Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series

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A search reveals that these volumes have been mentioned all over the place, but have never had a comprehensive thread.

Since last week's compelling Dylanival and the long ILM thread about it, I have been driven back to the Bootlegs 1-3. Slowly working my way through: still only up to 'She's Your Lover Now'. But crikey, that track almost deserves a thread of its own! So thrilling to hear things come together and fall apart, piano hold steady while guitarist stops and starts again; like the 'Keep It With Mine' where the producer tells Bob to keep going.

Other big theme I wanted to raise: Great Unreleased Songs. 'Mama, You Been On My Mind' and 'Farewell Angelina', never on an LP - yet standards for years, and finally available here! What about those? How did they become standards anyway: through actual bootleg-bootlegs? Why did he leave them off LPs in the first place?

So much to say. And I have not heard Vol 7 yet.

the bobfox, Thursday, 6 October 2005 14:45 (seventeen years ago) link

search: blind willie mctell from volume 3.

kyle (akmonday), Thursday, 6 October 2005 15:06 (seventeen years ago) link

I like the 'Albert Hall' one very much. I think the tuning up is btter than most albums. I do a 'human beatbox' version of it. I do not like the 1975 one very much, apart from the solo performances. I have hardly listened to 1964 (but it is in my bag). I haven't heard or seen the latest one (but it is in the work DVD box in non-packaged format - maybe I will borrow it to make up for my disappointment at having taken home Rocky II and Car Wash only to find they were region one). I like 1-3, but I do not have it at home at present. I like Every Grain Of Sand better than the 'proper' version, and I like the Blood On The Tracks, erm, tracks.

PJ Miller (PJ Miller 68), Thursday, 6 October 2005 15:17 (seventeen years ago) link

I think "She's Your Lover Now" would have been the best song on Blonde on Blonde.

Mark (MarkR), Thursday, 6 October 2005 15:20 (seventeen years ago) link

* We need: more outtakes from the Basement Tapes.

* 1st song on Vol 5/1975 should shut up forever anyone who still thinks "Dylan can't sing"

* "Wallflower" - one of his most underrated songs, David Bromberg's version is great

Keith C (lync0), Thursday, 6 October 2005 15:21 (seventeen years ago) link

bootleg 1-3 was actually my first exposure to dylan, since i was staying with a dylan fanatic who had just bought it, and i really flipped for it. "she's your lover now" is really fantastic... i also very much liked the really fast version of "it takes a train to laugh..."... the concert bootlegs of "mama you've been on my mind" that i've heard have always been very jaunty; did he ever play it as delicately as he did on that set? lastly, the basement outtake "santa fe" is the one i sing the most, since it's got a great melody and incoherent lyrics

dave k, Thursday, 6 October 2005 15:41 (seventeen years ago) link

She's Your Lover Now and Blind Willie McTell are the stars of the Bootleg Series 1-3 box set. I'm also really partial to Nobody 'Cept You, an outtake from Planet Waves which would have been the best song on it.

kornrulez6969 (TCBeing), Thursday, 6 October 2005 15:44 (seventeen years ago) link

I didn't know people loved 'She's Your Lover Now' so much! I am excited.

I adore that vol 5 version of 'Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You' - track one, even using the phrase 'Rolling Thunder'. Thrills!

the bobfox, Thursday, 6 October 2005 15:53 (seventeen years ago) link

I will isten to it again. I think there might be too many musicians, a la Concert For Bangladesh.

PJ Miller (PJ Miller 68), Thursday, 6 October 2005 15:55 (seventeen years ago) link

On the Royal Albert Hall bootleg series, I am NOT a fan of the acoustic disc. I find it slow and just kinda overly mannered. The electric disc, however, is some of the best rock and roll ever played.

If you want to hear great acoustic Bob, you can't beat the three songs on Before the Flood: Don't Think Twice, It's Alright Ma and Just Like A Woman. All three are the best versions of those songs, and beat the piss out of the Royal Albert Hall acoustic stuff.

kornrulez6969 (TCBeing), Thursday, 6 October 2005 15:57 (seventeen years ago) link

Haha yes! Before the Flood is occasionally great

Baaderonixx and the hedonistic gluttons (baaderonixx), Thursday, 6 October 2005 17:03 (seventeen years ago) link

the bear mountain picnic song gets me everydamntime...

i'm also happy for the recently uprooted love of "shes your lover now". i about break everytime it just quits like that. Vol. 7 proves that the blonde on blonde sessions, though interesting, don't quite pack the punch of the final versions. i can't imagine what would have become of syln. the vol. 2 version is rough, but warm. b o b has a late night frosty glow. it coulda been better or worse.

the vol. 2 version of santa fe is great, better than the genuine basement tape's makes you need to belt along with it.

i've gone on week long binges with each of the live records. Rolling Thunder got me to like "The Hurricane". The "It's Alright Ma" from 1964 brought back the almost crushing power of that song for me. And I still get chills with the 66 version of "Like A Rolling Stone".

all said, i love this series. i think it provides a brilliant look into how grand the dylan universe is.

bb (bbrz), Thursday, 6 October 2005 17:04 (seventeen years ago) link

The '80s stuff on the first Bootleg comp is first-rate. "Blind Willie McTell," "Caribbean Wind," the E Street Band-performed version of "When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky" are some of his greatest songs.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Thursday, 6 October 2005 17:09 (seventeen years ago) link

Don't forget about Biograph:
"And I went back to find Isis just to tell 'er I love ARRRRRRRRRRRRRR!"

Old School (sexyDancer), Thursday, 6 October 2005 17:12 (seventeen years ago) link

re: the 1966 acoustic sets--I beg to differ. Those are among my favorite Dylan recordings of all time. So slow, sad and beautiful. I think Dylan's really digging deep--losing himself completely in the songs. He often sounds so otherworldy and lonely that it's a shock when the applause comes after the songs end. In its own way, I think those sets are just as radical as the electric set (which I also loooooove). And there's some of the wildest harmonica work of the man's career--check out the long excursion he takes at the end of Tambourine Man. I can dig the Before the Flood stuff, but it's a little bit too amped up for my tastes.

tylerw, Thursday, 6 October 2005 17:19 (seventeen years ago) link

As far as acoustic live Dylan goes, I've always loved his vocal on "Just Like a Woman" from Bangladesh. He sings his guts out.

Jazzbo (jmcgaw), Thursday, 6 October 2005 17:30 (seventeen years ago) link

how is that Gaslight performance that was just released?

kyle (akmonday), Thursday, 6 October 2005 17:43 (seventeen years ago) link

what i want to know is why "can you please crawl out your window", the glockenspiel version, was never released or used in the doc. it's easily in my top 5 dylan songs--as exuberant as live 65.

naturemorte, Thursday, 6 October 2005 19:06 (seventeen years ago) link

Crikey, yes, Urgent & Key: that was a 45 - but I'm afraid I have never heard it in my life, not that I can remember. What does it sound like?

the bellefox, Thursday, 6 October 2005 19:07 (seventeen years ago) link

I love the 1964 disc (vol 6). Dylan sounds so eager to entertain his audience, as opposed to the bitter stance he took during the next two years (both sides of him were captured so well in the Scorcese doc). He sings his guts out on songs like "Who Killed Davey Moore" and "If You Gotta Go, Go Now" with power that I didn't know he had in him before I heard this record.

MindInRewind (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 6 October 2005 19:26 (seventeen years ago) link

'Mama, You Been On My Mind' and 'Farewell Angelina', never on an LP - yet standards for years, and finally available here! What about those? How did they become standards anyway: through actual bootleg-bootlegs?

dunno about "FA" but "MYBOMM" was covered by a few people--as the Scorsese doc makes clear, his publisher made sure his songs got covered.

Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Thursday, 6 October 2005 19:33 (seventeen years ago) link

One night I discovered something totally insane. If you have the DVD disc that came with the Rolling Thunder volume then play Isis. When you see the part when the sweaty guitarist's eyes are all bulging from cocaine and he tries to bite Dylan's left-hand fingers, back it up a bit and play it in slow motion. That whole fucking weird scene played in slo-mo is truly mesmerizing and a bit disturbing.

Justin Farrar (Justin Farrar), Thursday, 6 October 2005 20:11 (seventeen years ago) link

Joan Baez put out "FA" first I think, and she made it famous.

I've had the the first box for a few years and been meaning to pick up vols. 4-7. Some faves from it that haven't been mentioned much:

Seven Curses (I'm sucker for mystical revenge/stolen virginity/evil lawmen/wronged man folklore stuff)
Sitting On A Barbed Wire Fence ("She's turnin' me into an old man/and man, I ain't even 25!")
If Not For You (It's prettier than the official version)
Nobody 'Cept You (Good call kornrulez)
Seven Days (Since i dig this and the rolling thunder biograph tracks, how urgent is it for me to pick up Vol.5? And also is the 1st version w/the dvd worth tracking down?)
Foot of Pride (The homesick blues, nearly 20 years of schoolin' later, and still on the day shift)
Tell Me (Bob can do Pop)

thanks for answering my question before I posted it. that sounds cool.

Marxism Goes Better With Coke (Charles McCain), Thursday, 6 October 2005 20:13 (seventeen years ago) link

'Mama, You Been On My Mind' and 'Farewell Angelina', never on an LP - yet standards for years, and finally available here! What about those? How did they become standards anyway: through actual bootleg-bootlegs?
dunno about "FA" but "MYBOMM" was covered by a few people--as the Scorsese doc makes clear, his publisher made sure his songs got covered.

-- Matos-Webster Dictionary (michaelangelomato...), October 6th, 2005.

Most notably and beautifully by Rod Stewart.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Thursday, 6 October 2005 20:18 (seventeen years ago) link

Another good one from The Bootleg Series box is the demo of Every Grain of Sand, which I prefer to the Shot of Love version...much more intimate without the Bobettes.

kornrulez6969 (TCBeing), Thursday, 6 October 2005 20:23 (seventeen years ago) link

Barking dog!

Marxism Goes Better With Coke (Charles McCain), Thursday, 6 October 2005 20:24 (seventeen years ago) link

Although the 3rd disc of Bootleg Series 1-3 is kind of throwaway, and the 2nd disc has a lot of great alternate versions of album tracks, that first disc is very worthwhile; in fact, over the last 5 years, I've probably listened to that first disc more than anything else Dylan-related.

1st Disc Standouts:
"Hard Times in New York Town"
"House Carpenter" (Is this a cover or an original? It's become one of my Dylan favorites)
"Talkin' Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues"
"Rambling, Gambling Willie"
"Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues"
"Who Killed Davey Moore?"
"Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie" (if for nothing else, those ending lines:

"You'll find God in the church of your choice
You'll find Woody Guthrie in Brooklyn State Hospital

And though it's only my opinion
I may be right or wrong
You'll find them both
In the Grand Canyon
At sundown"

Suzy Creemcheese (SuzyCreemcheese), Thursday, 6 October 2005 21:03 (seventeen years ago) link

Am I alone in my complete awe of "Moonshiner"?

Sung with such beauty, control, and weight, I can't get over it. Devastates me every time.

Taylor, Friday, 7 October 2005 01:51 (seventeen years ago) link

xpost "his publisher made sure": yes, pinefox, his "Mama You Been On My Mind" and a bunch of other demos were sent around by the publisher, so Fairport took "Percy's Song" and others, and the whole Lo & Behold album, by Dean Coulson, McGuiness, Flint, and others, was from publisher's demos, I think, or most of it, anyway. Seems like the Brits jumped on more of the prime goodies than Americans did,initially, although of course Baez did a double-LP of his stuff soon enough (Any Day Now, right?)There were a couple of LPs of demos issued by the old TMQ (Trademark of Quality, with a pig-rubber-stamp as trademark) booters, although mostly they did comps from various sources too (So "Mama" and other demos are with Minnesota apartment tapes, Basement Tapes, Isle of Wight, etc. on the VD Waltz comp; I've never heard a whole album of demos, alas.)In some cases, it was a matter of just having too much stuff, not wanting to flood the market, and/or what he did last month too different from this month's, and this month, it's time for an album! Then in 70s, not wanting the 60s overflow to wash away the later stuff; plus, when he finally did a legit version of Basement Tapes, and it did well, he was surprised:"I thought everybody already had that!" The boots were popular and well-enough known, he prb thought legit issues would increase pressure by being seen as potboilers, at that point, even f they didn't upstage, so either way, they were a problem, until he needed the money and the cred bad enough, and had by that time become enough of a Historical Landmark that the Bootleg Series seemed only right and proper. Thing is, though, hearing the tracks left off the 70s-80s stuff, in favor of some of the crappier items that did make the cut, really show how unsure of himself he can be, for all the Bardic charisma, etc. So, in that respect, the songs of his fabled past are *still* a problem for his sense of credibility, which is why they've been so carefully rationed (still tons of things; it'll be like Hendrix and Trane and Miles issues, only moreso, cause more songs, not just 9000 versions of 900 songs)But basically, questions of judgement/crediblity are part of his history too, not so much of an issue (if he makes another bad album, and he will, big deal, cos the song-suply'll never end, til the world does, and when it does, his stuff will spill over to somewhere:the good, bad, great, and meh;I can see it, the probability of that now, even while this thought ends.)

don, Friday, 7 October 2005 02:57 (seventeen years ago) link

Regarding "She's Your Lover Now," the Dylan Scrapbook released in conjuction with No Direction Home has a lyric sheet for that tune. I'm not sure if the sheet is made to look authentic, or if it's a replica of the original, but the lyrics end where the song on the second Bootleg disc ends.
I always had the impression that the wheels just fell off, and that the song was meant to be longer.

Jason Dent (jason dont), Friday, 7 October 2005 03:31 (seventeen years ago) link

"you, you just sit around and ask for ashtrays... can't you REACH?"

100% WJE (Jody Beth Rosen), Friday, 7 October 2005 05:41 (seventeen years ago) link

"blind willie mctell" is very close to being his best performance, if not his best song, ever.

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Friday, 7 October 2005 05:56 (seventeen years ago) link

It is Don't Look Back that is in the box at the work where we work, not No Direction Home. I watched a couple of minutes last night before deciding that it was best to wait till my karma had reached its optimum level and then watch it.

Listened to some Live 64, did not think much of it really. But I shall persevere.

Crawl Out Your Window is on Biograph, I think, Pinefox. Should you wish, I could copy it for you when I rescue it from "storage". I also have a J. Hendrix version recorded for the BBC Light Programme.

PJ Miller (PJ Miller 68), Friday, 7 October 2005 07:06 (seventeen years ago) link

yeah crawl out your window is on biograph but it's a a sub-par version--i'm talking specifically about the glockenspiel version. the one on biograph is a little laid-back, but the glockenspiel version is really energetic and crazy. when he launches into the third chorus he does one of those soulful nasal whines that only dylan can do.


naturemorte, Friday, 7 October 2005 07:37 (seventeen years ago) link

"House Carpenter" (Is this a cover or an original? It's become one of my Dylan favorites)

It's a cover - it's a ridiculously old trad song. A great version is on Harry Smiths' Anthology of American Folk Music.

Come Back Johnny B (Johnney B), Friday, 7 October 2005 07:38 (seventeen years ago) link

I don't know the glockenspiel version.

PJ Miller (PJ Miller 68), Friday, 7 October 2005 07:45 (seventeen years ago) link

"blind willie mctell" is very close to being his best performance, if not his best song, ever.

seconded; amazing song/performance, totally spellbinding

Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Friday, 7 October 2005 08:03 (seventeen years ago) link

Although the 3rd disc of Bootleg Series 1-3 is kind of throwaway

Madness. I can't really say if it's the best disc but it's definitely the one I've listened to most. 'Foot of Pride','Every Grain', 'Blind Willie McT', 'Angelina', 'Seven Days' = throwaway??

Baaderonixx and the hedonistic gluttons (baaderonixx), Friday, 7 October 2005 08:04 (seventeen years ago) link

"Well, God is in heaven
And we all want what's his
But power and greed and corruptible seed
Seem to be all that there is"

So classsssssic.
Also turned me on to "St James Infirmary", from which the melody is lifted. Checl out Bobby Blue Bland's version if you have the chance.

Baaderonixx and the hedonistic gluttons (baaderonixx), Friday, 7 October 2005 08:06 (seventeen years ago) link

crawl out your window is great, indeed ! (and yeah, the glockenspiel version is best).
it's easily amongst my favorite bob's trax.
guess i'm ready to grab the latest bootleg series now !

AleXTC (AleXTC), Friday, 7 October 2005 08:19 (seventeen years ago) link

I almost started this thread myself after doing a search for it last week! Surprised one did not exist til now, thx for starting.

Vol. 1-3 I heard before a lot of the albums, and it's the thing that made me obsessive about Dylan. Had a 90 cassette of tracks, mostly discs 1 & 2, that I completely wore out that summer and beyond. It started with "Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie". Upon hearing the original version of say "If Not For You" without the "Ready George?" and a certain wobbly reckless energy of a lot of the tracks on 1-3, the originals sounded rather polished or staid. "Santa Fe" is another good example. Even "Idiot Wind" at the end of Vol. 2 is more biting and mean than the album vers.

Vol. 4 opened my eyes in a big way to the pre-'66 material, as I'm sure it did for a lot of people. I actually prefer disc 1, particularly the devestatingly sad "Desolation Row" and Dylan's expressive harp playing thoughout. Almost like he's testing the audience with his harp playing, similar in aggression to part 2 "Play it fucking loud". I find the guitar playing on disc 1 tattered, like he means it, it all fits the mood nicely.

Vol. 5 I bought when it came out and only listened a handful of times. Need to return to it. I remember it sounding very punk rock, though.

Vol. 6 is the 1964 disc, right? Never bought that.

Vol. 7 don't have yet.

mcd (mcd), Friday, 7 October 2005 12:54 (seventeen years ago) link

about she's your lover now--i thought the scrapbook lyrics sheet was weird too--because there IS a last verse. He sings it on the solo piano outtake of the song--which has yet to see official release. anyone who loves that song oughtta seek it out, though. it's incredible--extremely slow and wasted-sounding. with the release of the latest bootleg series, this is probably the major remaining outtake to remain officially unreleased.

but anyway, i love the bootleg series' one and all, but part of me wishes that Dylan (or Columbia) would do like Elvis Costello and just reissue the albums each with a bonus disc of outtakes/live stuff/etc. Of course they just did that big SACD reissue series a few years ago, so that's unlikely to happen any time soon.

tylerw, Friday, 7 October 2005 13:10 (seventeen years ago) link

Seek out: Lou Reed's cover of "Foot of Pride."

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Friday, 7 October 2005 13:15 (seventeen years ago) link

Ah, there are two ways of doing this: a "Bootleg" series, and 'extra disc'..

The fall reissues have an extra disc, but as they mostly have Peel sessions, they are pointless if you have that "Ah, the Fall Peel Sessions box set, you guys" set.

mark grout (mark grout), Friday, 7 October 2005 13:16 (seventeen years ago) link

curious about that she's your lover now piano outtake...
there's another "song" i've been wondering about : it's a tune he plays on accoustic guitar at the end of "eat the document".
is this a proper song ? a demo ? a cover ?

AleXTC (AleXTC), Friday, 7 October 2005 13:22 (seventeen years ago) link

that's "i can't leave her behind". as far as i know, that's the only recording of the song. but it's amazing--vocally one of Dylan's most tender moments. You can get an mp3 of that (and the she's your lover now outtake and a whole bunch more) at

tylerw, Friday, 7 October 2005 13:38 (seventeen years ago) link

yeah, his singing, the melody, the guitar playing... beautiful indeed. so it's a song of his, then ? incredible that didn't get released !?
anyway, thanks !

AleXTC (AleXTC), Friday, 7 October 2005 14:08 (seventeen years ago) link

yeah it's one of his. the story goes that him and Robbie Robertson would stay up all night on the 1966 UK tour writing dozens of new songs--and then the next day neither one could remember them.

tylerw, Friday, 7 October 2005 14:14 (seventeen years ago) link

I am still working my way through 1-3 in order. Slowly. I am now halfway through 'You Changed My Life'.

Latest discoveries:

'Tangled Up In Blue' - a centrepiece of the set to me when I first heard it - is it in E, and the LP version in G?

'Call Letter Blues' is doing more for me than before: some poignancy in the words.

I have never loved 'Idiot Wind' but am now impressed by the relative tenderness of this (NYC?) version as vs the LP.

The bootleg 'If You See Her' is a lot better than the LP's, surely.

Is 'Golden Loom' the first time Bob and Emmylou H sang together? Assuming it's her.

It's funny how that is country, then 'Catfish' is blues. I have always thought 'Catfish' kind of unimportant, but actually I like the depth of its sound, the reverb around those slides and harmonicas.

Is the barking dog the reason that this 'Every Grain of Sand' was not used? I like this song a lot considering that it's religious.

The whole set is an amazing way to take a rapid-fire time-tour through Dylan's career, hearing the flavour of one year (those Desirous violins) for a track or two before the next sound comes along.

the bobfox, Friday, 7 October 2005 14:34 (seventeen years ago) link

Oh, yes - 'Nobody 'Cept You' IS good, isn't it: oddly it sounds to me like the Rolling Thunder sound, though it predates it.

Unlike PJM, I like Live 1964 a lot.

This glockenspiel rumour remains mysterious to me.

But christ, so many great things: 'Barbed Wire Fence', 'Train To Cry', '... Go Now' on bootleg 2. Peerless!

the bobfox, Friday, 7 October 2005 14:37 (seventeen years ago) link

First listen to the only stream I could find, on free Spotify (commercials didn't break the vibe): some of these will have to grow on me, but "Queen Jane" actually gets me to thinking more about Jane and her situation than Dyl; this arrangement of "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" kills, ditto the re-write of "To Be Alone With You," "What was it you thought you saw...?"---perfect lead in to "What Was It You Wanted" (not really a question), "Watching The River Flow: "People disappearin' every day," yeah, tell me about it; was that in the original? "Pledging My Time" slyly otm, "Wicked Messenger" now sporting some cruelly jaunty accompaniment, as in Charley Crockett's cover of "Tom Turkey (Alternative Version)": "Billy you're so far away from home" and all (wicked Spotify serves this up as a chaser to SK).

dow, Wednesday, 7 June 2023 22:36 (three months ago) link

xpost Somebody should do a book about Dylan's 80s trek, or have they?

dow, Wednesday, 7 June 2023 22:39 (three months ago) link

I thought that a book which solely focuses on INFIDELS is on the horizon

beamish13, Thursday, 8 June 2023 02:11 (three months ago) link

two months pass...

They just dropped a "Man In Me" from Budokan in advance of presumably the newest set.

an icon of a worried-looking, long-haired, bespectacled man (C. Grisso/McCain), Thursday, 7 September 2023 05:07 (two weeks ago) link

Hmmm. Live at Budokan is, for me, the absolute worst Dylan. Is this from the same shows? I have a hard time seeing how this can be good. That clip, "The Man in Me," isn't bad except for the saxophone. I'll probably get this but it's the first archival release that prompted an instant "bullshit" from me.

Cow_Art, Thursday, 7 September 2023 08:58 (two weeks ago) link

Those are substantially new lyrics. I probably won't buy it, but I'm down for the listen. Even when he's "bad" he's fascinating.

il lavoro mi rovina la giornata (PBKR), Thursday, 7 September 2023 11:48 (two weeks ago) link

I do like the version of "Rolling Stone" from Budokan — seems sadder and wiser, even somewhat sympathetic.

TO BE A JAZZ SINGER YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO SCAT (Jazzbo), Thursday, 7 September 2023 14:13 (two weeks ago) link

This isn't THE BOOTLEG SERIES, is it? I have become quite confused by the fact that there is now a whole series of other releases that are like THE BOOTLEG SERIES but not actually part of it.

the pinefox, Thursday, 7 September 2023 14:15 (two weeks ago) link

Which ones are you taking about(?)

Sir Mick explained: (morrisp), Thursday, 7 September 2023 14:37 (two weeks ago) link

There are the "complete" series - complete shows with the band, complete rolling thunder, now the complete Budokan. I assume these are different because they're not really curated in any way.

Hoffman forums is saying that the Bootleg Series is winding down and there are a limited number of releases planned at this point; partially because of dwindling sales and also the sense that they've gotten through most of the good stuff. Somebody was saying that at a certain point the archives may start releasing stuff, but I don't know how much of any of that is confirmed.

Cow_Art, Thursday, 7 September 2023 14:45 (two weeks ago) link

a "complete" show series would be good — like the Royal Festival Hall gig in 1964, or the "complete" Hard Rain 76, or a complete show from the 1980 Warfield residency ... I've always thought that someone like Dylan or Neil Young could just follow the Dick's/Dave's Picks model and target the hardcore fans who want this stuff. A subscription, 3-4 releases a year, it'd definitely make money.

tylerw, Thursday, 7 September 2023 15:00 (two weeks ago) link

Live at Budokan is, for me, the absolute worst Dylan.

I've never heard it but that's always been the word on it -- back in the day cut-out bins were swollen with copies of it.

J Edgar Noothgrush (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Thursday, 7 September 2023 15:02 (two weeks ago) link

Those COMPLETE boxes yes, that's a good example - plus, the releases which are somehow for copyright? I have '1970', think there is also an ANOTHER SIDE demos set of that kind?

These are things that I find hard to distinguish from THE BOOTLEG SERIES. In fact I thought the 1966 band series WAS part of that series!

the pinefox, Thursday, 7 September 2023 15:13 (two weeks ago) link

Budokan is awesome, accept Budokan into your hearts.

tylerw, Thursday, 7 September 2023 15:16 (two weeks ago) link

i have been waiting for this for decades

difficult listening hour, Thursday, 7 September 2023 15:26 (two weeks ago) link

I can deal with Dylan and the Dead, Knocked Out Loaded, everything else, but Budokan is the final Dylan frontier for me. It sounds pompous to me, like it's trying to add a lot of elements that just don't work: the flute, the saxophone, etc.

Tyler, what does it do for you? What am I missing?

Cow_Art, Thursday, 7 September 2023 15:29 (two weeks ago) link

I dig his vocals on Budokan, I like the sort of wonky big band arrangements ... I dunno, it's always seemed kind of weirdly edgy to me, Dylan seeing how far he can stretch his songs into this smoother territory.

I'm seeing that they are charging $160 for the CDs of this new set though! WTF lol.

tylerw, Thursday, 7 September 2023 15:32 (two weeks ago) link

From the official email that went out this morning:

This new deluxe box set celebrates Bob Dylan's 1978 world concert tour and the 45th anniversary of the artist's first concert appearances in Japan. It includes two complete shows from Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan Hall (February 28 and March 1, 1978) featuring 58 tracks, 36 of which are previously unreleased, all newly remixed from the original 24-channel analog tapes.
This luxurious 12 x 12” box is imported from Japan and includes 4 CD’s, a 60-page full-color photo book of liner notes and previously unpublished photos of Dylan on-stage and behind-the-scenes at the airport, press conferences and more and facsimile memorabilia such as concert tickets, pamphlets, posters, and flyers.

Also available as a 2-LP set with a selection of 14 previously unreleased performances. Listen now to “The Man In Me.”

So not an actual Bootleg Series title, but an imported domestic release of a Sony Japan box.

an icon of a worried-looking, long-haired, bespectacled man (C. Grisso/McCain), Thursday, 7 September 2023 15:32 (two weeks ago) link

his tenderly unhinged vocals on "i want you" (over just the flute, lol, and a lil textural guitar) are maybe a way in

if the remit is "add way too much drama to it's alright ma" i prefer the broadway-climax version here to the before the flood approach of just turning everything all the way up and crossing fingers

Dylan seeing how far he can stretch his songs

big appeal for me yeah

difficult listening hour, Thursday, 7 September 2023 15:35 (two weeks ago) link

yeah, i mean, i fully recognize that getting into this era is a typical "i have listened to too much bob dylan" move, but I do genuinely enjoy it. maybe what comes across most is how strong so many of Dylan's melodies are, he really gives them room to breathe on Budokan as opposed to sort of sledgehammering them as he had during his previous 70s tours.

tylerw, Thursday, 7 September 2023 15:43 (two weeks ago) link

Maybe he realized he had only a couple more years of belting like Caruso before he blew out his voice.

the dreaded dependent claus (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 7 September 2023 15:45 (two weeks ago) link

I was curious, but jfc... $160 for 4 CDs? Come on.

Maxmillion D. Boosted (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Thursday, 7 September 2023 15:48 (two weeks ago) link

Dylan and Zappa drive me nuts with alternating these box sets between really reasonably priced and ridiculously overpriced. I get that it comes down to extras, books and packaging... but it's obnoxious. I think I paid like $18 for the 3xCD 1970 sessions thing and less than $70 for the gigantic '66 tour box.

Maxmillion D. Boosted (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Thursday, 7 September 2023 15:50 (two weeks ago) link

$108 on Importcds and it'll come down (though as a Japanese import, probably never as cheap as some of the other sets have been).

bulb after bulb, Thursday, 7 September 2023 16:09 (two weeks ago) link


Bob Dylan: Bob Dylan at Budokan [Columbia, 1979]
I believe this double LP was made available so our hero could boast of being outclassed by Cheap Trick, who had the self-control to release but a single disc from this location. Although it's amazing how many of the twenty-two songs--twelve also available on one of the other two live albums Dylan has released since 1974--hold up under slipshod treatment. And not only that, lyrics and poster are included. C+

Simon Frith mentioned liking the xpost "I Want You" with flute, maybe other tracks as well?

I liked the xpost big band arrangements in the US '78 show I saw, especially the proto-speed metal big band "Masters of War." A lot of it was more Rolling Thunder, if that means subsets of musos all over the stage wt the same time, with more in the wings. Sometimes he'd call on one or more guys from various subsets (and/or the wings) to come together. Also, there was gospel, though also the gospel singers sang all of "Rainy Day Women." The duet with flute guy was "Blowin' In The Wind" on this occasion.

dow, Thursday, 7 September 2023 20:31 (two weeks ago) link

Some of it was loosey-goosey, and set up that way; some was very tight, none of it seemed "slipshod."

dow, Thursday, 7 September 2023 20:36 (two weeks ago) link

I tried, but this era does nothing for me. Dylan's singing is probably the best thing about it but it's not enough for me - I had a better time listening to him on the "Sinatra" tributes. What makes these shows unsalvageable is the arrangements. I am totally skipping this, which isn't saying much - the evangelical shows are much better and I never even bothered to buy that set either. (If they ever release the soundboard recording of Nov. 16, 1979 at Fox Warfield, I may pick it up.)

birdistheword, Friday, 8 September 2023 03:13 (two weeks ago) link

I am definitely with with TylerW in the "i have listened to too much Bob Dylan" camp, but I also like the rehearsal boots from this era.

bbq, Friday, 8 September 2023 04:39 (two weeks ago) link

That Tomorrow is a Long Time is really nice.

il lavoro mi rovina la giornata (PBKR), Friday, 8 September 2023 12:23 (two weeks ago) link

this is the best

tylerw, Friday, 8 September 2023 14:50 (two weeks ago) link

^Bob takes shouted requests(!)

I made it weird, I made it worse (morrisp), Friday, 8 September 2023 19:52 (two weeks ago) link

wiki sez that tour started with three nights at the Budokan, Feb. 20, 21, 23, three in Osaka, then back to Tokyo for five more Budokan shows, the last on March 4. The show I saw was Dec. 3, after what was indeed a world tour, and Birmingham was def. not the last stop. So might have been very different from the Bukokan experience. Transitional, speculative, hot as spotlights pretty often:I t really did seem like a rolling crossroads. Hope somebody's got a tape.
All dates, quite a pace:

dow, Friday, 8 September 2023 23:38 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah, he really needed the money so packing in the shows made sense. I thought people were just being snarky calling it "The Alimony Tour," but turns out, he really WAS short on funds, sinking it into a film that spent two full years in post-production and even more on a costly divorce via lawyers and the eventual settlement. Also on other things along the way - he had to pay the entire cost of the Hard Rain production because he rejected the network's taping of a previous concert, and that was very expensive for one person to bear. (Contractually, the network would have picked up the tab for any filming and recording, but if Dylan exercised his right to reject whatever the network shot, he was still obligated to deliver a show for broadcast and to do so at his own expense.)

Thank his then-new manager, who also managed Neil Diamond and basically worked similar deals for Dylan. IIRC Budokan was the biggest payoff, but with a lot of concessions that Dylan readily agreed to like compiling a new anthology for that market (it wound up being Masterpieces), preparing a live album that was originally supposed to be an exclusive souvenir for that market, and his agreement to perform whatever songs they requested beforehand - I guess he took requests from the audience in keeping the spirit he already held for the whole enterprise.

birdistheword, Saturday, 9 September 2023 03:04 (two weeks ago) link

I can't say I ever throw on Budokan in its entirety, but I always rep for the "One More Cup of Coffee" on that album. Huge extra shot of energy relative to other ways he does that song, and I especially love the sleazy, skronky sax that jumps on you as each chorus is ending. I love slinky ominous versions of it too, including the album version, but the bite in this one is its own brand of awesomeness.

Anyway I listened to "The Man in Me" that was released and am reminded that even for eras of live Dylan that are not especially compelling musically, I can't help but want to hear everything when he's constantly messing with lyrics, adding new verses, etc. You never know when you're gonna find a diamond in the rough or have a song illuminated in a whole new way.

Lavator Shemmelpennick, Monday, 11 September 2023 17:08 (one week ago) link

interestingly enough, it seems like he didn't want to release the live album widely either. as someone posted on the H0ffman Forums, this was taken from a 1984 interview with Kurt Loder:

The Budokan album was only supposed to be for Japan. They twisted my arm to do a live album for Japan. It was the same band I used on Street Legal, and we had just started findin’ our way into things on that tour when they recorded it. I never meant for it to be any type of representation of my stuff or my band or my live show.

Maxmillion D. Boosted (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 11 September 2023 17:11 (one week ago) link

Heylin goes into it in Behind the Shades - his books are invaluable for the less-heralded years of Dylan's career probably because it takes an obsessive fan like Heylin to put in the dedication and research needed to unearth anything in a period that usually draws little interest.

Basically, when Dylan got a new manager, he got an old-school showbiz guy who also represented Neil Diamond. Dylan was in dire straits financially due to his divorce and the costly Renaldo and Clara which clearly wasn't going to recoup the money Dylan personally sunk into it over two years, so his new manager set up a lucrative deal where he got to tour Asia for a ton of money. Three stipulations came with that:

1) a souvenir double LP of the tour for the Japanese market (a lot of bands were making similar deals at the time and those records sold really well in the Japanese market - Budokan was always a popular choice of venue as any Cheap Trick fan can tell you)
2) a pre-approved list of "hits" that would dominate the setlists
3) a box set anthology (in this case Masterpieces) which Dylan begrudgingly agreed to help sequence

It was a much-needed lucrative deal, and even though Dylan hated the live album, he thought it didn't matter because he didn't think it would have much of a market beyond Japan. Instead it wound up selling big via import so CBS pushed for an official U.S. release. Dylan was NOT happy about that, and it was tough pushing back, so he made sure that if it happened, it would at least count towards his contractual obligation of albums delivered. It went platinum in the U.S. so it wound up being more profitable for him, but again he never really wanted to put out, it really was a money-making endeavor, nothing more.

birdistheword, Tuesday, 12 September 2023 02:15 (one week ago) link

I have never seen RENALDO AND CLARA, but recently saw THE ROLLING THUNDER REVUE and then realised that most of its incredible footage is either from RENALDO AND CLARA, or is, as someone somewhere wrote, *outtakes from* RENALDO AND CLARA. I'm not sure which.

As I like Rolling Thunder a lot, I should probably try to see RENALDO AND CLARA.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 12 September 2023 10:40 (one week ago) link

You sure about that?

The Thin, Wild Mercury Rising (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 12 September 2023 10:50 (one week ago) link

Yes, I think most of the live footage in THE ROLLING THUNDER REVIEW isn't in RENALDO AND CLARA, and vice versa.

I've probably mentioned this somewhere before, so apologies, but about 10 years ago the GFT in Glasgow screened the UK's only known film print of RENALDO AND CLARA, held by the BFI since the film's brief theatrical release back in the day. The print had taken on a pinkish hue that actually worked well for the film and the whole thing is far from being the chore and disaster it's painted to be.

I have a homemade DVD of R&C, copied from a VHS tape that I bought in Compendium Books in Camden, long gone now. The tape is derived from the film's only ever UK television showing, on C4, also back in the day.

Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 12 September 2023 10:56 (one week ago) link

There’s at least a great version of “Isis” that is in one or both, no?

The Thin, Wild Mercury Rising (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 12 September 2023 11:11 (one week ago) link

In Montreal, I think, hence the dedication to “Leonard (Cohen)”

The Thin, Wild Mercury Rising (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 12 September 2023 11:16 (one week ago) link

Initial copies of The Bootleg Series Volume Five came with a DVD featuring performances of Tangled Up in Blue and Isis that are taken from RENALDO AND CLARA - the only official physical media release of any kind.

Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 12 September 2023 11:26 (one week ago) link

Yeah. That “Isis” was up on YouTube at some point but now it’s either been taken down or the audio silenced.

The Thin, Wild Mercury Rising (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 12 September 2023 11:54 (one week ago) link

So there is virtually no way of seeing RENALDO AND CLARA (unless one goes to Ward Fowler's home and watches a home-made DVD copied from a VHS cassette of a TV broadcast) ?


the pinefox, Tuesday, 12 September 2023 12:04 (one week ago) link

You can also go to Bob's house, where he'll sit you on a barstool at his counter and tell you about it.

the dreaded dependent claus (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 12 September 2023 12:44 (one week ago) link

or to the internet archive, which has something they call a "concert cut" of renaldo and clara.

Thus Sang Freud, Tuesday, 12 September 2023 12:49 (one week ago) link

back in college there was the oak street cinema by the university of minnesota, really amazing old school art house/repertory place. was owned by an old folky hippie type (a real character, natch).

anyway, once in college i saw "eat the document" there off a VHS projector, he had gotten a VHS tape of it from dylan himself cuz they knew each other back in the day.

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 12 September 2023 13:06 (one week ago) link

Aw man that place ruled, I remember going to see Bunuel movies there in college.

JoeStork, Tuesday, 12 September 2023 13:27 (one week ago) link

My 2012 take on Renaldo and Clara when it was on YouTube, about 45 minutes a night, which may have added to my enjoyment, as I said then:

The flick's three hours-thirty-odd minutes, but very episodic, no prob with breaks. Though maybe such a bounty of episodes, jumping between live music and skits (or scenes, as some deserve to be called), got on nerves, especially those of reviewers, who were no doubt even more bombarded by Rolling Thunder hype than were us common readers of Rolling Stone, for major instance.

It was a commercial as well as critical flop apparently, although I don't know the numbers As I mentioned later in there, he recut, re-released another reject, and I don't know which version I saw, but enjoyed it. Discussion of middle-aged musos on and behind stage (still putting themselves in front of cameras), a fine turn by Harry Dean Stanton, and of people on the street in Newark discussing Hurricane Carter, how often do you see that in a movie?
Also a later mention of Albums That Never Were's proposed soundtrack, and most (not very) recently, Claudia Levy's suit re royalties on Jacques co-writes in Rolling Thunder and R and C., another link is to a very good interview with her (she was friends with Bob before meeting Jacques, introduced them etc), and discussions incl more links to sources in linked ilx threads----anyway, here tis (not so long)

dow, Wednesday, 13 September 2023 03:40 (one week ago) link

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