Monday, September 22, 2008

Recommended “hits” compilations: #1 More Greatest Hits

Thanks to Martin Cowan:

“Further to your recent pieces on Greatest Hits, I thought it would be good to remind Dylan Daily readers of a couple of other compilation albums which contain hidden gems.

“More Greatest Hits (often erroneously referred to as Greatest Hits Volume 2), adorned by a classic Barry Feinstein photo of Dylan on stage at the George Harrison-curated Concert for Bangladesh, contains 20 tracks that were not actually hits for Dylan, and one that was, the smoothly saccharine "Lay Lady Lay".

“As a summary of his musical career up to its release in 1971, this is a more satisfying collection than Volume 1, with a smattering of songs from every album up to that point (except "Bob Dylan", which is not represented at all).

“If anything, the white hot trilogy of albums released in 1965 and 1966 are under-represented here, with only 5 of the 21 tracks coming from this fertile period. But this is only a minor quibble.

“What makes this album special is the inclusion of tracks which were unreleased at that time on any Dylan LP, and in all but one case are still only to be found on this collection.

“CD 2 of the album (which readers should note at 77 minutes in total running time means that it would actually fit onto one disc) closes with the trilogy of Basement Tapes songs that Dylan revisited with Happy Traum's accompaniment in 1971 - "I Shall Be Released", "You Ain't Going Nowhere" and "Down In The Flood."

“These are worth the price of entry alone, with very fine acoustic interplay between the two musicians, and Happy's tight vocal harmonies, recalling Rick Danko's singing on other Dylan recordings.

“In addition to these three songs are the single "Watching the River Flow", which kicks off the whole thing back on CD1, a hoarse sounding Dylan rocking up a head of steam with the assistance of Leon Russell on the ivories.

“Also included is "When I Paint My Masterpiece" recorded at the same sessions, a song which had a new lease of life in 1975 as the show-opener during the Rolling Thunder Revue tour.

“The final unreleased gem is an intimate live recording from 1963 of the beautiful "Tomorrow Is A Long Time", sung sweetly by Dylan, just him, his acoustic guitar and a silent, awestruck audience.”