For those interested in the acoustic Bob Dylan, this concert is like the grail; his voice is in impeccable shape, and his delivery is revelatory. For those interested in the transition from acoustic to electric, this show is the seam, and for those who are die-hard fans, this is another welcome item in the official catalog.
3 CD deluxe editon set of 2008 release of Bob Dylan Vol. 8 Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg series with rare and unleashed material from 1989 - 2006. A treasure-trove of 39 songs spanning 3 discs, Tell Tale Signs features previously unreleased recordings and alternate versions of tracks from sessions which generated some of Bob Dylan's most acclaimed and commercially successful albums from the last two decades, including Time Out Of Mind, 'Love And Theft', Modern Times and Oh Mercy.
The title of The Real Royal Albert Hall 1966 Concert is a nod to the fact that the famous bootleg known as The "Royal Albert Hall" Concert was actually recorded at the Manchester Free Trade Hall on May 17, 1966. The historical record was corrected when the concert was released as the second installment in Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series in 1998 (it's labeled the fourth volume, but the first three editions were all rounded up in a 1991 box), so when it came to release a sampler album from the mammoth 36-disc set The 1966 Live Recordings, the only option was to release The Real Royal Albert Hall 1966 Concert, a show given on May 26, 1996. This double-disc set follows the same contours of the Manchester Free Trade Hall show…
"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.
Preserving newly written Bob Dylan songs for copyright is the reason why the Band's Garth Hudson rolled tape at Big Pink but The Basement Tapes were something much more than songwriting demos. Greil Marcus dubbed it a celebration of the "Old, Weird America" in his 1997 book Invisible Republic, connecting these songs to Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music, adding an extra layer of myth to tapes that were shrouded in mystery from the moment bootlegs started to circulate. The Basement Tapes Complete strengthens portions of that legend while simultaneously puncturing it. Certainly, the six-disc box – its first five discs assembled according to Hudson's numbering system, with the sixth disc collecting sessions discovered later – feels substantially different from the LP released in 1975, where the overall picture was distorted by Robbie Robertson adding sometimes significant overdubs and including Band recordings that weren't cut during those seven months in 1967.