Jump to content

Bob Dylan - The Bootleg Series: Volume 9


Josh Hurst
 Share

Recommended Posts

There are other things I'd rather see be released via the bootleg series, but this is welcome all the same. There's some great material in there, including a few pretty major early songs that have never seen an official release ("Long Time Gone," "Long Ago Far Away," etc.)

I'm actually more excited about this:

Dylan will also reissue his first eight albums (from his 1962 self-titled debut through 1967's John Wesley Harding) in mono format, which have never been issued on CD before. The reissues — reportedly mastered using "first issue copies of the mono LPs" in order to recreate the sound of the original LPs — will come packaged in paper sleeves with liner written by Rolling Stone contributing editor Greil Marcus.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are other things I'd rather see be released via the bootleg series, but this is welcome all the same. There's some great material in there, including a few pretty major early songs that have never seen an official release ("Long Time Gone," "Long Ago Far Away," etc.)

I'm actually more excited about this:

Dylan will also reissue his first eight albums (from his 1962 self-titled debut through 1967's John Wesley Harding) in mono format, which have never been issued on CD before. The reissues — reportedly mastered using "first issue copies of the mono LPs" in order to recreate the sound of the original LPs — will come packaged in paper sleeves with liner written by Rolling Stone contributing editor Greil Marcus.

It's good news, although these are among the most frequently bootlegged of Dylan's recordings. I guess it makes sense to issue some official bootlegs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's good news, although these are among the most frequently bootlegged of Dylan's recordings. I guess it makes sense to issue some official bootlegs.

Yeah, if they wanted a high-profile 60s era release, I would've preferred the Hollywood Bowl concert -- also pretty widely available, but the bootlegs I've heard are lousy quality, and the music is just mind-bogglingly good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Hollywood Bowl concert is, I think, the first bootleg recording I ever acquired. This was before the average high school schlub had internet access and I paid 35 bucks or so for it from a used CD store in Wichita, KS.

The lousy sonics only increased my enjoyment. LOOK AT ME, I HAVE ILLEGAL BOOTLEG RECORDINGS!1!!1!

The songs are good too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

It's interesting that two of the best songs from the Witmark Demos -- "Percy's Song" and "Lay Down Your Weary Tune" -- are not included in the newly released Bootleg series. Although both were subsequently released on Biograph, I'm not sure why they've been excluded from this set. About 80% of this material is available on previously released Bootleg sets ("official" bootlegs, that is), so it's not like the "previously released" card can be played. Anybody have any idea on why these songs have been held back? These are not only highlights from the Witmark Demos, but highlights from Dylan's career, period.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some of the exact same recordings from this set have been released officially already (such as "When the Ship Comes In" and "The Times They Are A-Changing," both at the end of the BS vol.1), so any omissions would be strange. Are you sure "Percy's Song" and "Lay Down Your Weary Tune" were recorded as Witmark Demos? I believe the versions released on Biograph were outtakes from The Times They Are A-Changin, and I've got an old bootleg of the Witmark Demos that doesn't include either of them.

Edit to add: Have you gotten the mono set yet, Andy? If so, what are your thoughts on it vs. the extant stereo releases.

Edited by Titus
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some of the exact same recordings from this set have been released officially already (such as "When the Ship Comes In" and "The Times They Are A-Changing," both at the end of the BS vol.1), so any omissions would be strange. Are you sure "Percy's Song" and "Lay Down Your Weary Tune" were recorded as Witmark Demos? I believe the versions released on Biograph were outtakes from The Times They Are A-Changin, and I've got an old bootleg of the Witmark Demos that doesn't include either of them.

Edit to add: Have you gotten the mono set yet, Andy? If so, what are your thoughts on it vs. the extant stereo releases.

I guess I'm not positive. I have old bootleg cassette tapes (ah, yes, those were the days) labeled "Witmark Demos," and "Percy's Song" and "Lay Down Your Weary Tune" are included there. But bootlegs (the real ones) being what they are, I wouldn't want to assume too much in terms of accuracy. The timeframe of the songs fits the Witmark Demo years, but of course that doesn't necessarily mean that they were recorded as part of the Witmark Demos.

I haven't heard the mono recordings, and honestly I'm probably not going to go out of my way to do so. Whatever sonic differences exist between mono and stereo versions of the same songs are largely lost on a guy with a hearing aid. And that's me.

Edited by Andy Whitman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do the cuts that are on your cassettes sound different than the versions on Biograph? I've only ever heard two versions of "Lay Down Your Weary Tune" -- the (I believe) album outtake that's on Biograph, and a really beautiful, less jaunty and more low-key version he did for a Carnegie Hall concert in 1963. Perhaps your bootleg just used one of these versions? "Walls of Red Wing" has appeared on some bootlegs of the Witmarks before, but it turns out that the Witmark version doesn't actually exist (or doesn't circulate, anyway), and the version that was being included on Witmark releases was actually a concert recording with the audience noise erased. I don't know, just a thought -- there surely must be some reason they weren't included here.

And too bad you're not picking up the mono set. I was looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it. Now I'm going to have to rely on my own judgment -- something I try and avoid whenever possible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

I've spent the last week listening to basically nothing except the mono box, and I'm ready to make a few general comments about it. The packaging is exquisite, as handsome as any box set I've seen. The liner notes, by Greil Marcus, are lovely, though even a 60-page booklet barely even begins to summarize the importance of Dylan's 60s output. The albums sound really good, particularly on the electric albums, which are more forceful and aggressive than the stereo mixes.

But the biggest revelation here is this: These albums are some of the best of all time. I know that's not a startling claim, but it still amazes nevertheless, and hearing them all back to back like this emphasizes just how big of a roll Dylan was on back then. I'll go as far as to say that there's never been a more brilliant eight-album run than this. (Or, okay, if you want to count out the first album and call it the best seven-album run ever, Freewheelin' through John Wesley, fine... but I'm willing to stick my neck out for that first album any day.)

Partner in Cahoots

www.cahootsmag.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...