Monday, December 30, 2013

Ring Them Bells: Unreleased Studio & Live Recordings, 1994


Ring Them Bells: 1994

Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You - Outtake: MTV Unplugged (11-18)
Ring Them Bells - Live: The Great Music Experience (05-20)
Masters Of War - Live: Woodstock '94 (08-14)
Lawdy Miss Clawdy - Unreleased Studio Session (09-30)
Absolutely Sweet Marie - Outtake: MTV Unplugged (11-18)
Tomorrow Night - Live: The Rhythm, Country & Blues Concert (03-23)
Everything is Broken - Outtake: MTV Unplugged (11-17)
Anyway You Want Me - Unreleased Studio Session (09-30)
The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll - Live: New York (10-20)
If You See Her, Say Hello - Live: New York (10-19)
Series Of Dreams - Live: Hiroshima (02-16)
I Want You - Outtake: MTV Unplugged (11-18)
Blue-Eyed Jane - Outtake: Jimmie Rodgers Tribute (05-09 to 05-11)
Jokerman - Live: Boston (10-08)
The Lady Came From Baltimore - Live: Besançon (07-04)
Money Honey - Unreleased Studio Session (09-30)
Hazel - Outtake: MTV Unplugged (11-17)

This compilations acts as a survey of the best unreleased studio and live recordings available by Bob Dylan from 1994. This was a productive year for Dylan, as he toured the world, took part in the Great Music Experience at Nara, Japan, visited MTV studios for an Unplugged taping, headlined Woodstock '94, and recorded several studio sessions.

The Great Music Experience was intended to be an annual gathering of notable world artists at cultural heritage sites, but the 1994 iteration proved to be the only one. Dylan is backed here by an orchestra, and sings beautifully.

The MTV Unplugged concert is generally not considered to be in the same league as the Supper Club Residency of 1993, which it is believed to have replaced as a document of Bob Dylan's live performances in the early '90s; even so, many of the tracks recorded at this session are outstanding. In particular, "Hazel" and "I Want You" are two of the best renditions of these classic songs.

The studio outtakes included here consist of two sessions: the first was for a Jimmie Rodgers tribute. Interestingly, though this songs was recorded in 1994 with backing vocals by Emmylou Harris, its vocals would be rerecorded several years later for its inclusion on the final tribute record. The second studio session was evidently intended to produce one or more songs for an Elvis Presley tribute, but no final product was released. Thus, the tracks remain out of public circulation.

"Tomorrow Night" comes from a guest appearance at the Rhythm, Country & Blues Concert and includes pleasant backing vocals by Trisha Yearwood. This performance only surfaced recently.

The live tracks are, as ever, quite inspired. In particular, "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" and "Jokerman" receive soulful readings, and the rearrangements of "Masters of War" and "Series of Dreams" are very successful. Though this acoustic version of "Masters of War" would go on to become a template for years to come, the experimental style of "Series of Dreams" would only appear in a handful of 1994 shows.

In short, this is one of the most complete and professional sounding sets in the series. I am quite proud of the finished product. Please enjoy this compilation! If you enjoy it, you should be sure to own the official recordings related to this era:

Next week, we will be exploring the recordings from Bob Dylan's residency at Prague in the Spring of 1995. That was regarded as one of the best series of shows from the Never-Ending Tour, so be sure to check it out. Until then, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes.



  1. Whoop, there’s lots of stuff on here that I haven’t heard before. I wasn’t aware of the Presley sessions. I’m about half way through and am enjoying it a lot. Brave of you to leave off the MTV Don’t Think Twice outtake though! Thanks again.

    1. Thanks for the comment. Aren't the Presley tracks something? I don't think they came into circulation until the past five years or so - "Anyway You Want Me" is my favorite. "Don't Think Twice" was actually present on the original iteration of this CD, but got scrapped in favor of a couple other songs. It didn't seem to be any great loss, as that song (in my opinion, of course) was performed much better from 1999 to present. Same with "My Back Pages" from Unplugged.

  2. Looking forward to the 1999 comp then! Are you planning on bringing this project up to the present day? Also - you went with take 2 of I Want You! Oooooooo..... Thanks again, you are really helping me reengage with Bob. Top work on the covers too, though a pinickity part if me wishes they were formatted for CD.

    1. Yes, the final compilation (as of now) is a collection of the London 2013 residency, although perhaps 2014 will bring new and exciting shows to be compiled. Time will tell.

      Concerning "I Want You," it's a tough call of course. Both takes are excellent, but the 2nd is slightly more engaging to me.

      That's strange that the covers are not formatted for CD. I actually print them out to slide into jewel cases for a hard copy of the final releases. Do you refer to the absence of the spine text? I use an MSWord template set up for printing square images two to a page, and it gets the job done. At some point, I'll see about posting the template number if I remember to check at the computer used for such things, haha.

    2. Indeed, I meant the spine text, but I'm showing my ignorance it's that easy.
      I was at the final RAH gig. What a night. Best I've seen him in a decade.

  3. Lossless Link Part Two is not working anymore. Please repair.
    Love your site! Keep up the good work!
    Your pal,
    Texas Tom.

    1. Glad you like it! I'm not getting any trouble downloading Part Two, so would you mind double-checking using a different web browser? Alternately, could someone else test this to confirm that the link is dead all around?

  4. Wow - a wonderful way to start 2014 with these treats from the ocean of unreleased BD. Thanks again & again & again for your careful curation and for sharing the music with those of us for whom this material is brand new!

  5. Link 2 is working for me now so all is well. Sorry for the confusion! My first Dylan show was December 1965 San Jose, so the little gray cells must be slowing down! Hahaha...
    Texas Tom

  6. this is an incredible compilation, I hadn't heard of the two studio tracks; thanks from seven years in the future!