Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 07:43:01 EDT
A rather busy time these last several months. To wit...........

A KNIFE A FORK A BOTTLE & A CORK  (Junk 002) Toledo, OH 15Feb98
   + filler 16-20Jan98 NYC,  31Jan98 (2), 01Feb98 (2),  13Jan98 (1)
Tracks: 24   Times: 69/74    Source: Audience   Quality: Excellent
An excellent sounding, well balanced field recording with a nice, warm
vibe to it. Clear separation & distinct instrumentation blend together
for a perfect mix. Dylan's performances are full of depth and his
unique phrasing and vocal inflections are in full bloom. I Want You is
a stunner. Masters is chilling in its grim and determined delivery.
The band is really into it, each track moving seamlessly into the next
and Dylan's performance giving us ONE whole show and not JUST 15
songs. The filler tracks keep the level high - Born In Time & Tom
Thumb's stand out - overall this is a set deserving of high praise.

CocaineBlues/Masters/Tangled/MillionMiles/ThisWheel's/H61/TilI I Fell/
ItAintMebabe/LoveSick/RDW + NotDarkYet/ColdIrons/StayingHereWithYou/

BLOOD & THUNDER  1CD  (Junk 003)  StateFair, Okla City, OK 18May76
   (11), San Antonio, TX 11May76 (2), Fort Collins, CO 23May76 (1)
Tracks: 14    Time: 74     Source: Soundboard     Quality: Very Good
A complete and much improved recording of the Okla City soundboard
tape. It's always nice to get a RThunder upgrade and, although not up
to the standards we've come to expect from boards these days, this one
will have few complaints. The sound, in fact, fits the event, giving
it a mangy kind of dust-bowl & tumbleweed type vibe. Unlike the more
"choreographed" '75 leg of RollngThunder, the '76 leg seemed like a
more shoot from the hip, spontaneous kind of deal. The unique Desire
sound is captured on stage, running the gamut from the raunchy rock
blues of Maggie's to the soul- searching, almost plaintive Going Going
Gone, from the mystical sound of Isis to the countrified and jaunty
You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go. The Shelter defines a new
genre - Dylan blues,  and the incredible Oh, Sister is, well, a
masterpiece IMO, Scarlett's haunting violin and the jangle of guitars
defying categorization. Just listen.................oh, and the
filler. Just check the last 3 tracks below- what's not to like????

You're GonnaMakeMeLonesome/Laylady/IWantYou/GoingGone + BigGirlNow/

ROCK SOLID  1CD  (Junkyard Angel - JUNK 004)  Toronto, CAN 19Apr80
    + (1) Montreal, CAN 20Apr80
Tracks: 8   Time: 48   Source: Line/Board   Quality: "Almost" Official

Front cover
Back cover

Not much need be said about this terrific sounding set, allegedly the
"unreleased" live album considered for official release way back when.
The sound is as close to official release quality as you are likely to
hear. The performances of the "gospel" material is breathtaking, w/
Dylan's singing never better and his conviction awe-inspiring. The
melodies and rhythms of these songs are simply beautiful. Essential

Gotta Serve Somebody/Covenant Woman/ When You Gonna Wake Up/

THE TALL GRASS & THE ONES I LOVE 1CD (no label)  State Fair,
     Okla City, 18 May 76
Tracks: 9     Time: 48     Source: Soundboard    Quality: Very Good

An abbreviated version of the set above, avoid at all costs if the above is
available. Decent quality but falls short of the Okla City tracks on Blood
& Thunder. For completists only. Way cool cover graphic art on his one.
CHILD'S BALLOON  2CD  (No Label) New Orleans, LA  10 Nov 1981
 Tracks: 20  Time: 52/52   Source: Soundboard    Quality: Excellent
No need to hold onto "Stadiums of the Damned" now, as this set raises 
the "sound" bar considerably and renders it obsolete, IMO. It is so
much better, in fact, that any attempts at comparison are ludicrous.
For another view, look below.
The sound here is smooth and clean, upfront and not at all intrusive,
stunning actually. Dylan's vocals are bright, the instruments are crisp
and well defined. A better comparison would be to the legendary "You
Can't Kill An Idea" set from the Houston show the next day. In the
hierarchy of '81 soundboards, I'd  give this the nod over Houston, with
Avignon and Oslo behind. Dylan's performance is so confident and
full of zest that you find yourself shaking your head. Each and every
song is played with gusto and the guitars and keyboards provide a
full throttle thrust to the proceedings. Dylan is playful, animated and
cocksure in his delivery. A truly monumental "ITS ALRIGHT MA" has to
be heard to be believed. I won't spoil it by trying to describe it. A
dynamite '81 show.  

Trax: ServeSomebody/BelieveInU/LARS/IWantU/
Blowin'/It'sAlrightMa/ItAin'tMeBabe/Knockin'.  High marks on this one.
MUDPLEX  3CD (No label)  Mud Island, Memphis, TN 26Jul88 complete
    Starplex, Dallas, TX  28Jul88  complete
Tracks: 33    Times: 62/58/52     Source: Audience   Quality: VG+/Fair
A triple set coupling two complete '88 shows on 3 disks that probably
should have been limited to the first show + filler. Quality on the
Memphis set is quite good w/clear, upfront vocals and distinct, well
balanced instrumentation. Performance is a dandy, full of vocal twists
and turns with some drastic rearranging of vintage "classics" - see
Big Girl Now. The acoustic set is terrific, with Barbara Allen, Boots
& Hard Rain the clear standouts, Dylan's vocals strong and hard
hitting. Repeated listenings on this one, the
next...................not so often, as the quality is simply fair to
middling on the Starplex show, even a bit lame on the electric
numbers. The softer, acoustic material suffers less but is still left
wanting. A pity, too, as the setlist is a treat and what you can glean
from the performances is inspired. Had the Starplex been filler - Back
Pages/EveryGrainOfSand/LoveMinusZero/Ramona/Blowin' - this one would
be worthwhile. As Neil said in the mid 80's - the saddest words are
"It Might Have Been." In summary, a 3 disk set with 2 disks worth of
worthwhile material.

OH BABE IT AIN'T NO LIE  2CD (Dung Beetle)  ElRey, Los Angeles
    20 Dec 97 complete  + filler 19 Dec 97
Tracks: 23    Times: 70/70      Source: Audience    Quality: Excellent
Another outstanding ElRey show to pair with the magnificent "Even
After All These Years." While falling shy of the supreme magnificence
of that disk in terms of ClubTour sound quality, this is next best by
far. A warm, crisp sounding set that is characterized by the vigor
with which Dylan attacks each and every tune. Clearly, he is laying it
all on the line here. His yearning vocals and incomparable phrasing
stand out, he twists and turns words and sounds inside out, this way
and that, peeling away the seeming endless layers of emotion in his
songs. A "darker" feeling embodies this show, a feeling of dread and
foreboding - Cold Irons, Can't Wait, Cocaine, John Brown, I&I - the
fear lurking beneath the grit of Dylan's delivery. You almost wish he
did "Masters" this night- and when was the last time that happend? The
beauty of Dylan (to me at least) is his ability to tap into every
human emotion. This show does that in spades, thanks in no small part
to the incredible accompaniment of messers. Garnier, Baxter, Campbell
& Kemper. They seem to always set this most unique of tables, and
allow Dylan to serve up his one-of- a-kind menu of  love, hate, fear,
regret, desire, desperation and adventure, and always with such an
appealing poignancy. You'll hear all this and more with this set.
Don't be late......

LoveSick/RDW   12/19: LongBlackCoat/JLAW/OhBabe/Love-0/WhenI

BETTE DAVIS STYLE  2CD (no label)  Birm, UK 24Jun98  complete +
   filler  London, UK 27 Jun 98
Tracks: 24   Times: 74/73     Source: Audience    Quality: Outstanding

Simply fantastic collection in wonderful quality and full of terrific
performances. Not much more to be said about this one - a real keeper
with a superb selection of tracks. 

Check it out: ServeSomebody/Tonight
JohnBrown/MamaYouBin/DesRow/Tangled/Knockin' w/Van/H61/LoveSick/
RDW/Blowin'  + ServeSomebody/LongBlackCoat/ColdIrons/FeelMyLove/
Hard to get this one out of the player.

AT THE GLOBE ARENA  3CD (Crystal Cat CC 464-66) complete
   Stockholm, SWE  9 June 1998 plus various Scandanavian venues
   June 6, 7, 10, 11, 26 1998
 Tracks: 36  Times: 76/78/78  Source: Audience   Quality: BlowAway
Not since "(bathed in a stream of) PURE HEAT" have more uniquely
sublime Dylan performances been gathered together in one place. In
fact, let me go so far as to say that, other than the
GenuineBootSeries 1&2 volumes, it does'nt get much better than this,
kids. The quality is stunning, to say the least, and it is far and
away the best "Cat" Dylan yet. Crystal clear, upfront sound, every
quirk and rasp of those glorious pipes ringing true in all their
raging glory, every pluck, strum, bash and cymbal hit burning through
with astounding clarity.....and  even some sorely missed harp thrown
in for good measure. Perhaps the ultimate live collection to
date...............don't you dare miss it!!  Includes the usual,
classy full color, multi-page booklets (2)  & gorgeous photos.

Watchtower (new arrangement)/TonightI'llBe Staying/ColdIrons/Every
ThisWheel's/H61/ForeverYoung/LoveSick/RDW12&35/Blowin' +  Peggy-O/
Times/BabyBlue/SheBelongsToMe/ShootingStar/Ramona/ Masters/Love-0/
BlindWillie/Don'tThink2x/ServeSomebody/IfNot4U/You Ain'tGoin'Nowhere/


A different view of Child's Balloon: Subject: I take issue with review on DEEP BENEATH THE WAVES!!! From: RBERG51 ( Date: 5 Dec 1998 22:54:48 GMT I recently went out and purchased "Child's Balloon" after reading the review below. . . I already had "Stadium Of The Damned" on KTS. >CHILD'S BALLOON 2CD (No Label) New Orleans, LA 10 Nov 1981 > Tracks: 20 Time: 52/52 Source: Soundboard Quality: Excellent > >No need to hold onto "Stadiums of the Damned" now, as this set raises the >"sound" bar considerably and renders it obsolete, IMO. It is somuch better, in >fact, that any attempts at comparison are ludicrous. Well, I did a comparison. . . Granted Child's Balloon is better. BUT ONLY BY A FRACTION. The Deep review is what should be considered ludicrous. The difference between Stadiums and Balloon is one gen at best. So don't waste you hard earned cash.
Subject: Re: I take issue with review on DEEP BENEATH THE WAVES!!! From: Branchtoon ( Date: 6 Dec 1998 21:49:49 GMT To my ears,"The Child's Balloon" version of the 1981 New Orleans show is sonically superior to "Stadiums of the Damned" in every way.The sound is more detailed,has more depth,and has none of the wow and flutter problems of the KTS issue. I'll have to agree with xyx on this one.This is one of my all-time favorite Dylan performances, and IMHO the upgrade is well worth it. John
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