The Bootleg Series Vol. 12: The Cutting Edge 1965–1966, Disc One Reviewed

Written by | November 16, 2015 8:36 am | No Comments


I’ve been wondering all weekend what is the best way to deal with Vol XII, it seems like an exercise in typing to go through it track by track: in the end, sometimes the title of the fragment is the review. Even still, this is one of the greatest listening pleasures of all time, it is as simple as that. And if you are a fan of Dylan, or 20th Century pop, or simply the place where genius and art meet up and swap stories, here you go… There are 18 discs, I will, over a period of time, review every track, disc by disc.

Disc One – Dylan is still a folkie enough to keep the retakes at a minimum and more or less the songs sound pretty set in place on the first day: nothing made it onto Bringing It All Back Home, by the second day the band is there and things are getting wilder as they work on  the eight songs, on Disc One includes three songs that made it on the album.  Producer Tom Wilson is all over it.

1. “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” Take 1 (1/13/1965) Breakdown.- Tom Wilson starts off with the mock song titles and Dylan makes a comment that will haunt him for the next two years, “I can’t do any song as good as I do it the first time”.

2. “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” Take 2 (1/13/1965) Complete. – Completely nails it.

3. “I’ll Keep It With Mine” Take 1 (1/13/1965) Released on Biograph, 1985. – “Alcatrazz To The Ninth Power”?. Nope, “Bank Account Blues”. I owned this on Biograph, and it includes one of his great line: “How long can you search for what is not lost?”

4. “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” Take 1 (1/13/1965) Released on The Bootleg Series, Vol. 7, 2005. – If I have one regret in life, it is that Dylan nailed this song so damn quickly

5. “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream” Take 1 (1/13/1965) Fragment. Released on Bringing It All Back Home, 1965. – Sure we remember that laugh.

6. “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream” Take 2 (1/13/1965) Complete.- When it says complete, it means the song doesn’t break down.

7. “She Belongs To Me” Take 1 (1/13/1965) Complete. – He hasn’t quite completed the arranged, the last line of the verses doesn’t go up,  it goes down.

8. “Subterranean Homesick Blues” Take 1 (1/13/1965) Released on The Bootleg Series, Vol. 1-3, 1991. – Dylan takes it a touch slow, and doesn’t have it quite complete, the extended harp coda isn’t necessary and takes away from the songs full throttle, and he breaks some lines into two for the sake of the rhyme.

9. “Outlaw Blues” Take 1 (1/13/1965) Complete. – Exactly a 12 bar blues, not missing much which is what happens when you play a song alone.

10. “On The Road Again” Take 1 (1/13/1965) Complete. -Still very early but it still sounds complete musically and lyrically, Dylan pounds the piano.

11. “Farewell Angelina” Take 1 (1/13/1965) Released on Bootleg Series, Vol. 1-3, 1991. – You’ve gotta wonder why Dylan didn’t include it on Bringing It All Back Home -or maybe you don’t. Too folkie.

12. “If You Gotta Go, Go Now” Take 1 (1/13/1965) Complete.- Another song you wonder why he didn’t add to the album.

13. “You Don’t Have to Do That” Take 1 (1/13/1965) Incomplete. – The song is fine, what we have of it, though you feel that “you go around talking like a chicken with your head off” line would have never seen the light of day if he’d completed it

14. “California” Take 1 (1/13/1965) Complete.- Ha ha ha ha – Dylan rips the West Coast, on this slow blues piano and harp stomper. He likes San Fran fine still there’s a problem: “I’m used to four seasons, California’s got but one”.

15. “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” Take 3 remake (1/13/1965) Complete. – This is over and done, they coulda used it on the album though I am glad they didn’t, the vocals would become stronger.

16. “She Belongs To Me” Take 2 remake (1/13/1965) Complete. – Holy smokes, just guitar and harp: the most beautiful take I’ve heard.

17. “Outlaw Blues” Take 1 remake (1/13/1965) False start. – because Tom doesn’t have the name of the song, and isn’t sure it was the one they’d done recorded earlier

18. “Outlaw Blues” Take 2 remake (1/13/1965) Complete. – That opening chug  riff sounds like “The Last Time”

19. “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” Take 1 remake (1/14/1965) Complete. – The next day, nearly 51 years ago, the electric band is there Guitarists Al Gorgoni, Kenny Rankin, and Bruce Langhorne , pianist Paul Griffin, bassists Joseph Macho, Jr. and William E. Lee, and drummer Bobby Gregg. Just about perfect.

20. “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” Take 2 remake (1/14/1965) Released on Bringing It All Back Home, 1965. Adds very very little to the first take.

21. “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” (1/14/1965) Insert. – This is the fade at the end.

22. “Subterranean Homesick Blues” Take 1 remake (1/14/1965) Complete. Chugs powerfully, the bridge isn’t there.

23. “Subterranean Homesick Blues” Take 2 remake (1/14/1965) False start. – Screw up at the beginning, Dylan decides to play the guitar.

24. “Subterranean Homesick Blues” Take 3 remake (1/14/1965) Released on Bringing It All Back Home,
1965. – On the deluxe you didn’t get the release that appeared on the album, here you do. It is really excellent.

25. “Outlaw Blues” Take 1 remake (1/14/1965) False start. – Al Giorgini does something wrong.

26. “Outlaw Blues” Take 2 remake (1/14/1965) Fragment/breakdown.The band falls apart going into the second verse.

27. “Outlaw Blues” Take 3 remake (1/14/1965) Released on Bringing It All Back Home, 1965. – The band you’ve know for all these years.


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