Bob Dylan – Raised In The Country (Tambourine Man Records TMR 203/204)

Raised In The Country (Tambourine Man Records TMR 203/204)

Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica, Cleveland, OH – August 6th, 2011

Disc 1 (79:51):  Intro., Rainy Day Women #12 & 35, To Ramona, Things Have Changed, Tangled Up In Blue, Beyond Here Lies Nothin’, Mississippi, Ballad Of Hollis Brown, The Levee’s Gonna Break, The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll, Highway 61 Revisited, Simple Twist Of Fate, Thunder On The Mountain, Ballad Of A Thin Man, encore/ applause

Disc 2 (79:32): Like A Rolling Stone, band intro., All Along The Watchtower. Bonus tracks, Finger Lakes Community College, Constellation Brands – Marvin Sands PAC, Canandaigua, NY – August 9th, 2011:  Love Minus Zero / No Limit, Things Have Changed, Tangled Up In Blue, Beyond Here Lies Nothin’, Mississippi, John Brown, Blind Willie  McTell.  Tryin’ to Get To Heaven (August 7th, 2011), Can’t Wait (June 22nd, 2011), The Man In Me (June 27th, 2011), Till I Fell In Love With You (June 22nd, 2011), Girl From The North Country (June 25th, 2011), Beyond Here Lies Nothin’ (June 26th, 2011)

Raise In The Country is among the latest Bob Dylan silvers from Tambourine Man Records, one of the most dependable Dylan labels, documenting further the summer tour of the US.  The main show for this is the August 6th, 2011 concert at the Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica in Cleveland, Ohio. 

TMR utilize a very good stereo audience tape.  It has a fair amount of echo and the music is a bit “soft,” but the atmosphere is captured every well. 

A review written by Lydia Munnell published in the Cleveland Scene magazine points out that:  “I’ve heard a lot of people gripe after seeing Bob Dylan live, and the story is always the same: nothing sounds like it used to.

“I can think of a few answers to that complaint, not the least of which is this: Bob Dylan, perhaps more than anyone else in the whole of the music industry, has earned the right to do whatever the hell he pleases. Only when you can name another musician with a career as long and illustrious, a catalog as massive and memorable, or a persona as mythic, can you criticize his choices.

“And if you saw him Saturday night at Jacob’s Pavilion, one thing is clear: Bob still knows best.

“Dylan kicked off his set with ‘Rainy Day Women #12 & 35’ and when he sang the familiar chorus, lighters zipped on all over the crowd. The night saw Zimmerman on organ, harmonica, guitar, and hands free with remarkable stage presence at the mic.

“This was a Bob who looked markedly younger than on previous tours — and his set list reached back into his younger years too, with surprising, early ’60s protest tunes like ‘The Ballad of Hollis Brown’ and ‘The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll.’

“He grabbed the mic-stand and moved — almost danced — while he balanced the show with crowd pleasers like ‘Simple Twist of Fate’ and ‘Tangled Up in Blue’ along with deep cuts like ‘Mississippi.’

“As usual, the audience was full of everyone from teenagers to wine-guzzling baby boomers, making clear Dylan’s penchant for roping in new fans even decades after his first hits.

“The whole crowd went wild for opening chords of his perpetual encore ‘Like a Rolling Stone,’ and his khaki-clad band closed the show with ‘All Along the Watchtower.’

“And when the band finally stood in line to take a bow, Dylan stepped out a little further. He formed each hand into the shape of a gun and, taking an awkward little bow, pulled both triggers. It was a fittingly unpredictable gesture from an artist who is famous for defying our perceptions.  You still don’t like the way he does it? He probably doesn’t care.”

“Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” is the opener.  Dylan seems to forget the words at the very end, singing “they’ll stone you / yeah, they’ll stone you / they’ll stone you / they’ll really stone you” until they come to the end.  “To Ramona” makes its tour debut tonight with a laid back country twist in the melody.  “Things Have Changed” is played in the new country and western arrangement, but the band don’t hit the chords as hard as they did earlier.

“Beyond Here Lies Nothin'” lacks the trumpet, but Charlie Sexton plays an abstract guitar solo in the middle.  “Ballad Of Hollis Brown” makes its tour debut.  The melody is carried by Donnie Herron on banjo.  Afterwards is another tour debut, this time for “The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll.”

“Ballad Of A Thinman” closes the show and Cleveland are treated to only two encores, “Like A Rolling Stone” and “All Along The Watchtower.”

A bulk of the bonus tracks come three days later in Canadaigua in beautiful central New York State.  The sound quality is even better than the Cleveland show, and TMR offer a generous portion of the show.  Three songs, “Love Minus Zero / No Limit,” a sublime “John Brown” (featuring Herron’s banjo) and the excellent “Blind Willie McTell,” weren’t played in Cleveland.  

“Things Have Changed” is played in the same arrangement but is so much heavier and more aggressive than in Cleveland, and in the middle of “Beyond Here Lies Nothin'” Stu Kimball and Charlie Sexton play two counter melodies in the solo.  It sounds both chaotic and beautiful at the same time.

Of the six remaining bonus tracks “Tryin’ To Get To Heaven” comes from the August 7th show in Michigan, right between Cleveland and Canadaigua.   The other five songs come from the European tour in June, 2011.  All are from great sounding tapes and are very nice performances.  “The Man In Me,” coming from the June 27th show in Odense in Denmark, is a particular standout. 

The disc ends with the third recording of “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’.”  This recording, taken from the June 26th show in Hamburg, Germany, is recorded better than the other two and is remarkable for its intensity.  It is perhaps one of the best live performances yet. 

Raised In The Country is another quality silver pressed title by Tambourine Man Records.  It basically has one and a half great shows from the American tour plus a generous helping of bonus tracks from the summer tour to keep it interesting.  The artwork is decorated with candid live shots from the US (they are dressed as they are described in the Cleveland review – the band in beige suits except for Dylan, who is dressed in black).   

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