Bob Dylan | Dylan (Columbia)

cd_dylan.jpgThis collection is impressive. But what’s more impressive is that these songs are still relevant, still important, still really amazing and these songs have touched so many different generations on the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has taken me a long time to digest the new Bob Dylan retrospective three-disc collection, Dylan. These discs are rich with Dylan’s most profound and groundbreaking recordings spanning across five decades from the ’60s into new millennium.

This collection is impressive. But what’s more impressive is that these songs are still relevant, still important, still really amazing and these songs have touched so many different generations on the way.

My favorites are all represented here. But the first disc, covering 1962-1967 (only five years!) is top notch. With originals like "Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right," "A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall," "Subterranean Homesick Blues," "It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue," "Maggie’s Farm," and "Just Like a Woman, this is pure and essential Dylan. Earnest lyrics. Simple chords. Clear (for Dylan) vocals. It’s what I put on with my best headphones.  

Disc 2 covers 1967-’85 and includes some of Dylan’s most culturally poignant work. These songs affected the generation hearing them for the first time. By dodging the mainstream, Dylan moved from a bluesy guitarist and poet into a sub-cultural icon. With songs like "Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door," "I Shall Be Released," and "Hurricane," this disc serves as a pretty good snapshot of time. Also on this disc, "Simple Twist of Fate" and one of the best songs ever written, the lyrically rich "Tangled Up in Blue."

Then she opened up a book of poems and handed it to me,
written by an Italian poet from the thirteenth century.
And every one of them words rang true
and glowed like burnin’ coal pourin’ off of every page.
Like it was written in my soul from me to you,
Tangled up in blue.

It’s like Hemingway with a voice, but better.

The third disc is gorgeous and features some of Dylan’s best contemporary work. "You’re Gonna Quit Me," the Grammy-winning "Not Dark Yet" and "Things Have Changed." Select songs from this disc are on Dylan’s 1997 Time Out of Mind. Dylan was 65 when he recorded this moving, acclaimed collection of songs.

"These three discs can only scratch the surface of Bob Dylan’s legacy. Choose your favorite from here, go back to the album it came from, and dig in. Dylan’s music is a gold mine of innovation and insight. You’ll never get to the bottom of it all," writes Bob Flanagan in the liner notes.

The Dylan 51-track collection comes packaged in an eight-panel digipak with a 24-page full color booklet and liner notes by noted music journalist Bill Flanagan. The booklet contains some amazing pictures of Dylan covering the various decades and evolutions of his career. Some of these photos are classic Dylan images but together represent a little collector’s item on their own.

Also out now, Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings DVD The Other Side of the Mirror – Bob Dylan Live at the Newport Folk Festival. This long-awaited DVD gives Dylan fans 80 minutes of rare performance footage drawn from three performances at the Newport Folk Festival in 1963, 1964 and 1965. The quality is impeccable and this footage is priceless.

This collection is perfect for the life-long Dylan fan but also the perfect introduction to a fan-in-training. Pass it on. A | Raymee Holshouser

RIYL: The Band, Simon & Garfunkel, Rolling Stones

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