Monday, June 10, 2019

Bob Dylan – The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings

 Out now on Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings is the latest Bob Dylan archival release titled, The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings.  In the fall of 1975, Dylan put together an all-star band featuring, T Bone Burnett, Mick Ronson, Joan Baez, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Bobby Neuwirth, Scarlett Rivera and many more; and played smaller venues with a carnival-like atmosphere.  The shows were joyful and celebratory, relaxed and fun with Dylan handing the spotlight to his talented friends for a lot of the show, which lasted nearly four hours each night.  It was a true rock spectacle with elements of glam and vaudeville and these performances have long been considered Bob Dylan at his best.    

Live recordings from this era were previously released as a 2CD set, as volume 5 in the ongoing Bootleg Series and before that as the live album, Hard Rain (though it chronicled the second, leg of the tour).  This new, expansive anthology, with 148 tracks – 113 previously unreleased – spanning 14 discs, collects all five of the professionally recorded performances during the first leg of Dylan’s 1975 tour, dubbed, “The Rolling Thunder Revue”.  The tracklist for each show was similar in structure with a handful of hits sprinkled in with a majority of the songs – “Hurricaine”, “Isis”, “Romance In Durango”, “Sara”, Oh, Sister” and “One More Cup Of Coffee (Valley Below)” – that later would become Dylan’s 1976 album, Desire.  A highlight each night was a back-to-basics set with Bob and Baez singing some of their earlier folk tunes such as “Blowin’ In The Wind”.  Each show closed out with a spirited performance of “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” and a campfire-like cover of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.”
The collection is highlighted by the three discs of recordings of their rehearsals at S.I.R. studios in New York and the Seacrest Motel in Falmouth, MA.  Standouts include a jovial, laughter-filled incomplete run-through of “She Belongs to Me” on the first disc and a lively, seamless medley of “This Wheel’s On Fire/Hurricane/All Along The Watchtower” on the second disc.  The 14th disc is filled with bonus tracks featuring, rare performances recorded during rehearsals and from fan-captured recordings during the tour.  A booklet featuring rare and never seen photos and an insightful and informational essay by novelist/musician Wesley Stace completes the package.  For vinyl lovers, a reissue of The Bootleg Series Volume 5 has been released on vinyl for the first time since 2002, as a 3LP and 64-page booklet.    
In listening to these recordings, it is evident that Dylan and his band gelled in such a short period of time and is a testament to the talent involved and how fun for the fans and rejuvenating these shows were at the time for Bob.    
 Additionally, this anthology serves as the soundtrack and companion piece to the new film, “Rolling Thunder Revue – A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese”, premiering June 12 on Netflix.          
To order or for more info:   
Watch the trailer for “Rolling Thunder Revue – A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese”:


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