Bob Dylan: More Blood, More Tracks – The Bootleg Series Vol. 14
If nothing else, then the nearly six hours of alternate takes on Bob Dylan’s More Blood, More Tracks, capturing the 1974 sessions for 1975’s Blood on the Tracks , suggest that Dylan picked right. Remembered for his songwriting (like, duh ), More Blood highlights Dylan’s many other skills. Self-producing for the first time, performing live in the studio with different combos and singing in perhaps the sweetest iteration of his ever-changing voice, Dylan infamously rerecorded many of the songs with a small band after jackets had been printed and test pressings had been sent out. Dylan’s endless reworking of the songs is documented by the amazing reproduced notebook that comes with the set, and the differences between the performances represent only miniscule further edits, akin to more of Dylan’s careful scratches. But, owing to the album’s quiet dynamics, for listeners intimately familiar with both Blood on the Tracks and its oft-bootlegged New York draft, the smallest variations will seem nearly deafening, maybe wondrous. Perhaps best listened to on shuffle, or resequenced as a series of performances, the takes find Dylan experimenting subtly with tempos, guitar phrasings, voice grains and small word choices. Big surprises include a luxurious, slowed-down “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go,” and a solo New York “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts” that bounces even without a band. It’s all a reminder that the canonical versions of “Tangled Up in Blue” and the rest are partially twists of fate themselves, and it is worth pointing out that Dylan continued to rewrite some of the songs as he performed them live. More Blood, More Tracks does one better than a vintage 1974 Bob Dylan hologram and creates a vivid and enjoyable 3-D experience of the real Bob Dylan at work.