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Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 12: The Cutting Edge 1965-1966 [Slipcase]

Track List

>Love Minus Zero/No Limit [Take 2] [Acoustic Version] - (previously unreleased, take)
>I'll Keep It With Mine [Take 1] [Piano Demo] - (take)
>Bob Dylan's 115th Dream [Take 1 & 2] [Solo Acoustic Version] - (previously unreleased, take)
>She Belongs to Me [Take 1] [Solo Acoustic Version] - (previously unreleased, take)
>Subterranean Homesick Blues [Take 1] [Alternate Take] - (previously unreleased, take, alternate take)
>Outlaw Blues [Take 2] [Alternate Take] - (previously unreleased, take, alternate take)
>On the Road Again [Take 4] [Alternate Take] - (previously unreleased, take, alternate take)
>Farewell, Angelina [Take 1] [Solo Acoustic Version] - (take)
>If You Gotta Go, Go Now [Take 2] [Alternate Take] - (previously unreleased, take, alternate take)
>You Don't Have to Do That [Take 1] [Solo Acoustic] - (previously unreleased, take)
>California [Take 1] [Solo Acoustic] - (previously unreleased, take)
>Mr. Tambourine Man [Take 3 With Band] [Incomplete] - (previously unreleased, take)
>It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry [Take 8] [Alternate Take] - (previously unreleased, take, alternate take)
>Like a Rolling Stone [Take 5] [Rehearsal] [Edited Version] - (previously unreleased, take)
>Like a Rolling Stone [Take 11] [Alternate Take] - (previously unreleased, take, alternate take)
>Sitting on a Barbed Wire Fence [Take 2] - (previously unreleased, take)
>Medicine Sunday [Take 1] - (previously unreleased, take)
>Desolation Row [Take 2] [Piano Demo] - (previously unreleased, take)
>Desolation Row [Take 1] [Alternate Take] - (previously unreleased, take, alternate take)
>Tombstone Blues [Take 1] [Alternate Take] - (previously unreleased, take, alternate take)
>Positively 4th Street [Take 5] [Alternate Take] - (previously unreleased, take, alternate take)
>Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window? [Take 1] [Alternate Take] - (previously unreleased, take, alternate take)
>Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues [Take 3] [Rehearsal] - (previously unreleased, take)
>Highway 61 Revisited [Take 3] [Alternate Take] - (previously unreleased, take, alternate take)
>Queen Jane Approximately [Take 5] [Alternate Take] - (previously unreleased, take, alternate take)
>Visions of Johanna [Take 5] [Rehearsal] - (previously unreleased, take)
>She's Your Lover Now [Take 6] [Rehearsal] - (previously unreleased)
>Lunatic Princess [Take 1] - (previously unreleased, take)
>Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat [Take 8] [Alternate Take] - (previously unreleased, take, alternate take)
>One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later) [Take 19] [Alternate Take] - (previously unreleased, take, alternate take)
>Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again [Take 13] [Alternate Take] - (previously unreleased, take, alternate take)
>Absolutely Sweet Marie [Take 1] [Alternate Take] - (previously unreleased, take, alternate take)
>Just Like a Woman [Take 4] [Alternate Take] - (previously unreleased, take, alternate take)
>Pledging My Time [Take 1] [Alternate Take] - (previously unreleased, take, alternate take)
>I Want You [Take 4] [Alternate Take] - (previously unreleased, take, alternate take)
>Highway 61 Revisited [Take 7] [False Start] - (previously unreleased, take)

Album Reviews:

Billboard - "The artistic journey detailed here sheds light on Dylan's much ballyhooed transition from folk to rock music and his sharp integration of rock 'n' roll, blues and countrified sounds with lyrical fever dreams, spitfire beat-poetics, obtuse personal observations, amphetamine confessionals and biting social commentary."

Paste (magazine) - "The songs on THE CUTTING EDGE are just as brash, bristling and amazing to hear as they were when they were first unleashed half a century ago."

Album Notes

Audio Mixers: Damian Rodriguez; Steve Addabbo.

Liner Note Authors: Bill Flanagan; Ben Rollins; Sean Wilentz.

Photographers: Rowland Scherman; Don Hunstein; Jean-Marie Périer; Daniel Kramer ; Jean-Pierre Leloir; Jerry Schatzberg; Dale Smith; Jan Persson; W. Eugene Smith; Barry Wentzell; John Rudoff.

"I'll do this one more time and if I can't do it, we'll do another song. I'll do any song as good as I can do it the first time."

Bob Dylan says these words once his first solo take of "Love Minus Zero/No Limit" breaks down after a minute. Dylan's definition of "good" is fluid, of course. Sometimes, a first take satisfied him -- "Maggie's Farm" and "Gates of Eden" are two prime examples -- but often he'd find he could do a song better or at least do it differently, swapping out words, speeding up the tempo, and changing the feel, occasionally radically transforming his song. Sometimes, these radical transformations are the versions that found their way to the finished record, so they're now seen as etched in stone but The Cutting Edge 1965-1966, the 12th volume of The Bootleg Series, shows Dylan didn't enter the studio with posterity in mind when he went to cut Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde: he was making music of and for the moment.

Familiarity hasn't necessarily dulled the impact of these three records, all written and recorded within a span of 14 months -- a period of time when Dylan also filmed Don't Look Back, electrified the Newport Folk Festival, and was declared a Judas at the Royal Albert Hall -- but they have made them seem inevitable, works carved out of granite whose fates were preordained. The gift of The Cutting Edge is that it makes this, the greatest run of creativity in Dylan's career and perhaps in rock & roll in general, once again seems wild, nervy, and quicksilver, upending expectations and undercutting conventions. Within one of the three sets of liner notes, Bill Flanagan calls these six discs of outtakes, alternates, and rehearsals "work tapes," which is technically true, but undersells how this music crackles as it shape-shifts, sometimes soaring, sometimes stumbling, but always feeling fiercely alive. If it's difficult to claim that a solo "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream" and a locomotive "Visions of Johanna" recorded with the Band are superior to the versions on Home and Blonde, they're nevertheless magnificent in their own right while also shedding light on how Dylan worked; with producer Tom Wilson, the singer/songwriter wasted no time, while Bob Johnston allowed Bob to twist and test his songs, letting him discover the soul that lay within. Along the way, Dylan was truly fearless -- he'd goose a tempo to see if it gave a ballad life, he'd let Mike Bloomfield and Robbie Robertson run wild; the fact that he abandoned a song as wonderful as "She's Your Lover Now," possibly because it never quite withstood such stress tests, speaks volumes -- and among the many gifts The Cutting Edge has to offer is that it illuminates these three great records while also illustrating that they were just mere snapshots in time. By breaking down the barriers that separated these three albums, The Cutting Edge shows how for Dylan during this blinding, brilliant peak his music was a living thing, evolving from song to song, take to take, where the quest itself was as transcendent as the final destination. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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