Culture & Criticism From the Far Distant Realms
Blood On the Tracks is Bob Dylan’s finest, most fully-realized record. It is also probably the most difficult record he’s ever had to formulate, for this collection is about confronting the breakup of his marriage in the most public way a man can – on the concert stage. In turn, More Blood, More Tracks, the 14th installment of the bootleg series, chronicles the genesis of the album as we climb all the way inside Dylan’s head, the acoustic manifestations of these songs forming like icicles. See this sterling reportage from Andy Greene published September 20, 2018 in Rolling Stone for the complete history of the recordings. Originally recorded in late 1974 and finally released in 1975, Blood On the Tracks/More Tracks contains some of the most compelling songs Dylan ever has ever written – theater pieces (“Idiot Wind” and “Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Heart”); poignant ballads (“If You See Her Say Hello” and “You’re A Big Girl Now”); timeless classics (“Simple Twist Of Fate” and “Tangled Up In Blue”). The subject is love and Dylan points the knife straight at his heart, eviscerating the ghost of the muse that propels him forward. Alas, it is impossible for a man to stand more naked than this, and it remains a stunning artistic achievement that the most private Dylan chose to do this out in public on stage. Being granted this glimpse into a poet’s personal life the first time was an amazing gift, but now we’re being offered a second opportunity to experience a once-in-a-lifetime piece of work during the point of infancy. Even though we’ve heard these songs hundreds of time before, this record still somehow sounds perfectly new. For its mission is not ‘shock and awe,’ but instead, to show the many forms a poem takes as it splashes across the page and into the head of the creator. In turn, you can literally spend months with this music as you get to know every fragment of Dylan’s psyche. And this, then, is the point where critical commentary must stop as Dylan’s listeners gather one-by-one to continue their intimate relationships with his music. Nonetheless, if this becomes the final installment of the Bootleg Series, then it will stand the quintessential statement on a body of work spanning six decades as we come to learn of love and loss via the lyrical shine of our modern-time Shakespeare.
MORE BLOOD, MORE TRACKS. The Bootleg Series – Volume #14.
Track listing for the 1 CD/2 LP Edition
1. “Tangled Up in Blue” (9/19/74, Take 3, Remake 3)
2. “Simple Twist of Fate” (9/16/74, Take 1)
3. “Shelter From The Storm” (9/17/74, Take 2)
4. “You’re a Big Girl Now” (9/16/74, Take 2)
5. “Buckets of Rain”(9/18/74, Take 2, Remake)
6. “If You See Her, Say Hello” (9/16/74, Take 1)
7. “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts” (9/16/74, Take 2)
8. “Meet Me in the Morning” (9/19/74, Take 1, Remake)
9. “Idiot Wind” (9/19/74, Take 4, Remake)
10. “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” (9/17/74, Take 1, Remake)
11. “Up to Me” (9/19/74, Take 2, Remake)
- All tracks recorded at A & R Studios, New York: 9/16 – 9/19/1974
- Tracks recorded 9/16 & 18: Bob Dylan on vocals, guitar, harmonica
- Tracks recorded 9/17 & 19: Bob Dylan on vocals, guitar, harmonica; Tony Brown on bass
- All songs written by Bob Dylan
Read John Aiello’s 2003 review of the cover recording of the Blood On the Tracks album by Mary Lee’s Corvette here.