Do you consider the records you play the most, the best records by those artists?
I thought about this as I listened to the new Bob Dylan bootleg series, "Springtime In New York," almost 60 tracks covering the years 1980-1985, and the albums "Shot Of Love," "Infidels" and "Empire Burlesque," with two of those three records receiving a considerable amount of derision over the years.
I was more excited by this entry into the Bootleg Series as I was at just about any other and that is because I play "Shot Of Love" and "Infidels" more than any other Dylan records. "Empire Burlesque," not so much.
While "Springtime In New York" may not offer any revelations as mind-blowing as the first time songs like "Foot of Pride," "Dignity," "Blind Willie McTell" or any of the alternates of "Mississippi" were heard on previous boxes, "Springtime" feels the most consistent.
The band, the singers and Bob himself all sound truly inspired throughout. And if you're thinking covers of "I Wish It Would Rain," "Sweet Caroline," or the 1979 AM hit "This Night Won't Last Forever" are novelties, think again. Yes, I was taken aback by hearing Bob sing "Hands, touching hands, reaching out, touching me, touching YOU!" But it's real! This is not a piss take. And again, let me say, Bob Dylan can sing!
The rehearsal take of "Senor," a song that was not originally found on the three subjects of this set, opens the box and it's a keeper. As one friend mentioned this weekend, "How is this not the official take?"
I found myself feeling this way about most of the box. There are few throwaways. I'll admit that maybe there are no stunners like "She's Your Lover Now." But tracks like "Mary Of The Wild Moor," "Fur Slippers," or the alternate of "Emotionally Yours" should toggle your switches, not to mention both superior versions "When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky" or both superior versions of "Don't Fall Apart On Me Tonight." Or "This Was My Love." Or "Tell Me."
I tried to create my Bob Dylan Top 10, but each time I thought I was satisfied, it looked funny. These are the records I play the most and with both "Infidels" and "Shot Of Love" in my Top 5, it might explain why I love "Springtime In New York" as much as I do. That aside, if you are more than a casual Dylan fan, there is more than enough on this set to satsify.
1. Blood On The Tracks
2. Blonde On Blonde
3. Oh Mercy
4. Shot Of Love
6. Highway 61 Revisited
8. Time Out Of Mind
9. Another Side
10. Bringing It All Back Home