“The 1966 Live Recordings” Capture a Pivotal Moment in Bob Dylan’s Evolution

Many of these songs pulse with thrilling primal power.


Bob Dylan
The 1966 Live Recordings
Columbia/Legacy

Sony Music Group

A massive 36-disc collection, The 1966 Live Recordings purports to capture every performance from Bob Dylan’s stormy concert tour of 50 years ago, when he ranged from the US to Europe to Australia, polarizing audiences in the process. The music is predictably great, and the sound quality is surprisingly good, for the most part; except for a handful of substandard audience tapes included in the name of completeness, these shows are taken from soundboards or were recorded with an eye to issuing a live album at the time.

On a practical level, the official release of this hefty package serves to reclaim the music from bootleggers and ensure copyright protection for its author. On a creative level, it documents a pivotal, oft-discussed moment in Dylan’s evolution. Each show was split between an acoustic set, where he played solo, and an electric one, in which he was backed by a noisy ensemble that included most members of what would become The Band. While Dylan’s embrace of rock’n’roll may have outraged tradition-minded fans (whose protests are occasionally audible), his unplugged renditions of classics like “Desolation Row” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” are heartfelt, moving and not at all disrespectful to his folk roots. If the raucous high-voltage takes on “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Ballad of a Thin Man” are jarring by contrast, they also pulse with thrilling primal power. Whichever style you prefer, The 1966 Live Recordings is a remarkable document.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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