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Bob Dylan - The Bootleg Series, Vol. 5: Bob Dylan Live 1975 - The Rolling Thunder Revue

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The biggest criticism of The Bootleg Series, Vol. 5: Bob Dylan Live 1975 -- the third installment in Columbia/Legacy's excavation of the exhaustive Bob Dylan vaults (the first was a box set, containing three volumes) -- is that it's a compilation of highlights from his Rolling Thunder Revue of 1975, one that doesn't set out to replicate a set list but instead offers two discs and 22 tracks from this fabled tour. Apart from that, there's very little to complain about on this superlative set, which offers the first official release of Rolling Thunder material. Yes, this had been heavily bootlegged over the decades, plus it was documented on Dylan's notoriously unwatchable film Renaldo & Clara and there was Hard Rain, a collection culled from the post-Thunder 1976 tour that was similar but sour and nowhere near as good the 1975 material, as this superb set illustrates. Hearing this is a revelation, even for serious Dylan watchers -- those so serious to own several bootlegs, even a full shelf of Dylan, but not as obsessive as those who track Bob's every move -- and those who aren't as dedicated, yet still harbor a serious interest, will find this equally absorbing, since this is simply tremendous. It has become legend that Dylan will change arrangements and switch lyrics at the drop of a hat, which was evident on his jaunt with the Band in 1974, preserved for posterity on Before the Flood. Even so, he's looser, wilder, and more alive in this careening, thrilling album, a record where "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" gallops along as if it were "Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat." As that suggests, the wildest thing about this is the electric cuts, where an unwieldy band turns out an overpowering sound that sounds inevitable, as if it's the only way these songs could be played, even when you've heard these songs countless times before in other arrangements. The acoustic moments don't pack the same charge, nor do they contain many of his duets with Joan Baez, yet they're intimate, passionate versions of the songs. In fact, there's not a bad moment here, and if it doesn't replicate the Rolling Thunder tour list to the letter, it does indeed capture the essence of this legendary stint, which is why it's necessary for every serious fan. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Disc 1:
1) Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You - Bob Dylan (03:55)
2) It Ain't Me Babe - Bob Dylan (05:25)
3) A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall - Bob Dylan (05:16)
4) The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll - Bob Dylan (05:25)
5) Romance in Durango - Bob Dylan (05:22)
6) Isis - Bob Dylan (05:11)
7) Mr. Tambourine Man - Bob Dylan (05:39)
8) Simple Twist of Fate - Bob Dylan (04:17)
9) Blowin' in the Wind - Joan Baez / Bob Dylan (02:43)
10) Mama, You Been on My Mind - Bob Dylan (03:11)
11) I Shall Be Released - Joan Baez / Bob Dylan (04:33)

Disc 2:
1) It's All over Now, Baby Blue - Bob Dylan (04:34)
2) Love Minus Zero/No Limit - Bob Dylan (03:13)
3) Tangled Up in Blue - Bob Dylan (04:41)
4) The Water is Wide - Bob Dylan (05:16)
5) It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry - Bob Dylan (03:12)
6) Oh, Sister - Bob Dylan (04:04)
7) Hurricane - Bob Dylan (08:15)
8) One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below) - Bob Dylan (04:14)
9) Sara - Bob Dylan (04:29)
10) Just Like a Woman - Bob Dylan (04:31)
11) Knockin' on Heaven's Door - Bob Dylan / Roger McGuinn (04:22)

The Bootleg Series, Vol. 5: Bob Dylan Live 1975 - The Rolling Thunder Revue
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The Bootleg Series, Vol. 5: Bob Dylan Live 1975 - The Rolling Thunder Revue | Bob Dylan