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Bootleg Series, Vol. 6: Bob Dylan Live 1964

The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6: Bob Dylan Live 1964

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by Bob Dylan

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This oft-bootlegged set, recorded on Halloween, 1964, captures Bob Dylan at a pivotal -- and still fascinating -- period in his career. Established as the Young Turk of the folk scene, he'd proven himself a master of both protest tunes and tender love songs -- but that was already growing old, and just a few months later, he'd generate long-lasting sparks by "going


This oft-bootlegged set, recorded on Halloween, 1964, captures Bob Dylan at a pivotal -- and still fascinating -- period in his career. Established as the Young Turk of the folk scene, he'd proven himself a master of both protest tunes and tender love songs -- but that was already growing old, and just a few months later, he'd generate long-lasting sparks by "going electric" at the Newport Folk Festival. At this gig, however, Dylan played stripped-down, but hardly close to the vest, tearing through powerful renditions of then-unreleased mind-benders such as "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)," both of which delved deeply into the surreal wordplay he'd soon be known for. He rips through his topical material with a ferocity rarely matched in the era's acoustic music, hitting dangerous territory on the controversial "Talking John Birch Society Blues" and waxing poignant on "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll." The four-song cameo by then-paramour Joan Baez provides a nice counterpoint to the solo material; Baez's ethereal vocals add an elegiac quality to "With God on Our Side," and the unmistakable sensual tension between the two smolders throughout "It Ain't Me Babe." And while the album is probably -- in some unofficial form or another -- in the library of just about every Dylan aficionado, this above-board release handily proves its mettle. In addition to pristine sound, the package offers a surfeit of rare photos, discographic information, and liner notes sure to give pause to even the most devoted Bob-phile.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
It does seem strange, very strange indeed, to be hearing an official release of this historic concert, which has been available as a bootleg for decades. The Halloween gig at Philharmonic Hall in New York was a special part of the tour for Another Side of Bob Dylan, arguably his greatest acoustic recording. What's more poignant, however, is how it previews the material on Bringing It All Back Home. While the songs on Another Side hinted at things to come, nothing could have prepared audiences for the dreamy surrealism of "Mr. Tambourine Man," or the nightmarish abstract poetry of "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)," and "Gates of Eden" -- all of which appear on Disc One. The remainder of the material comes from Dylan's preceding catalog; there are stirring protest and topical songs, folk songs, humorous narratives, love songs, great wisecracks, and talking blues -- "Talking John Birch Paranoid Blues!"), most of them classics -- "With God on Our Side," "Hard Rain's Gonna Fall," "Times They Are A-Changin'," "Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll," "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright," "Mama You've Been on My Mind," "All I Really Want to Do," "It Ain't Me Babe" -- all of these songs and many others (there are 17 in all) are delivered with the confidence of the seasoned performer; a man who knows his audience and how to handle them. It's not cynical, not detached, just masterful. For those unfamiliar with this set, Joan Baez makes an appearance near the end of the show, and duets with Dylan on four cuts including an amazing read of "Silver Dagger." It is true that if you possess the boot, you have all the music here, and chances are, it has some pretty good sound. But you'll need this version, too. For starters, the sound is spectacular, wonderfully warm and immediate, and the transfer is extremely clean with wonderful dynamics. Secondly, the package is deluxe. In addition to a fine essay by Princeton historian and author Sean Wilentz (he made the gig when he was 13), there are a truckload of killer photos from the show and the period, along with complete discographical information that puts the bootleg packages to shame. 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.
Rolling Stone - Parke Puterbaugh
The times they were a-changin', and you can hear Dylan coming and going, with one foot in each era, on Live 1964.

Product Details

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Disc 1

  1. The Times They Are A-Changin'
  2. Spanish Harlem Incident
  3. Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues
  4. To Ramona
  5. Who Killed Davey Moore?
  6. Gates of Eden
  7. If You Gotta Go, Go Now (Or Else You Got to Stay All Night)
  8. It's Alright Ma, (I'm Only Bleeding)
  9. I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)
  10. Mr. Tambourine Man
  11. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall

Disc 2

  1. Talkin' World War III Blues
  2. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
  3. The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
  4. Mama, You Been on My Mind
  5. Silver Dagger
  6. With God on Our Side
  7. It Ain't Me, Babe
  8. All I Really Want to Do

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The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6: Bob Dylan Live 1964 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
1964-Dylan had thoroughly mastered the folksinger thing by this point and he is so confident here he even turns a couple of mistakes into entertainment. Listen to the audience response to the "It's Alright, Ma" - this song was unreleased at the time and a challenging departure from Bobby D's earlier work yet they obviously "get it". Dylan's vocals are excellent and so is the sound quality. This is Dylan at the top of his game and the beginning of his world wide influence.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The sound quality of this recording is just unbelieveable. It sounds like it was recorded last week, not over 40 years ago. Here is Bob, still fresh from the University of Minnesota and the coffee houses of Dinkytown (the university district of Minneapolis). He's in a good mood, laughing and joking with the audience, and in superb form. I have seen Bob Dylan in concert eight times--and have tickets to see him again in September. He will probably never top this show, though!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dylan's early acoustic years, live, terrific sound. You get your money's worth.
Nighthawk More than 1 year ago
Gives us a chilling sense of just how magnetic Dylan was in his early years, and how he could hold a large audience in the palm of his hand. No easy feat, considering how cavernous Philharmonic Hall (now known as Avery Fisher Hall) is. In many ways his performances surpass the studio versions. A must.
JohnQ More than 1 year ago
This one really was a bootleg before this 2004 release. The main reason for its popularity among collectors was the rare good humor of Dylan on this Halloween night in 1964. His interaction with the audience is as fascinating as it is rare. And through it all Dylan performs a playlist that includes songs from Freewheelin, Times, and several tunes from the Village days. This is certainly the best live album of Dylan's pre-electric years.