Thursday, September 24, 2015

News Post: "Shades of Blue" To Be Discontinued Shortly

Good morning everyone,

Some good news and some bad news...

The good news is that Sony/Columbia are releasing the very exciting Bootleg Series Volume 12: The Cutting Edge on November 6, 2015. This will include three packages of outtakes from 1965 to 1966, including a 2 CD best-of, a 6 CD set of mostly complete takes, and an 18 CD collector's edition containing the entirety of the studio tape from this era. Pretty heady stuff. More details here.

The bad news, at least for you loyal readers/listeners, is that The Thousand Highways Collection will be one item shorter. My Shades of Blue compilation, found here, will be taken down from this website before November 6, 2015. I've been pretty clear in the past that I don't want any overlap between this website and material that can be purchased from Bob Dylan's record company, and am standing by that in this instance. I will maintain the tracklist for those of you who would like to purchase the 6 CDs and compile your own version of my set, but the links will be removed.

For the material not represented on The Bootleg Series Volume 11, I will probably publish a bonus CD in the month of November. This would be the live tracks and/or the hotel tapes. We'll see.

I hope all is well with you kind folks, and I'm looking forward to bringing you more unreleased music in the future.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Shadows & Rust: Unreleased Live Recordings, Summer 2015


Duquesne Whistle - Live - Ljubljana - June 25, 2015
Where Are You - Live - Tubingen - June 21, 2015
Visions Of Johanna - Live - Lorrach - July 16, 2015
Tangled Up In Blue - Live - Cordoba - July 9, 2015
Full Moon & Empty Arms - Live - Lorrach - July 16, 2015
I'll Be Your Baby Tonight - Live - Locarno - July 15, 2015
I'm A Fool To Want You - Live - Cordoba - July 9, 2015
Early Roman Kings - Live - Ljubljana - June 25, 2015
Sad Songs & Waltzes - Live - Mainz - June 20, 2015
'Til I Fell In Love With You - Live - Mainz - June 20, 2015
Lucky Old Sun - Live - San Sebastian - July 11, 2015
Soon After Midnight - Live - Bamberg - June 23, 2015
To Ramona - Live - Tubingen - June 21, 2015
Long & Wasted Years - Live - Ljubljana - June 25, 2015
Autumn Leaves - Live - Bamberg - June 23, 2015
Love Sick  - Live - Cordoba - July 9, 2015
Find yourselves a comfortable seat and get ready to listen to the definitive collection of Bob Dylan's unreleased recordings from his European Tour of Summer 2015. These were expertly taped by a variety of the great fans and generously published online for us all to enjoy.

More concerts than usual are represented in this set, since so many tapes were available in excellent quality. Even the most compromised of these, Cordoba and Tubingen, were marvelous articles. In particular, many have asserted that Cordoba affords the greatest performance of the tour; though the tape is marred by an enthusiastic crowd (all the better in person, to be fair), the performance overwhelms this concern. Tubingen, on the other hand, has an intriguing ambiance provided by heavy rain, which occasionally present a somewhat less distinct picture of the events onstage. Nonetheless, these are minor quibbles indeed once your ears hear the quality of the material presented at these shows.

Bob Dylan continued his strikingly excellent performance quality of the past couple years, marrying it to some new songs and the return of some older songs. Shadows In The Night is very well-represented, accounting for five of the sixteen songs here. Tempest is also prominent, providing four of the tracks. Of the remainder, one is a never-before-performed cover (Willie Nelsons' "Sad Songs & Waltzes") and the rest come from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1990s.

Noteworthy arrangements include a propulsive, jovial piano-driven rendition of "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight," a slick salsa-like performance of "To Ramona," and the jazzy "'Til I Fell In Love With You." I'm not sure the last constitutes a distinct arrangement, but the loose performance speaks of Dylan's recent Sinatra influences - dig the repeated final words.

Stalwarts from past tours include "Duquesne Whistle," with an extended instrumental opener reminiscent of its studio recording, "Tangled Up In Blue," "Early Roman Kings," now with one less guitar and four more maracas, "Soon After Midnight," a slightly re-written "Long & Wasted Years," and the outstanding "Love Sick," moved to a closing spot. 

It's worth noting that this compilation presents a vision of the songs that is not especially rooted in the order they were played in concert. "Duquesne Whistle" functions as an ideal opener, but it was consistently played midway through the first set. No concert featured nearly this many songs from Shadows In The Night, and most shows featured more uptempto songs. For this collection, I wanted to focus primarily on the more jazz-like elements of the show. This presents a more cohesive set, but the purist will undoubtedly want to seek out a few of the complete concerts. I recommend Mainz, Bamberg, Cordoba and Lorrach for the best representation. The set changed significantly over that period as well, moving from a set heavily dependent on Tempest to one that featured more old classics like "All Along The Watchtower," "Desolation Row" and "Blind Willie McTell."

I hope you enjoy the compilation!

This release should get you European listeners ready for Bob Dylan's upcoming 2015 Fall Tour; for all the rest of us, it'll have to tide us over until the man and his band return to our own concert halls.

Next month will feature 1992's live recordings. These will be an interesting comparison to the 2015 performances, since the Fall Tour of 1992 also presented a remarkably jazz-like aesthetic. Until then, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes.


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.