It was the best of times for Bob Dylan. In 1965 and 1966, he recorded some of the most important albums of the decade, and of the century. Bringing It All back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde contain many of Dylan’s most icon songs, including Like a Rolling Store, Visions of Johanna, Desolation Row, Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands, Subterranean Homesick Blues, and so many more.
This new Bootleg Series release takes a deep dive into that period. Available in several versions – an 18-CD limited edition, a 6-disc version (Amazon.com, Amazon UK), a 2-disc version (Amazon.com, Amazon UK), and a 3-LP vinyl version (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) – The Cutting Edge includes outtakes and alternate versions of the songs that showed Dylan at the height of his songwriting skills.
If you’re not a Dylan obsessive, you won’t want the 18-disc version, but even the 6-CD set includes a lot of variations, such as every take of Like a Rolling Stone (all 16 of them). Remember, Dylan didn’t do overdubs, or very few. He had his band – including some session musicians – play the songs, the entire songs. And many of the takes are very different from the versions that were released on the original albums. It’s not just about hearing the same, exact song several times, but discovering how Dylan altered his songs to find what was right.
If you’re a Dylan fan, you know what to do. If not, you might still like the 2-CD version which contains some of the best tracks from that period.