Friday, 12 October 2018

Bob Dylan - The Complete Album Collection


  

This review concentrates, not on the music, but on what is contained in this phenomenal “Complete Works” and what the status is regarding the remasterings (or not) of the albums contained within the box set.

So, here we go:-

Included in their excellent previously remastered formats are:-

The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963)
The Times They Are A-Changin’ (1963)
Another Side Of Bob Dylan (1964)
Bringing It All Back Home (1965)
Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
Blonde On Blonde (1966)
John Wesley Harding (1968)
Nashville Skyline (1969)
New Morning (1972)
Planet Waves (1973)
Blood On The Tracks (1974)
Desire (1976)
Slow Train Coming (1979)
Infidels (1983)
Oh Mercy (1989)
Love And Theft (2003)


All these sound excellent as they always did when they were remastered for the HDCD series.

                                               ****
Included in their original released mastering, in no need of re-mastering, are:-

Time Out Of Mind (1997)
Modern Times (2006)
Christmas Of The Heart (2009)
Together Though Life (2009)
Tempest (2012)


All these sound good, as you would expect, due to their date of recording.

                                               ****
Given new remasterings for this set (supposedly) are:-

Bob Dylan (1962)
Self Portrait (1970)
Dylan (1973)
Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid (1973)
Saved (1980)
Empire Burlesque (1985)
Knocked Out Loaded (1986)
Down In The Groove (1988)
Under The Red Sky (1990)
Good As I Been To You (1992)
World Gone Wrong (1993)


Personally, although a slight improvement can be heard on these remasters, I don’t feel that they sound that good, just a bit more clear, louder and puncher, with not a incredible improvement in the individual parts of the music. Albums like “Saved”, for example always sounded muffled, and it still does. Maybe it is just due to the original recording and nothing much more can be done about it, however many times it is remastered.

                                              ****

Live albums also remastered for this set are:-

Before The Flood (1974)
Hard Rain (1976)
Live At Budokan (1978)
Real Live (1984)
Unplugged (1995)
Dylan And The Dead (1989)


The same applies to “Hard Rain” as for “Saved”. It has always sounded awful. “Real Live”, for me, sounds improved, however, as does “Budokan”.

                                             ****
Street Legal* (1978)
Shot of Love* (1981)


These two are strange ones. “Street Legal”, in the remastering presented here, sounds awful to me. I much prefer the original HDCD remastering, which, for some unfathomable reason, seems to have been replaced in this set by a completely new, and, in my opinion, inferior remaster. Bizarrely, “Shot Of Love” is not credited as having been remastered at all, yet to me it sounds considerably improved, whereas “Saved” was supposedly remastered and still sounds poor.

                                            ****

As regards the music, I have reviewed all the individual albums under their own listings. It goes without saying that this body of work is arguable the greatest popular music has ever known.

A+

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