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Which Version of Blind Willie McTell do you prefer?
Bootleg Series version 66%  66%  [ 71 ]
Unreleased “electric” version 23%  23%  [ 25 ]
NET version (I know one thing, nobody can sing) 10%  10%  [ 11 ]
Total votes : 107
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PostPosted: Tue February 24th, 2009, 17:31 GMT 
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So which version do you prefer?

When comparing different versions of a Dylan song that I like, I seem to always prefer the “original” version I heard. Not necessarily the 1st recorded, but the one that introduced the song to me. I’m not sure if this says something about me, or if it’s the case for a lot of people. For Willie McTell, I’ve always preferred the unreleased electric version. I wonder if I heard the Bootleg Series version first if that would have been the version I fell in love with.

As an aside, does anyone know which version was included on Infidels before being pulled?


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PostPosted: Tue February 24th, 2009, 18:44 GMT 

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I really do like the lyric change in the NET versions of this song. Such a small change gives the song a whole lot more power. It gives just a little more tension before they hit that killer riff to end the verse.

I guess what I'm saying is I'll vote for the NET version.


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PostPosted: Tue February 24th, 2009, 19:05 GMT 
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Dallas 2/22 version.......... yeah 8)


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PostPosted: Tue February 24th, 2009, 19:23 GMT 
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The Dylan/Knopfler version on BS I-III is the definitive version.

I hate the NET-versions.
They take all the subtlety out of the song and beat the song into a bloody pulp.


Last edited by P.Jekk on Tue February 24th, 2009, 20:50 GMT, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue February 24th, 2009, 19:37 GMT 
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Bob Zimmerman wrote:
Dallas 2/22 version.......... yeah 8)


Image


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PostPosted: Tue February 24th, 2009, 19:49 GMT 
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I dont prefer any one version really,although i do enjoy many of the net performances especially the wolftrap versions, as well as the original version of course.


Last edited by stoneyboy on Tue February 24th, 2009, 20:48 GMT, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue February 24th, 2009, 20:17 GMT 

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P.Jekk wrote:
The Dylan/Knopfler version on BS I-III is the definitive version.

I hate the NET-versions.
They take all the subtlety out of the song and beat the song to a bloody pulp.


It's a completely different take on the song for sure, like he does with all his songs on the NET. There seems to be two completely different sets of goals in and out of the studio.
And most of the time the goals of the songs on the NET are to be as driving as possible.


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PostPosted: Tue February 24th, 2009, 20:22 GMT 
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Bootleg Series version gets mine by a country mile.


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PostPosted: Tue February 24th, 2009, 20:46 GMT 
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Definitely the NET versions. No contest. That's when the song has come alive. Check these out:

http://www.humyo.com/F/164399-50237457
http://www.humyo.com/F/164399-52918625


Last edited by Mr. Tambourine Man on Tue February 24th, 2009, 20:47 GMT, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue February 24th, 2009, 20:47 GMT 
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Silly question but what bootleg has the "Electric" version of this? It shows up in a couple of forms in my iTunes library, but I don't know if I have heard the electric version.


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PostPosted: Tue February 24th, 2009, 21:04 GMT 
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Harry Truman wrote:
Silly question but what bootleg has the "Electric" version of this? It shows up in a couple of forms in my iTunes library, but I don't know if I have heard the electric version.


I think the "electric" version shows up on most Infidels bootlegs. I originally heard it on an oh so cleverly titled bootleg called Outfidels. The version I have currently on my ipod is from the Genuine Bootleg Series Vol 1.


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PostPosted: Tue February 24th, 2009, 21:09 GMT 
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Thanks waterboy. I have Rough Cuts on my iPod, but i'll have to pull out my BS1-III for the final evaluation. Great, homework.


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PostPosted: Tue February 24th, 2009, 21:17 GMT 

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The electric Infidels outtake sounds so tossed off and halfhearted, not to mention the band is all out of rhythm with Dylan and each other. How some people can prefer it to the sublimely subtle and stark BS3 version I will never know.

There have been many great NET live outings of the song, and those little lyrical refinements are inspired, but I think I'd still have to vote for the released studio version as my favorite.

I think it is indeed true that people tend to favor the first version/performance of a song they hear and it becomes the standard by which others are judged, though sometimes the opposite can also occur where someone hates the first version they hear and only later warms up to an alternate one.


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PostPosted: Tue February 24th, 2009, 21:38 GMT 
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The Mighty Monkey Of Mim wrote:
The electric Infidels outtake sounds so tossed off and halfhearted, not to mention the band is all out of rhythm with Dylan and each other. How some people can prefer it to the sublimely subtle and stark BS3 version I will never know.


Yeah, like I said I wonder what I would have thought if I heard the officially released version first. Personally I find it somewhat dull compared to the electric version. As far as the electric version sounding tossed off, I don't hear that at all. He flubs the lyrics, or laughs in the microphone, at the beginning, but other than that he sounds completely committed to the peformance to me. He may well be out of synch with the music, but Bob does that all the time - it's part of his charm :)


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PostPosted: Tue February 24th, 2009, 22:19 GMT 
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I really like the BS1-3 version better.


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PostPosted: Tue February 24th, 2009, 22:26 GMT 
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To answer the question straight of: the officially released 'Bootleg Series' version (Dylan & Knopfler) towers above all other versions.
In my book there isn't even any form of competition here: I know I've heard that electric version some time in the past but it failed to make a strong impression on me. As for the NET ... don't get me started.

Recently I've come to think of 'Blind Willie McTell' as a sort of 'I dreamed I saw St. Augustine part 2'. Both use a somewhat obscure figure from an illusive, almost mystical past to lament present situations. Both also gain tremendous power through a quite minimalistic approach - more power than almost any other Dylan song manages to acquire.

A song like 'It alright, Ma (I'm only bleeding)' is of course impressive: a machine gun of words, rhymes and visions shooting all around you in a seemingly endless fire attack - all out of the mouth of one very young kid. An outstanding achievement for sure.
But I can't think of many lines in Dylan's catalogue that have such a devastating effect on me as the last phrase of 'I dreamed I saw St. Augustine' - "I put my fingers against the glass and bowed my head and cried". It's one thing to stun people with a beatnick-like song in the lenghty vein of 'Howl', it's quite another still to be able to grab a listeners feelings with just a handfull of obscure images.

'Blind Willie McTell' - to me - is pretty much written in the same esthetical vocabulary, it has a similar approach towards words and images to it. One which, unfortunately, is rather rare in Dylan's cannon.

Put 'I dreamed I saw St. Augustine' and 'Blind Willie McTell' on a disc, add the bootleg series version of 'Every grain of sand' 'High Water (for Charley Patton)' from Love and theft and 'Nettie Moore' from Modern times and 'Buckets of rain' from Blood on the tracks and I think you've pretty much assembled my 'Desert Island Dylan Companion'.


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PostPosted: Tue February 24th, 2009, 22:28 GMT 
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The studio versions make me want to go to sleep.


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PostPosted: Tue February 24th, 2009, 22:29 GMT 
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Mr. Tambourine Man wrote:
The studio versions make me want to go to sleep.


The NET-versions make me want to be Dylan's Mark Chapman.


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PostPosted: Tue February 24th, 2009, 22:37 GMT 

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Mr. Tambourine Man wrote:
Definitely the NET versions. No contest. That's when the song has come alive. Check these out:

http://www.humyo.com/F/164399-50237457
http://www.humyo.com/F/164399-52918625

Kick ass versions!!! do you know what years???


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PostPosted: Tue February 24th, 2009, 22:54 GMT 
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The best version I know of is from the Ahoy, The Netherlands, May 2, 2002. I have not heard anything from the Never Ending Tour as good as this performance.

The Bootleg Series version is pretty good.


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PostPosted: Tue February 24th, 2009, 22:56 GMT 
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andy1983 wrote:
Put 'I dreamed I saw St. Augustine' and 'Blind Willie McTell' on a disc, add the bootleg series version of 'Every grain of sand' 'High Water (for Charley Patton)' from Love and theft and 'Nettie Moore' from Modern times and 'Buckets of rain' from Blood on the tracks and I think you've pretty much assembled my 'Desert Island Dylan Companion'.
Would you allow me to make your 'Desert Island Dylan Companion, Part 2' for you? :D


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PostPosted: Tue February 24th, 2009, 23:06 GMT 
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Untrodden Path wrote:
Would you allow me to make your 'Desert Island Dylan Companion, Part 2' for you? :D


You know I like you way too much to deny you any such pleasures ... but if it's going to be a 'NET Desert Island Dylan Companion' I must admit that it's rather likely that I will use that disc as a mirror to start fires with. Or as a sort of suicide-pill when all else fails. :wink:


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PostPosted: Tue February 24th, 2009, 23:12 GMT 
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Untrodden Path wrote:
andy1983 wrote:
Put 'I dreamed I saw St. Augustine' and 'Blind Willie McTell' on a disc, add the bootleg series version of 'Every grain of sand' 'High Water (for Charley Patton)' from Love and theft and 'Nettie Moore' from Modern times and 'Buckets of rain' from Blood on the tracks and I think you've pretty much assembled my 'Desert Island Dylan Companion'.
Would you allow me to make your 'Desert Island Dylan Companion, Part 2' for you? :D


:lol: :lol:

And nice choices, Andy. The first three would be on mine as well, and the last two would be on the expensive bonus disc.

I bought the Bootleg Series immediately after it was released (in '91?). Knew nothing of this Blind Willie McTell song, sat in shock and awe on first listen, and played it relentlessly for weeks. I've never tired of it--still thrills me. I heard the electric version for the first time last year. It's fine. Too noisy for this song for me.


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PostPosted: Wed February 25th, 2009, 00:04 GMT 
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ceptyou wrote:
Mr. Tambourine Man wrote:
Definitely the NET versions. No contest. That's when the song has come alive. Check these out:

http://www.humyo.com/F/164399-50237457
http://www.humyo.com/F/164399-52918625

Kick ass versions!!! do you know what years???


The first one can be found on Hard To Find Volume 6... and it's source says ' "Love Sick" CD singles w/bobdylan.com bonus'... which seven other performances have the same source for. Definitely from '97. And the second one is from Cardiff 2000. Both top notch.


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PostPosted: Wed February 25th, 2009, 03:47 GMT 
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Mr. Tambourine Man wrote:
Definitely the NET versions. No contest. That's when the song has come alive. Check these out:

http://www.humyo.com/F/164399-50237457
http://www.humyo.com/F/164399-52918625


Thanks for those links - those are good versions - much better than what I remember from the shows I've been to. The shows I've seen it seemed much faster and more rushed...


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