Subtitled 'Radio & TV 1961-1965', this is the third (unofficial) Dylan release by Leftfield Media in the past 18 months and, due to the average quality of sound alone, it's the weakest of the three. Consisting of 12 songs (most with brief introductory interviews), three introductions and a lengthy interview, it clocks in just shy of 80 minutes.
The opening three tracks, from the New York Riverside Church Hootenanny TV Special in July 1961, are traditional numbers and they highlight just what an engaging and talented live performer Dylan was even at this early stage of his career. Introduced as Bobby Dylan, at the end of 'Handsome Molly' he mentions that he's having problems with his harmonica stand that is improvised from a wire coat hanger and during 'Omie Wise' there are long silences as he asks for a knife and attempts to fix it... 'Mean Old Southern Railroad' from the same broadcast is performed by Danny Kalb with Dylan featuring on harmonica.
The second half of the album features original Dylan compositions and the transition from folk troubadour to master poet and songwriter is, even with the muddied sound, clearly evidenced. The hilarious 18 minute interview with Les Crane is worth the entrance fee alone. Dylan is upbeat and very humorous and the rapport he shares with Crane draws plenty of laughter from the studio audience. Dylan introduces the closing track as 'It's Alright Ma (It's Life and Life Only)'.
This compilation acts as an interesting historical document. However, given the average sound quality (it's particularly bad on 'It's All Over Now Baby Blue'), it doesn't quite hold the same appeal as the two earlier Leftfield Media releases. Nonetheless, Dylan aficionados will still find much to enjoy here. Housed in a standard jewel case with a cardboard slipcase, it features well researched and detailed sleeve notes. 3½ Stars.