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Bob Dylan No Direction Home: The Soundtrack Review

Soundtrack. Released 2005.  

BBC Review

By the closing cut you feel like you've travelled as far as Bob had in one short decade.

Chris Jones 2002

'No Direction Home' - Martin Scorsese's revelatory documentary of the boy from Hibbing's 10-year journey from Woody Guthrie acolyte to wigged-out electric 'Judas' -may well prove to be one of the most important rock docs ever made. This, volume seven of the Bootleg Series, not only reflects this beautifully but fills a much-needed gap in the Dylan market. For, while none of the out-takes and demos will come as a revelation to Dylanologists, it IS the first chronological overview of his early years and goes some way in demonstrating (to those that weren't there) why Bob was raised to the status of cultural icon. And why he balked....

Starting with home recordings made in 1956, disc one charts the transformation from juvenile blues copyist to fully-fledged people's poet. Which is, of course, exactly what he didn't want. His vague Carnegie Hall explanation of "A Hard Rain..." is that '...something's gonna happen' is a far cry from railing against the A bomb. What did happen was his retreat from the politically correct world of Joan Baez, Pete Seeger et al into a modern maelstrom of electricity, volume and dazzlingly oblique wordplay.

By Disc two, with its recorded 'betrayal' at Newport(a blistering "Maggie's Farm")the transformation is startling. Mike Bloomfield's scorching licksturn "Tombstone Blues" from literary surrealism into proto-psychedelia. By the closing cut (the only previously released track - the Manchester 1966 version of "Like A Rolling Stone") you feel like you've travelled as far as Bob had in one short decade. Every step is worth it...

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