The world of Bob Dylan bootlegs is a deep and mysterious one. I've dabbled on the edges and have a shelf of CDs to show for it, but I'd never claim to be an expert. (Talk about setting yourself up for a fall...)
Anyway, I was intrigued to hear that vol 10 of Sony's official bootleg series may be a set of Self Portrait out-takes and stripped-down versions of the official release. And a taster single featuring a demo of 'Wigwam' may appear for Record Store Day.
That sent me back to listening to the album as released and reminding myself of how much decent stuff there is on there. (The Rolling Stone review began 'What is this shit?', you will recall...) Try 'Alberta', 'Days of 49' and 'Belle Isle' for size, and then go on to 'Spanish Is The Loving Tongue' from the quasi-SP out-takes album Dylan.
That occupied this morning quite nicely.
This evening I've been reflecting on how much quality Dylan stuff is still in the vault, ten splendid volumes into the Bootleg Series.
So here I am now, glorying in Solid Rock, recorded live at Massey Hall in Toronto in April 1980. In the heart of Dylan's still-by-some-derided overtly Christian period, which generated three hit-and-miss studio albums.
As a live document, Solid Rock is the real deal: engaged, passionate, beautifully sung and played... Try 'Ain't Gonna Go To Hell For Anybody' and feel the hairs rise on the back of your neck.
It's true. The devil may often shade it, but sometimes Jesus does have the best tunes, after all.
When are they going to get an official release?