- Bob Dylan: "The 'Queen of the Folksingers,' that would have to be Joan Baez... The sight of her made me high. All that and there was her voice. A voice that drove out bad spirits. It was like she'd come down from another planet." Read more musical excerpts from Chronicles, Vol. 1 on our Music You Should Hear page.
Biograph Box set, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
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But the compilers at Columbia have doen a good job solving this rather impossible task. 1985's "Biograph" wasn't the first ever career-spanning rock box set (the late, great Buddy Holly was honored with that in 1979), but it was the most important by far, establishing the format and sparking new interest in Bob Dylan whose career was in decline at the time.
Unlike many box sets, this one actually offers something to both the casual and the dedicated fan. Most of Dylan's best-known songs are here, as well as a generous helping of unreleased songs, B-sides, alternates and demos. And almost everything gels, actually, making "Biograph" an excellent, if not definitive, summary of Bob Dylan's career from 1961-1985.
Many great songs are missing, of course, but with an artist as prolific as Bob Dylan that can't be helped. And the songs that are here are excellent (with the exception of a handful that are merely good).
This is an immensely varied compilation, very well annotated and boasting magnificent state-of-the-art fidelity. The track list includes early acoustic numbers, electric rock songs, blues-rock, folk-rock, country-rock, and lovely ballads. And the rarities and previously unreleased songs aren't rejects or filler, most of them are in fact excellent, from the acoustic "Up To Me" and the surreal "Quinn The Eskimo" to the quirky, upbeat pop of "On A Night Like This" and "Heart Of Mine", and the gorgeous ballads "Lay Down Your Weary Tune" and "I'll Keep It With Mine".
Casual Dylan fans may well find that there are too many unfamiliar songs here, and they should probably start somewhere else...Read more ›
The sequencing may not make much sense in the CD era, but this was released in 1985 when vinyl records were still the dominant format. By 33 1/3 standards, the sequencing makes perfect sense with each side arranged (loosely) around a theme. The so-called protest songs were relegated to one side, love songs were given another, and difficult to catagorize tracks like "Every Grain of Sand" and "Visions of Johanna" were collected on another side.
With that in mind, "Biograph" is hard to beat. As an introduction to THE singer-songwriter of the rock era, "Biograph" makes previous "hits" packages obsolete by providing an exciting and varied overview of Dylan's brilliance as both a composer and performer. Whether protesting society's injustices in "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are A Changin'," chronicalling the course of a love affair in "You're a Big Girl Now," professing a belief in the divine as in "Solid Rock" and "Every Grain of Sand," or just being inscrutably brilliant as in a previously unreleased live rendition of "Visions of Johanna," Dylan's songwriting genius is simply unrivaled in any genre of music.
For those who already own most of the official releases from Dylan's Columbia catalogue, the real treat here are the previously unreleased recordings, such as the breathtaking "Up to Me" (an outtake from 1974's "Blood on the Tracks") and the superb "Abandoned Love" (leftover from 1976's "Desire"), all of which prove that the scraps from the man's table are often every bit as tasty as the main meal.
The only issue I have with this collection is that listening to it cause me to think about how those in my generation have for the most part not fulfilled our promise to be better than our parents at protecting the people and the earth. We should have done better. Now as we enter retirement a new attitude permeates our society one that is so self orientated that they may totally miss the point of what a Bob Dylan song can be.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Stellar collection, but not as advertised. Not a reissue/remaster. It's the original pressing.Published 3 months ago by It'snotallgood
Ok, this is where the whole "bootleg series" unofficially starts -- and it starts with a BANG! If u love Bob, buy it -- over & out.Published on December 22, 2013 by Amazon Customer
this is the greatest compilation of Bob Dylan, the way the songs flow is amazing, nice package, timeless work, amazingPublished on November 14, 2013 by James A. Quasius
I have been meaning to buy "biograph" for some time. I heard it when it first came out on record and was hooked. Read morePublished on September 10, 2012 by Phil
I thought this would be a wonderful box set but instead was very disappointed. The major problem here is the sequencing of the songs. Read morePublished on June 11, 2012 by MJH
First off I am not a musical snob. Hardly, my favorite bands are angry bands like SlipKnot, Mushroomhead, Disturbed and Godsmack. So why Dylan? Read morePublished on December 12, 2010 by P. Collins
Considering the price this was a decent purchase. The three discs contain 53 songs from the sixties and seventies, some of which had not been released before. Read morePublished on September 27, 2010 by Joseph A Dandona Jr