In light of Legacy Recordings’ excellent 2-CD collection of rare performances, a look at the concerts behind the cuts
Released on July 26th, the latest Bob Dylan compilation, Live 1962-1966: Rare Performances from The Copyright Collections, is a reasonably portioned two-disc set of material culling from this most coveted collection in the second-most coveted vault in Minnesota music.
These tracks emerge from The 50th Anniversary/Copyright Extension albums that were released overseas in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Amidst this cache of recordings from Dylan’s first five years as a Columbia recording artist, the producers cherry-picked some of the very best material off these tapes chronicling his days playing out at clubs, coffeehouses, festivals and concert halls all over the world. These recordings are largely exclusive to this particular collection, as much of the material presented here is near impossible to find online (a good thing, meaning you need to go out and buy it!). But from what we’ve been able to scare up on YouTube, there’s enough of a taste of this compilation to whet your sonic whistle, indeed.
At 29 tracks, there’s plenty of highlights to go around. Some of my particular favorites include the early run through “Blowin’ in the Wind” from his April 16, 1962 appearance at Gerdie’s Folk City in New York, the five songs from his April 1963 Town Hall NYC show, the rip through “Maggie’s Farm” on September 3, 1965 at the Hollywood Bowl with a band featuring Robbie Robertson on guitar, Al Kooper on keys, Harvey Brooks from the Highway 61 sessions on bass and Brother Levon Helm on drums, and a devastating near-12 minute version of “Desolation Row” performed on Australian television on April 13, 1966.
Whether or not the release of Live 1962-1966: Rare Performances from The Copyright Collections is just the appetizer to a larger box set type situation that would see all the complete performances from this particular section of the Dylan archives be made available. The 1963 Carnegie Hall performance was once pressed up as a live CD as a limited edition giveaway for anyone who had purchased the 2005 Bob Dylan Scrapbook at Tower Records. And, like 2016’s The 1966 Live Recordings, the release of a unabridged version of The Copyright Collections in a similar form would make for a great a holiday gift idea. Additionally, at press time there has yet to be an official announcement from Legacy Recordings as to what will comprise the 14th volume of Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series, which would make such a release so quick, convenient and special all at once.
In the meantime, however, please check out these videos while we wait, shall we?