Bob Dylan Issues 'Nashville'-Era Bootleg Series Today
Out today (November 1st) is Bob Dylan (featuring Johnny Cash) - Travelin' Thru, 1967 - 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 15. The new collection unveils 47 previously unreleased recordings, including outtakes from 1967's John Wesley Harding, 1969's Nashville Skyline, and 1970's Self Portrait -- plus the first official release of legendary Bob Dylan-Johnny Cash 1969 Nashville studio sessions. Travelin' Thru is also available in triple-CD, triple-LP, and digital configurations.
In his liner notes for Travelin' Thru, Colin Escott writes, "Talking to journalist Matt Damsker about the sound of John Wesley Harding, Dylan said, 'I didn't know how to record the way other people were recording, and I didn't want to. . . I just didn't think all that production was necessary.' He also went for lyrical economy. What I'm trying to do now is not use too many words. There's no line you can stick your finger through. There's no blank filler.'"
The late-Johnny Cash recalled his February 1969 Nashville sessions with Dylan, remembering, "Bob asked me to be a guest on the album and I went to the studio and they just turned on the recorder for about two hours." In addition to their pair's joint session, the collection also features on-stage performances at the Ryman Auditorium from May 1st, 1969 for the recording of the premiere episode of The Johnny Cash Show -- originally broadcast on ABC-TV on June 7th, 1969.
With the release of 1967's John Wesley Harding and especially 1969's Nashville Skyline, fans were confused as to why with the Vietnam war raging -- especially during a hotly contested election cycle -- Dylan was coming across more as a mild-mannered country bumpkin than the counter-culture icon he had had become.
Although Dylan didn't start giving serious interviews until the mid-1970's, he always allowed photographer friends to chronicle his on and off-stage life. After Dylan's infamous 1966 motorcycle accident, photographer Elliot Landy had unprecedented access to Dylan as a family man. Landy, who eventually took the cover photo for Dylan's 1969 Nashville Skyline album, told us about a typical visit with Dylan and his young son Jesse in 1968: ["His son Jesse was on a little tricycle in the house and he was trying to ride around from one room to the other and he got stuck someplace -- between a table and a doorway or something -- and he starts going, 'Oh. . . ' -- and I would have gone just to pick up the bicycle and get him out of it. And Bob said, 'C'mon, Jesse, you can do it. You can do it. C'mon, keep trying. That's it -- keep trying,' y'know? And he just urged him on until Jesse got free of the obstacle."] SOUNDCUE (:23 OC: . . . of the obstacle)
Bob Dylan performs tonight (November 1st) in South Bend, Indiana at Morris Performing Arts Center.