Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Bob Dylan 64: Live 1962-1966

Way back in the pre-electric era, a handful of Bob Dylan concerts were recorded by Columbia for possible issue as an album to be titled In Concert. While several performances from these shows have been included on a variety of archival compilations, neither the album as originally sequenced—any of the variations considered—nor the complete shows have been granted specific release. The appearance in 2011 of an ultra-rare concert from his folksinger days turned out, so far, to be a standalone idea.
However, Columbia has seen fit to offer up hours of material for procurement, initially on a limited basis, to preserve their copyright license and probably with the assumption that they would be pirated and shared anyway. The first three years of his recording career were “protected” this way, then just about every captured note from 1965 and 1966 was served up via deluxe box set treatments.
As we’ve said before, it’s not all gold, and while some people have to have everything the man ever uttered or strummed, there’s barely enough time to hear it all, much less ingest it. That makes the sudden appearance of a double-disc set called Live 1962-1966: Rare Performances From The Copyright Collections seem like a great idea until you’re done with it. Given the breadth of truly rare compositions to choose from, only “Seven Curses” and “John Brown” represent songs not on the albums originally released during that period. Historically speaking, there’s “Blowin’ In The Wind” with only two verses, “When The Ship Comes In” from the March on Washington with Joan Baez, the electric “It Takes A Lot To Laugh” from Newport and “Maggie’s Farm” from the Hollywood Bowl. The same take on “Ballad Of A Thin Man” is repeated from the seventh Bootleg Series; we’d’ve preferred the incendiary “Like A Rolling Stone” from the final Albert Hall show.
Granted, the music is excellent, and the sequencing does illustrate his development from a Woody Guthrie wannabe to the legendary performer that inspired generations. Those who haven’t clogged their hard drives with this stuff already will likely appreciate it being made available, and at a relatively low price point. But it’s an awfully random collection, belying its origin as a Japan-only release, a sequel of sorts to another grab-bag set that at least offered some actual rarities (one of which is repeated here). The haphazard production is underscored by the bad proofreading on the spines, which read “PREFORMANCES”, along with the shameful omission of Richard Manuel from the credits on the electric tracks from 1966.

Bob Dylan Live 1962-1966: Rare Performances From The Copyright Collections (2018)—3

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