No Direction Home: The Soundtrack — The Bootleg Series Vol. 7
Released in conjunction with Martin Scorsese's PBS "American Masters" documentary of the same title, No Direction Home paints a somewhat different picture of the artist as a young man than what is generally accepted. Covering the first nine years of Dylan's body of work, the 28 tracks (only two previously released) comprise a fascinating behind-the-scenes palette of rare and timeless jewels. Each one is loaded with significance and essential to truly understanding the artist.
Beginning in 1959 with what is considered Dylan's first original recording, and concluding with the legendary "JUDAS!" version of "Like a Rolling Stone" from a 1966 electric concert in Manchester, England, the various live tracks and alternate takes show Dylan's development from a Woody Guthrie disciple to one of the world's most cherished musical creators. Dylan's varied stylistic manipulations included here provide a little peek into his creative process, whether he sings homage in a "Song to Woody" or turns his own "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat" into a slow, dirty blues jam. The extensive liner notes by musical director Al Kooper, manager Andrew Loog Oldham, and Eddie Gorodetsky share a wealth of insider information about the man and his music, and while we will never know enough about the workings of Dylan's mind, this collection opens the window a little wider.