Bob Dylan – Coming Down High Street To Rothbury Field (Rattle Snake RS237/238)

Coming Down High Street To Rothbury Field (Rattle Snake RS237/238)

Rothbury Music Festival, Double JJ Ranch, The Odeum Stage, Rothbury, MI – July 5th, 2009

Disc 1 (71:54):  Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat, Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power), Tangled Up In Blue, Rollin’ And Tumblin’, Spirit On The Water, High Water (For Charley Patton), ‘Til I Fell In Love With You, Po’ Boy, Highway 61 Revisited, Ballad Of A Thin Man, Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again

Disc 2 (71:13):  Nettie Moore, Thunder On The Mountain, Like A Rolling Stone, Jolene, All Along The Watchtower, band introductions, Blowin’ In The Wind.  Bonus tracks, O2 Arena, London, England – April 25th, 2009:  Maggie’s Farm, The Times They Are A-Changin’, Things Have Changed, Chimes Of Freedom, The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll, When The Deal Goes Down

Coming Down High Street To Rothbury Field is Rattle Snake’s edition of the July 5th, 2009 soundboard recording that surfaced recently.  The soundboard is very clear and musically well balanced but the crowd sounds are distant.  It first surfaced on the Social Graces label but Rattle Snake managed to improve the sound quality, giving it a much more lively feel than Chasing A Shadow.  It is a beautiful remastering job that makes a great tape sound even better.   

2009 is the second year of the Rothbury Festival in Michigan.  Occurring for four days over the Independence Day holiday, Dylan played on the fourth and final night.  The tape picks up the spoken introduction before Dylan and the band hit the stage with “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat,” a song in frequency circulation as an opener followed by “Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power).” 

On the first two songs Dylan is playing guitar while singing at the front of the stage, but goes to play the keyboards for the third number “Tangled Up In Blue.”  Of all his songs this one seems to have among the most variations in the last thirty years.  This performance features a four note melody played ad infinitum in a syncopated rhythm over which Dylan raps the tale.

Two songs from Modern Times follow, “Rollin’ And Tumblin'” and a gorgeous version of “Spirit On The Water” and on “‘Til I Fell In Love With You” Dylan stands at the center of the stage with the harp.  The show ends with “Like A Rolling Stone.”   Played as the first encore is “Jolene” from Together Through Life, one of the first new songs to make its way to the stage.

Rattle Snake include as a bonus six songs from the April 25th O2 Arena soundboard that was released earlier this year on O2 Arena London // 25th April 2009 (Silent Sea Records SS 250409).  It is a rough sounding tape and Rattle Snake were able to somewhat smooth it out, but it’s still not the greatest recording.  Their job is good enough though to make one wish they made this a three disc set to include the entire O2 recording.  Nevertheless it is an excellent bonus.  The label includes substantial commentary in the booklet as well making Coming Down High Street To Rothbury Field a superlative Bob Dylan release.   

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