Triple Played: Blast from the past with Dylan, Grateful Dead, The Band
There are three recent new releases of music recorded in the 1970s that I like a lot.
Bob Dylan’s “Another Self Portrait (1969–1971) the Bootleg Series Vol. 10” is the first. This two-CD set contains 35 tracks and is made up of demos, unreleased tracks and alternate versions of songs from “Self Portrait,” “New Morning,” “Nashville Skyline,” tracks recorded live with The Band at the 1969 Isle of Wight festival and Dylan’s voice has never sounded better.
Just the fact that there are now 10 different double CD volumes available of Bob Dylan’s “Bootleg” series speaks volumes as to the impression he has made on music.
The original “Self Portrait,” released in 1970 after the 1969 classic “Nashville Skyline,” is widely regarded as Dylan’s most unlistenable recording. In fact, some critics went as far as to say his career was over.
Dylan responded with the excellent LP “New Morning,” which opened with the classic “If Not for You.”
Over the next nine years, Dylan released several classic recordings including “Planet Waves” with The Band, “Blood on the Tracks,” “Desire,” “Street Legal” and “Slow Train Coming.”
“Pretty Saro,” “Thirsty Boots,” “This Evening So Soon,” “If Dogs Run Free” and “Bring Me A Little Water,” just to name a few, are some of my favorites from this new “Bootleg” series. It is one that I recommend to all Dylan fans.
Speaking of bootleg recordings, Rhino Records officially released the Grateful Dead’s “Sunshine Daydream (Veneta, OR, 8/27/72).”
This is the most requested live show in the band’s history as well as its most bootlegged.
I like the Grateful Dead, but I am far from its biggest fan. I prefer the studio recordings, however this is my favorite live show from the group.
For 50 years it was called the Oregon Creamery Show because it was a benefit concert for the band’s friend Ken Kesey and his dairy farm in Springfield, Ore.
At one point in the show, Bob Weir says that it was his first time ever in Oregon, which is hard to believe since their home was San Francisco.
This four-disc set contains three audio CDs and a DVD of the show.
Featuring Dead classics such as “Me and My Uncle,” “Bertha,” “Playing in the Band,” “Jack Straw,” “Sugar Magnolia,” “Casey Jones,” “Deal,” “Dark Star,” “El Paso,” “Black Throated Wind” and “Mexicali Blues,” this show has it all.
Last, but certainly not least, is The Band’s “Live at The Academy of Music 1971” recorded in New York City during a four-night stay from Dec. 28–31.
The two-CD set contains 29 songs and most of The Band’s classic recordings such as “Chest Fever,” “The Shape I’m In,” “King Harvest,” “Get Up Jake,” “Life is a Carnival” and others.
Dylan made a rare appearance at the time for the New Year’s Eve show with The Band and is featured on the last four songs of the set.
I have never heard The Band sound any better than it does on this live recording.
In the liner notes, Robbie Robertson said that he didn’t like the original mix of these shows. He was happy to get another shot with engineer Bob Clearmountain, of which Robertson said, “He has brought out a sonic life in these recordings that was meant to be. This is a fulfillment of that extraordinary musical experience that I can now wholeheartedly feel great about sharing.”
On another note, the “Acoustic Sunday” radio show will be moving to FM 100.7 the Vault beginning Oct. 6 and will be on from 9 a.m. to noon.
I am honored and looking forward to working with the great folks at MBC Grand Broadcasting.