Bob Dylan – How I Spent The Summer (Eelgrass ELG – 20284/20285

Bob Dylan, ‘How I Spent The Summer’ (Eelgrass EGL 20284/20285)

Disk 1 – Highway 61 Revisited / Maggie’s Farm / I and I / All Along The Watchtower / The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll / Tangled Up In Blue / Desolation Row / It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry / Masters Of War / Ballad Of A Thin Man / Girl From The North Country / Tombstone Blues (62:13)

Disk 2 – Don’t Start Me Talkin’ / Licence To Kill / Jokerman / Like A Rolling Stone / Mr. Tambourine Man / Don’t Think Twice / Blowin’ In The Wind (31:36)

Disk 1 – Tracks 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8 = Nantes, France 30th June 1984 / Tracks 9, 10 and 11 = Madrid, Spain, 26th June 1984 / Track 1 = Grenoble, France, 3rd July 1984/ Track 6 = Rotterdam, Netherlands, 6th June 1984 * / Track 7 = Rome, Italy, 21st June 1984 / Track 12 = Slane, Ireland, 8th July 1984 (All tracks from multi-track, except * from soundboard)
Disk 2 – Tracks 1-3 = David Letterman, NBC studios, NYC, March 22nd, 1984. Tracks 4-7 = TV3 broadcast, Barcelona, Spain, June 28th, 1984. 

It stands to reason, the more popular a release, the higher the likelihood of it being copied as soon as possible. Eelgrass, most famous for reaching over Empress Valley’s shoulder and copying their homework, have looked to releasing their latest hit, Bob Dylan, ‘What I Did Last Summer’, the compilation of 1984 / ‘85 live tracks from the European leg of Dylan’s tour – No different form to what has always happened throughout bootlegging. 

There’s very little difference in the main structure of the collection, obviously, Eelgrass don’t seem to have gone with a straight dub of the original version of the disk, it sounds like they’ve flattened out a few of the mixing anomalies from the first master – Taking away some of the slight fluctuations in sound that now sound a lot more obvious, levelling the sound out. For anyone who prefers a neater master, this will suffice, for the purists, I would send you to the original EV.

An extra disk has been added to the set that features another few live – televised – tracks of note – namely Dylan’s appearance on David Letterman with the Plugz (The band he SHOULD have been touring with?) in March of 1984 and also portions of televised material from TV3 of Barcelona, Spain on the 3rd of June, 1984. 

Both of these segments on the extra disk have been released elsewhere, though they’re nice to have together if you’re going through an era phase of Dylan and don’t want to bother getting up for extra disks. The Letterman broadcast is bassy and the first track has a touch of interference having been taken from a tape of the broadcast – Befitting the bands sound however, it sounds good with a bit of crunch – The sound levels out by the second track only to return by track three. 

Some of the same issues seem to pervade the Barcelona tracks – The ghost of electricity, if you will – had a slight static buzz running through the broadcast. I checked this against the other copy of this broadcast in my collection, Head’s “TV Guide”, where the static sounds the same. 

The covers for this release are a simple effect as the original EV was – Though rather than blues, the Eelgrass label have opted for a sepia copper colouring with different images of Dylan. Simple, slightly less effective to my eyes, but maybe that’s just me. It’s perfectly readable and easy to understand. 

If you’re struggling with obtaining the EV version, this is a very good substitute. The addition of the extra disk is a nice touch – Especially if you don’t have them in your collection already – but I had a preference for the untouched mastering of the original press that had a livelier feel but it’s a light touch and a personal choice. 

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  1. Alternate 'Real Live'
    • Pros
    • Excellent performances and sound quality. Worthwhile bonus disc.
    • Cons
    • None.

    This great release just goes to show how revisiting a relatively ‘minor’ period in a major artist’s career can cast a new light on it. I have always found the official live document from this period, Real Live, a little plodding and uninspired. But this alternate selection of tracks from the same touring era is quite the opposite – Bob and his band are on fire! Nice bonus disc too. I miss the subtle touch of the studio ‘Jokerman’, but the raw and rocking version here certainly has its own kind of power. Nice work Eelgrass (and EV)!


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