As if everybody didn't already know just how prolific Bob Dylan was, this triple-disc collection comes along not just as a supplement to Dylan's music but as an essential item in his catolog. The songs featured in this collection, some outtakes and some alternate versions, are all immensely important for any fan of Dylan's, or fan of rock music for that matter. The songs which were mere outtakes from his work throughout the sixties are all fully brilliant, and the alternate takes and demos of previously released material often are more urgent and allow the listener to not only hear the evolution of the songs, but to experience a raw Dylan amidst the creation of masterpieces. The emotions are lucid and the words flawless. Listening to the first version of "Like a Rolling Stone" (in the time of a Waltz no less!) sent chills down my spine as I could hear the man spitting out his first run through of "didn't you" and "kidding you". His acoustic reading of "Subterranean Homesick Blues" (which, just for the record, sent rock music in an entirely new direction) should be mandatory listening for everybody, Dylan-obsessed or not. The sound quality on this album is excellent, and I felt a closeness to the music and the musician that I had never experienced previously. The first two discs are absolutely amazing, culled from a period of brilliance unmatched by an artist ever, and the third disc rocked me back on my heels. I was caught completely offguard by the quality of the songs dating from 1978-1989. This was clearly not an era of great Dylan music, but the songs on the third disc are all gems. Even the selections from his (egad!) Christian phase find new life and appreciation within this collection. It is worth the price of the set for this disc alone, because these songs are necessary to own, but now you don't have to wade through much of the muck that was '80's Bob Dylan. You will not hear most of these songs anywhere else, but they need to be heard. Whether he is writing talking blues, political cries, introspective poetry, bitter love songs, words of loss and remorse or religious odes, this compilation proves that nobody has matched Dylan in any of his many genres. Buy it. Enjoy it.
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