You know the whole Bob Dylan bootleg thing has gotten out of control when I’m looking for a YouTube clip of today’s Random SOTD and I dig up at least four outtake versions, none of which appear to be the one I need.
Last year Dylan released an 18 CD set of every song recorded during the 1965-66 studio sessions that resulted in Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde.
Bob Dylan must have felt his ears burning.
Last weekend he learned that Fountains of Wayne was besting him (on a percentage basis) in the Random Weekend horse race. The week before that he was pitted against Bruce Springsteen in a death match over who’s had the more extraordinary career.
Guess he decided to chime in.
Volume 7 of Bob Dylan’s Bootleg Series is the companion soundtrack to Martin Scorsese’s excellent Dylan documentary No Direction Home.
The album, like the film, traces Dylan’s development as an artist from his earliest days through his electric phase, culminating with the famous “Royal Albert Hall” concert where an angry fan yelled out “Judas!”
Exactly one week ago, I predicted a flood of Bob Dylan tracks on Random Weekends to match the onslaught of Elvis Costello. The two artists most represented in my music collection should, over time, be the two artists most represented in this series, no?
Well, here we go. And while it doesn’t seem fair that two songwriters who have had their own dedicated weekends (lasting close to a year in total) should dominate this one, I can’t feign disappointment over the selection of this alternate take of ‘Desolation Row’ culled from the No Direction Home soundtrack.
As I mentioned yesterday, Volume 7 is in some ways the weakest of the Bootleg Series because it falls back mostly on songs that are already known.
In fact, it breaks a cardinal rule of bootlegs in general by including material that has already been released — Dylan’s ‘Song to Woody,’ which appeared in the same form on his debut album, and the live Royal Albert Hall versions of ‘Ballad of a Thin Man’ and ‘Like a Rolling Stone,’ which had not only been released but been released on this same Bootleg Series just two volumes back.
Volume 7 of Bob Dylan’s Bootleg Series is a companion soundtrack to Martin Scorsese’s documentary No Direction Home: Bob Dylan and, as such, has less to offer than the previous volumes I’ve covered on the blog.
The songs here are mostly unreleased versions of old classics (either live, demo or alternate takes). But despite its not being a treasure trove of new material, this 2-disc set does offer some illumination into Dylan’s early work.