19 August 2013, Stuart @ 1:43 pm
Bob Dylan “The 50th Anniversary Collection” [Sony Music Entertainment]
Bob Dylan’s Blues (Mx. CO 75718-2) / Bob Dylan’s Blues (Mx. CO 75718-3) / Corrina, Corrina (Mx. CO 76981-2) / Corrina, Corrina (Mx. CO 76981-3) / That’s All Right, Mama (Mx. CO 76983-1) / That’s All Right, Mama (Mx. CO 76983-3) / That’s All Right, Mama (Mx. CO 76983-5) / Mixed Up Confusion (Mx. CO 76982-3) / Mixed Up Confusion (Mx. CO 76982-5) / Mixed Up Confusion (Mx. CO 76982-6) / Mixed Up Confusion (Mx. CO 76982-7) / Mixed Up Confusion (Mx. CO 76982-9) / Mixed Up Confusion (Mx. CO 76982-10) / Mixed Up Confusion (Mx. CO 76982-11) / That’s All Right, Mama (remake/overdub CO76893-3) / Rocks And Gravel (Solid Road) (Mx. CO 76986-2) / Ballad Of Hollis Brown (Mx. CO 77003-2) / Kingsport Town (Mx. CO 77004-1) / When Death Comes Creepin’ (Whatcha Gonna Do?) (Mx. CO 77005-1) / Hero Blues (mx. CO 77020-1) / When Death Comes Creepin’ (Whatcha Gonna Do?) (Mx. CO 77021-1) / I Shall Be Free (Mx. CO 77023-3) / I Shall Be Free (Mx. CO 77023-5) / Hero Blues (Mx. CO 77020-2) / Hero Blues (Mx. CO 77020-4) (71:23)
Hard Times In New York Town (Mackenzie Home Tapes) / The Death Of Emmett Till (Mackenzie Home Tapes) / I Rode Out One Morning (Mackenzie Home Tapes) / House Of The Rising Sun (Mackenzie Home Tapes) / See That My Grave Is Kept Clean (Mackenzie Home Tapes) / Ballad Of Donald White (Mackenzie Home Tapes) / Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance (Gerde’s Folk City) / Talkin’ New York (Gerde’s Folk City) / Corrina, Corrina (Gerde’s Folk City) /Deep Ellum Blues (Gerde’s Folk City) / Blowin’ In The Wind (Gerde’s Folk City) / The Death Of Emmett Till (Finjan Club, Montreal) / Stealin’ (Finjan Club, Montreal) / Hiram Hubbard (Finjan Club, Montreal) / Blowin’ In The Wind (Finjan Club, Montreal) / Rocks And Gravel (Solid Road) (Finjan Club, Montreal) / Quit Your Low Down Ways (Finjan Club, Montreal) / He Was A Friend Of Mine (Finjan Club, Montreal) / Let Me Die In My Footsteps (Finjan Club, Montreal) / Two Trains Runnin’ (Finjan Club, Montreal) / Ramblin’ On My Mind (Finjan Club, Montreal) / Muleskinner Blues (Finjan Club, Montreal) / Muleskinner Blues (part 2) (Finjan Club, Montreal) (78:31)
Sally Gal (Carnegie Hall Hootenanny) / Highway 51 (Carnegie Hall Hootenanny) / Talking John Birch Paranoid Blues (Carnegie Hall Hootenanny) / The Ballad Of Hollis Brown (Carnegie Hall Hootenanny) / A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall (Carnegie Hall Hootenanny) / See That My Grave Is Kept Clean (The Gaslight Café, NYC) / No More Auction Block (The Gaslight Café, NYC) / A Motherless Child (The Gaslight Café, NYC) / Kindhearted Woman Blues (The Gaslight Café, NYC) / Black Cross (The Gaslight Café, NYC) / The Ballad of Hollis Brown (The Gaslight Café, NYC) / Ain’t No More Cane (The Gaslight Café, NYC) (48:34)
Released on the 27th of December 2012, the “50th Anniversary Collection” was released on 4 CDRs as a compilation of some of Bob Dylan’s earliest recordings for Columbia records. They were obviously a little too late to cover Dylan’s debut – or maybe unwilling to do so for so little return – an opportunity that had the grey market manufacturers leap to their feet with joy only for them to manage to squeeze out a stereo / mono hybrid 2 CD of the album.
The collection also featured long standing bootleg tracks from the Mackenzie Home Tapes (Originally released on Dandelion’s “I Was so much Younger Then” 4 CD set), Gerde’s Folk City (Released on the same set), the Finjan Club (Released on Yellow Dog’s “The Finjan Club), Carnegie Hall Hootenanny ( Hollow Horn’s ‘Just Like Marlon Brando’) and the Gaslight Cafe (Wildwolf/Scorpio’s “Second Gaslight Tape” as well as Rattlesnake’s “Gaslight Tapes 1962″ )
The Anniversary release was doled out to a few renowned independent record stores within the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, France and Sweden while being made available for download as an MP3 in the U.S. The set was released without a specific recommended retail selling price so for some of the legends of industry, there was a free for all for what to charge. Before the advent of this silver pressed copy (and as I post this review) people are still trying to sell their original CDRs at the cost of c. £2000 or $3000 on the internets best auction sites but as we know CDRs can be turned around and printed in a matter of days or minutes, a simple copy could have been photo copied and burned in a morning, a silver CD is a much more stable and desirable artefact .
The sessions for “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” album ran through the 24th of April 1962 up to the 6th of December the same year. While this compilation was released with the mind of making the various takes unbootlegable by the people who may have had them, not all of the takes from those sessions were included in this set (false starts and ‘outtakes’ were considered unworthy so only previously bootlegged tracks and a small handful of undiscovered tracks made it to this compendium.
Tracking back through the newer studio takes on the collection though would span a review as long as your arm so I’m indebted to the Eldis Appreciation Society group on Facebook for highlighting the newer takes on the set as outlined below;
Going Down To New Orleans (Mx. CO 70085-1) – NEW!
Bob Dylan’s Blues (Mx. CO 75718-2) – NEW!
Now as far as the live or none studio tracks are concerned they were recorded under beds, around people homes or in clubs without any real recording systems. However, the company was able to source the best quality of these recordings (IE: Probably not the tapes that were apparently mined by Anthony Scaduto while the originals were played for him) and they have been refurbished just as well as the best bootlegger might have mustered.
The 6 tracks here span two sides of the launch of Dylan’s fame. The first two tracks, “Hard Times In New York” and “The Death of Emmett Till”, both featured in this repotoire and 16 days earlier he had recorded the two songs in session for Cynthia Gooding’s record show, and was on the very cusp of rocketing to a revered cult following.
Dylan’s show at Gerde’s Folk Club has Dylan playing the performer, storyteller and host. He’s much more animated than in private, jerky and playful while he mends with his performing voice and dry wit. The sound though suffers as the recording was no professional enough to be cleaned up properly or has been taken from old vinyl – “Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance” suffers the most from this errant noise but it’s not too distracting due to the actual performance. It’s no wonder that Robert Shelton gave glowing praise from this performance and gave props to Dylan for his magnetism.
The Finjan club show has a much more rounded sound, just as good as it’s original Yellow Dog release and is no less fun as Dylan rips through more of his ever-expanding catalogue. The only unfortunate disappearances are the asides that Dylan squirrels between songs. Sony have seen fit to cut them out for time restrictions which is a shame as we lose more of Dylan’s formative stage presence to the cutting room floor.
On to disk four and the show at the Carnegie Hall Hootenanny, the songs like they were recorded from the venues grand balconies. An echoey, slightly distant sound this sounds like it was included just to give the label something to muscle in on. Were it released on a bootleg people would complain, as it stands, if only 100 people heard it it wouldn’t matter. Dylan but not worth the space.
The Gaslight tapes – another oft bootlegged piece and retail CD in Starbucks in North America – rounds up the set. Another quiet affair but not as quiet as the Carnegie Hall tape. Dylan was fast moving on in to more political, darker themes. Slipping in to a quieter, more closed, reserve but, of course, the in-between chatter has been chopped out again and for no good reason this time it would seem.
This set is essential for Dylan fans – taking it away from the exploitative price point being charged by others and this time it’s packaged properly. Sparsely but properly in a ‘fat-boy’ jewel case with real printed inserts and a basic booklet but that’s got to be better than 4 A4 stapled pages.
The CDs are silver but pressed to look like the basic CDRs that were originally released. For the amount of new material there is here, it’s a must have even if you might still have to keep your older CDs for the studio chatter in-between the live cuts.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]Bob Dylan - The 50th Anniversary Collection (Sony Music Entertainment),