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Comrades From The North

Hello and welcome back. It's been a busy old time since our last bulletin from the edge. The curent hot topic of conversation is the latest instalment of the on-going archive releases, Trouble No More The Bootleg Series 13 1979-1982. Unlike most of its predecessors this release has divided opinions amongst collectors. Firstly, it is important to say that there is some truly great music on the set. The live cuts are passionate and dynamic (with the possible exception of Every Grain Of Sand) and it is good to hear them in this fidelity. The studio outtakes are fascinating - it is great to get yet another take of Caribbean Wind displaying Dylanís malleable approach to his lyrics and there is also a pretty tasty unreleased song Making A Liar Out Of Me. And lots more. These two CDs really do hit the spot. The set is enhanced with the inclusion of a lovely DVD presenting Dylan in concert delivering ace versions of his live set. The inclusion of rehearsal footage is especially welcome and it would have been good to see more of this. So there is plenty to make a good noise about, plenty to enjoy.

The issues for many are about the pricing and (inevitably) the material that has not been included. In terms of cost, the worst deal was for those who had to order from in order to obtain the bonus concert double-CD show from San Diego. They ended up paying about £25 for this item. Even the deluxe set is pretty expensive. It would seem that the pricing of boxsets is wholly arbitary and can either represent a great deal or a licence to print money. Compare Dylan's set with the latest from King Crimson - Sailor's Tales - which contains 21 CDs, 4 Blu-rays, 2 DVDs, booklet, memorabilia and extra downloadable material offering oceans of studio, rehearsal and live material. Covering a three-year period just like Dylanís set, this costs £130 and could have been picked from as little as £110 on early-bird offers!

Regarding the content of the Dylan set, collectors know that theer is a wealth of studio and concert recordings from which to choose so there were always going to be difficult choices. It would have been nice to have a couple more CDs of outtake tracks and the DVD material could have presented a complete show from Toronto or Buffalo 1980say (they do exist). As for the extra San Diego concert it is wonderful to get an almost complete recording of the show from the 28th November 1979 as this was only circulating amongst collectors as the first half of the show only. Having said that, it is a bit of a shame that the show remains incomplete and that a version of In The Garden from the previous night's show was used to replace the incomplete original notwithstanding the fact that they provided this incomplete version as an extra.This remains a very good set but is also something of a missed opportunity. In this issue of The Bridge you will find an interview with Jerry Wexler who gives his own views on the recording of Slow Train Coming.

On a sadder note, on Sunday 1st October, Tom Petty was found unconscious, not breathing and in full cardiac arrest at his Malibu home. After being taken to hospital it was decided to turn off life- support and thus he slipped away straight into darkness. In a statement to Rolling Stone Dylan had this to say:

"It's shocking, crushing news," . "I thought the world of
Tom. He was a great performer, full of the light, a friend,
and Iíll never forget him."

Another Wibury has passed away and a true musician is lost. Petty played a big part in the Dylan story, sharing stages, recording together, writing songs together all with mutual admiration. Dylan remembered his old friend when he played in Denver recently finishing his set with the Petty staple Learning To Fly. Very fitting. This is such a sad way to end the year but, as the wheel of life turns, we wish you the very best for the festive season and 2018.

May you climb on every rung ..........

Mike & John

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