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Comrades From The North

Well here we are in nippy November and that means that it is time for another release in The Bootleg Series. Don't you just love it! This edition is called Travelin' Thru The Bootleg Series Vol. 15 1967-1969 featuring predominantly the Nashville recordings. Whereas many previous releases such as More Blood, More Tracks and The Cutting Edge have presented the complete extant recordings from the relevant sessions, the compilers of this one have taken a different approach. The accompanying booklet states:

"On these recordings Dylan seemed to have his intentions very clear, and the outtakes differ only slightly from one another. Consequently, in compiling this album the producers have opted not to include multiple takes of the same song; rather, they looked for those that either give you an inkling of the creative process or illuminate a different approach to a song."

Thus, the set occupies a modest 3-CDs or 3-LPs, together with a booklet, all in an unfussy slipcase. Perhaps that fits the bill considering that the John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline albums exhibited a degree of minalism. Less is more, perhaps? It depends upon your preferences and, though it needs to be said that any new Bootleg Series release is always gratefully received, it would have been nice to be given all of the alternate versions and outtakes from the two albums, false starts and all. Surely this too would help enlighten the creative process. Of course not all of the tapes from these sessions are available (supposedly) so it could never have been a complete picture but neither would it have led to an excessively extended set of discs. It is a similar story with the major session of the set, the Dylan-Cash collaboration. This time, however, it is very likely that the material still languishing in the.vaults might be too unfocussed for commercial release? Who knows? It could be made available to hard-headed fans though. Nevertheless, it is great to have a top sound quality recording of these efforts and particularly heartwarming to get Wanted Man. to This lovely little set is yet another gem in a star-studded tiara. It would be interesting to hear your views. Do let us know.

Since the last issue two more key figures from the Dylan story have left us permanently. On 1st August D.A. Pennebaker passed away. If his only achievement had been his role as director and cinematographer of Dont Look Back then that would have been enough. But it wasnít and he had a varied and successful career beyond that. However, it was his behind-the-camera work with the charismatic, mercurial, shooting star that was Bob Dylan charting his way through a UK tour which represented his past that he broke new ground. Put simply Dont Look Back was a first of its kind and set the standard against which all other music films were to be judged. It still divides people - just recently a long-time friend watched it on TV for the first time in a long while and thought it was a poor effort showing Dylan as a scared and naive person. Do you get that? No neither do we. On 23rd September Robert Hunter shuffled off his mortal coils at the age of 78. He co-wrote a number of songs with Dylan featured on Down In The Groove, Together Through Life and Tempest. Though disliked by many, one of these, Silvio, remains a firm favourite of ours.

Finally watch out for Bridge contributor Vince Farinaccio's new book Nothing to Turn Off: The Films and Video of Bob Dylan Revised and Updated available from Amazon. A cracking read.

And so as we leave we would like to correct the photo credits from issue 64. Page 2 should have read 2019 - London from Manfred Piltorp. Many apologies. And thatís all for now folks. We wish you all the very best for the festive season and all good things for 2020.

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

Mike & John


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