Travel Back to the ’70s With These Unreleased Bob Dylan Sessions

Now we know what he meant by “blood on the tracks.”

Album Review

Bob Dylan
More Blood, More Tracks–The Bootleg Series Vol. 14
Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings

Released in 1975, Bob Dylan’s chart-topping Blood on the Tracks was rightly hailed as a masterpiece, and marked a dramatic return to form for an artist whose output in the first half of the decade had been unusually inconsistent. Backed by understated acoustic bands or accompanied only by a bassist, he delivered a set of seemingly personal songs—with Dylan, you never know for sure—right in step with the singer-songwriter trends of the day. Typically, he cut deeper than most of the competition, as brilliant tunes like “Idiot Wind,” “You’re a Big Girl Now” and “Tangled Up in Blue” delineated a tortured emotional landscape in riveting detail.

The six-CD “More Blood, More Tracks” gathers up everything from the four New York and two Minneapolis sessions, much of it previously unreleased, that generated the finished product. Dylan’s relentless work ethic is striking, and after hearing numerous strong takes of “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” or “Buckets of Rain,” you may be hard-pressed to see what was wrong with the rejects. It would certainly be easy to compile a terrific alternate version of “Blood on the Tracks” from the outtakes. Among the songs that didn’t make the final cut, More Blood features performances of “Up to Me,” “Call Letter Blues,” and “Spanish Is the Loving Tongue.” If the original was a harrowing work of genius, this archival epic is a fascinating look at the intense effort required to create it.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

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In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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