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Music Consumption: Bob Dylan
01/10/1999 Bob Dylan: Live 1966-Bootleg Series Vol.4

Bob Dylan: "Live 1966-Bootleg Series Vol.4"

A friend of mine got me this. It's actually the first Bob Dylan recording I've actually owned. (Years ago, some other friends talked me out of buying Biograph.) This one is immensely pleasing, possibly because this is my favorite Dylan period--from Highway 61 Revisited to Blonde on Blonde. (I've always had a fondness for Blood on the Tracks as well.) His voice is...well...stereotypical. But the performances are, if ragged in places, full of primary energy. I'd heard reports of the acoustic disc being "lackluster," but I got into the acoustic set immediately. It has the lonely quiet and focus of perfect late-night music. The middle of the set shines: "Visions of Johanna" is the ultimate late night drift; "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" starts a bit fast, but becomes haunting and sad as it should be; and "Just Like a Woman" is impressively meditative in its stripped-down form.

While he's obviously stoned during the electric set (it shows between songs), it seems to have no effect on the performances--maybe it enhances them. Just about everything here is a fierce classic, although I think he over-sneers "Like a Rolling Stone" (which says a hell of a lot coming from me, at least for people who called my answering machine from 1988-89). But "Tell Me, Mama," "Baby Let Me Follow You Down," "Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat," "One Too Many Mornings," "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues," and "Ballad of a Thin Man" all hit it pretty close to right. Definitely a good listen.