12 October 2010

Two Dylan Master Takes of "Tangled Up in Blue"

Bob Dylan, 1975

In September of 1974, Bob Dylan, recording in New York City, laid down the tracks that were intended to be released as his album Blood on the Tracks. But over that Christmas spent in Minnesota, Dylan became dissatisfied with the September version of the album: "I thought the songs could have sounded differently, better." (Liner notes: The Bootleg Series Vol. 1-3, p. 35). Dylan re-recorded some key tracks while in Minnesota in December. The album, with these re-recorded tracks, was released in January 1975.

Blood on the Tracks eventually came to be regarded as one of Dylan's best records. The rejected masters released later are excellent in their own right while also giving us insight into the evolution of this essential album. The two master takes of Tangled Up in Blue are a case in point.

Below are both the September '74 and December '74 alternate master takes of Tangled Up in Blue -- the December take is the one that was released on Blood on the Tracks.

Personally, this song played a huge part in the soundtrack to my life. First, it was the key breakthrough song in me coming to appreciate Dylan. I also look back fondly now on the hundreds of times I sang along with the song, scream/singing "Tangled up with you, Wendy" over the decade it took me to get over one of my college sweethearts.

But enough prelude, here are the two tracks side by side. I treasure them both and enjoy comparing them. I hope you do too. (Note: On the alternate master that didn't make Blood on the Tracks, you will hear a clicking sound near the beginning of the track; that's the buttons on Dylan's coat sleeve hitting the soundboard of his guitar.)

Bob Dylan, Tangled Up in Blue, Blood on the Tracks (1975)

Bob Dylan, Tangled Up in Blue (alternate master), The Bootleg Series, Vol. 1-3 (Rare and Unreleased, 1961-1991) (1991)

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