“The 1966 Live Recordings” Capture a Pivotal Moment in Bob Dylan’s Evolution

Many of these songs pulse with thrilling primal power.


Bob Dylan
The 1966 Live Recordings
Columbia/Legacy

Sony Music Group

A massive 36-disc collection, The 1966 Live Recordings purports to capture every performance from Bob Dylan’s stormy concert tour of 50 years ago, when he ranged from the US to Europe to Australia, polarizing audiences in the process. The music is predictably great, and the sound quality is surprisingly good, for the most part; except for a handful of substandard audience tapes included in the name of completeness, these shows are taken from soundboards or were recorded with an eye to issuing a live album at the time.

On a practical level, the official release of this hefty package serves to reclaim the music from bootleggers and ensure copyright protection for its author. On a creative level, it documents a pivotal, oft-discussed moment in Dylan’s evolution. Each show was split between an acoustic set, where he played solo, and an electric one, in which he was backed by a noisy ensemble that included most members of what would become The Band. While Dylan’s embrace of rock’n’roll may have outraged tradition-minded fans (whose protests are occasionally audible), his unplugged renditions of classics like “Desolation Row” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” are heartfelt, moving and not at all disrespectful to his folk roots. If the raucous high-voltage takes on “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Ballad of a Thin Man” are jarring by contrast, they also pulse with thrilling primal power. Whichever style you prefer, The 1966 Live Recordings is a remarkable document.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate