Thursday, December 27, 2007

DYLAN 3CD Limited Edition – time to reconsider?

Until I received the DYLAN 3CD Limited Edition as a present on Xmas morning, I’d been, like many readers, unmoved by the release: a missed opportunity … nothing new … repetition of earlier releases … blah, blah, blah …

Sure, I’ve bought all this music before, many times over. Sure, I’d have preferred another Bootleg Series release, especially a proper Basement Tapes. And, sure, I may never play the 3CD collection end to end.

But I can now see why Columbia released DYLAN. Clearly, it’s intended primarily to promote the back catalogue to younger consumers. But, beyond that, it’s a fitting tribute to a lifetime of timeless recordings by the biggest name on the label: the Dylan songbook is showcased here as never before.

And the packaging is appropriately reverential. From the three beautiful CD mini sleeves to the lavish 40 page booklet, and the set of 10 collectable cigarette card-type reproductions of show posters to the cloth-finished box, with its velvet lining and clever magnetized closing flap, this is an artefact assembled with skill and care.

DYLAN Limited Edition celebrates one of the great creative forces of the modern world. If, like me, you rejected it on release, it might be time to reconsider, especially if you can pick it up at discount – it’s doing the rounds at half price (£17).

Gerry Smith