Bob Dylan: The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964, The Bootleg Series –Volume 9, 2 CD set, Bob Dylan, Sony Records, 2010
I have often joked with other early 1960s folk revival minute Bob Dylan aficionados that, now past seventy, he continues on a never-ending concert tour that will only end, and maybe not then, when his voice that gave out decades ago (that fresh twenty-something gnarly voice anyway), leave him whispering, or some such thing. Apparently the same fate is in store for every known song that he has written, stolen (that’s okay in folk land), duded up, or changed a word here or there too. And copyrighted too. Well, okay Bob.
And like the never-ending concerts and song transcriptions it has become obvious that the Bob Dylan enterprise will keep endlessly releasing items in the bootleg series. So by the time it is over, in our grandchildren’s late adulthood by my current projections, we will have been subject to every creative cough, hum, retake, out-take ,remake, can’t fake, sour note, beautiful note, gussied up lyric, and breathtaking lyric too that he ever touched . For those with less than 1% resources this will mean going hungry, going on welfare, going to the streets, selling the children into indentured servitude, and whatever other demon demands an aficionado can place on others to get his or her “one last fix.”
Funny though this Volume 9 –Witmark Demos bootleg actually has some very good versions of his classics (without coughs, hums, etc.) like Boots Of Spanish Leather, and a reworking of some traditional tunes like Leaving of Liverpool (here called Farewell). And then there is some stuff that is of historic interest like Masters of War and his Emmett Till that are always welcome. And, of course, stuff that in cinema is called “better left on the cutting room floor.” Overall though this two CD set is one of the better bootlegs. So start hiring out the kids so you can get it for your now overflowing collection.