Monday, August 26, 2013

The Valley Below: Unreleased Live Recordings, 1975 - 1976

The Valley Below: Live 1975 - 1976

 If You See Her, Say Hello (April 18, 1976)
Abandoned Love (July 3, 1975)
One More Cup Of Coffee (April 22, 1976)
Spanish Is The Loving Tongue (May 11, 1976)
Deportees (May 16, 1976)
Dink's Song (April 25, 1976)
Railroad Boy (May 16, 1976)
Wild Mountain Thyme (April 18, 1976)

Isis (May 16, 1976)
Hurricane (September 10, 1975)
Never Let Me Go (October 31, 1975)
Seven Days (April 22, 1976)
Rita Mae (May 3, 1976)
Simple Twist Of Fate (September 10, 1975)
You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (May 16, 1976)
Oh Sister (September 10, 1975)
Tangled Up In Blue (May 23, 1976)

Lossless Links:

MP3 Link:

These come primarily from the Rolling Thunder Revue, though "Abandoned Love", "Hurricane", "Simple Twist of Fate" and "Oh Sister" narrowly pre-date it. All original songs were composed in the same mileu, a tempestuous maelstrom of creativity that the singer experienced from 1974 to 1976. The traditional songs and covers, too, reflect this theme. Many songs were reinvented on the Rolling Thunder Revue, but those songs are products of that era rather than rearrangements of earlier material; you can find them in quantity on other live collections. This compilation is concerned exclusively with contemporary songs.

"If You See Her, Say Hello" appears with dramatically re-written lyrics, and serves as an introduction to the pained ballads of this CD. "Abandoned Love" is similar to the recorded take that was published on Biograph, but the intimacy of the club performance is startling. The audience laughter during the phrase “I love you but you're strange” offer some levity to this otherwise grim meditation on a broken relationship. "One More Cup Of Coffee (The Valley Below)" is a duet of singer and violin, and is the only recorded performance of this song without a band. "Spanish is the Loving Tongue" is easily one of the most agonizing vocals committed to the stage by this performer, as he breathes out this passionate but doomed romance. "Deportees", "Dink's Song", "Railroad Boy", and "Wild Mountain Thyme" are all duets with Joan Baez, and rarely have the two complemented each other so well. In particular, "Dink's Song" is as excellent a rendition as it is poorly recorded, though the beauty shines no less brightly. "Wild Mountain Thyme" offers a surprising contrast to its 1969 guise.

And then we are on to the electric side of the set. "Isis" leaps and bounds off the tape, as the band revs up on a take rather different from the previous year. "Hurricane" is a masterfully restrained trio performance. "Never Let Me Go" is longer and more passionate than the recording released as a Renaldo and Clara promo. This version of "Seven Days", used to copyright the song, moves a more relaxed, reggae-like pace than the version that appears on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3. "Rita Mae" is another surprise, as it is the only live rendition of the song. On "Simple Twist of Fate", Bob Dylan's harmonica and Scarlet Rivera's violin weave around each other in a not-entirely-successful duet, but the mood is just right. "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" is a very jaunty take on the Blood on the Tracks classic. It marries the country twang of the original with a start-stop arrangement typical of the Rolling Thunder Revue. Dylan's cryptic introduction to "Oh Sister" kicks off my favorite performance of this song, and the smaller ensemble befits the conversational tone this song deserves. Finally, we end with the famous off-the-rails 1976 electric "Tangled Up In Blue". This performance is legendary, and it's only a pity I was not able to do more to improve the quality of the tape. Still, it stands as a testament to the wild feeling of the Rolling Thunder era, and a fitting conclusion to this set.

All tracks are WAV quality as well, and artwork is included.

If you do find these a pleasant listening experience, I would encourage you to purchase The Bootleg Series Volume 5: Live 1975 and Hard Rain, which together act as the official document of this period in Bob Dylan's career. Both are excellent, with the former containing a truly heartfelt performance of one of my favorite songs, "Mr. Tambourine Man," and the latter including definitive renditions of "Idiot Wind," "Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again," and "Shelter From The Storm." Biograph may also be of interest, as it contains what many consider to be the best live recordings of "Romance In Durango" and "Isis."

The Valley Below contains unreleased live performances of songs which originally appear on the following official releases:

Note that all links here are to, but these recordings are available at Amazon, iTunes, and possibly your local music store (if it still exists). 

Next week we will continue with live field recordings from the 1978 world tour, showcasing dramatic reinventions of classic songs alongside material from the contemporary Street Legal record. Until then, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Dreams Of Iron & Steel: Live Recordings, 1974

Dreams Of Iron & Steel: 1974 Tour Collection

Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues - February 11th, 1974 (Evening)
As I Went Out One Morning - January 10th, 1974
Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat - January 4th, 1974
Tough Mama - January 4th, 1974
I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met) - January 14th, 1974 (Afternoon)

She Belongs To Me - February 14th, 1974 (Afternoon)
Song To Woody - January 6th, 1974 (Evening)
To Ramona - January 6th, 1974 (Afternoon)
Nobody 'Cept You - January 6th, 1974 (Afternoon)
Visions Of Johanna - February 6th, 1974 (Afternoon)
Gates Of Eden - January 11th, 1974
Wedding Song - January 15th, 1974
The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll - January 4th, 1974

Mr. Tambourine Man - February 14th, 1974 (Evening)
Something There Is About You - January 25th, 1974
The Ballad Of Hollis Brown - February 14th, 1974 (Evening)
Forever Young - February 14th, 1974 (Evening)
Maggie's Farm - February 14th, 1974 (Evening)

Lossless Links:

MP3 Link:

And so this series of compilations begins its foray into live Bob Dylan performances. These are always notable, as the songs differ radically from their original studio incarnations. I would make the case that this may be the most interesting aspect of Dylan as a performing artist: the willingness to play a song the way it should sound on the day of performance, rather than trying to recreate an earlier success. Letting the past be the past, and allowing the song to grow with the artist.

The download links do not directly correspond to the three sets listed above. The sets are electric, acoustic, and electric, mimicking the format of the 1974 tour. There are a number of rare, notable tracks here, including the celebrated "As I Went Out One Morning", an electric accordion-accompanied "Mr. Tambourine Man", and Planet Waves songs rarely played outside of this era ("Tough Mama" excluded). Many of the songs are reprises of those played on the '66 tour in radically reinvented guises. The shouting that is typically associated with this tour is less ubiquitous here than it would become by the time of the sons recorded for the official release, Before The Flood. "To Ramona", in particular, receives the most beautiful rendering of the song I've heard. As with so many of Dylan's best recordings, the vocal cuts to the heart of what the lyrics are trying to put across, giving the song truth by performance.

A couple of runner-up tunes included "4th Time Around", a very rare (but also strangely un-engaging) "Desolation Row", and "Hero Blues". "4th Time Around" had very poor sound, while "Desolation Row" felt far too long, and was replaced with a committed "Visions of Johanna". "Hero Blues" exists in either a high-quality fragment or a low-quality full performance, and dragged down the surrounding songs. The set, instead, opens with a positively jaunty "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues", which was omitted from Before the Flood. The bizarre organ diversions that begin halfway through the song really set the tone for the explorations that follow.

One noticeable aspect of this set is that the songs flow into one another to create the illusion of a single concert. I understand that this might not be universally popular, but when listening to the set as a whole it provides a far more satisfying listen. The transitions are not jarring, as they have been smoothed, and many of the rarer songs are available on the Phantoms of My Youth collection with fades-in and out for those that prefer that style.

I truly hope that you will enjoy this collection, and find the performances contained herein as captivating as I have. This really provides an alternate perspective on the frequently panned '74 tour. There was magic in the air, and it was captured on these tapes. Give it a listen!

If you enjoy these performances, I recommend the much better recorded official release of this tour, Before The Flood. The songs on my set were selected to have no crossover with those on the official document, so you have many more songs to explore if you buy that record.

This live CD contains unreleased performances of songs which originally appear on the following official releases:

Note that all links here are to, but these recordings are available at Amazon, iTunes, and possibly your local music store (if it still exists).

Next week, we will continue live 1970s recordings. The next set will focus on the Rolling Thunder era, with performances as intense as any throughout Dylan's career. Until then, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Outside The Law: Studio Outtakes, 1973 - 1975

Outside The Law: Studio Outtakes, 1973 - 1975

Rock Me Mama (Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid Outtake)
Tangled Up In Blue (Blood On The Tracks Outtake)
Joey (Desire Outtake)
Going Going Gone (Planet Waves Outtake)
Billy (Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid Outtake)
Rita Mae (Desire Outtake)
Idiot Wind (Blood On The Tracks Outtake)
Crosswind Jamboree (Planet Waves Outtake)
Sweet Amarillo (Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid Outtake)
If You See Her, Say Hello (Blood On The Tracks Outtake)
Hurricane (Desire Outtake)
Nobody 'Cept You (Planet Waves Outtake)
Lily, Rosemary & The Jack Of Hearts (Blood On The Tracks Outtake)
Knockin' On Heaven's Door (Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid Outtake)
Pecos Blues (Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid Outtake)

[links removed due to official release]

Hello again, listeners. 

We've got a new compilation centered on the period of time in which Bob Dylan moved from his 'country' phase out into a more confessional, edgy sound. You can hear elements of both here, from the down-home singalong vibe of "Rock Me, Mama" or "Sweet Amarillo" to the outlaw ballads from the Desire record. And between these, of course, are some of the most treasured outtakes in Dylan's catalog - the Blood On The Tracks New York Sessions. Of these, "Lily, Rosemary and the Jack Of Hearts" is the most fascinating to me; though the full-band album benefits greatly from its instrumentation, this one sounds like you could be in the room listening to the song's debut. The others hew closely to cuts found on the Bootleg Series, Volume 1-3, though they are distinct in their own ways. In particular, the rendition of "Idiot Wind" featured here contains no organ fills, and seems to have been very rare until recently.

Outtakes of "Joey" and "Going, Going, Gone" are also fairly recent additions to the world of field recordings. "Joey" is sadly derived from a lossy source, which is the only one to surface so far. It also has had some editing carried out by, if I recall correctly, the Expecting Rain website's very own Bennyboy to correct issues in the audio. Some have made the case that this performance of "Going, Going, Gone" is the isolated vocal track from the official release. I disagree, though it remains fairly similar to that recording. The starkness is a fine companion to a withering vocal, highlighting the desperation present in this plea.

It is worth mentioning that "Goodbye Holly" is the only significant omission from this set. It is not included because the sound is distorted, it's fairly insubstantial, and the song is just long enough to prevent this from fitting onto a single disc; something had to go, and I can't say it was a tough decision. Seek it out if you feel so bold.

I hope the collection sounds as good to you as it does to me - it's a relaxing listen, full of long, generally laid back songs. Hopefully it's a fine match for sipping a beer and letting the mind wander along with these outlaws in (and out) love. Be it Hurricane, Joey, Rita, Billy, or the Jack of Hearts, you'll find someone here to hum along with.


And of course, it would be unfair not to point you in the direction of the official releases from this time frame. A good series of record were released at this time, including:

Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid Soundtrack
Planet Waves
Blood On The Tracks

My personal favorite of those is Planet Waves, though perhaps a wiser man would say Blood On The Tracks. Mercifully, I can't say I suffer from an abundance of wisdom.

I would encourage listeners to seek out Biograph for the impressive "Abandoned Love" from the Desire sessions as well as "Up To Me" and "You're A Big Girl Now" from Blood On The Tracks; check out The Bootleg Series, Volumes 1-3 for other Blood On The Tracks outtakes in slightly higher quality than what is presented here. As to "Abandoned Love," you'll be hearing its only live rendition on an upcoming release at this blog.

Note that all links here are to, but these recordings are available at Amazon, iTunes, and possibly your local music store (if it still exists).

Next week, we will be moving on to live recordings. I hope you find them as enjoyable as the studio outtakes. Until then, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Non-Music Technical Post

Hi again,

It has come to my attention that I should devote some small amount of time to the file types used on this blog. This really should have been in my introductory post, but was not. Ah well.

In any case, the files as downloaded are .RAR, which means you will need a program called winRAR to open them. You can obtain this program for free here:

The .RAR files are a compressed format, which allows me to upload them as three links for an entire lossless-quality CD. Speaking of lossless quality, the tracks are uncompressed .WAV files. These have typically been downloaded as FLAC, converted to WAV, edited using the Audacity program, then output again as WAVs. This preserves the high quality of the audio. If there is significant demand for mp3 versions, I can facilitate mp3 links, though they probably will not be available simultaneous to the WAV format.

I find WAV to be the best option, as it eschews the challenges associated with FLAC by the average user (specific software needed to convert so that it can be listened to or loaded onto an audio device), but manages to retain the very high quality sound. These releases are not directed at the collectors, as they will almost certainly have these tracks without my edits (splicing, fades, etc.) in a "purer" version. Instead, these CDs are aimed at folks like myself who want a pleasant listening experience on a single volume that spans a particular series of sessions, concerts, tours, etc. And of those, there is much to come.

Hopefully that clears things up. If anyone has any other questions about technical issues, please feel free to post them below and I'll respond as time allows.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Pastures Of Plenty: Unreleased Recordings, 1969-1971

Pastures Of Plenty: Unreleased Recordings, 1969 - 1971

I Threw It All Away (Johnny Cash Show, 1969)
Folsom Prison Blues (Outtake - Self-Portrait Sessions, 1969)
You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (Outtake - Greatest Hits Volume 2, 1971)
Mama, You Been On My Mind (Outtake - New Morning Sessions, 1970)
Blue Yodel #1 (Outtake - Johnny Cash Session, 1969)
Cupid (Outtake - New Morning Sessions, 1970)
Living The Blues (Johnny Cash Show, 1969)
I Guess Things Happen That Way (Outtake - Johnny Cash Session, 1969)
Da Doo Run Run (Outtake - New Morning Sessions, 1970)
Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues (Outtake - New Morning Sessions, 1970)
One More Night (Outtake - Nashville Skyline Sessions, 1969)
All I Have To Do Is Dream (Outtake - New Morning Sessions, 1970)
Ring Of Fire (Outtake - Self-Portrait Sessions, 1969)
Good Ol' Mountain Dew (Outtake - Johnny Cash Session, 1969)
Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance (Outtake - New Morning Sessions, 1970)
Lay Lady Lay (Outtake - Nashville Skyline Sessions, 1969)
I Don't Believe You (Outtake - New Morning Sessions, 1970)
Yesterday (Outtake - New Morning Sessions, 1970)
Big River (Outtake - Johnny Cash Session, 1969)
I Walk The Line (Outtake - Johnny Cash Session, 1969)
Tomorrow Is A Long Time (Outtake - New Morning Sessions, 1970)
East Virginia Blues (Earl Scruggs Session, 1970)
One Too Many Mornings (Outtake - New Morning Sessions, 1970)
Matchbox (Outtake - New Morning Sessions, 1970)
I Still Miss Someone (Outtake - Johnny Cash Session, 1969)
Song To Woody (Outtake - New Morning Sessions, 1970)

[links removed due to official release]

Howdy Cyberspace,

I hope all is going well. And if not, it’s about to get better. This week’s new release includes the best of Bob Dylan’s unreleased recordings from 1969 to 1971. This period is one of my favorites in Dylan’s oeuvre, and I hope you enjoy it too. After all, this CD has 26 tracks!

Found among those 26 songs are sessions with other prominent musicians of this era, including George Harrison, Johnny Cash, and Earl Scruggs. The Earl Scruggs track is especially rare, and you’d be hard-pressed to find it in an audio format elsewhere. This is really a shame, since the performance is top notch. Dylan sings the heck out of this old American classic, and the boys play with spirit. The Cash tracks are largely duets of Johnny Cash songs and the occasional country standard. Their recording of Blue Yodel #8, an old Jimmie Rodgers song, is notable for the yodeling. You won’t be disappointed, I’m sure.

New Morning outtakes are particularly well-represented in this set, and George Harrison is present on many, if not all, of these recordings. It’s important to bear in mind that these are fairly informal sessions, so many of the songs are being performed seemingly off-the-cuff. The roughness of the renditions serve them well, and the sound quality is impeccable.

In fact, the sound quality of this collection is rather strong all around. A handful of exceptions exist, like the aforementioned Earl Scruggs track, but in general these are almost releasable in quality.

It is worth mentioning that an earlier version of this CD, not released here, contained tracks which may be being released on the upcoming Bootleg Series Volume 10: Another Self Portrait. I would strongly, strongly recommend purchasing this collection. It’s a bold move by Columbia to release outtakes from such a controversial era, and for those of us who especially enjoy Dylan’s country side, this is an amazing surprise. There is no overlap between this compilation and that release, and hopefully if nothing else this collection of unreleased songs will encourage you to look into Another Self-Portrait. You can order it here.

I hope you like Pastures of Plenty. It’s too bad this era did not last longer, because Dylan’s singing is rarely finer than in these years. Enjoy, and thanks for listening.

If you enjoy these recordings, do yourself a favor and look into the following official releases:

Nashville Skyline

Note: All links here are to, but these recordings are available at Amazon, iTunes, and possibly your local music store (if it still exists).

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Shades of Blue: Unreleased Recordings, 1965-1966

Shades Of Blue - Deluxe Edition

I'll Keep It With Mine - Outtake - Blonde On Blonde Sessions - 1966
Visions Of Johanna - Outtake - Blonde On Blonde Sessions - 1966
Tombstone Blues - Live - Los Angeles - September 3, 1965
I Can't Leave Her Behind - Unreleased - Hotel Tape - 1966
Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window? - Outtake - Highway 61 Sessions - 1965
What Kind Of Friend Is This? - Unreleased - Hotel Tape - 1966
Long Distance Operator - Live - Berkeley - December 4, 1965
Ballad Of A Thin Man - Outtake - Highway 61 Sessions - 1965
Maggie's Farm - Live - Los Angeles - September 3, 1965
Positively 4th Street - Live - Sydney - April 13, 1966
Why Be So Frantic? - Outtake - Highway 61 Sessions - 1965
Positively Van Gogh - Unreleased - Hotel Tape - 1966
Sittin' On A Barbed Wire Fence - Outtake - Highway 61 Sessions - 1965
You Don't Have To Do That - Outtake - Bringing It All Back Home Sessions - 1965
From A Buick 6 - Live - Los Angeles - September 3, 1965
On A Rainy Afternoon - Unreleased - Hotel Tape - 1966
I Wanna Be Your Lover - Outtake - Blonde On Blonde Sessions - 1966
Medicine Sunday - Outtake - Blonde On Blonde Sessions - 1966
Love Minus Zero/No Limit - Outtake - Bringing It All Back Home Sessions - 1965
Phantom Engineer - Live - Newport - July 25, 1965
She's Your Lover Now - Outtake - Blonde On Blonde Sessions - 1966

[Links Removed - See Below]

Here's the first compilation. I've worked on it for some time, and though I'm not entirely satisfied, it is very listenable. Included are outtakes and live performances from Bob Dylan's 1965-1966 sessions and tours. Edits have been kept to a minimum, and the volume has been adjusted to favor continuity.

1965 to 1966 was an extremely fertile period for Dylan's career, but much of the best available songs have been released officially in one form or another. Surprisingly, neither this outtake of Visions of Johanna or this Newport performance of Phantom Engineer have made it to a Columbia release. Similarly, the brilliant solo take of She's Your Lover Now was fair game.

This is an extensive expansion of an earlier compilation, Shades of Blue, which contained all of the hotel tapes from 1966. Only the best of these hotel tapes have been included on this collection. The sound quality of these is inconsistent, but tends towards poor. They are present here both for historical interest, as none of them made it to the studio as far as we know, as well as for their wonderful melodies. These function in some ways as an indication of what Dylan's next record may have sounded like had he not moved in a very different direction after the 1966 tour.

Speaking of that most notable of rock tours, the savvy listener may find that songs from Dylan's 1966 world tour with The Hawks are conspicuously absent here, with the exception of Positively 4th Street. These are extremely well-represented on the Bootleg Series Volume 4, available for purchase. The standard setlist makes inclusion here less important than these other songs which did make the cut, and space is so limited. Positively 4th Street was the only track in listenable quality which did not find its way onto that official release.

Hopefully you will find something enjoyable here, and it would make a pleasant starting point for those who have already heard all of the officially released tracks. For those who have not, I encourage you to buy those recordings as soon as possible - they are wonderful.

If you like this, I would encourage you to check out the following records by the artist, available at,, and iTunes:

Note: All links here are to, but these recordings are available at Amazon, iTunes, and possibly your local music store (if it still exists).

UPDATE - November 2, 2015: The links for this compilation have been removed, since most of the tracks are being officially released by Sony/Columbia later this month as The Bootleg Series Volume 12: The Cutting Edge. The record company has happily made available three separate tiers for this release, which you can learn about in more detail here. I, for one, would love to get the 18 CD set, but have a mortgage to pay and mouths to feed, after all; the 6 CD collection will have to do! As I did previously with the Basement Noise compilation, I will leave the playlist above for those of you who would like to make your own version using tracks from the new official release.