Saturday, 8 June 2019

Bob Dylan - Live 1964 (Bootleg Series Vol. 6)


Recorded live in October 1964 in New York City

This recording had been available as an authorised bootleg for many years before it finally officially saw the light of day as part of the excellent Bootleg Series. For a live recording from 1964, the sound quality is excellent as Dylan, his acoustic guitar and his harmonica say goodbye to his folk and protest song period, and, via material from the bridging album of Another Side Of Bob Dylan, introduce his audience to the challenging stuff from Bringing It All Back Home, such as the beguiling Mr. Tambourine Man and It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), and Don't Think Twice, It's Alright and Gates Of Eden. They were going to have to get used to the poetic abstractions of songs such as the wonderfully dark Gates Of Eden. Dylan was not just delivering easy-to-grasp protest numbers anymore. He was taking his audience to another world, whether they liked it or not.

Highlights from Another Side are an enthusiastic Spanish Harlem Incident, It Ain't Me Babe and All I Really Want To Do. The old protest songs are still scattered around though, with a great opener in The Times They Are A-Changin', the apocalyptic A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, With God On Our Side and The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll.

Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues always manages to raise a smile as well.


1. The Times They Are A-Changin'
2. Spanish Harlem Incident
3. Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues
4. To Ramona
5. Who Killed Davey Moore?
6. Gates Of Eden
7. If You Gotta Go, Go Now
8. It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
9. I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Met)
10. Mr. Tambourine Man
11. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
12. Talkin' World War III Blues
13. Don't Think Twice, It's Alright
14. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll
15. Mama, You Been On My Mind
16. Silver Dagger
17. With God On Our Side
18. It Ain't Me Babe
19. All I Really Want To Do

Dylan's between-song chat is punctuated by his nervous giggle and the audience laughing fawningly at his mumbling "jokes". It retains a good "live" atmosphere because of it, though.

As I have been brought up on electric Dylan since I got into him in the early seventies, I keep hoping the band (or indeed The Band) will come on and plug in, so I rarely play the whole gig, but dipping into bits of it every now and again is fine.