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The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3 : Rare And Unreleased, 1961-1991 Box set

4.7 out of 5 stars 128 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, August 19, 1997
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Frequently Bought Together

  • The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3 : Rare And Unreleased, 1961-1991
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  • The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live, 1966: The "Royal Albert Hall Concert"
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  • Bob Dylan Live 1975 (The Bootleg Series Volume 5)
Total price: $63.97
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  • Includes FREE MP3 version of this album Here's how (restrictions apply)
  • Bob Dylan: "Johnny Cash's voice was so big, it made the world grow small... When I first heard 'I Walk the Line' so many years earlier, it sounded like a voice calling out 'What are you doing there, boy?' I was trying to keep my eyes wide opened, too." Read more musical excerpts from Chronicles, Vol. 1 on our Music You Should Hear page.


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

It is absolutely humbling, given the quality of the material on this 3-CD, 58-song set, to think that these are the Dylan compositions that DIDN'T make the cut for his albums! Includes long-rumored songs ( She's Your Lover Now; Blind Willie McTell ), alternate versions (of the songs on Blood on the Tracks , for instance), live cuts and more unreleased treasures. A must.

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Bob Dylan has always been incredibly prolific, only releasing a fraction of what he records. Such a policy has made him a prime target for bootleggers over the years, finally prompting this sanctioned 1991 triple-disc dive into the Dylan vaults. It consists of rare tracks, unreleased outtakes, early versions of classics ("Times They Are a-Changin'," "Like a Rolling Stone," "I Shall Be Released"), and alternate versions that sometimes cut the originals ("Idiot Wind"). A measure of Dylan's depth is his list of discarded songs ("She's Your Lover Now," "Blind Willie McTell," "Series of Dreams") that would be the crown jewels of most catalogs. These 58 tracks serve as a shadow history of one of our most important artists. --Ben Edmonds
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 19, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B000002AJG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,190 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Perhaps the most substantial reason to buy this album is to hear what you did not know you were missing in the 80's. There are some unbelievably brilliant performances here that were left off of various 80's albums, like Blind Willie McTell, Series of Dreams, and Foot of Pride.
Then there are some sizzling 70's performances, like the live Seven Days or Catfish, an outtake from 1975's wonderful "Desire" album. Also, the original verson of "If Not for You," with none other than George Harrison on guitar, is ten million times better than the version featured on the actual studio album, "New Morning." The "unplugged" verisons of some "Blood on the Tracks" songs are powerfully raw.
Then, of course, his songwriting brilliance of the 60's shines on the tear jerking "Moonshiner," which is, arguably, his best vocal performance EVER. "Seven Curses," 'Eternal Circle," 'Farewell, Angelina" are as good as anything on his early to mid 60's albums. Yes...really.
This collecton got me scratching my head, frustrated, wondering why Dylan never released these songs. It is anyone's guess as to why the 60's material was never released, but in the 80's, he seemed to be more interested in angering his record label than anything else. That may be why "Blind Willie Mctell" and 'Foot of Pride" were both left off of 1983's "Infidels," which is brilliant in its own right, but would have truly been one of Dylan's best albums ever with the addition of those songs. Oh well. He never did release them. And now we have it all here, on this 3CD package. Any Dylan fan who does not buy it should be criminally prosecuted. And anyone who is curious about Dylan's career should begin with 'Biograph" and this collection. It is truly an outstanding gem that puts this genius's 40-year career into some perspective.
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Format: Audio CD
The saddest thing about this collection in my mind comes from the fact this is something the casual find might not think to look at first. This is the type of release that is usually aimed at the already established fan base of a particular artist, but in this case this is as valid a first buy as his albums are.
Dylan does not falter at all on this collection, and it shows the depth of his songwriting, making this (to my mind) as essential in his catalogue as anything else people recommend for newcommers to Dylan. The only thing added by knowing Dylan's albums before this is the amount of frustration the listener feels that he didn't put these tracks on the prospective albums they belong too. The majority of them could have been MUCH longer, with INFIDELS being a double album even, and SHOT OF LOVE would have greately benefited, making it rated higher than it is and give Dylan a critical boost when he really needed it. Dylan, for all his skills, has proven one thing with this release: the method he uses to assemble albums could stand up to some fine-tuning and work, because most of these are good enough to be released. The songs are absolutely wonderful, all of them (with maybe the single exception of Talking Negeliah Blues, which is just a 50 second guitar doodle and Suze -- not because of the song itself which is an instermentual but because the track breaks down, as does "She's Your Lover Now" which is the single most exasperating song on this record for that exact reason.) The real meat of this set is its unreleased stuff, and while some of the alternate takes are interesting just downright terrible (only one of these is REAL bad, and that's "It Takes A Lot to Laugh", while techinically good ruin the gorgeous song by playing it way to fast).
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Format: Audio CD
It was known that Dylan had a great deal of unreleased material, but nobody was prepared for the unbelievable range and quality of this set when it came out in 1991. The first disc is a treasure trove of old songs and early compositions, given Dylan's inimitable spin, and a great history of his development as a songwriter. The second disc contains some interesting alternative versions, plus a few new gems like "Seven Curses", "She's Your Lover Now", and "Wallflower".
But it is the third disc that is the stunner. Several very great songs that would have been the crown jewels for any other artist appear for the first time here (Angelina, Foot of Pride, Blind Willie McTell, Series of Dreams). In addition, the alternate versions of "If You See Her, Say Hello", "Every Grain of Sand", and "When the Night Comes Falling From the sky" are in my opinion even better than the original released versions, and the other new songs are of very high quality. This third disc all by itself would make a list of Dylan's top 5 records.
The liner notes and pictures are great too -- arguably the best study around of the first 30 years of Dylan's career.
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Format: Audio CD
I recently became turned-on to Bob's Dylan's Bootleg Series. I find it odd that I have come so late to these historical compilations of previously unreleased studio outtakes, as I am a major Dylan fan & have been since the release of "Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," just about 40 years ago - Yoiks!! Dylan has always been incredibly prolific, only releasing a fraction of what he records. My understanding is that a limit was imposed on him as to how many tracks he could release per year. This policy made him a prime target for bootleggers. It has been said/written that Dylan is one of the most bootlegged of 20th Century performers. The music here was recorded between 1961 and 1989, spanning almost 3 decades.

Dylan approved this three disc release in 1991, delving deep into past archives for the material. The CDs are comprised of 58 tracks, unreleased and rare, alternate versions of classics, demos, a few live tracks, and some of his discarded songs, like "She's Your Lover Now," "Blind Willie McTell," and "Series of Dreams" - all absolute gems!

Disc 1 opens with Dylan in his original new-Woody Guthrie style with the defiant "Hard Times in New York Town." In 1960, Dylan dropped out of college and moved to New York, where legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie was hospitalized with a rare disease of the nervous system. Dylan visited with his idol regularly in the hospital. "He Was a Friend of Mine" and "Man on the Street," are poignant hobo laments. Two relatively obscure protest songs are included here, "Paths of Victory" and "Who Killed Davy Moore?" Davy Moore is about the death of a young featherweight boxer who, after losing a title bout to Sugar Ramos in 1963, fell into a coma and died. The incident sparked public debate about whether boxing should be banned in the United States.
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The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3 : Rare And Unreleased, 1961-1991
This item: The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3 : Rare And Unreleased, 1961-1991
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