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The Bootleg Series, Vol. 5
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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Bob Dylan (vocals, acoustic & electric guitar); Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn (vocals, guitar); Bobby Neuwirth, Steven Soles (guitar, background vocals); Mick Ronson, T-Bone Burnett (guitar); David Mansfield (steel guitar, dobro, mandolin, violin); Scarlet Rivera (violin); Howie Wyeth (piano, drums); Rob Stoner (bass); Luther Rix (drums, congas, percussion); Ronee Blakely (drums).
  • Compilation producers: Jeff Rosen, Steve Berkowitz.
  • Includes liner notes by Larry "Ratso" Sloman.
  • Bob Dylan's 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue can be seen as a reaction to his tour of the year before with the Band. Playing arenas in a pressurized atmosphere left little room for the kind of happy musical accidents that were so central to Dylan's live ethos. Rolling Thunder was more suited to his mercurial vision; a spontaneously planned and executed series of gigs with an odd assortment of players in a ragtag kind of gypsy caravan. In the repertoire, Dylan found a way to have fun with his legacy by reinventing some of his classics and simultaneously present tunes from his more contemporary albums (BLOOD ON THE TRACKS and DESIRE) with suitable verve. In this regard, these shows can actually be seen as a template for his subsequent Never Ending Tour.
  • The songs from DESIRE, from the allegorical "Isis" to the biting, sociopolitical narrative "Hurricane" are powered by Scarlet Rivera's electric violin and the thick, aggressive guitar tone of Mick Ronson. Dylan's early folk days get a nod via some heart-tugging solo acoustic performances and a series of duets with Joan Baez. Obviously charged with passion and fully immersed in the moment, Dylan singing with gut-wrenching intensity on both the ballads and the rockers, providing a kind of transcendent catharsis that's now happily documented for posterity.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (12/26/02, p.104) - Included in Rolling Stone's "50 Best Albums of 2002"

Rolling Stone (11/28/02, p.94) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...[The collection] captures the Fellini-esque splendor and chaos of the caravan..."

Entertainment Weekly (11/29/02, p.104) - "...The latest installment in his Bootleg Series of rarities affords us our biggest peek to date into this mysterious, mythical period of Dylan's career. Its two discs are revealing..." - Rating: B

Q (1/03, p.134) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Dylan's vocals ooze an almost missionary urgency....[The band] creates a molten, gloriously loose sound..."

Mojo (Publisher) (12/02, p.131) - "...LIVE 1975 is both of history and outside it....It demands repeated playing from anyone keen and exhilarated to hear life pour from their stereo speakers..."
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