As expected, Bob Dylan’s late-’70s/early-’80s “born again Christian” phase is the subject of his latest archival release. Rolling Stone announced the November 3rd release of Trouble No More – The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981, which will be available as a two-disc sampler along with a deluxe package containing eight CD’s and a DVD of previously unseen live footage. BobDylan.com is offering an exclusive two-disc live album from Dylan’s November 28th, 1979 show in San Diego as a bonus if ordered directly through the website. The material on the box focuses around Dylan’s three groundbreaking sets — 1979’s Slow Train Coming, 1980’s Saved, and 1981’s Shot Of Love — which saw Dylan beginning to return to secular music. The new Bootleg Series features countless live tracks, outtakes, and rehearsals from the legendary period. The “Deluxe Box” includes an exclusive DVD of Trouble No More: A Musical Film, a new feature-length film incorporating never-before-seen footage from Dylan’s 1980 Tours.
Noted Dylan historian and author Clinton Heylin explained, “The set demonstrates, that, in fact, this was probably second only to the great creative burst in the mid 1960’s in terms of the amount of material he was writing and the quality of the material he was writing. And, again, like the mid 1960’s, that he was the live performer at the absolute peak of his powers.”
An unnamed source close to Dylan said, “Once you strip away all the time and all the uproar it caused at the time, you can appreciate all this as wonderful, impassioned music. . . Where Bob often shines the most, I think, is not when he initially records songs. For instance, think of the Rolling Thunder tour (of 1975 and ’76). The songs from Desire grew and exploded onstage, becoming much more nuanced and much more electric. The same is true of these songs. They were well-recorded with an incredible band.”
It’s safe to say that among all of the rock legends still walking this Earth, Bob Dylan has historically been the one least concerned with the cult of celebrity and keeping up public appearances. A while back he admitted that he’s clueless to all of that type of business: “I don’t know what people think of me, see, I only know about what record companies say to you and managers and people like that; y’know, people watchin’ you do things. I only know. . . I only hear about that stuff.”
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