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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Still Dreaming: Unreleased Acoustic Recordings, 1975



Tangled Up In Blue - Live - Toronto - December 2, 1975
With God On Our Side - Live - Providence - November 4, 1975 (Early)
I Don’t Believe You - Live - Bangor - November 27, 1975
Simple Twist Of Fate - Live - New York City - December 8, 1975
Mr. Tambourine Man - Live - Toronto - December 2, 1975
Fourth Time Around - Live - Augusta - November 26, 1975
Love Minus Zero/No Limit - Live - Toronto - December 1, 1975
It’s Alright Ma - Live - Providence - November 4, 1975 (Late)
It's All Over Now, Baby Blue - Live - Toronto - December 1, 1975


I told you there would be a bonus in May, and here it is!

This set of recordings is fairly interesting, if a bit short. Bob Dylan performed at least one acoustic song per night on his 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue tour, and as many as three. This was a brief interlude of sorts between another performer’s act and his second electric set, but was met with significant warmth by the audiences. Just listen to the start of Mr. Tambourine Man, included in this collection, for evidence of the crowd’s appreciation.

Unfortunately, unlike the surprisingly varied selection of acoustic songs in the following year, only nine separate songs are known to have been performed in 1975. One version of each is included here. Generally, sound quality is not as great as the electric sets. I find this a bit shocking, since typically the reverse is true (refer to the 1966 tapes for comparison). In some cases, the entire tape is problematic, like Augusta, but in others, the acoustic songs are inexplicably less distinct than electric tracks from the same night; December 2 is a characteristic example. I altered harmonica levels, re-EQ’d tracks, added some reverb and performed some very minor noise reduction to eliminate some distortion on the November 27 and December 1 & 2 recordings. On the performance from November 4 (Early), a splice was necessary to eliminate feedback.

Happily, some tracks here are crystal clear. “With God On Our Side,” “Simple Twist of Fate,” and “It’s Alright Ma” are beautiful recordings, and little work has been done to them. I worked on the remainder of the tracks to make them a bit clearer. You can compare the edits and the originals to judge for yourself, but I am reasonably proud of the results. There is no way to make these sound as excellent as Columbia’s Bootleg Series Volume 5, but they make an interesting addition to that official release. Much like the electric sets, Dylan’s performance of the acoustic tracks could vary radically from night to night. The songs overall maintain something of a dreamlike character, which inspired the title of the collection.

In short, this compilation should serve as a convenient way to assemble the acoustic performances of the year in one place. It also acts as a nice extension of the full Thousand Highways Rolling Thunder exhibition, Unknown Country. If you haven’t sought that one out, do so as soon as possible. Similarly, Columbia has released several incredible documents from the 1975 tour, including The Bootleg Series Volume 5, The Renaldo & Clara EP, and Biograph/Side Tracks. If you enjoy the tracks here, you’ll love those official releases all the more.

Until next time, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes.

-CS

7 comments:

  1. As ever many thanks for this latest great effort. Best wishes from Merseyside

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  2. This is awesome thank yo so much

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  3. Thank you so much! Your work is incredibly appreciated, and I look forward to the 1976 set in a couple of weeks.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Just come across your blog and thoroughly enjoying working my way through the collections. I've been collecting Dylan material since the days when we traded cassettes but rarely listen to Dylan's live concerts any more because so many are poor or inconstant, either in performance or recording terms. However, your compilations have reminded me of how great a performer he can be. There is a lot here which has rekindled my interest in the live performances and many gems I haven't come across before.
    Thanks for all the work you're putting into these collections.

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