Translate

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Caribbean Wind: Unreleased Studio Recordings, 1980 - 1981



Caribbean Wind
Unreleased Studio Recordings
1980 - 1981

Mystery Train - Outtake, 1981
Heart Of Mine - Outtake, 1981
Caribbean Wind - Outtake, 1980
Wind Blowing On The Water - Outtake, 1981
Shot Of Love - Outtake, 1981
Watered-Down Love - Rough Mix, 1981
Hallelujah - Outtake, 1981
Let It Be Me - Outtake, 1981
Is It Worth It? - Outtake, 1981
Let's Keep It Between Us - Outtake, 1980
Magic - Outtake, 1981
Dead Man, Dead Man - Rough Mix, 1981
Ah Ah Ah Ah (High Away) - Outtake, 1981
In The Summertime - Rough Mix, 1981
Borrowed Time - Outtake, 1981

[Link Offline]


Welcome to a lovely and oft-overlooked corner of Bob Dylan's recording career - the sessions that led to 1981's Shot of Love. Shot of Love is a remarkably good record, whatever else you've heard, and was Dylan's last to sound like a bunch of people playing in the same room until Love & Theft in 2001. There was no sleek shine to this production, and consequently it breathed with the passion found in much of the man's best work. Unfortunately, many of the finest recordings from these sessions were not released on that album. In particular, "Yonder Comes Sin" and "Caribbean Wind" are absolutely essential, and "Heart of Mine" was recorded in a much better rendition than the one that appears on the official release.

Outside of these classics, more minor gems were recorded. No collection of Dylan outtakes would be complete without these covers of "Mystery Train" and "Let It Be Me." The fragmentary songs, including "Hallelujah" (not the Leonard Cohen song) and "Borrowed Time" make one wonder what could have been; "Is It Worth It" and "Ah Ah Ah Ah (High Away)" point to the reggae-influenced road ahead to Infidels, and contribute to the overall Caribbean sound of this era.

The other studio cuts are intriguing as well. "Let's Keep It Between Us" is a fairly recently unearthed prototype for a song that would become transcendent on the road in Fall, 1980; you can find a live recording of the song on Rise Again: Live, Fall 1980. The rough mixes of "Dead Man, Dead Man," "Watered-Down Love," and "In The Summertime" are all interesting, but "Watered-Down Love" stands above the others, retaining an extra verse not present on the official release but conspicuous in live performances from 1981. It's likely that, like the longer version of "Dead Man, Dead Man" that appears on 2017's Trouble No More, this extra verse was cut for time constraints on the 1981 Shot of Love LP. "In The Summertime," too, stands out for the inclusion of a mournful harmonica that extends the song by a full minute beyond its officially released version.

A handful of songs have been cut from this updated publication of an earlier Thousand Highways compilation. Of these, "The Groom's Still Waiting At The Altar" was abandoned for its similarity to the officially released studio performance; the only difference was an extended conclusion in which the band eventually stops playing. Live recordings have also been omitted to improve the sense of cohesion. An extended two-disc collection representing the 1981 tours will cover this material.

I hope you enjoy this newest compilation, and include it in your collections alongside the inimitable Shot of Love and extraordinary Trouble No More. It was a blast to put together. Until next time, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes.

-CS

Note: Links have been removed for the moment, as a kindly commenter brought a significant error to my attention - the so-called rough mix of Dead Man, Dead Man included here is actually a live performance of the song from New Orleans. This was included on a rare official CD (Live 1961-2000) and as such cannot be hosted on my website. A new version of Caribbean Wind will be forthcoming.