Bob Dylan Remastered

At the backend of 2009, I decided to take stock of exactly where we were up to with the re-mastering and remixing of Bob Dylan’s extensive back catalogue. This long overdue article, published in ISIS Magazine issue 147, was prompted both by the release of four newly re-mastered Bob Dylan CDs and by the euphoria that surrounded the re-mastering of the Beatles’ back catalogue. Now, over a year later, Sony has undertaken a similar project to that of the Beatles by releasing the first eight Bob Dylan albums in their original mono state.

 

Since the publication of ISIS 147, this article has been extensively rewritten and brought up to date to include those eight mono CD albums (included in the “Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings” box set), plus the releases of “Together Through Life”, “Christmas In The Heart” and “In Concert: Brandeis Live 1963”.

 

This article was revisited again in February 2011 and April 2012 for inclusion on the ISIS Magazine website.

  

Why, you might ask, is this information important? When compact discs began to be released in the mid-’80s, digital technology was in its infancy. Digital transfers were made at much lower bit-rates than are currently available, reverb was often added and record companies routinely failed to go back to a suitable master or to the multi-tracks, but instead used master tapes that had been compressed and equalised for the sole purpose of cutting vinyl discs. This problem was exacerbated by the fact that up until the late 1960s compression and equalisation was routinely applied at the mix-down stage, which means that there are no original masters without these troublesome characteristics. Due to the poor quality of earlier CD pressings record companies have, in recent years, begun re-mastering many classic albums.

 

The ongoing plan to re-master all(?) of Bob Dylan’s albums was set in motion in 1999. The project was started primarily because Columbia’s parent-company Sony had developed Super Audio CD players. SACDs utilized a new analogue-to-digital transfer process known as Direct Stream Digital encoding (DSD). This new method of data transfer enabled more of the information contained on the original analogue tapes to be transferred to the digital disc. The result was that the digital music sounded much closer to the original analogue recording. There were, however, some massive drawbacks with the system. The discs cost considerably more to manufacture and they could only be played on very expensive Sony SACD equipment.

 

As a result of extremely poor sales of SACDs, Sony began work in the early 2000s on a new type of disc that would contain several layers of digital information. These discs, known as hybrid SACDs, would have one layer for SACD information and a second layer containing standard CD information. The resulting discs could then be played on both SACD machines and on standard compact disc players, therefore eliminating the necessity for buying new and expensive equipment.

 

In late 2003, 15 of Dylan’s albums were simultaneously released as hybrid SACDs. Six of these titles also featured 5.1 surround sound and, because remixing is a prerequisite for surround sound, the standard CD layer of these titles was also remixed. The titles in question were “Another Side Of Bob Dylan”, “Bringing It All Back Home”, “Blonde On Blonde”, “Blood On The Tracks”, “Slow Train Coming” and “Love And Theft”.

 

The reason these particular titles were selected for release in surround sound is unclear. However, it is possible, even probable, that the master tapes for the three mid-sixties albums were in such poor condition that Sony had no other choice than to go all the way back to the original four-track studio tapes and remix for stereo. Because Sony was forced to remix for stereo, it was easier and more cost effective to also release those titles in 5.1 surround sound. As Roger Ford points out, “The surround treatment was apparently determined more by force of circumstance than by consideration of which would benefit most.” Roger goes on to point out the crazy consequences of this method of selection, “The result of this expediency is that the one-man-and-his-guitar “Another Side” got a surround mix while “Highway 61”, with its full electric band, didn’t.” (www.rdf.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk). “Blood On The Tracks” was almost certainly selected for 5.1 surround because of its classic status. The reasons for remixing “Slow Train Coming” and, even more so, “Love And Theft” are more difficult to fathom.

 

Since the 2003 SACD releases, Sony has revisited and re-mastered “Bob Dylan” and “The Times They Are a-Changin’” in 2005, and “New Morning”, “Before The Flood”, “The Basement Tapes” and “Dylan And The Dead” in 2009. Even more recently (2010), the first eight albums have been released as part of “Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings”. This eight-album set is currently available both on CD and on vinyl LP.

 

It should be noted that the eight LPs contained in the vinyl box set sound very slightly different from the CD releases. There are a number of reasons for this. One: Analogue vinyl is quite obviously a different medium to that of the digital compact disc, and most vinyl enthusiasts will tell you that the sound of vinyl is more natural and warm. Two: Although the same master tapes were used for both the CDs and LPs, a different specialist vinyl “engineer”, George Marino of Sterling Sound, was used to make the LPs. The contentious subject of digital EQ-ing has also been addressed because Marino was able to go straight from the analogue tape recorder to the LP cutting lathe without EQ in the middle.

 

To Re-master Or Remix?

 

To clarify, re-mastering is when an engineer goes back to a fully mixed master tape and then re-masters that tape for release on CD. Remixing is when the engineer goes all the way back to the multi-track session tapes and mixes these into a new mono or stereo master tape. In doing this, the engineer will often take the opportunity to change things around (maybe bring the vocals and bass up, take the guitar down and possibly even change the position of the instruments in the speakers). The thorny debate as to whether or not classic albums should be remixed (changed in any way) or left alone for posterity is purely subjective. In the main, even when Sony have gone all the way back to the studio tapes their goal has been to remain true to the original mixes.

 

A Run-through Of Dylan’s Back Catalogue

 

What follows is a run-through of the re-pressings of Bob Dylan’s back catalogue. Unless a routine repressing or a special release requires re-mastering or remixing, or a new master needs to be made because of wear, Sony always (in theory) use the most recent master tape for all of their releases. For instance, the sleeve to the most recent stereo pressing of the “Bob Dylan” album reads “originally released 1962 © 2005”. In this case, 2005 refers to the date that the album was re-mastered. This article focuses mostly on UK releases but where significant variants exist releases from other world territories may be mentioned. With the recent resurgence in vinyl LPs, this Internet article now takes in to account the many specialist audiophile LP releases.

 

Bob Dylan

!

Almost all copies of Bob Dylan’s début LP, originally released in the USA in March 1962, were produced in mono. The “Bob Dylan” LP continued to be re-pressed in the USA in mono up until 1968. The UK was the first country outside of the USA to release “Bob Dylan”. UK copies were available in mono and stereo. It was several years before other territories released the album and as a consequence all of these releases were in stereo only.

 

The stereo issue of this album should come with a government health warning! This is a fine example of early 1960s stereo at its absolute worst. With only guitar, vocal and harmonica to deal with, the engineer has spread these three elements so thin and wide across the soundstage that the end result is nothing short of bizarre! He places the guitar entirely in one channel and the vocal in the other. The harmonica is then placed wholly either right or left, seemingly depending on the mood of the engineer. If you listen through headphones, you will hear some guitar in the vocal channel and some vocal in the guitar channel, but this is nothing more than leakage, i.e. the engineer hasn’t mixed the tape this way, it’s merely that the vocal mic has picked up some guitar and vice-versa. This stereo mix is so hideous that for many years the only version of this album that I could listen to was my early sixties pristine mono vinyl LP.

 

“Bob Dylan” was released on CD in world territories in 1988/89 in the same appalling stereo. This edition appears to have been made straight from a master tape that was compressed for cutting vinyl. The first CD release of this album in North America came in a “long box” format. This format was standard for many of Dylan’s early CD releases in North America. The format was unique to the USA and Canada. This release is of interest to collectors because the front cover photo is not the original picture but an out-take from the original 1962 “Bob Dylan” LP photo session! Surely a mistake?

 

The first release manufactured especially for Europe and the UK was made in Austria in 1991 (Columbia COL CD 32001). The music content was a straight copy of the existing CD.

 

Although “Bob Dylan” was not included among the 2003 15 album SACD reissues, it was re-mastered for CD in 2005 and after more than 40 years the album was again listenable. No details as to the engineer are given on this release but the work was apparently carried out by Steve Berkowitz and Mark Wilder. When I first heard this CD (without headphones) I thought it was a stereo reduction to mono, but a closer listen revealed that my cloth ears were mistaken. What the dynamic duo of Berkowitz and Wilder had done was to go back to the original three-track studio tapes and create a completely new mix– still stereo, but with an extremely narrow (almost mono sounding) soundstage.

 

With all the original stereo bullshit corrected, and a punchier and crisper sound to boot, this album was for the first time listenable on compact disc. In 2009, “Bob Dylan” was made available in Japan as a “Blu-spec” CD release (SICP 20213).

 

In 2010, a mono mix of “Bob Dylan” was released as part of “Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings”. This mono mix is how the LP was intended to sound when it was originally released. However, if you don’t want to fork out for the eight-album “Mono Box” set, the 2005 Berkowitz / Wilder stereo CD release is actually pretty damn good and to be honest Dylan’s vocals sound very slightly better on the stereo release.

 

Vinyl: Reissued in the UK as a 180gm “stereo” vinyl LP (SVLP 85) 1999.

Reissued as a mono vinyl 180gm LP in the USA by Sundazed (Columbia LP 5120) in January 2004.

 

“Bob Dylan” is also available as a mono LP as part of the vinyl box set version of “Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings” released in December 2010. These LPs were cut by George Marino and pressed at Sterling Sound, New York.

 

“Bob Dylan” Music On Vinyl (MOVLP242). Despite Stories In the Press that the eight mono albums continued in the Sony vinyl release of “The Original Mono Recordings” would only be available as part of the box-set, these LPs have now been individually released under licence in Europe, in mono on 180g vinyl, by the Dutch specialist label Music On Vinyl.

 

Note: The mechanism for these 180g Music On Vinyl (“MOV”) releases is that any and all re-mastering work is carried out in New York by former Sony/Legacy executive producer Steve Berkowitz. Berkowitz (along with mastering engineer Mark Wilder) has been responsible for all of Dylan’s re-mastering work for a number of years. Berkowitz’s re-mastered tapes are sent to MOV as High Res digital audio files (96KHz / 24 bit), MOV then make their test pressing which is sent to Berkowitz for approval. After final approval vinyl pressing commences at MOV in Holland.

 

 

Also See Discography

 

 

The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

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The abysmal late eighties CD release of this album (CDCBS 32390), which appears to have been made straight from a master tape that was compressed for cutting vinyl, was superseded in late 2003 when it was released as part of the 15-disc SACD reissue. The re-mastered CD layer of the SACD was made available as the standard CD release in UK/Europe (512354 2) in March 2004 and in North America (CK 92402) in June 2004. Whilst this re-master is an improvement on the original 1980s CD, it is still pretty damn awful because the original stereo mix is the problem (see my comments about the “Bob Dylan” album in this article or go to Roger Ford’s piece in ISIS 153). Quite why Sony decided to reissue this album in 2003 without remixing is a complete mystery to me.

 

In 2010, a mono mix of “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” was released as part of “Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings”. This mono mix is how the LP was intended to sound when it was originally released in the summer of ’63. This CD and perhaps the mono “Bob Dylan” are justification enough to buy the “Original Mono Recordings” box set.

 

Vinyl: “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” was reissued as a mono vinyl LP in the USA by Sundazed (Columbia LP 5115) in November 2001; as a 180gm stereo vinyl LP by Absolute Analog (PC 8786) USA 2001

Simply Vinyl stereo LP UK (1999, 2001 and 2003). The Simply Vinyl releases were pressed on 180gm, 160gm and 125gm vinyl.

 

“Freewheelin’...” is also available as a mono LP as part of the vinyl box set version of “Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings” released in December 2010. These LPs were cut by George Marino and pressed at Sterling Sound, New York.

 

“The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” Music On Vinyl (MOVLP240). Despite Stories In the Press that the eight mono albums continued in the Sony vinyl release of “The Original Mono Recordings” would only be available as part of the box-set, these LPs have now been individually released under licence in Europe, in mono on 180g vinyl, by the Dutch specialist label Music On Vinyl.

 

Note: The mechanism for the production of these 180g Music On Vinyl LPs is explained at the end of the entry for the “Bob Dylan” début album release.

 

Also See Discography

 

The Times They Are a-Changin’

!

The 1989 European CD release came with a 24-page booklet. These late eighties releases were superseded when the album was re-mastered in late 2005. This re-master is a great improvement on the previous CD pressings, all of which were mastered from compressed tapes originally made for vinyl production.

 

In 2010, a mono mix of “The Times They Are a-Changin’” was released as part of “Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings”. Unfortunately, when they began work on “Times...”, series producer Steve Berkowitz and engineer Mark Wilder were unable to track down a copy of the original mono master tape! So for this album, Berkowitz and Wilder had to go back to the three-track studio tapes and create a completely new mono mix. They achieved this by mixing the three-track tapes to exactly match the sound of an original copy of a first issue US mono LP. They did a great job and it’s a matter of taste whether you prefer this to the 2005 stereo CD. Both are excellent.

 

Vinyl: Reissued as a stereo vinyl LP in the USA by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab (#1986).

Simply Vinyl (SVLP 0003) 180gm stereo release (UK), 1999.

Simply Vinyl (125017) stereo 125gm, 160gm and 180gm releases (UK), 2001/2003.

Sundazed 180gm mono vinyl LP by (Columbia LP 5108) in August 2001.

“Times...” is also available as a mono LP as part of the vinyl box set version of “Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings” released in December 2010. These LPs were cut by George Marino and pressed at Sterling Sound, New York.

 

“The Times They Are a-Changin’” Music On Vinyl (MOVLP241). Despite Stories In the Press that the eight mono albums continued in the Sony vinyl release of “The Original Mono Recordings” would only be available as part of the box-set, these LPs have now been individually released under licence in Europe, in mono on 180g vinyl, by the Dutch specialist label Music On Vinyl.

 

Note: The mechanism for the production of these 180g Music On Vinyl LPs is explained at the end of the entry for the “Bob Dylan” début album release.

 

Also See Discography

 

Another Side Of Bob Dylan

!

In Europe, the late eighties CD release of this album was revisited three times (CBS CDCBS 32034; CBS 461013 2; Columbia 467390 2; Columbia CD 32034). All of the above stereo CD releases of this album were made direct from the compressed vinyl cutting master tape. This version was superseded in late 2003 when the album was remixed and re-mastered for the 15-disc SACD reissue. The remixed and re-mastered CD layer of the SACD was made available as the standard CD release in UK/Europe (512354 2) in March 2004 and in North America (CK 92402) in June 2004. Apart from a slight distortion, which is present on the vocal mic, this re-master transforms the original CD release.

 

In 2010, a mono mix of “Another Side Of Bob Dylan” was released as part of “Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings”. This mono mix is excellent, but in my opinion so was the original stereo LP and the 2003 SACD/CD mix which is currently being used to produce the standard CD. The only version of “Another Side...” that doesn’t stand scrutiny is the original late eighties stereo CD release.

 

Vinyl: Reissued in the UK by Simply Vinyl (SVLP 0078) as 180gm stereo LP, 1999.

Reissued as a mono vinyl LP in the USA by Sundazed (Columbia LP 5121) in August 2002.

 

“Another Side Of Bob Dylan” is also available as a mono LP as part of the vinyl box set version of “Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings” released in December 2010. These LPs were cut by George Marino and pressed at Sterling Sound, New York.

 

“Another Side Of Bob Dylan” Music On Vinyl (MOVLP242). Despite Stories In the Press that the eight mono albums continued in the Sony vinyl release of “The Original Mono Recordings” would only be available as part of the box-set, these LPs have now been individually released under licence in Europe, in mono on 180g vinyl, by the Dutch specialist label Music On Vinyl.

 

Note: The mechanism for the production of these 180g Music On Vinyl LPs is explained at the end of the entry for the “Bob Dylan” début album release.

 

Also See Discography

 

Bringing It All Back Home

!

The 1988 (first) stereo CD release of this album was one of the very few original CD releases to be remixed for the then new compact disc medium. Roger Ford has opined that this remix was probably carried out because the original stereo master tapes were worn and unfit for use and I would concur with this logical reasoning. However, this mix was not well received and the album was remixed again and re-mastered in late 2003 for inclusion in the 15-disc SACD reissue series. The remixed and re-mastered CD layer of the SACD was made available as the standard stereo CD release in UK/Europe (512353 2) in March 2004 and in North America (CK 92401) in June 2004.

 

Although all of the SACD reissues were a great improvement on the previous CD releases, this title, partly because of Michael Brauer’s remix, was probably the biggest upgrading of the entire 15 SACD reissue series. Occasionally there’s a little too much “top” but overall the sound is very good. However, to my ears, this album has always sound far better in good ol’ mono.

 

In 2010, a mono mix of “Bringing It All Back Home” was released as part of “Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings”. This mix surpasses any of the previous CD releases and I doubt I’ll ever listen to anything else (I don’t have a pristine original mono LP). This CD has everything, including a slightly longer fade of the harmonica solo at the end of ‘Mr Tambourine Man’. This fadeout is shorter on the original stereo LP and the 2003 stereo CD remix.

 

Vinyl: Reissued in the UK by Simply Vinyl (SVLP 0036) as a stereo 180gm vinyl LP, 1999.

Reissued as a mono vinyl LP by Sundazed (Columbia LP 5070) in the USA, March 2001.

 

“Bringing It All Back Home” is also available as a mono LP as part of the vinyl box set version of “Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings” released in December 2010. These LPs were cut by George Marino and pressed at Sterling Sound, New York.

 

“Bringing It All Back Home” Music On Vinyl (MOVLP243). Despite Stories In the Press that the eight mono albums continued in the Sony vinyl release of “The Original Mono Recordings” would only be available as part of the box-set, these LPs have now been individually released under licence in Europe, in mono on 180g vinyl, by the Dutch specialist label Music On Vinyl.

 

Note: The mechanism for the production of these 180g Music On Vinyl LPs is explained at the end of the entry for the “Bob Dylan” début album release.

 

Also See Discography

 

Highway 61 Revisited

!

This album was first released on CD in Japan in 1985. The first European / UK release, which came a little later, was also pressed in Japan (though it was later pressed in Austria). The eighties stereo CD release of this album suffered particularly badly from being made directly from the compressed vinyl cutting master. This album was first released as a re-mastered CD in the USA in June 1992. Re-mastering was carried out by engineer Steve Hoffman and released by DCC under licence from Columbia (Columbia/DCC GZS-1021). The release was part of the company’s gold CD audiophile series. It seems that although an extremely persistent Mr Hoffman could not get permission to remix this album, he did persuade Columbia to track down a version of the stereo master tape that he hoped still existed. What he was looking for was a tape that came after the studio multi-tracks (which he was not allowed access to) but before the compressed and equalised vinyl cutting master that had been used to make both the stereo vinyl LP and the original late eighties CD. The tapes were found in the depths of Columbia’s vaults marked “Do Not Use”. The tapes were labelled thus not because they were inferior, but simply because they were not the compressed masters needed to make vinyl LPs.

 

This reissue was the ultimate version of “Highway 61 Revisited” until it was re-mastered by Greg Calbi for the late 2003 15-disc SACD reissue. The re-mastered CD layer of the SACD was made available as the standard CD release in UK/Europe (512351 2) in March 2004 and in North America (CK 92399) in June 2004. Calbi appears to have used the same tapes that Hoffman prised out of Columbia but the resulting SACD release sounds very much better. In all of its incarnations this album has never undergone a remix.

 

In 2010, a mono mix of “Highway 61 Revisited” was released as part of “Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings”. Unfortunately, series producer Steve Berkowitz and engineer Mark Wilder were unable to obtain the original mono master tape for this release. It seems that this tape cannot be found anywhere in the United States! However, during an interview conducted by Roger Ford for ISIS, Berkowitz and Wilder said that they were able to locate, through the Sony Music archive in Germany, a tape made in 1965 for the manufacture of “Highway 61 Revisited” in France. This tape, which was fortunately in excellent condition, turned out to be the best mono mix that Berkowitz and Wilder had ever heard, and as a result they were able to give us a digital CD that comes very close to the quality of the original mono LP. This 2010 mono release is by far the best CD available.

 

Vinyl: This album was released in 1998 in the UK as a 180gm “stereo” LP by Absolute Analogue (62572). This album was also released in stereo on 180gm vinyl by the UK label Simply Vinyl (SVLP 173), 2000. To my mind, the ultimate versions of “Highway 61 Revisited” are still to found on mono vinyl (a pristine copy of the original 1965 mono LP; the May 2001 mono US Sundazed vinyl reissue (Columbia LP 5071); or “Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings” vinyl box set version released in December 2010). These LPs were cut by George Marino and pressed at Sterling Sound, New York.

 

Despite Stories In the Press that the eight mono albums continued in the Sony vinyl release of “The Original Mono Recordings” would only be available as part of the box-set, these LPs have now been individually released under licence in Europe, in mono on 180g vinyl, by the Dutch specialist label Music On Vinyl (MOVLP247).

 

Note: The mechanism for the production of these 180g Music On Vinyl LPs is explained at the end of the entry for the “Bob Dylan” début album release.

 

Also See Discography

 

Blonde On Blonde

!

This classic album has been treated incredibly shabbily by Columbia over the years. As many of you will be aware, the original mono mixes of “Blonde On Blonde” went through a number of revisions before the album’s delayed release, and due to much confusion at Columbia, most of these mixes got released in one country or another!

 

The original 1966 stereo vinyl issue was replaced in the USA by a revised mix in 1968. The original UK stereo releases (late ’66) used the original 1966 US mix and this “old” inferior mix continued to be used in the UK until the early 1980s when the UK caught up and began cutting this album from the 1968 US revised mix. Twelve years after the fact!

 

“Blonde On Blonde” was first issued in UK on CD in late 1987 and this version, remixed by Tim Geelan, was a massive improvement over all of the stereo vinyl releases. This CD was not made from the compressed stereo vinyl master tape. Instead, the engineer remixed the album from the original four-track masters and in some cases these new mixes were very different from the vinyl LPs. It is possible that this release might have been put together from more than one source tape.

 

This ’87 CD presented the double vinyl album on a single compact disc. However, in order to fit the album on to one CD several of the tracks had to be significantly cut. The two tracks worst effected were a faded out ‘Just Like a Woman’ and the epic ‘Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands’, which lost over half a minute of the closing harmonica solo.

 

Complaints flooded in regarding this appalling treatment of Dylan’s ’66 masterpiece and fortuitously recent advances in compact disc technology allowed the total playing time of a disc to be extended. Columbia US quickly issued a revised edition, which restored ‘Just Like a Woman’ to its former glory, but still left ‘Sad Eyed Lady’ short on harmonica. A third pressing, produced in 1989, finally put things to rights. In the UK, however, the first badly edited CD version remained on sale for many years!

 

In 1992, Sony US released a newly remixed and re-mastered CD edition as one of the initial releases in Columbia’s MasterSound audiophile series. The 24-carat gold CD, which was presented in a 12” x 6” “long box”, was digitally mastered using the newly developed Super Bit Mapping 20-bit processing. This new mix, which was carried out by Sony Music’s Mark Wilder, was again taken from the four-track masters. This mix was applauded by some and heavily criticised by others. Nevertheless, Sony’s policy of always going back to the latest master tape meant that this master was used for a series of follow-on repackagings including the 1999 limited Millennium Edition, which was released in a cardboard replica LP sleeve.

 

This 1992 (mix-master) version was eventually superseded in late 2003 when it was replaced as part of the 15-disc SACD series. Michael Brauer’s 1999 re-mix was used for this release. A-List mix engineer Brauer had been brought in by Columbia in 1999 to begin work on re-mixing Dylan’s back catalogue but the results were not heard by most of us until the release of the hybrid SACD series in 2003.

 

The remixed and re-mastered “CD” layer of the hybrid SACD was made available as the standard stereo CD release in UK/Europe (512352 2) in March 2004 and in North America (CK 9240) in June 2004. Although this release is a colossal improvement on the early CD releases it is only a small step up from the 1992 MasterSound edition.

 

“Blonde On Blonde” was re-released in the UK and Europe in 2006 as part of “The Vinyl Classics” series (8287673603 2). This CD release, which is designed to look like a mini LP, is again taken from the 2003 SACD re-master.

 

In 2010, a mono mix of “Blonde On Blonde” was released as part of “Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings”. For this release, engineer Mark Wilder went back through a perplexing array of mono tapes in the hope of locating the final (and best) US mono mix. Wilder, and 2010 series producer Steve Berkowitz, tracked this tape down by comparing all the available master tapes against a white-label promo copy of the US mono vinyl release. As Roger Ford explained in ISIS 153, this mix contains all of the post-recording improvements that have never been reflected in any of this album’s many stereo mixes. These include sorting out a major edit between the second and third verses of ‘One Of Us Most Know’, getting rid of the fade-out at the end of the song, and editing out Dylan’s vocal stumble in the last verse of ‘I Want You’.

 

Also on this release, ‘Rainy Day Women’ plays at its original intended speed. This song was deliberately speeded up by 2% on the single and all mono pressings of the album. This slight increase in tape speed was probably done simply to increase the tempo of the song. However, when it came to mixing the original stereo LP the tape speed was not altered. As Roger Ford points out on his website (www.rdf.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk), “This is just one piece of evidence that more care was put into the mono mixing than the stereo” (even as late as 1966!).

 

You might think therefore that we are going to wholehearted recommend that the new “Mono Box” version is the Holy Grail and that you should now assign your 2003 stereo re-mastered CD to a cardboard box in the attic, never again to see the light of day. Well, like Roger (in ISIS 153), I have mixed feelings about the best way of listening to this album. We have already established that the best mixes are to be found on final released version of the US mono LP and that the new “Mono Box” release is an attempt to replicate this original LP. We also know that the mono mix is the way Dylan intended the album to be heard back in 1966. However, in stereo the individual instruments have a little more separation, a little more room to breath. There will probably never be the perfect “Blonde On Blonde” and maybe the current standard 2003/04 stereo CD (from Michael Brauer’s 1999 mix (UK/Europe (512352 2) North America (CK 9240)) is a good as it gets. In any event, it’s great to now have the original finished mono mix in such excellent digital quality. Perhaps you should play one version one week and the other the next! At this point on an email, you would see a “smiley face” and perhaps a wink ;-)!

 

The mono CD is not available as a “stand-alone” release but can only be purchased as part of the “Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings” eight-CD box-set.

 

Vinyl: For those of you who collect vinyl (and the numbers are steadily increasing) “Blonde On Blonde” has been reissued several times on LP.

 

Simply Vinyl (SVLP 063) UK, 180gm stereo vinyl.

Sundazed (Columbia LP 5110) 18ogm mono, USA in October 2002.

Mobile Fidelity (LMF 45009) USA, heavyweight stereo vinyl playing at 45RPM (4LP-set) 2011.

 

Also available in the mono vinyl LP box-set, “Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings”. Released in December 2010, this version is excellent quality. This LP was cut by George Marino and pressed at Sterling Sound, New York.

 

Despite Stories In the Press that the eight mono albums continued in the Sony vinyl release of “The Original Mono Recordings” would only be available as part of the box-set, these LPs have now been individually released under licence in Europe, in mono on 180g vinyl, by the Dutch specialist label Music On Vinyl (MOVLP245).

 

Note: The mechanism for the production of these 180g Music On Vinyl LPs is explained at the end of the entry for the “Bob Dylan” début album release.

 

Also See Discography

 

John Wesley Harding

!

This album was first released on CD in Europe and the UK in the mid 1980s (CBS CD 63252). It was reissued in the ’90s as a Columbia “Nice Price” release (Columbia 463359 2). This album was revisited musically for the first time in 2003 when it was remastered for the SACD series.

 

A great deal of controversy has surrounded the SACD release of “John Wesley Harding”. Although Steve Berkowitz and Greg Calbi did not remix this album for the 2003 SACD release, the CD layer does sound significantly different from both the original stereo LP and the 1986 CD.

 

Some people love this version whilst many others detest it. The harp sound is very strident, but then again, it always has been, and there’s a lot of EQ. This is by no means the best of the 2003 re-masters. The re-mastered CD layer of the SACD was made available as the standard CD release in UK/Europe (512347 2) in March 2004 and in North America (CK 92395) in June 2004. Like it or nor, this master is now used to make all of current stereo CD releases of “John Wesley Harding”.

 

In 2010, a mono mix of “John Wesley Harding” was released as part of “Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings”. For this release, series producer Steve Berkowitz and engineer Mark Wilder went back to the original mono master and tried to iron out the problems that seem to have beaten others in the past (too much high end on the recording and too many piercing high notes from Dylan’s harmonica).

 

The original mono LP was only released in the USA, and then in very small numbers (the so-called UK mono release was a “fold down”– a joining together of the two stereo channels). So, unless you already own a copy of the US made 2003 Sundazed vinyl LP (Columbia LP 5123), you will not have heard the mono mix before. You should, because the sound of this new “Mono Box” release is head, shoulders, and maybe legs and feet above all of the previous stereo versions. It is also much better than the Sundazed mono vinyl LP.

 

The mono CD is not available as a “stand-alone” release but can only be purchased as part of the “Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings” eight-CD box-set (October 2010).

 

Vinyl: This album was also issued in December 2010 as part of the “Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings” vinyl box-set. These LPs were cut by George Marino and pressed at Sterling Sound, New York.

 

“John Wesley Harding” Music On Vinyl (MOVLP246). Despite Stories In the Press that the eight mono albums continued in the Sony vinyl release of “The Original Mono Recordings” would only be available as part of the box-set, these LPs have now been individually released under licence in Europe, in mono on 180g vinyl, by the Dutch specialist label Music On Vinyl.

 

Note: The mechanism for the production of these 180g Music On Vinyl LPs is explained at the end of the entry for the “Bob Dylan” début album release.

 

Also See Discography

 

Nashville Skyline

!

This album was first released on CD in Europe and the UK in the mid 1980s (CBS CD 63601). As with many of Dylan’s early titles it was reissued in the’ 90s as a Columbia “Nice Price” release. This album was revisited musically for the first time in 2003 when it was remastered for the SACD series.

 

Although the 2003 SACD/CD release was not remixed it is a massive improvement on the original 1980s CD. The re-mastered CD layer of the SACD was made available as the standard CD release in UK/Europe (512346 2) in March 2004 and in North America (CK 92394) in June 2004.

This album was not released in the USA in mono. In the UK, it was available in mono, but as with the previous release, “John Wesley Harding”, the so-called mono release was merely a “fold down”– a joining together of the two stereo channels.

 

Vinyl: “Nashville Skyline” was reissued as a 180gm, stereo vinyl LP in the USA by Sundazed (Columbia LP 5124) in 2004.

It was also released in the UK as a 125gm LP by Simply Vinyl (63601).

 

Also See Discography

 

Self Portrait

!

Columbia has not revisited this album since it was originally released on CD in February 1991. The best (and only) way to listen to this album is via the Sundazed (September 2009) vinyl release (LP 5122). Mastered from the original analogue tapes and presented in a faithful reproduction of the original gatefold sleeve, this release is pressed on high-quality, high-definition vinyl.

 

Vinyl: Sundazed (LP 5122).

 

Also See Discography

 

New Morning

!

The 2009 re-mastered release of this album is certainly warmer and more natural sounding than the previous late ’80s CD release. Dylan’s vocals sound great and the overall result is quite close to the sound of the original vinyl LP. In fact, a slight hiss from the analogue master tape is present! Some of the harshness of the previous CD has been lost. However, the overall volume has been increased (common in “modern” day recordings), which is not necessarily a good move for such a mellow album. To my ears the latest 2009 “New Morning” and “The Basement Tapes” (released at the same time) both sound significantly better than the previous CD incarnations.

 

The re-mastered “New Morning” was released in a gatefold digipak (88697082302) on March 30, 2009. This Limited-Edition Collector’s packaging was deleted after only seven weeks and replaced by the current jewel-case version (88697347002) on May 18, 2009. These two versions are identical (same master and same booklet with extra photos) just the outer packaging, digipak / jewel-case, is different.

 

Vinyl: This album has not been re-released on vinyl. The last releases of “New Morning” on LP came in the early mid 1980s via Columbia.

 

Also See Discography

 

Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid

!

Untouched since it was first released on CD in 1990 (Columbia CD 32098), this vastly underrated title is long overdue an overhaul.

 

 

Also See Discography

 

Dylan

!

Originally released by Columbia in 1973, perhaps as a shot across Dylan’s bow, after he defected to David Geffen’s Asylum Records label, the European CD release of this album, which was made in Holland, was re-titled “Bob Dylan (A Fool Such As I)”. This album has never been revisited by Columbia and is now long out of print. It was allegedly deleted at the request of Bob Dylan’s people.

 

Also See Discography

 

Planet Waves

!

This vinyl LP was originally going to be entitled “Ceremonies Of The Horsemen”. The artwork, which had a different front cover painting (left) – still by Dylan – and a photo of Bob on the back, was pulled at the last minute.

 

Originally released in January 1974 by Asylum Records, “Planet Waves” was released under licence by Island Records in the UK. It appeared on other labels in some countries – for instance Elektra. In the UK, as in the USA, the sleeve notes were judged to be obscene, and the album was sold in a paper outer sleeve!

 

This album was release on CD in Europe and the UK in the late 1980s– Originally made in the USA (Columbia CK 36737) and then in Austria (CBS 32154). Compared with the insipid and cluttered eighties CD, the 2003 SACD edition is a revelation. Instruments not previously audible are suddenly present! It seems, however, that this release is a re-master only and not a remix. The CD layer of the SACD was made available as the standard CD release in UK/Europe (512356 2) in March 2004 and in North America (CK 92404) in June 2004.

 

Vinyl: Released in stereo in the UK in 2002 on 180gm by Simply Vinyl (SVLP 331).

 

 

Also See Discography

 

Before The Flood

!

As was the case with “Planet Waves”, “Before The Flood” was originally released by Asylum Records in the USA. This album was released by Island Records in the UK, under licence.

 

Originally released on CD in 1987 in Japan (CBS/Sony 48DP 1026-7 ). This album was re-released in Japan in 1989 and 1991 in differing CD cases. The album was released in North America in 1989 as Columbia C2K 37661.

 

“Before The Flood” was released by CBS on CD in the UK and Europe in the 1980s (CBS CDCBS 22137). This title was revisited, but not changed musically, in 1991 (CD 22137). As with most CBS releases from this period these reissues were manufactured in Austria for distribution Europe-wide.

 

Re-mastered in March 2009, this one still sounds like it was recorded in a stadium, which of course it was. However, this re-master sonically highlights an album that richly deserves reappraisal.

 

The re-mastered “Before The Flood” was released in a gatefold digipak (88697082242) on March 30, 2009. This Limited-Edition Collector’s packaging was deleted after twelve weeks and replaced by the current jewel-case version (88697347022) on June 16, 2009. These two versions are identical (same master and same booklet with extra photos) just the outer packaging, digipak / jewel-case, is different.

 

Vinyl: In June 2011, “Before The Flood” (MOVLP340) was released in Europe on 180g vinyl by Dutch vinyl specialists Music On Vinyl. This release was taken from the re-mastering work carried out by Berkowitz for the March 30, 2009 Sony CD release (above).

 

Note: The mechanism for the production of these 180g Music On Vinyl LPs is explained at the end of the entry for the “Bob Dylan” début album release.

 

Also See Discography

 

Blood On The Tracks

!

The original late eighties CD was later repressed as a Limited Millennium Edition, with some improvements. However, both of these CD releases were superseded in late 2003 when the album was released as part of the 15-disc SACD reissue. For this release Sterling Sound went back to the original studio tapes and the results are startling. This remix reintroduces much, if not all, of the warmth of the original vinyl LP while retaining and improving on the digital clarity. The remixed and re-mastered CD layer of the SACD was made available as the standard CD release in UK/Europe (512350 2) in March 2004 and in North America (CK 92398) in June 2004.

 

“Blood On The Tracks” was re-released on CD in Europe in 2005 as part of “The Vinyl Classics” series (Columbia 512350 5). This is a CD release designed to look like a mini LP. This CD is taken from the 2003 re-master. The CD album was repressed in 2006 in North America and this pressing is again from the 2003 re-master.

 

Vinyl: Columbia, USA (JC 33235) 180gm, 2001.

Mobile Fidelity, USA (LMF 381) 180gm, 2011. Taken from the June US 2004 re-master.

 

Also See Discography

 

The Basement Tapes

!

The official “The Basement Tapes” album is nothing short of a train wreck. After eight years of waiting, in 1975 we got an album that was compiled and produced by Robbie Robertson containing 24 songs, eight of which had little or nothing to do with Bob Dylan. Although the album is a good listening experience, it fails the Dylan devotee on three points. First, and most important, it fails as an historical document due to the inclusion of non-Basement tracks. Second, much of the magic of the Big Pink sessions is lost by the inclusion of Band tracks, with overdubs carried out eight years after the event. Two, possibly three tracks, (‘Ain’t No More Cane’, ‘Don’t Ya Tell Henry’ and ‘Bessie Smith’), were recorded in Shangri-La Studios, Malibu by the Band in 1975 specifically for inclusion on the official release. With so much Dylan material available, why were Band tracks included? Third, the original warm stereo recordings were compressed into “collapsed” mono for the release. If this had been done in 1967, when mono was still king, I could understand it, but this album was “produced” in 1975!

 

The 2009 re-mastered “Basement Tapes” was therefore a prime candidate to be completely revisited. After all, no one could accuse the record company of messing with a classic album when the original release had already been so cruelly messed with! On the contrary, this would have been an opportunity to give us the classic album that we have always been denied.

 

Perhaps the passage of time has made a revamped “Basement Tapes” album less worthwhile. After all, ‘Quinn The Eskimo’ has been released on “Biograph”, ‘I Shall Be Released’, and ‘Santa Fé’ has appeared on “The Bootleg Series Vols. 1-3”, and ‘I’m Not There (1956)’ eventually saw the light of day in October 2007 when it was released on the “I’m Not There” soundtrack album. Even so, ‘Get Your Rocks Off!’, which was mixed for the “Safety Tape” and appears on the “Mixin’ Up The Medicine” bootleg, is available in fabulous quality and then there’s ‘Sign On The Cross’. And anyway, if the bootleggers can turn up more than 100 basement recordings surely official sources can find us some of these great songs in good quality?

 

The re-mastered “Basement Tapes” CD was released in a gatefold digipak (88697082292) on March 30, 2009. This Limited-Edition Collector’s packaging was deleted after only four weeks and replaced by the current jewel-case version (88697347082) on April 29, 2009. These two versions are identical (same master and same booklet with vey nice extra photos); just the outer packaging, digipak / jewel-case, is different.

 

Although this is the best official version of the “Basement Tapes” it doesn’t come close to the glorious stereo bootleg release, “Mixin’ Up The Medicine”, that was taken from the “Safety Tape”. On this mix, instruments and backing vocals can be clearly heard, which are not apparent on the official release. The stereo effect has Dylan’s vocal in one channel and any backing vocals in the other, which is a little disconcerting. That aside, the quality of this recording is outstanding. Listen to ‘Lo And Behold!’; there is a backing vocal that is higher in the mix than Dylan’s lead vocal! Where did that come from?

 

Vinyl: Mobile Fidelity (LMF 382), USA, 180gm, December 2011. Taken from the June 2004 CD re-master.

 

In December 2011, “The Basement Tapes” (MOVLP429) was released in Europe on 180g vinyl by Dutch vinyl specialists Music On Vinyl. This release was taken from the re-mastering work carried out by Berkowitz for the March 30, 2009 Sony CD release (above).

 

Note: The mechanism for the production of these 180g Music On Vinyl LPs is explained at the end of the entry for the “Bob Dylan” début album release.

 

Also See Discography

 

Desire

!

This album was released on CD in the UK and Europe four times from the 1980s to 2000. All of these CD releases were superseded in late 2003 when the album was released as part of the 15-disc SACD reissue. The re-mastered CD layer of the SACD was made available as the standard CD release in UK/Europe (512345 2) in March 2004 and in North America (CK 92393) in June 2004. This release, which retains the slightly muddy mix of the eighties complete with some minor distortion on several of the vocals, is only a small improvement on previous issues. The 2004 SACD released would have benefited from a remix.

 

Vinyl: Simply Vinyl (SVLP 350), 180gm LP (UK).

 

Also See Discography

 

Hard Rain

!

Although this CD was repressed for UK release in 2001 (CD32308), it has never been remixed or re-mastered.

 

Vinyl: In October 2011, “Hard Rain” (MOVLP345) was released in Europe on 180g vinyl by Dutch vinyl specialists Music On Vinyl. It appears that Steve Berkowitz re-mastered this album in New York especially for this MOV release. Prior to this release, “Hard Rain” had never before been remixed or re-mastered. This release is therefore unique to MOV and the sound quality is by far the best that’s currently available on CD.

 

Note: The mechanism for the production of these 180g Music On Vinyl LPs is explained at the end of the entry for the “Bob Dylan” début album release.

 

Also See Discography

 

Street Legal

!

Eleven years after the original release of “Street Legal” on vinyl, Don DeVito, the original producer – or as the sleeve notes call him, “Captain in Charge” – returned to remix and re-master the album. This 1999 remix was a great improvement on everything that had gone before.

 

Although this release was superseded in late 2003, when the album was issued as part of the 15-disc SACD series, the later improvement is only slight. This album was originally recorded on a remote mobile rig and maybe this is a good as it gets, which is a great pity. The re-mastered CD layer of the SACD was made available as the standard CD release in UK/Europe (512355 2) in March 2004 and in North America (CK 92403) in June 2004.

 

Vinyl: Simply Vinyl (SVLP 197), 180gm, (UK) 2000, re-released 2010.

 

Also See Discography

 

At Budokan

!

This double vinyl LP was released on August 21, 1978; the original issue was limited to the Japanese market only. Later that year, it was released in Australia and New Zealand. The album was extensively imported into many other world territories and at least one counterfeit edition could be found in Europe. Columbia decided therefore that the album would be released worldwide. The official worldwide release date was April 23, 1979.

 

The album was first released as a 2-CD set in Japan on November 21, 1987. It was released on CD in North America and Europe in 1989. The version released in Europe and the UK was manufactured by CBS Austria for distribution Europe-wide. It came in a double-width 2-CD jewel case. The most recent European release (467850 2) was June 6, 1996. This was a “Nice Price” Columbia release in a single-width jewel case. This album has not been revisited since this release.

 

Vinyl: This album has not been re-released on vinyl.

 

Also See Discography

 

Slow Train Coming

!

The late eighties CD release of this album was superseded in late 2003 when it was released as part of the 15-disc SACD reissue. The re-mastered CD layer of the SACD was made available as the standard CD release in UK/Europe (512349 2) in March 2004 and in North America (CK 92397) in June 2004.

 

The SACD/CD was made available in 5.1 Surround Sound so this album would have been remixed for the 2003 release. However, to my ears there is no discernable difference between the original release and the re-master.

 

Vinyl: This album has not been re-released on vinyl.

 

Also See Discography

 

Saved

!

Original released on vinyl in June 1980, “Saved” was released on CD in Europe sometime around 1991-92. This album (CD32742) was revisited on November 18, 2002, but this revisit was merely cosmetic.*

 

Vinyl: This album has not been re-released on vinyl.

 

Also See Discography

 

Shot Of Love

!

Original released on vinyl in August 1981, “Shot Of Love” was released on CD in Europe sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s (Columbia CK 37496). This pressing was manufactured in the USA. “Shot Of Love” was released on CD in Japan in December 1991. The first European CD pressing (for Europe and the UK) was made in Austria in February 1997. The European catalogue number was 474689 2. This pressing and catalogue number is still current in Europe and the UK. The disc was a straight copy of the original US CD release.

 

Bizarrely, when the Austrian plant revisited this title in 2002 (same catalogue number same disc), the cover image was presented in blues and purples instead of the standard multicoloured version. Also, the top blue band with the name Bob Dylan was now reproduced in brown. The blue bands, top and bottom of the rear cover, were also reproduced in brown! The “SHOT OF LOVE” text remains white. As far as I’m aware, this version is still currently for sale in Europe.

 

A couple of asides: An early UK vinyl release of this album (circa 1981) had the “SHOT OF LOVE” text printed in black. The original proposed rear sleeve design for the 1981 vinyl LP was of a Cadillac car. This back cover was changed at the last moment to the now familiar Dylan with a rose cover. However, the rejected back cover illustration was mistakenly used for the original 1981 Brazilian vinyl release, making this a sort after collectors item.

 

Vinyl: This album has not been re-released on vinyl.

 

Also See Discography

 

 

Infidels

!

The late eighties CD release of this album was superseded in 2003 when it was released as part of the 15-disc SACD reissue. The re-mastered CD layer of the SACD was made available as the standard CD release in UK/Europe (512344 2) in March 2004 and in North America (CK 92392) in June 2004. Whilst not being overly spectacular, this is a nice crisp re-master with lots of definition between the instruments. The album was not remixed for this release.

 

Vinyl: This album has not been re-released on vinyl.

 

Also See Discography

 

Real Live

!

This album was first released on CD in Japan in 1985 and in the UK and Europe in the early 1990s as (Columbia 467841 2). This album is no longer listed by Sony UK and has not been for several years. When I checked in August 2009, it was down to be repressed but this has not happened. This album has not been revisited by Columbia since it was first released on CD in the early nineties.

 

Vinyl: This album has not been re-released on vinyl.

 

Also See Discography

 

Empire Burlesque

!

First released on CD in Japan on November 21, 1985, a CBS Japanese pressing for Europe (CDCBS 86313) was made available at around the same time. A version made in Austria for the UK and Europe (Columbia COL 467840 2) did not appear until February 4, 1991. This album has not been revisited since that release.

 

Vinyl: This album has not been re-released on vinyl.

 

Also See Discography

 

Knocked Out Loaded

!

This album was first released on CD in Japan on September 21, 1986. It was first pressed in Austria for the UK and Europe in 1993. This album (467040 2) has not been revisited since the February 1, 1993 release date.

 

Vinyl: This album has not been re-released on vinyl.

 

Also See Discography

 

Down In The Groove

!

This album (Columbia 460267 2) was released on CD in the UK in 1988. It was revisited as a product in 2001. However, this appears to have been a cosmetic or catalogue change and has nothing to do with the music. This title is no longer listed by Sony UK, and has not been for several years! The album can, however, be obtained along with “Empire Burlesque” and “Under The Red Sky”, as part of a 3-CD set entitled “Original Album Classics” (Columbia/Legacy/Sony Music 88697742502CD2). This package, released July 26, 2010, was made in Austria for the UK and Europe.

 

Vinyl: This album has not been re-released on vinyl.

 

Also See Discography

 

Dylan & The Dead

!

This album was re-mastered and released in a gatefold digipak (88697082282) on March 30, 2009. This release has not sold anywhere near as quickly as the other three 2009 re-masters and therefore stocks of the Limited-Edition Collector’s digipak are still available from Sony UK. This product will be replaced by a jewel-case release when the digipak has sold out. The reason that this album, which is not highly rated by most Dylan fans, was selected for re-master before other titles is not clear to me.

 

Vinyl: This album has not been re-released on vinyl.

 

Also See Discography

 

Oh Mercy

!

The 1989 CD release of this album was superseded in late 2003 when it was released as part of the 15-disc SACD reissue. The re-mastered CD layer of the SACD was made available as the standard CD release in UK/Europe (512343 2) in March 2004 and in North America (CK 92391) in June 2004. This warm and inclusive re-master is a definite improvement on the original CD release. The album was not remixed for this release.

 

Vinyl: Re-issued in the UK as stereo re-mastered 180gm vinyl LP by Simply Vinyl (SVLP 319) 2005.

Re-issued in the USA as stereo re-mastered 180gm vinyl LP by 4 Men With Beards (4M815) 2011.
(This is the label’s only Dylan release. In case you are wondering, the company is not run by four men with beards – although I believe two of them might have beards – rather, their catalogue is said to be for men with beards. Ermm.

 

Also See Discography

 

Under The Red Sky

!

First released in September 1990, this album was immediately available on CD. It was made in Austria for release in the UK and Europe. The catalogue number was CBS 467188 2. This CD was re-released in 1991 with the same catalogue number but this time on the Columbia label. This album (467188 2) was again revisited on October 26, 1992, but this revisit was merely cosmetic.*

 

Vinyl: This album has not been re-released on vinyl.

 

Also See Discography

 

Good As I Been To You

!

First released in October 1992, this album was immediately available on CD. It was made in Austria (Columbia 472710 2) for the UK and Europe. This album (467188 2) was again revisited on February 10, 1997, but this revisit was merely cosmetic.*

 

Vinyl: In December 2011, “Good As I Been To You” (MOVLP427) was released in Europe on 180g vinyl by Dutch vinyl specialists Music On Vinyl. Uncharacteristically, it appears that this release was not re-mastered (by Steve Berkowitz) but taken directly form the original 1992 Micajah Ryan engineered master tape (via digital files). Nevertheless, the sound quality on this one is excellent and the best that’s currently available.

 

Also See Discography

 

World Gone Wrong

!

First released in October 1993, this album was immediately available on CD. It was made in Austria (Columbia 474857 2) for the UK and Europe. This album (467188 2) was again revisited on January 13, 1997, but this revisit was merely cosmetic.*

 

Also See Discography

 

MTV Unplugged

!

This live album was released in the UK and Europe on Columbia 478374 2 in April 1995. This release contains an extra track, ‘Love Minus Zero/No Limit’, which was not included on the US release. However, the European release contained an annoying overdubbed “loop” of audience applause on ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’. Once noticed, which wasn’t hard, there was no way of ignoring this loop! This pressing was recalled after a flood of complaints. The current “corrected” edition (2024359) was released on March 29, 2004.

 

Vinyl: Issued in the UK as a 2LP set, (Columbia 478374-1/Simply Vinyl SVLP 100), 1995.

 

Also See Discography

 

Time Out Of Mind

!

Although this album was only released in 1997, it was scheduled to be re-mastered in late 2003 for inclusion as part of the 15-disc SACD series! However, a late decision was made not to include this album in the series and it is not clear if the re-mastering process was actually carried out. Nevertheless, a remix(?) of the track ‘Love Sick’ appeared on the March 2004 Limited Edition USA compilation made for Victoria’s Secret. This version is slightly longer and much cleaner sounding than on the original Dylan album! A crisper version of ‘Not Dark Yet’ was also released on the August 2006 US Limited Edition CD single of ‘Rollin’ And Tumblin’’. These two major improvements in sound would indicate that re-mastering (even remixing) was in fact carried out in 2003 and that these two tracks had been taken from the proposed SACD/CD tape masters. If so, was this a mistake? Sony has a strict policy of using the most recent master tapes for all subsequent pressings. If the 2003 SACD re-master was made then, that would be the most recent master tape. However, as this tape was not previously used/released, I would have thought that the engineer should have gone back to the last “used” tape, i.e. the 1997 mix.

 

Vinyl: The best quality version of “Time Out Of Mind” is without doubt the 2-LP vinyl release (Columbia COL 486936 1). This edition was pressed in Holland for release in the UK and Europe. ‘Can’t Wait’ is probably the best example, but most of the tracks suffer from a loss of dynamics and some clipping when listened to on CD.

 

“Time Out Of Mind” and “Love And Theft” are now available as a “twin-pack” CD release (88697145152 – September 28, 2007). “Time Out Of Mind” is available as a “triple-pack” CD release, “The Dylan Trilogy” (88697203112 – November 17, 2007) with “Love And Theft” and “Modern Times”, and is also included in another “triple-pack” (88697161492 – September 6, 2009) with “Infidels” and “Oh Mercy”. When we first produced this article in 2009, “Time Out Of Mind” was not listed separately by Sony UK and although this is still the case, this album is currently available on catalogue number 486936 2.

 

Also See Discography

 

"Love And Theft"

!

Although this album was only released on September 11, 2001, it was re-mastered in late 2003 for inclusion as part of the 15-disc SACD release! It was also decided that the SACD release would be remixed for 5.1 Surround Sound. Why “Love And Theft” was chosen for this treatment is something of a mystery. In any event, the standard stereo CD layer of the hybrid SACD was also remixed but to my ears it sounds exactly the same as the original 2001 release! Nevertheless, as was the case with all 15 of the SACD releases, the CD layer from the 2003 SACD was released in the UK and Europe (512357 2) as a re-mastered CD edition and this is now the standard UK/European release. However, this version was not released in North America. The US and Canada, like virtually every other country outside of Europe, continues to use the original 2001 master tapes. If any of Dylan’s recent albums were in need of attention then “Time Out Of Mind” not “Love And Theft”, would seem to be the prime candidate.

 

Leaving sound quality for a minute, the original 2001 release of “Love And Theft” Columbia CK 86076 (USA), Columbia COL 504364 9 (UK), was a special limited edition issue. This digipak edition with a bonus two-track disc was limited to 150,000 copies worldwide.

 

Vinyl: This album was available as a 2-LP vinyl release in the USA and in the UK (Columbia C2 85975 – USA and Columbia COL 504364 1 – UK). Both these vinyl releases sounded a little better than the CD releases. However, this LP release is now deleted from the Sony catalogue.

In May 2012 “Love And Theft” (MOVLP506) was released in Europe on 180g vinyl by Dutch vinyl specialists Music On Vinyl.

Note: The mechanism for the production of these 180g Music On Vinyl LPs is explained at the end of the entry for the “Bob Dylan” début album release.

 

Also See Discography

 

Modern Times

!

Released August 2006 on CD (Columbia 82876 87606 2) USA; (Columbia 82876 87686 2) Europe– Deluxe Edition CD + DVD.

 

Vinyl: This album was available also as a 2-LP vinyl release in the USA and in the Europe (Columbia 82876 87606 1). This vinyl release sounds much better than the CD. You only need to compare the first two tracks, ‘Thunder On The Mountain’ and ‘Spirit On The Water’, to hear the difference.

 

Also See Discography

 

Together Through Life

!

Released in deluxe packaging on CD with two bonus discs in April 2009 (88697516972) USA and UK. A “standard” edition CD was released at the same time.

 

A special French limited edition of this title was released in France. This four-disc version contained an audio CD entitled “My Bob Dylan”. This disc was a 72-minute French-language documentary about Dylan with excerpts from Dylan songs and cover versions by French artists. Yet another special edition of this album was released in Japan. This version came with a 22-page booklet of notes, song lyrics (in English and Japanese), plus advertisements for recently remastered Dylan albums and other sundry items. Unlike the deluxe editions in other counties, the Japanese edition contained a DVD not featuring the Roy Silver interview, but a rather excerpts from Japanese movies containing Bob Dylan tracks!

 

Vinyl: This album was released as a 2-LP vinyl release in the USA and in the UK and Europe (Columbia 88697 43893 1). This vinyl release sounds a little warmer than the CD. However, at the time of writing (December 14, 2010), this title is in the process of being deleted. It is interesting that the small, but clearly significant upsurge in vinyl sales has prompted Sony/Columbia to go back to producing their own vinyl releases.

 

In the not too distant past, the rights to vinyl were being licensed out by Sony to smaller manufacturers like Sundazed, Absolute Analog, and Simply Vinyl. Whilst it is good to see that Columbia is again regularly issuing new Dylan albums on vinyl, they appear not to remain in the catalogue for very long.

 

Also See Discography

 

Christmas In The Heart

!

Released in October 2009, the deluxe version of this fun festive release came with five greetings cards bearing the same picture as the album cover (Columbia 88697 57323 2). Royalties from sales of the recordings are donated to Feeding America as well as two international charities providing millions of meals for people in need in the US, UK and developing world.

 

The album was also released as a “standard” edition (same catalogue number as above).

 

Vinyl: This album was also released on 180gm vinyl by Columbia (88697 57323) but quickly sold through and was deleted.

 

Also See Discography

 

Brandeis Live 1963

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This mono CD album was originally released in a card sleeve in October 2010 and given away “free” with both the “Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings” box and “The Bootleg Series Vol. 9: The Witmark Demos”. According to Sony Music this was a limited edition issue. Nevertheless, the album, which was recorded at Brandeis Folk Festival in Waltham, Massachusetts on May 10, 1963, was officially released as a separate “stand alone” item on April 11, 2011 (April 12, in the USA). This release was issued in a jewel case with a slightly amended cover design. (Columbia/Legacy 88697 794552 2, USA), (Columbia/Legacy/Sony Music 88697 80442 2, Europe).

 

Vinyl: In April 2011, “Brandeis University 1963” was released in mono on 180gm vinyl in the US (Columbia/Legacy 88697 84743 1). It was rumoured that this album would not be released on vinyl in Europe. It was, however, released in Europe on 180gm vinyl by Music On Vinyl (MOVLP286). Other than being transferred to analogue, both the US and European LPs are made from the same master tape as was the CD release.

 

Also See Discography

 

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Albums in the above reviews marked * have been revisited by Sony since the original release date but there are no changes to the musical content. These later release dates appear for a number of reasons including label changes CBS/Columbia/Sony and changes in pressing plants, packaging and pricing, such as “Nice Price” releases.

 

Below is a list of Bob Dylan’s albums as released on Compact Disc. Bob Dylan’s record label began releasing Compact Discs in 1984 and most of Dylan’s back catalogue was released on CD between 1984 and 1990. Many of Bob Dylan’s early CD releases in Europe and the UK were manufactured in the USA and released on the Columbia label with “CK” prefixes (though some were made in Canada). Later CD releases in Europe and the UK were manufactured in Europe. The vast majority of these releases were made in Austria, though some were made in Holland. These releases were on the CBS label and generally had CDCBS prefixes.

 

Album titles in bold have all been re-mastered. Some, as discussed above, have also been remixed and where remixing has taken place the words (stereo remix) will be found in bold next to the album title. The catalogue number is for the UK/European release and the date is when the title was released in its latest re-mastered form.

 

In total, 21 Bob Dylan albums have been re-mastered for stereo and eight of the 21 have been remixed for stereo. One other album, “The Times They Are a-Changin’”, was remixed in mono for the 2010 “Mono Box” set. Three albums, ‘Dylan’, ‘Real Live’ and ‘Down In The Groove’ no longer appear in Sony’s UK catalogue. “Biograph” is still being produced in its “Display Box” but all of the unique “Bootleg Series” packaging for the editions 1-3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 have now been discontinued and from November 29, 2010 these releases are available only in standard jewel case editions.

 

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Bob Dylan

(stereo remix)

(519891 2 – June 20, 2005)

The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

(512348 2 – March 29, 2004)

The Times They Are a-Changin’

(remixed for the mono box)

(519892 2 – June 20, 2005)

Another Side Of Bob Dylan

(stereo remix)

(512354 2March 29, 2004)

Bringing It All Back Home

(stereo remix)

(512353 2 – March 29, 2004)

Highway 61 Revisited

(512351 2 – March 29, 2004)

Blonde On Blonde

(stereo remix)

(512352 2 – March 29, 2004)

John Wesley Harding

(512347 2 – March 29, 2004)

Nashville Skyline

(512346 2 – March 29, 2004)

Self Portrait

(460112 2 – February 11, 1991)

New Morning

(88697347002 – May 18, 2009)

Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid

(CD32098 – November 18, 2002)

Dylan

(No longer listed by Sony UK)

Planet Waves

(512356 2 – March 29, 2004)

Before The Flood

(88697082242 – June 25, 2009)

Blood On The Tracks

(stereo remix)

(512350 2 – March 29, 2004)

The Basement Tapes

(88697347082 – April 26, 2009)

Desire

(512345 2 – March 29, 2004)

Hard Rain

(CD32308 – February12, 2001)

Street Legal

(stereo remix)

(512355 2 – March 29, 2004)

Bob Dylan At Budokan

(467850 2 – June 6, 1996)

Slow Train Coming

(stereo remix)

(512349 2 – March 29, 2004)

Saved

(CD32742 – November 18, 2002)

Shot Of Love

(474689 2 – February 3, 1997)

Infidels

(512344 2 – March 29, 2004)

Real Live

(No longer listed by Sony UK)

Empire Burlesque

(467840 2 – February 4, 1991)

Knocked Out Loaded

(467040 2 – February 1, 1993)

Down In The Groove

(No longer listed by Sony UK as a single CD release)

Dylan & The Dead

(88697082282 – March 30, 2009)

Oh Mercy

(512343 2 – March 29, 2004)

Under The Red Sky

(467188 2 – October 26, 1992)

Good As I Been To You

(472710 2 – February 10, 1997)

World Gone Wrong

(474857 2 – January 13, 1997)

The 30th Anniversary Concert

(474000 2 – June 30, 1997)

MTV Unplugged

(2024359 – March 29, 2004)

Time Out Of Mind

(486936 2 – December 10, 2001)

“Love and Theft”

(stereo remix)

(512357 2 – March 29, 2004)

Modern Times

(82876876062 – August 28, 2006)

Together Through Life

(88697516972 – April 27, 2009)

Christmas In The Heart

(88697573232 – October 13, 2009)

Brandeis Live 1963

(88697 80442 2 – April 11, 2011)

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Biograph

(508123 2 – September 23, 2002)

The Bootleg Series 1-3

(488100 2 – November 10, 1998) & (88697732882 – November 29, 2010)

The Bootleg Series Vol 4: Live 1966

(491485 2 – October 12, 1998) & (88697732892 – November 29, 2010)

The Bootleg Series Vol 5: Live 1975

(510140 2 – November 25, 2002) & (88697732902 – November 29, 2010)

The Bootleg Series Vol 6: Live 1964

(512358 2 – March 29, 2004) & (88697732912 – November 29, 2010)

The Bootleg Series Vol. 7: No Direction Home

(520358 3 – September 5, 2005) & (88697732942 – November 29, 2010)

The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs

(88697357972 – October 2008) & (88697746102 – November 2010)

The Bootleg Series Vol. 9: The Witmark Demos

(88597761792 – October 18, 2010)

                             

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With thanks to Alan Fraser at Searching For A Gem