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Rock - Released August 27, 1965 | Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Exceptional sound - Hi-Res Audio
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Folk/Americana - Released May 24, 1963 | Columbia

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It's hard to overestimate the importance of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, the record that firmly established Dylan as an unparalleled songwriter, one of considerable skill, imagination, and vision. At the time, folk had been quite popular on college campuses and bohemian circles, making headway onto the pop charts in diluted form, and while there certainly were a number of gifted songwriters, nobody had transcended the scene as Dylan did with this record. There are a couple (very good) covers, with "Corrina Corrina" and "Honey Just Allow Me One More Chance," but they pale with the originals here. At the time, the social protests received the most attention, and deservedly so, since "Blowin' in the Wind," "Masters of War," and "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" weren't just specific in their targets; they were gracefully executed and even melodic. Although they've proven resilient throughout the years, if that's all Freewheelin' had to offer, it wouldn't have had its seismic impact, but this also revealed a songwriter who could turn out whimsy ("Don't Think Twice, It's All Right"), gorgeous love songs ("Girl From the North Country"), and cheerfully absurdist humor ("Bob Dylan's Blues," "Bob Dylan's Dream") with equal skill. This is rich, imaginative music, capturing the sound and spirit of America as much as that of Louis Armstrong, Hank Williams, or Elvis Presley. Dylan, in many ways, recorded music that equaled this, but he never topped it. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released June 17, 1966 | Columbia

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If Highway 61 Revisited played as a garage rock record, the double album Blonde on Blonde inverted that sound, blending blues, country, rock, and folk into a wild, careening, and dense sound. Replacing the fiery Michael Bloomfield with the intense, weaving guitar of Robbie Robertson, Bob Dylan led a group comprised of his touring band the Hawks and session musicians through his richest set of songs. Blonde on Blonde is an album of enormous depth, providing endless lyrical and musical revelations on each play. Leavening the edginess of Highway 61 with a sense of the absurd, Blonde on Blonde is comprised entirely of songs driven by inventive, surreal, and witty wordplay, not only on the rockers but also on winding, moving ballads like "Visions of Johanna," "Just Like a Woman," and "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands." Throughout the record, the music matches the inventiveness of the songs, filled with cutting guitar riffs, liquid organ riffs, crisp pianos, and even woozy brass bands ("Rainy Day Women #12 & 35"). It's the culmination of Dylan's electric rock & roll period -- he would never release a studio record that rocked this hard, or had such bizarre imagery, ever again. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released March 19, 1965 | Columbia

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Rock - Released November 2, 2018 | Columbia - Legacy

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For fans of Bob Dylan's wide-ranging Bootleg series, More Blood, More Tracks (Vol. 14) is an entryway into one of the most mysterious, tangled stories in his recording career. These six discs contain the complete recordings sessions for 1975's Blood on the Tracks, 87 tracks in all, the vast majority unreleased. This box assists in offering a view of the process behind one of the songwriter's most enigmatic albums. On September 16 of 1974, Dylan entered Columbia's Studio with engineer Phil Ramone, with songs at once seething with anger, brokenness, and vulnerability. Written and recorded during his eventual divorce from first wife Sara, Dylan shrouds these songs in alliteration and metaphor, stretching time itself as past and present, commingling in numerous locations; they separate and return in new configurations. His protagonists speak in first and third person, often in the same verse. Once encountered, however, they're impossible to shake. Presented here are the complete sessions of the four days in New York, chronologically recorded, and, for the first time at the proper speed (Dylan had Ramone bump the master tape speed to make the tunes faster for radio play), and without the substantial reverb on the original tapes. These tunes were cut in a fit of white-heat inspiration, first by Dylan solo, and then with a band of folk-associated sidemen in Eric Weissberg & Deliverance. By the time you reach discs three through five, all the accompaniment, save for Dylan's guitar, harmonica, Tony Brown's bass, and occasional pedal steel and organ, are stripped away, resulting in what was then thought to be the completed album. Scheduled for late December release with a promotional campaign drafted, printed cover, and test pressings distributed, Dylan wasn't satisfied. Ultimately, he kept only one band track, "Meet Me in the Morning." He spent Christmas in Minnesota with his producer brother David Zimmerman, who was also less than enthused with the tracks. Dylan called his label and insisted on holding the album back. On December 27, he and a band of hastily assembled local players re-recorded five songs to complete Blood on the Tracks (captured on disc six). Since nearly half-a-million copies of the cover were already printed, the Minnesota musicians remained uncredited until now. This is exhaustive but fascinating material that sounds fantastic due to a painstaking remixing job -- nothing here sounds like a rough demo. Check the nine takes of "Idiot Wind," some offer different words, all roil with anger and bitterness. "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" is gradually revealed as one of Dylan's finest love songs in a dozen more takes. "You're a Big Girl Now," in 15 takes, is peeled away from its sarcasm to reveal a man saddled with regret. Multiple versions of "Tangled Up in Blue," "Lily Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts," and "Simple Twist of Fate" offer proof that there were many versions of the songs before they assumed their final incarnations. Dylan's constant rewriting and creative flow are captured warts and all in false starts, stuttering alternate takes, studio conversation, and flowing inspiration in complete versions. There are hours of fascination awaiting listeners, and the music poses as many new questions as it does answers surrounding the album's mythos. As for the autobiographical nature of the content, it remains, thankfully, unclear. The enclosed photo book is as essential as the liner essays in the deluxe package. By any measure, More Blood, More Tracks is a monumentally important document in the history of popular music and a gem in Dylan's catalog. ~ Thom Jurek
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Rock - Released October 31, 2014 | Columbia - Legacy

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Rock - Released January 17, 1975 | Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Pop/Rock - Released January 10, 1964 | Columbia

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Pop/Rock - Released September 22, 1989 | Columbia

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Pop/Rock - Released September 30, 1997 | Columbia

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Pop/Rock - Released December 29, 1967 | Columbia

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Bob Dylan returned from exile with John Wesley Harding, a quiet, country-tinged album that split dramatically from his previous three. A calm, reflective album, John Wesley Harding strips away all of the wilder tendencies of Dylan's rock albums -- even the then-unreleased Basement Tapes he made the previous year -- but it isn't a return to his folk roots. If anything, the album is his first serious foray into country, but only a handful of songs, such as "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight," are straight country songs. Instead, John Wesley Harding is informed by the rustic sound of country, as well as many rural myths, with seemingly simple songs like "All Along the Watchtower," "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine," and "The Wicked Messenger" revealing several layers of meaning with repeated plays. Although the lyrics are somewhat enigmatic, the music is simple, direct, and melodic, providing a touchstone for the country-rock revolution that swept through rock in the late '60s. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop/Rock - Released November 1, 1983 | Columbia

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Infidels was the first secular record Bob Dylan recorded since Street Legal, and it's far more like a classicist Dylan album than that one, filled with songs that are evocative in their imagery and direct in their approach. This is lean, much like Slow Train Coming, but its writing is closer to Dylan's peak of the mid-'70s, and some of the songs here -- particularly on the first side -- are minor classics, capturing him reviving his sense of social consciousness and his gift for poetic, elegant love songs. For a while, Infidels seems like a latter-day masterpiece, but toward the end of the record it runs out of steam, preventing itself from being a triumph. Still, in comparison to everything that arrived in the near-decade before it, Infidels is a triumph, finding Dylan coming tantalizingly close to regaining all his powers. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop/Rock - Released September 11, 2001 | Columbia

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Pop/Rock - Released June 9, 1970 | Columbia

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Another Self Portrait, the tenth volume in Bob Dylan's official bootleg series, assembles a slew of unreleased tracks, un-and over-dubbed alternate takes, and demos, mostly from 1970's Self Portrait and New Morning sessions -- they were recorded simultaneously and released within months of one another -- and other material. Dylan restlessly dug into the fakebook of folk, blues, and country tunes that nourished him from the beginning. The few original songs are minor ones. Twenty-six of these 35 selections were recorded between March and June. Dylan is in fine voice and he tries on many: some raspy, others crystal clear, all of them bold. The interconnected nature of these albums is revealed with the opening demo for "Went to See the Gypsy" (used on NM). It's just Dylan and guitarist David Bromberg. (Another take recorded three months later features just Dylan on electric piano.) There are two undubbed takes of "Little Sadie" at different tempos; two of "Time Passes Slowly" -- the first a basic folk-rock read, the latter an aggressive one with Al Kooper's B-3 swelling to a crescendo from the jump. Dylan and Bromberg, with Kooper on piano, deliver a haunted, undubbed "Days of 49." Many of the unreleased tunes are gems. "Pretty Saro" -- with Dylan in his cleanest Nashville Skyline croon displaying a real range -- and the vocal and piano read of "Spanish Is the Loving Tongue" are deeply moving love songs. "House Carpenter" is a high lonesome blues. The skeletal "Alberta #3" puts the versions from SP to shame. Eric Andersen's "Thirsty Boots" has Bromberg's spidery guitar weaving a separate lyric through Dylan's vocal. A demo of "When I Paint My Masterpiece" from 1971, contains slightly different (better) lyrics. The stripped-down "Copper Kettle" stands out when contrasted with its released version. Dylan was impatiently experimenting with arrangements on both records, particularly the latter, and some don't work. "If Not for You" features a violin instead of George Harrison's guitar. The unreleased "Working on a Guru" is almost a throwaway, but Harrison's blues-rock guitar playing smokes. The alternate "New Morning," with a brassy, Stax-style horn arrangement, is great, but the full orchestral overdub on "Sign on a Window" -- complete with harp -- fails, as does the spoken word with female gospel backing chorus on "If Dogs Run Free." Arguably, of the NM material, Dylan made the right choices for the finished album, which doesn't make what's here less interesting. The remainder of these tracks includes "Minstrel Boy," an unreleased Basement Tapes number, and two tunes from the Isle of Wight with the Band, some alternates of Nashville Skyline, and others from 1971. Another Self Portrait asks many questions, but there is one that hounds because it's unanswerable, especially in regard to its namesake: why did Dylan record all this material, in this way, and then release something entirely different? It doesn't matter. For fans, this is more than a curiosity, it's an indispensable addition to the catalog. ~ Thom Jurek
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Pop/Rock - Released August 23, 2013 | Columbia

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Pop/Rock - Released November 6, 2015 | Columbia - Legacy

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The wonderful Bob Dylan Bootleg Series continues, this time over the period 1965-1966. The Cutting Edge, the twelfth episode of the collection, contains unreleased studio recordings, never before heard songs, out-takes, rehearsal songs and alternate versions recorded during the sessions of Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde. More importantly, The Cutting Edge: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12 1965-1966 offers a rare view of the songwriter while in studio. This 6CD Deluxe Edition includes premium full sessions of Like A Rolling Stone. Obviously, one is tempted to book this type of publication to Dylan's hardcore fans because being ready to take on twenty versions of the same song, fantastic as it is, is a very specific ability. Yet The Cutting Edge: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12 1965-1966 offers a perspective into the creative process of one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century. A journey which therefore has no price. © MD / Qobuz
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Rock - Released October 15, 2010 | Columbia - Legacy

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Pop/Rock - Released October 15, 2010 | Columbia - Legacy

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rock - Released October 15, 2010 | Columbia - Legacy

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Taking the first, electric side of Bringing It All Back Home to its logical conclusion, Bob Dylan hired a full rock & roll band, featuring guitarist Michael Bloomfield, for Highway 61 Revisited. Opening with the epic "Like a Rolling Stone," Highway 61 Revisited careens through nine songs that range from reflective folk-rock ("Desolation Row") and blues ("It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry") to flat-out garage rock ("Tombstone Blues," "From a Buick 6," "Highway 61 Revisited"). Dylan had not only changed his sound, but his persona, trading the folk troubadour for a streetwise, cynical hipster. Throughout the album, he embraces druggy, surreal imagery, which can either have a sense of menace or beauty, and the music reflects that, jumping between soothing melodies to hard, bluesy rock. And that is the most revolutionary thing about Highway 61 Revisited -- it proved that rock & roll needn't be collegiate and tame in order to be literate, poetic, and complex. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released October 15, 2010 | Columbia - Legacy

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
With Another Side of Bob Dylan, Dylan had begun pushing past folk, and with Bringing It All Back Home, he exploded the boundaries, producing an album of boundless imagination and skill. And it's not just that he went electric, either, rocking hard on "Subterranean Homesick Blues," "Maggie's Farm," and "Outlaw Blues"; it's that he's exploding with imagination throughout the record. After all, the music on its second side -- the nominal folk songs -- derive from the same vantage point as the rockers, leaving traditional folk concerns behind and delving deep into the personal. And this isn't just introspection, either, since the surreal paranoia on "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" and the whimsical poetry of "Mr. Tambourine Man" are individual, yet not personal. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, really, as he writes uncommonly beautiful love songs ("She Belongs to Me," "Love Minus Zero/No Limit") that sit alongside uncommonly funny fantasias ("On the Road Again," "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream"). This is the point where Dylan eclipses any conventional sense of folk and rewrites the rules of rock, making it safe for personal expression and poetry, not only making words mean as much as the music, but making the music an extension of the words. A truly remarkable album. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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Bob Dylan in the magazine
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