Choice Classic Rock

Bob Dylan – Live 1962 – 1966: Rare Performances from the Copyright Collections

From on Live 1962 – 1966: Rare Performances from the Copyright Collections:

Few artists have been bootlegged as extensively, while the count of official Bob Dylan live albums runs into double figures. Nonetheless, hardcore Dylan fansd of which there is no shortage — will be keen to explore this two-disc compilation of early concert recordings, bringing together material previously only available on the limited edition 50th Anniversary/Copyright Extension LPs.

Those highly-sought records were released in order to prevent the material becoming public domain. They now reach a mass audience via a collection tracing Dylan’s rise from Greenwich Village to his break-out 1963 performance at Carnegie Hall and his iconic UK tour (as already immortalised in DA Pennebaker’s documentary, Don’t Look Back).

What you get, in other words, is a potted overview of what many will consider Dylan’s most vital years. His voice is cracked and wondrous on ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’, recorded at Gerde’s Folk City in New York in 1962, while he has fully assumed the mantle of generational spokesman on the Carnegie Hall versions of ‘The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll’ and ‘Masters Of War’.

Dylan’s duet with Joan Baez on when ‘The Ship Comes In’ was recorded that same summer, at the March on Washington and crackles with fervour. Less essential, arguably, are cuts from the UK tour, including a rather-by-the-numbers ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’’, from the Royal Festival Hall, and ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’, from Liverpool’s Odeon.

With a career chronicled as exhaustively as Dylan’s, it is asking too much for a new live album to add anything to our understanding of him.

Yet as it teases us with snapshots of the artist he started out as and the one into which he transformed, Rare Performances becomes an intriguing portrait of one of the great 20th century enigmas.

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