Bob Dylan: "Trouble No More 1979 - 1981" - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by DeeThomaz, Sep 24, 2015.

  1. hbbfam

    hbbfam Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chandler,AZ
    I thought ASP was a revelation. It gets more play time than some of the earlier Bootleg releases. This is one time when the outtakes and alternative versions excel over the actual album.
     
  2. Tom Daniels

    Tom Daniels Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Arizona
    I agree. Really enjoy this one and guiltily feel quite like a Clinton Heylin acolyte when I listen to it - the unreleased stuff shines compared to the original album.
     
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  3. revolution_vanderbilt

    revolution_vanderbilt Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York
    A few reasons:

    It's focused on such a tight timeline, rather than a long period, or a concert.

    It began the almost yearly release of a Bootleg series.

    Maybe the Witmark Demos could be the start of this new era, by my first point. But I don't think we'll get releases with as vague a concept as TTS signs. Even ASP felt a bit padded out, with Nashville Skyline tracks all the way through his early seventies singles. But it was still a much smaller window than TTS or volumes 1-3.

    I'm not trying to criticize the set too harshly, by any means. There's plenty of great material across the first two discs. And the Isle Of Wight Concert is excellent. It stands high just in general in Dylan's long career, as well as being a majorly important piece of history of his relationship with The Band, and in some way represents the end goal of the Basement Tapes: here they are, after a long and healthy and creative gestation in Woodstock, distilled into one perfect evening. I think I personally have a bad habit of tying the Basement sessions too closely with the set of Dylan originals that would grace the Basement Tapes album. But really, I don't think that is the real purpose of those sessions. They were developing a sound and a style. They came up with a bunch of originals that fit that style, but they also worked on arranging earlier songs in that style.

    Whatever the case, the Gospel years are all pretty intertwined, and devoting 8 discs to them should allow for something in depth and comprehensive.
     
  4. LonesomeDayBlues

    LonesomeDayBlues Forum Resident

    Location:
    Long Beach, CA
    So true, I agree completely. I think one thing has fundamentally changed with Sony and that is the "multiple discs" approach. I think Sony were quite pleased with bs12 sales and know there is a market for this stuff. Believe me, I know I'm in a fortunate situation and can afford anything that Sony throws at me. My wife even approves because she understands what Dylan means to me (and the fact that I spend way more on my children's ballet and music lessons) so I'm all in for lavish multiple discs box sets!
     
  5. revolution_vanderbilt

    revolution_vanderbilt Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York
    I'm curious how they will handle releasing more material from the 1969-71 era in the future (if they indeed chose to do so.) They have a well-established history of later volumes trumping earlier ones. Some Witmark demos were on 1-3 and 7, now on 9 in better quality. 1-3 had some Basement material, now on 11. Heck, even 10 had a Basement song that was released in better quality it on 11. Volume 4 has been made redundant with a virtually identical version on the 1966 box. And all the 1965-66 material on 1-3 and 7 have been remixed and released on 12 (though I think the mixing differences are notable enough to justify their existence. Not the same as getting a better source for a demo.) (And more that I can't recall off the top of my head.) And now 13 will likely repeat some tracks from 1-3.

    But there is still material from 69-71. Even stuff that is already booted, like Ring Of Fire or Tomorrow Is A Long Time, are just as compelling as the material on the set.
     
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  6. I agree with revolution_vanderbilt: ASP was conceptually different, if a little vague about its purpose. Sure, it was centred around Self Portrait but why include seemingly random selections from sessions either side of that album? I would also suggest that TTS is far closer to BS 1-3 than ASP. If you think about it TTS hooks onto the end of BS 1-3 (the earliest cuts of the former are from the same sessions as the latest cuts on the latter, namely Oh Mercy period), giving us a quite brief overview of out-takes from every part of Dylan's career from 1961 through 2006. On the other hand ASP delves deeper into one album with nearby and bookending sessions tagged on. TTS covered just over half the expansive time period of BS 1-3 ie. 17 years compared to 30. ASP zooms in on just a 3 year period, a similar snap-shot of Dylan as the forthcoming Gospel set. In that sense again, revolution_vanderbilt is right about the "new era" of Bootleg Series. We also have the issue of Copyright Extension which has transformed the series recently. Without this issue you would never have seen The Cutting Edge released as a warts 'n' all 18 disc set or indeed Live 1966 being offered complete over a staggering 36 discs.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2017
  7. Sean Murdock

    Sean Murdock Apple Consigliere In Waiting

    Location:
    Bergenfield, NJ
    I think what made Another Self Portrait special was that it was the first Bootleg Series release to try to rehabilitate a maligned era of Dylan's career. All the previous BS sets mined beloved (or at least respected) periods, with any less beloved nuggets safely housed in wide-ranging sampler sets (BS1-3 and BS8). But ASP put it right out there -- You know that album that everyone says is one of the worst LPs ever released by a major artist? Well, here's ANOTHER one -- and we bet you'll change your minds! And we did! In that respect, the upcoming BS13 is definitely the direct successor of BS10 -- Bob's Gospel period certainly has its defenders, but it is widely misunderstood or forgotten by the wider public. This set will generate a LOT of publicity for Gospel Bob, and there will be a lot of pressure on the set to change minds -- the last thing you want is for critics to dig through an 8-disc set and conclude, "Yeah, this stuff is as bad as I remembered (or read on Wikipedia)."

    Knowing now what they've learned from BS12 in particular, I'm sure Sony would like to go back and do some things differently. Killing the fourth disc of BS Vol. 1 (you can bet that they'd love to re-name that first set!) seems incredibly silly now, but back in 1991 a box set of entirely unreleased material was actually a risky concept. They may have thought they were pushing their luck with a four-CD set built around Dylan's most hated album, but they probably realize now that they could have made it six CDs and not lost a sale. Unfortunately, I think they may see this period as "closed," and I will forever mourn the stuff they left out -- that amazing 1970 "Tomorrow Never Knows," the b-side version of "Loving Tongue," the better Cash and Harrison stuff, and the JWH sessions. Hopefully someday they'll find a way to release this stuff -- maybe only through Copyright sets, but I'll take it however they put it out.

    As for the upcoming Bootleg Series 13, it has the potential to be one of my favorite BS sets of all. Considering it seems like it will leave off the Street Legal period and anything post-1981, if it ends up being 6-8 discs it will certainly be expansive. A couple of live shows, with maybe a third on DVD -- AND 2-3 CDs of outtakes? Yes, please!
     
  8. The upcoming BS 13 will be welcomed by me and will help to fill a large gaping void in my Dylan collection, left by the removal of all the post-Slow Train albums up to Oh Mercy. Some time ago I re-purchased many albums for the latest CD remasters (2004) of the core catalogue but neglected to replace those albums which make up the bulk of the 1980's, widely considered the nadir of his career. Put simply I did't ever need to hear Saved, Shot Of Love, Infidels, Empire Burlesque, Knocked Out Loaded or Down In The Groove or Under The Red Sky for that matter, again - not that I hadn't played them quite a lot back in the late 1980's, mind you!

    Yes, there are good songs to be found amongst the dross but in album terms, in my opinion, Dylan didn't release a great cohesive record between Slow Train and Oh Mercy. I've always considered the latter to be a spiritual cousin of the former, with little of much worth in the intervening decade as Dylan struggled to complete one experiment after another, with increasingly careless, sloppy and minimal effort given to each successive project. However, it soon became obvious that the "gospel years" produced a bulk of unreleased material, with much of it superior to what was actually released - this was the start of Dylan's uncertain quality control with the best material being left behind and forgotten - the very impetus for the creation of the Bootleg Series in the first place. The fact that the record company probably wasn't quite as encouraged by this phase (refusing a release of a live 1980 album) also ensured that much material was canned from this time. Unlike later in the decade when out-takes could be excavated to pad out sub-par albums, the gospel period songs / performances have a locked-in style / theme which might not translate to other secular albums quite as well. I believe this gives this whole period a great opportunity to be re-assessed for the quality of both song-writing and performances, much of which have been buried for nearly 40 years. Slow Train is a great album but it only scratches the surface of the heightened level of impassioned performance and writing Dylan exhibited during this period. The Bootleg Series 13 could therefore arguably become the most important BS yet for its purpose, execution and content.
     
  9. Nightswimmer

    Nightswimmer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    I thought the strong stuff on ASP was from New Morning and Nashville Skyline. With very few exceptions the stuff from the Self Portrait sessions confirmed that Self Portrait was a weak album in whatever form.
     
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  10. I agree with you that in qualitative terms the gap between the SP and ASP songs / performances / mixes isn't anywhere near as large as some might claim it is, professional reviewers included. However, I do enjoy both but think ASP gets a much fairer ride in large part down to the timing of its release and the "loosely" assembled format of the BS in general. In other words, take the bulk of the ASP material from the SP sessions and imagine it released on LP in 1970 and I seriously doubt the reviews would have been any more positive than they were for SP.
     
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  11. DeeThomaz

    DeeThomaz Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    In The Felony Room
    I know it was a just a slip of the tongue (well, fingers), but I find the prospect of Dylan covering "Tomorrow Never Knows" too hilarious not to highlight.

    Loved your whole post. It basically expressed my own thoughts better than I ever could.
     
  12. Mbd77

    Mbd77 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    With regard to the 1978 start of the 'Gospel' period...we know that there is a live performance of 'Do Right To Me Baby' as we have an audience recording.
    What isn't widely reported is that several other 'Slow Train Coming' songs were worked out at soundchecks...and were recorded. A lot had early (different) lyrics and arrangements.
    The whereabouts of these tapes is known. I don't know however if they were secured for this release.
     
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  13. Sean Murdock

    Sean Murdock Apple Consigliere In Waiting

    Location:
    Bergenfield, NJ
    Whoops! :laugh: Obviously, I meant "Tomorrow Is A Long Time"! Although I would love to hear Bob cover "Tomorrow Never Knows"... :righton:
     
  14. Slight tangent, but for those looking for it this version of Spanish Is the Loving Tongue is on the readily available Pure Dylan compilation, no? I only recently discovered this myself.
     
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  15. DeeThomaz

    DeeThomaz Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    In The Felony Room
    Along with the unedited "Trouble In Mind," as I recall.
     
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  16. Sean Murdock

    Sean Murdock Apple Consigliere In Waiting

    Location:
    Bergenfield, NJ
    Yes to both -- and "Loving Tongue" sounds very good on Pure Dylan (definitely better than the Australian Masterpieces CD, and in stereo too I think); but for completion's sake, I would have liked it to have been included on BS10. I wouldn't have wanted it to replace the alternate version that WAS included, but alongside it, just as there were multiple versions of a couple of other songs.
     
  17. Dave Gilmour's Cat

    Dave Gilmour's Cat Forum Resident

    Be careful! This is how rumours start and then take hold. In years to come people will be looking for his long lost Revolver covers and it will be all your fault!
    :)
     
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  18. S. P. Honeybunch

    S. P. Honeybunch Presidente de Kokomo

    Location:
    California
    It seems like you're assuming that Dylan wasn't concerned with making cohesive albums because they don't sound cohesive to you. I don't see how including "Blind Willie Mc Tell" makes Infidels a more cohesive single LP. Nor would I assume that Dylan would leave out a track from another album's sessions for any other reason that to make a more cohesive album.
     
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  19. JoeF.

    JoeF. Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Infidels may not be a great Dylan album, but it is cohesive--certainly sound and production-wise, and arguably thematically as well....
     
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  20. revolution_vanderbilt

    revolution_vanderbilt Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York
    I've been thinking about how I'd redo ASP... and frankly, I wouldn't do it, as it stands.

    My concept would be a two volume set: Volume 1 would be focused mainly on Nashville 67-69, with the Isle Of Wight as a "bonus." We'd get JWH sessions, Nashville Skyline sessions including the Johnny Cash session, and the very Nashville Skyline-esque songs and outtakes from Self Portrait.

    Volume 2 would be New York 70-71. We'd get the second half of the Self Portrait sessions (which are of a very different flavor), New Morning sessions including the George Harrison session, the majority of the Dylan album songs (bar two that come from Nashville '69), and all the Greatest Hits and singles from '71.

    But who asked me? :shh:
     
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  21. Tom Schreck

    Tom Schreck Forum Resident

    That's basically how I'd do it too! I think it's so funny how "ASP saved Self Portrait!," when much of the best material on ASP is from the other projects of the era and not Self Portrait.

    I'd also make sure that material from Dylan '73 would be in there too, in alternate mixes if possible. A few solid gems on there! That version of A Fool Such As I is one of my all-time favorite Dylan studio performances!
     
  22. Tom Schreck

    Tom Schreck Forum Resident

    I'll add that, for the record, I think Self Portrait is a perfectly fine album and didn't need "saving" in the first place!
     
  23. revolution_vanderbilt

    revolution_vanderbilt Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York
    Of course, House Carpenter, Railroad Bill, and This Evening So Soon are are all excellent (and from the same day too.)

    And from Dylan, I love Sarah Jane and Lily Of The West. I can't believe that Dylan considered Mr. Bojangles and The Ballad Of Ira Hayes for New Morning, rather than these two!

    It has it's charm. But perhaps it works best as part two of a trilogy, sitting between two solid albums. It's fun and weird and perplexing and not at all serious but entertaining and lightweight and too much but not nearly enough.
     
  24. Tom Schreck

    Tom Schreck Forum Resident

    Generally I think not enough is made of how Self Portrait is the stylistic connecting tissue between Nashville Skyline and New Morning. That alone makes it fascinating in my book, because those are two very different albums. And likewise, not enough is made about how the whole Nashville Skyline - Self Portrait - New Morning continuum is similar in spirit and scope to The Basement Tapes, only in a few recording studios rather than in his drinking buddies' basement.

    And personally I'd improve Self Portrait by removing the Isle of Wight tracks altogether and adding a few more covers or eccentric originals. Make it a more cohesive collection -- like a proto-Triplicate! :unhunh:
     
  25. revolution_vanderbilt

    revolution_vanderbilt Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York
    I'd leave the Isle Of Wight tracks. Like A Rolling Stone is perfect: an original, and in arrangement, an eccentric cover. Almost what you were looking for!

    Yes, The Basement Tapes as a whole are almost a demo or a dry run of the whole Nashville Skyline through post-New Morning saga. John Wesley Harding and the manuscripts that were given life by The New Basement Tapes are pretty much outside this whole realm. When Dylan "returned" with Planet Waves, he came back from a very different place than where he left off. That's deep, serious, personal, from-the-heart emotional music. It's not quite in the same league, but it's nonetheless a more logical follow up to Blonde On Blonde.

    I think it all leads back to the question of who the "real deal" Dylan is. Is it the poetic and deep singer-songwriter who bares his soul on Blood On The Tracks? Is it the country crooner who plays cliches straight on Nashville Skyline? The eccentric interpreter of Self Portrait? The preacher and prophet of the gospel years? Or some other Dylan that sang before, since, or during the lifetime of any of those Dylans? Of course it's all of them and none of them. They are all him but none of them really exist.

    I love that even in my time, I've gotten to see a retirement age Dylan play a new role, making the old wandering bluesman a supporting act, second bill behind this sweet and sentimental singer croaking out the old standards, producing the most compelling standards albums of all his rock generation contemporaries. It's no gimmick. It's the newest same old Dylan.
     

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