Bob Dylan – Good Enough For Now (Thinman-40/41/42/43)

Good Enough For Now (Thinman-40/41/42/43)

Disc 1:  Oh Babe It Ain’t No Lie (10/26 early), To Ramona (11/14), Desolation Row (11/19 early), It’s All Over Now Baby Blue (10/29), This World Can’t Stand Long (11/20), Love Minus Zero / No Limit (10/31), One Too Many Mornings (11/19 early), Somebody Touched Me (11/18), My Back Pages (11/2), Masters Of War (11/2), Ring Them Bells (11/13), Tomorrow Is A Long Time (11/15), A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall (11/14)

Disc 2:  I Am The Man Thomas (10/27), Song To Woody (11/13), It’s Alright Ma (10/31), Rock Of Ages (11/19 late), Boots Of Spanish Leather (11/18), Visions Of Johanna (11/13), Stone Walls And Steel Bars (10/26 late), Girl Of The North Country (11/19 late), John Brown (11/10), A Satisfied Mind (11/9), Mama You Been On My Mind (10/30), The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll (11/9), Highlands (11/18)

Disc 3:  Money Honey (11/15), You’re A Big Girl Now (11/18), To Be Alone With You (11/3), Senor (11/3), I Don’t Believe You (11/3), Shelter From The Storm (11/6), Cat’s In The Well (11/5), Man Of Peace (11/15), Queen Jane Approximately (11/11), Hootchie Cootchie Man (11/11), Absolutely Sweet Marie (11/11), Every Grain Of Sand (11/17), Blind Willie McTell (11/15)

Disc 4:  Folsom Prison Blues (11/9), When I Paint My Masterpiece (10/29), If You See Her Say Hello (11/17), Down Along The Cove (11/8), Man In The Long Black Coat (11/8), Simple Twist Of Fate (10/31), Big River (11/8), I Want You (11/19 early), The Man In Me (11/19 late), Shooting Star (11/9), Everything Is Broken (11/11), What Good Am I (11/11), I And I (11/10)

Good Enough For Nowis another anthology produced by the Thinman label following last year’s compilation of the 1974 tour with The Band.  This one focuses upon Dylan’s second tour in the fall 1999 with Phil Lesh.  It was preceded by a taping for the television show “Dharma & Greg” on October 12th and began on October 26th with two shows at Park West in Chicago.  It ended about a month later on November 20th at the University Of Delaware in Newark and covered various university sites in the Midwest and east coast.  He played a total of twenty-two concerts and performed ninety-six different songs.  Like other tours it produced its share of rarities and debuts. 

Thinman did not included a version of every song played but presents a generous selection with five hours of not so vintage Dylan.  Like any anthology the sound quality varies but on the whole the used excellent sounding stereo audience tapes that stand together very well giving this a uniform enjoyable listen.  The first two discs are subtitled “Acoustic Amblings” and as the title suggests presents the songs Dylan plays on the acoustic guitar.  The first disc begins with the spoken introduction and the very first number performed on the tour, the Elizabeth Cotton folk song “Oh Babe, It Ain’t No Lie” (performed in the Jerry Garcia arrangement) from the October 26th early show in Chicago.  The fifth track in this collection is the very first time Dylan performed the Jim Anglin tune “This World Can’t Stand Long” from the final show of the tour.

In later versions Dylan plays harmonica between the three verses, but this has a short guitar interlude between each of the three warnings and is very moving.  “One Too Many Mornings” from the November 19th Atlantic City show begins with an attempt at “Everybody Loves Somebody” which Dylan quickly stops before leading the band into the other.  “Somebody Touched Me” was the set opener from the November 18th show at the University Of Massachusetts in Amherst and is a rousing gospel song.  It’s amazing how Dylan is a walking encyclopedia of American music and is able to master and reinterpret almost any idiom he chooses.  Another highlight of the first disc is “Ring Them Bells”.  Thinman use the version from the November 13th show in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  Its performance at the November 8th show in Baltimore, Maryland was the first public airing since June 24th, 1996 in Differdange, France.  

One of the highlights from disc two is “A Satisfied Mind” from the November 9th show at Temple University in Philadelphia.  This was the song’s debut and makes Saved one of the albums from which all songs have been performed in concert.  The Time Out Of Mind track “Highland” closes out the acoustic portion of the four-disc anthology.  There have been nine performances of this epic and this is the fifth dating from the November 18th Amherst show.  This rendition is ten minutes long with Larry Campbell accompanying Dylan on a beautiful mandolin and is an overall powerful and moving reading.  It has not been played in six years so it is nice to hear it again.

The second two discs are subtitled “Electric Explorations” and presents songs played by Dylan on the electric guitar.  The third disc begins with the live debut of the Elvis tune “Money Honey” from the November 15th show in Ithaca in upstate New York.  “Cat’s In The Well” is sourced from the November 5th show at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh and was the first performance of the song since August 18th, 1997 in Wallingford.  “Man Of Peace” was performed three times on this tour and has appeared in the set list only once more since.  This comes from the same show in Ithaca that gave this collection “Money Honey” and retains the swagger of the studio version on Infidels.  The recording from this show is a notch below some of the others with hints of distortion but still very enjoyable.  Also on disc three is the live debut of “Hootchie Cootchie Man” from the November 11th show in Augusta, Maine. 

The label released this tape in its entirety on Everybody Knows I’m Here (Thinman-007/8) several years ago.  “Folsom Prison Blues”, which opens disc four, received its first performance since February 21st, 1993 in Petange, France and “Big River” from the November 8th Baltimore gig is only the second live performance of the song and the first since Santa Barbara on August 7th, 1988.  “When I Paint My Masterpiece”, which dates from the October 29th show in Oxford Ohio, is a good piece of the RTR.  Dylan changes the line “to be back in the land of Coca Cola” to “oh to be drinking rum and Coca Cola”.  “Down Along The Cove”, which had its debut earlier in the year, has its second performance dating from the November 18th Baltimore show. 

“I Want You” is from the early show in the Copa Room at the Sands Casino in Atlantic City and is transformed into a tender love ballad.  “The Man In Me” was resurrected due to its inclusion in the 1998 film The Big Lebowski and is included here.  “I And I” from the November 11th show in New Haven closes out the set and is cut at the very end.   Although this tour received its fair share of praise, only a handful of silver titles have surfaced including the above mentioned Thinman release, Roadmaps For The Soul (RS 064/65) of the East Rutherford show, Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Casino Man (RS 18/19) with the two Atlantic City concerts and Highlands Of Worcester (Wild Wolf/ 11.14. 99) with the November 14th show in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Several years ago the Rattlesnake label were rumoured to be preparing a three-disc compilation which never materialized. 

Good Enough For Nowmore than fills the bill by presenting the interesting performances captured on tape.  More common songs are not included so there is no version of ‘Maggie’s Farm”, “All Along The Watchtower” and “Like A Rolling Stone”.  There can be some minor quibbles like the absence of the rarity “Duncan And Bradley”, but this is a solid release.  Thinman use a beige colored motif with several pictures from the era on the cover and inside.  On the inside is the itinerary for the tour so it is easy to determine where each of the songs originates.  They also continue the trend of their last releases by issuing this on picture discs making this a professional and classy looking production.

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