Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Tell Tale Signs: encore… encore…

Thanks to Daniel Lobby:

“I am quite disappointed by some of the comments made about the forthcoming "Bootleg Series" release.

“Liam Mogan said, "If it's a true 'bootleg', then give us something rare" and then went on to describe "the first instalment of the (bootleg) series" as "majestic". I would suggest that he re-examines that first "Bootleg Series" release. Of its 58 tracks, only 21, as I recall, were new to collectors at the time plus one line recording that we already had as an audience recording.

“The full 3-CD version of Volume 8 will have at least 16 tracks that are new to collectors, up to 10 more "new" tracks (depending on which takes of the Oh Mercy songs are used), plus another 6 that we already have as audience recordings (likely to be line recordings and/or better quality on "Volume 8) - not to mention "Ring Them Bells" from the Supper Club, which sounds better on the USA TODAY video than on the soundboard recording that emerged recently.

“Whilst on the subject of the Supper Club, David Faulkner says that he didn't realise that these shows were professionally filmed. The sole purpose of the four shows was to film them and thus the only reason they took place at all. This is certainly mentioned in Clinton Heylin's biography of Dylan.

“As for a fan-based "Bootleg Series" release, I'm not at all convinced. Who amongst Dylan fans knew about "Dreamin' Of You" or "Can't Escape From You" or "Marchin' To The City" or "Mary And The Soldier" before this track listing was announced? Precious few, if any, I'd suggest.

“And, similarly, even for previously released songs, who amongst Dylan fans would know which exist in a usuable demo form? Or with different lyrics? Or with totally different musical arrangements? Again, very few of us. We would have been blundering around in the dark.

“The inclusion of recordings already officially released is a difficult one. The record company cannot win. Those who who have already bought the soundtrack albums for the one Dylan track feel swizzled. Those who have not (or were even unaware of the recordings) welcome it.

“Perhaps the answer is for Columbia Records, every now and then, to gather these oddities and rarities together and release them on a compilation album. Anyway, what about "Song To Woody" and "Like A Rolling Stone" on Volume 7 (No Direction Home), the former a straight lift from a regular Dylan album and the latter a repeat from the previous volume in the series? These were far greater "crimes" against collectors but I recall little complaint at the time.

“On the other hand, I do agree that the price of the Deluxe edition only available through bobdylan.com (the one that includes the 7" vinyl single) does seem very, very high indeed, particularly when you add in the postage cost from the States to Europe. Does anyone yet know the retail price of the shop-bought or internet-bought version of the DeLuxe package? The one that is housed in the bigger, hardback slipcase (complete with the two hardback books and the 3 CDs) but excludes the vinyl single?

“I'm tempted to say "Get real!" to your contributors and the record company executives alike!”