Beginning To Hear Voices (Tambourine Man Records TMR-098/099)
The Events Center, Turning Stone Casino & Resort, Verona, NY – April 20, 2005
Disc 1: intro., The Wicked Messenger, She Belongs To Me, It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding), Just Like A Woman, Cold Irons Bound, Desolation Row, Suck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again, Man In The Long Black Coat, Cat’s In The Well, Ballad Of Hollis Brown
Disc 2: You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere, Like A Rolling Stone, Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues, All Along The Watchtower. Bonus tracks, Denver – March 29th, 2005: Down Along The Cove, John Brown. Boston – April 17th, 2005: God Knows, Ring Them Bells, Tryin’ To Get To Heaven, I Believe In You, I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine
The latest three releases from Mr. Tambourine Man records have been excellent DAT recordings from Bob Dylan’s spring tour. Beginning To Hear Voices captures the entire show in Verona, New York with generous excerpts from the second of two shows in Denver and the third show in Boston. It’s interesting how Dylan is grouping his tours around all different kind of venues. Last fall he played a college circuit tour even playing my school, St. Bonaventure University. This concert occurs at an Indian casino which are plentiful in upstate New York. Sentimental assessments aside, his career resembles the blues men from the twenties or the medieval troubadours and not worrying about selling out Madison Square Garden or The Forum. That’s very admirable.
What is also admirable is the performance in Verona. This is much more mellow than Rain Unraveled Tales, but equally satisfying. Dylan plays an excellent harp in “Just Like A Woman”. After “Cold Irons Bound” someone near the recorder shouts “You’re smokin’, Bob”, and this show also contains the fourth of only five performances of “Desolation Row” on this tour. But the absolute highlight is the rendition of “Ballad of Hollis Brown”. In this bluesy arrangement the audience hangs on every phase and someone let out a yelp after the second “cold coyote calls”. The end brings a loud roar of approval!
The Denver fragment is several notches below the Verona tape. It’s more distant and softer in volume but contains a very emotional version of “John Brown” with a banjo underlining the story. The final bonus tracks from the April 17 show in Boston are the worst sounding on this title, being very distant, but still enjoyable. The bottom insert is printed on one side, but the front insert is the usual four-color page with a review downloaded from the internet. This is another nice production from this label and definitely worth having. (GS)