I would like to thank everyone who replied to my heartfelt questions last month.

I would like to but no one did reply so guess I can’t. What a shame, time was a comment in FW elicited a response but I guess I am dwelling in past glories. Remember guys it’s more fun together than alone in Dylan land.

Well I guess I had best stick to straight article based material in future? That way no response is required. Hell, I hope you actually READ this stuff. Boy! Wouldn’t that be the worst reason for getting no response??

Just in case anyone did read last months piece and is till wondering then life is a little better here though things are by no means resolved. But enough about me. Let’s talk Bob.

I got an advance copy of the Live RTR double the other day. Not a bootleg pastiche but the real thing. I find it a real mixed bag.

On the bonus side it’s very nice to have the recordings all in such great quality and to sit back and hear a 1975 RTR show unveil before you. I expect many of Dylan’s fan-base will be overjoyed with this record. There are of course some marvellous versions here. Cannot believe how well the Dylan / Baez duets sound. And of course Isis, and Hurricane, there are lots of high spots for sure. So is misery gonna run it down now?

Well just a little bit yes.

You know, we are sometimes In the position where our detailed knowledge of the past gets in the way of things, and this is one of them. If I had never heard an RTR tape then this would be manna from heaven, as it is it’s a pretty nice set. But (here it comes) I cannot understand why CBS have decided to misrepresent a show in this way. Both the opening song (Masterpiece) and the closing one (This Land) are missing. Why? In the case of Masterpiece we know the song exists in it’s entirety as it opens that marvellous film “Renaldo & Clara”. In the case of” This Land” things are even more frustrating as you can hear the start of the song but the recording quickly fades out on the album!

Add to this the fact that each record is only 52 mins long, so there was lots of room for other tracks. But there is other strangeness going on also.

Why was the Dylan / Baez set split into two halves and Dylan’s solo tracks inserted in the middle? To my mind it breaks the continuity of the concert in a quite basic and unnecessary way, there is just no point in breaking the show this way. Of course we all know that the tracks are from several rather than a single performance but as far as we know there was NEVER an occasion when this happened at the show.

I have but one more observation about this that I think needs making.

The Rolling Thunder Tour was about a “musical circus” one which attracted many other famous friends of Bob to the shows, Dylan’s set each night was roughly half the show. On this disc none of the other artists are featured at all. Why? In view of the fact that Dylan has been plugging Warren Zevon relentlessly since his announcement of terminal illness he has passed an opportunity here to show the guy some tangible support. Most of the 75 shows featured Zevons “Werewolves Of London” and if it had been included here Zevons family could have picked up a nice fat royalty check. And we would have more of a show.

Pause to get back breath.

Isn’t this the trouble of knowing what we know? If I was a wide eyed innocent who thought this was truly representative of a RTR show then I would be happy with what we are being given instead of carping on about what else we could have. I find it equally funny in that when Dylan’s tour double of the previous tour to this (1974) came out I was complaining again. Why? Because the record included a number of Band tracks WITHOUT Dylan. He can’t win can he?

Back then I was less informed than I am now. (I was also younger, slimmer, fitter and even sexier!! (Yes I know it’s hard to believe)) But as time has passed I have seen the wisdom in what they did. It was made clear that the tour was “Bob Dylan & The Band” and not just a Dylan tour. Now all these years later I find myself wishing that same rule had been applied here.

Oh well, lets hear Isis again!!


Bob Dylan Live 1975