Bob Dylan has been showered with (much-deserved) praise over the past 20 years for a creative renaissance that has resulted in some of the most intriguing and enjoyable albums of his legendary career. Just as impressive to me during this stretch is the Bob Dylan Bootleg Series that shines light on different eras of Dylan’s recording career.
Now up to Volume 12, the Bootleg Series has been an unqualified success. Newest entry “The Cutting Edge 1965-1966” is another winner and ranks among the stronger entry in the series. It focuses on the studio sessions that resulted in arguably Dylan’s greatest stretch of albums (“Bringing It All Back Home,” “Highway 61 Revisited” and “Blonde on Blonde.” The two-CD, 36-track collection is filled with alternate takes of now-classic songs that show how Dylan’s music evolved even during the course of a single recording session.
Fans should revel in the alternate takes on “Love Minus Zero/No Limit,” “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream,” “She Belongs to Me,” “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Desolation Row,” “Tombstone Blues,” “Positively 4th Street,” “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues,” “Highway 61 Revisited,” “Visions of Johanna,” “Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat,’ “Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again” and “I Want You.” I can’t recommend this one highly enough, folks. (Jeffrey Sisk)