music

  3. thanks for bringing it back. one of the best websites around

  4. Utterley fabulous and many thanks for sharing your diamonds. My copy of 66 live was destroyed so this is nice to here again

  5. First thing I Love your website It's firmly enconsed in my favourites folder. For some reason I missed this post and was wondering if there's a chance of a repost. I know it's been released in great quality and I have it but the completist in me would love this as well. Pretty Please.

    1. Thanks for the kind words. I'm afraid this will not be reposted, as all content on it has now been officially released. I would encourage you to use the officially released recordings to generate a playlist featuring the same performances above. Alternately, I will have a (much better) playlist being published in the near future that takes into account the much larger selection of recordings now-available.

  6. OK no problem. Looking forward to your future releases.