Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Undesirables: Unreleased Live Recordings, Fall 1991

Fall Tour - 1991

Maggie's Farm - Live - Indianapolis - November 10, 1991
You Don't Know Me - Live - Madison - November 5, 1991
The Man In Me - Live - Ames - November 2, 1991
Across The Borderline - Live - Ames - November 2, 1991
Shelter From The Storm - Live - Indianapolis - November 10, 1991
Trail Of The Buffalo - Live - Madison - November 5, 1991
Roving Gambler - Live - South Bend - November 6, 1991
Mr. Tambourine Man - Live - Dayton - November 9, 1991
One Too Many Mornings - Live - Dayton - November 9, 1991
20/20 Vision - Live - Austin - October 25, 1991
Folsom Prison Blues - Live - Evanston - November 4, 1991
Answer Me, My Love - Live - Evanston - November 4, 1991
New Morning - Live - Madison - November 5, 1991
Friend Of The Devil - Live - Dayton - November 9, 1991
Gotta Serve Somebody - Live - Evanston - November 4, 1991


Bob Dylan's 1991 tours were not well-received at the time, and have not received a critical reappraisal in the years since. Coming on the heels of his outstanding performances of 1989 and 1990, it is understandable that 1991 would suffer by comparison. While the early part of the year's live output was less than ideal, however, the Fall Tour of the United States ended up being one of Dylan's more successful efforts of the early Never-Ending Tour.

The name of this set comes from the unofficial name bestowed upon Bob Dylan's 1991 band by the members themselves after negative audience perception in Europe. Perhaps setting out to alter this opinion, both the singer and the band were firing on all cylinders in October and November.

"Maggie's Farm" received a looser, looping arrangement with a prominent slide-sounding guitar. Covers like "You Don't Know Me," "Across The Borderline," "Answer Me, My Love," "Folsom Prison Blues," "20/20 Vision," and "Friend Of The Devil" lit up the setlist with surprise. More traditional songs, including "Trail Of The Buffalo" and "Roving Gambler," were performed to great success in the acoustic slots.

One significant improvement to the nightly shows were the acoustic combo songs. These were played at the end of the acoustic set, and were foreshadowing for the arrangements Dylan would go on to use throughout the 1990s and 2000s. While the singer had performed with a single guitarist as acoustic accompaniment during the tours from 1988 to 1990, he would increasingly rely on an entire acoustic backing band as the decade would progress. Some would lament losing the experience of seeing Bob Dylan, nearly alone on stage, but the expanded band would open up intriguing possibilities for arranging acoustic songs, as you can hear on this compilation with "Mr. Tambourine Man," "One Too Many Mornings" and "20/20 Vision."

The electric performances were no less interesting, though they generally received less nuanced delivery. Exceptions include "Across The Borderline," in what is perhaps Bob Dylan's most sincere rendering of the song, and "Answer Me, My Love." While the other electric songs are delivered with slightly less care to the phrasing, the overall effect is undiminished. Listen to the exuberance of this rendition of "The Man In Me," the cool menace of "Gotta Serve Somebody," or the jaunty cascading arrangement of "New Morning," which is finally delivered excellently here after less successful outings earlier in the year.

I hope you enjoy the set. This tour featured remarkably good recordings, so the sound should be up to standards. The tapers were, as ever, heroic in their efforts.

Next month will bring us up to 1992, which will include the addition of pedal steel guitar to the touring mix. I am trying to publish a bonus disc this month, so check back in a few weeks to see if I was successful!

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


Note: This month's compilation is broken down into the typical download pieces (Complete, AIFF, MP3, Art/Notes), but I was running behind and it was more expedient to package them all as a single link to the Mediafire folder. You can download them individually once you have clicked the link above. Let me know in the comments if this presents any challenges.

Update 2015/09/02: I forgot to mention above that "20/20 Vision" is slightly edited with a splice near the beginning. An especially boisterous audience member shouted a vulgarity very close to the taper, and I cut this through some careful modification of the tape. I can't imagine anyone would miss it, but if you do, you can seek out an unedited version.


  1. It is always a great pleasure to find a new post here at ATH. After listening to this compilation I feel that the "Undesirables" are very desirable indeed. These are great recordings, thank you very much!

  2. Always great to wake up to a new TH. And this one is another great collection. About to give it a second spin right now. The band was really smoking in these shows. I'm so glad you're taking on the oft-maligned early-'90s period. Looking forward to the bonus and to see where you'll be taking us next. Thanks so much for all you do. Your page is a treasure for Dylan fans.

  3. Hello from Corsica ! Always great Dylan, thank you. And no problem to download it. Have a nice day.

  4. Looks like another intriguing selection from a backwater of the NET. Many thanks1

  5. Great - thank you - Fall 1991 was really good!

  6. More wonderful stuff from a year I had pretty much written off. Thanks once more for a marvellous selection.