More Blood, More Tracks: The Bootleg Series Vol. 14
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More Blood, More Tracks: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 14 (Sampler)
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MP3 Download, 2 Nov 2018
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'The latest chapter in the highly acclaimed Bootleg Series makes available the pivotal studio recordings made by Bob Dylan during six extraordinary sessions in 1974--four in New York (September 16, 17, 18, 19) and two in Minneapolis (December 27, 30)--that resulted in the artist's 1975 masterpiece, Blood On The Tracks
The 1 CD configuration of More Blood, More Tracks assembles 10 of the most emotionally resonant alternate takes of each of the 10 songs appearing the original Blood On The Tracks plus a previously unreleased version of "Up to Me."
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I like it. It is intimate and sweet and solo Dylan is a joy to behold. But that gets it as far as 3 stars. Now, a release like the Rolling Thunder Revue bootleg or even the initial Bootleg vol 1-3, those get 5 stars as they blow your mind and completely reset your understanding of Dylan the recording artist at those times.
Dylan nut or big fan of Blood On The Tracks? Get it. Obviously. Apart from that, this is missable.
1. Tangled Up In Blue (Take 3 Remake 3)
2. Simple Twist Of Fate (Take 1)
3. Shelter From The Storm (Take 2)
4. You're A Big Girl Now (Take 2)
5. Buckets Of Rain (Take 2 Remake)
6. If You See Her, Say Hello (Take 1)
7. Lily, Rosemary & The Jack Of Hearts (Take 2)
8. Meet Me In The Morning (Take 1 Remake)
9. Idiot Wind (Take 4 Remake)
10. You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Take 1 Remake)
11. Up To Me (Take 2 Remake)
It is a strange thing, listening to different takes of songs you have been so incredibly familliar with for well over forty years now, so much that you know virtually every note and vocal nuance. To be honest, I have to question whether I really want, or need a “alternative” version of an album that, let’s face it, is pretty much perfect. What is know for sure is that I have no desire to plough through no less than NINE versions of “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”, as you get on the full deluxe box set. Sorry, but personally I can’t really see the point in that. (Incidentally, the one version of “Lonesome” I have heard so far, “Take 5”, is extended, slowed down and with a more prominent drum sound. I like it a lot). It is interesting, however, to listen to this selected collection of “work in progress” versions as one complete “alternative album”, so to speak. True hard core fans will want to listen to the whole lot, of course. “Soft core” ones like myself will be more than happy with this. Many fans who are perfectly happy with the brilliance of the original album will be more than content to stick with that.
Some alternative versions of some of the tracks were previously available on “The Bootleg Series 1-3” (“If You See Her Say Hello”. “Idiot Wind” and “Tangled Up In Blue”) and “You’re A Big Girl Now” was available on the “Biograph” compilation. So, I had heard some of them. I am informed, however, (see comments below this review for full details on each track) that although they are from the same sessions, they are different takes. Incidentally, the sound on these newly-released takes is much better than on the "Bootleg Series 1-3" and "Biograph" cuts. Much warmer.
Regarding the music, what these stripped down, far more acoustic versions have is a more bleak, intense nature to them. In my view the eventual recordings add a fullness to the songs which can’t be beaten, therefore, however hauntingly beautiful the versions of “If You See Her, Say Hello” and “You’re A Big Girl Now” are, for example. I still have to say that I prefer them in their finished incarnations, so I have to ask myself how often I will be revisting these recordings. The answer is only occasionally. That said, though, listening to “Tangled Up In Blue” ("Take 3, Remake 3") with its slightly different lyrics and subtle, melodious bass lines is a real pleasure. There is an appealing, understated feeling to it. The same applies to a gorgeous "Shelter From The Storm" ("Take 1)", with its catchy piano bits. "Simple Twist Of Fate ("Take 3a") is just sublime. It has a truly lovely vocal, bass and gentle drum/cymbal sound. Actually, I can see how these versions may start creeping into my consciousness. If I start listening to them more than I do the original album, would that be a betrayal? After all these years together, too…
Unlike many, “Lily, Rosemary & The Jack Of Hearts” has always been my favourite track on the album. (I am a big fan of Dylan’s narrative “story” songs). The version I have listened to here, “Take 2”, is delivered in “Tangled Up In Blue”, laid-back acoustic style. I have to say I prefer the fast-paced, drum-backed one that was eventually used. It has more poetic vibrancy, a cinematic speed that the song’s tale needs, in my opinion. The lively pace suits the story.
As a resource for part-time (and full-time) Dylanologists, the collection(s) are both interesting and relevant. Whether anyone who doesn’t fall into those categories will find it essential is open to question, certainly not the full version, although people like me will find the abridged release extremely interesting. A postscript to this is that now, several months on, I have the abridged version and have subsequently "cherry picked" around ten more individual tracks to download from the full version. These are versions that have appealed to me. The ones that still remain of no interest are the one minute or less "snippets" of tracks.
Recorded in New York during September 16-19, 1974, when his marriage to Sara was on the rocks, Dylan is in majestic form and the powerful, emotionally complex songs are painfully honest and heartfelt.
There's also an expensive 87-track, 6-CD set which documents the 10 original songs plus outtakes, false starts etc. from the 1974 sessions, but impecunious Dylan fans should be content with this excellent single CD of 'More Blood, More Tracks'.
It's fascinating to compare these stark, raw versions with those on the original 'Blood On The Tracks'.
The track listing is as follows:
1. Tangled Up In Blue(Take 3, Remake 3, 19/9/74)
2. Simple Twist Of Fate(Take 1, 16/9/74)
3. Shelter From The Storm(Take 2, 17/9/74)
4. You're A Big Girl Now(Take 2, 16/9/74)
5. Buckets Of Rain(Take 2, Remake, 18/9/74)
6. If You See Her, Say Hello(Take 1, 16/9/74)
7. Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts(Take 2, 16/9/74)
8. Meet Me In The Morning(Take 1, Remake, 19/9/74)
9. Idiot Wind(Take 4, Remake, 19/9/74)
10. You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go(Take 1, Remake, 17/9/74)
11. Up To Me(Take 2, Remake, 19/9/74)
Recorded in New York, A & R Studios
Tracks 16/9 & 18/9 - Bob Dylan(vocals, guitar, harmonica)
Tracks 17/9 & 19/9 - Bob Dylan(vocals, guitar, harmonica)