You can click here to hear me rave about how incredible this compilation is (and download the first two volumes). So we'll just move belatedly along to the next two:
SEMI-PRECIOUS MEMORIES VOLUME 3
1. He Was A Friend of Mine (9/6/61 New York) - A traditional song that Dylan (and many other folkies) covered frequently in the 60's, a version was officially released on the Bootleg Series Vol. 1-3. This is the take from The Gaslight Tapes of '61. It's also been covered by The Byrds, Dave Van Ronk, and Willie Nelson, who released it on the Brokeback Mountain soundtrack (interestingly, crediting the song to Dylan).
2. Stealin' (3/11/62 New York) - Recorded from his first radio appearance, on the Cynthia Gooding Radio Show, this is another traditional song in many folk singers' repertoires. It's been recorded by Taj Mahal, Pete Seeger, Dr. John, and Janis Joplin, and was one of the songs on the Grateful Dead's first release.
3. Honey Just Allow Me One More Chance (4/25/63 Chicago) - A Dylan original off of Freewheelin', this one only received two live performances (that we know about). Unfortunately, only one of them is presented in this compilation...twice, by accident. It's a real fun performance though, of a song that just sounds like it would always be fun to play.
5. Hero Blues (10/31/63 New York) - This one is an outtake from Freewheelin', performed three times; unexpectedly, two of the performances are in '74, with these being the only (recorded at least) 60's one. The song is based around the bass line (no pun intended), with the chords only showing up when there's time.
6. If You Gotta Go Go Now (10/31/64 New York) - With nine performances, this is one of the most oft-played songs on this comp. This version is the most widely known, having been officially released on Live 1964. If any song made it painfully obvious that Bob was done with the save-the-world protest stuff, this might be it, one of the most superficial (and dirty) songs in his cannon.
7. Nobody 'Cept You (1/4/74 Chicago) - An outtake from 73's Planet Waves, it was appropriate that its live outings came at the beginning of the '74 comeback tour with The Band. A beautiful song presumably inspired by Sara, it s closing line is far more direct than most Dylan stuff: "I'm in love with you." But powerful as a result.
8. A Couple Of More Years (11/19/80 San Francisco) - Written by Shel Silverstein (who also wrote "A Boy Named Sue"), this song was played four times in the 80's and then ignored until seven years later when Bob released it on the soundtrack to his movie Hearts of Fire.
9. Fever (11/22/80 San Francisco) - Surely one of the best covers Bob's done, or at least up there. The power he projects behind this Otis Blackwell song from the 50's makes one wonder how he could sing any more songs after belting this one. It doesn't get more high energy than this. The song was originally a hit for Peggy Lee, but has been covered by Elvis, The Grateful Dead, Bette Middler and a few more surprising individuals...Madonna, Beyonce Knowles, and The Pussycat Dolls. Go figure.
10. Sukiyaki (3/8/86 Nagoya, Japan) - A very strange song for Dylan to decide to cover, his audience sure seems pleased with the choice, cheering ecstatically when they recognize it. As it's Japanese, no one is singing any of the actual words (except perhaps the crowd), and it's hard to tell whether Dylan is lending any vocal help at all. At any rate, a nice tune, which has covered by MANY unexpected people; check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukiyaki_(song) for the story behind it and artists who've covered it.
11. Rock With Me Baby (6/22/86 Dallas) - Dylan has clearly spent a lot of time listening to Sun records artists, as he busts out this song by rockabilly artist Billy Lee Riley.
12. Had A Dream About You Baby (6/9/88 Sacramento) - Off of Dylan's obscure Down in the Groove album, it's not necessarily a bad thing he didn't play this more.
13. Everybody's Movin' (6/10/88 Berkeley) - For only the third show of the Never-Ending Tour, Bob broke out this cover featuring Neil Young.
14. San Francisco Bay Blues (6/28/88 Canadaigua, NY) - First played in 1961, it didn't come back until this performance til Berkeley twenty-seven years later. Just goes to show some songs never leave you. Written by Jesse Fuller (who also wrote She's No Good, on Bob Dylan), Bob gives a killer performance of this song that just makes you want to dance.
15. She's About A Mover (8/24/88 Edmonton, AB) - Bob only played this Sir Douglas Quintet song twice, here and in 2000. He'd clearly liked it for a long time though, having cited the group around when this song came out in 1965 as one of the best new rock'n'roll groups. The '88 performance features Doug Sahm, who wrote it, on lead vocals where the '00 version features Bob tackling 'em himself.
16. Hey La La (My True La La) (5/28/89 Stockholm, Sweden) - This chorus might have the most insipid lyrics of any song on this comp: "hey la la, oh la la, my true la la. La la la, la la la, my true la la." However, the verses are nice (though Bob forgets some of the words) and he gives a good reading of this Ernest Tubbs song in all three of its performances.
17. Legend In My Time (7/19/89 Columbia, MD) - Only performed three times, it's a shame Bob didn't do it more, as he does a great version of this beautiful song. Recorded versions exist by The Everly Brothers, Hank Snow, and Roy Orbison, but perhaps the one that deserves the most notice is Johnny Cash's in American V: A Hundred Highways where Cash gives a beautifully sad rendition of the song, sounding like a guy who's giving up hope of being a legend (ironically enough).
18. The Harder They Come (8/19/89 Springfield, IL) - Bob tackled this reggae song (from the movie of the same name) four times in '89. However, while Jimmy Cliff's version sounds straight out of Jamaica, Bob rocks it out, giving it a drastically different sound with plenty of heavy drumming and guitar soloing.
1. One More Night (6/6/90 Toronto) (Ronnie Hawkins, vocals) - Like "She's About a Mover", the first of the two performances features someone else on lead vocals and the second is Bob. The first one is especially fun, though, as the band apparently doesn't know what's coming as they go into Watchtower, the following song. As they play the riff, though, Bob introduces Ronnie Hawkins (who, of course, played the role of Bob Dylan in Bob's film Renaldo and Clara). The band doesn't seem to know the song, with the guitar (Bob?) being the only one that seems to be doing much.
2. Willing (9/12/90 Mesa, AZ) - Bob saw the band Little Feat live in '74 and was apparently quite taken with them, as he covered this song 16 years later. And 17 years later. And 18 years later. And 21 years later. And 26 years later. The '90 version is killer, with some amazing soloing and spot-on vocals. It couldn't be more different than the slow acoustic version from '95, which a nice guitar line (that starts out sounding like Friend of the Devil). I can't thin of any other song Dylan has covered so differently over the course of the NET. For a little more backgroun on the song, see http://www.univie.ac.at/Anglistik/easyrider/data/FeatWilling.htm
3. Dixie (10/16/90 New York) (Instrumental) - Not much to say about this. It's an instrumental version of Dixie, less than a minute long, only played once. Sounds nice though.
4. Homeward Bound (6/6/91 Rome) - Starts out saying "Oh me, oh my" as if he's about to sing Country Pie. However, switches to this classic Simon and Garfunkel tune. He's covered quite a few S&G tunes over the years (The Boxer, A Hazy Shade of Winter, Sounds of Silence), and I think it's safe to say this one succeeds more than the others. It starts off kind of slow and tentative, but he really gets into it as the tune progresses.
5. Female Rambling Sailor (3/21/92 Adelaide, Australia) - One of the great '92 covers, he should have done it at every show.
6. Black Muddy River (4/6/92 Melbourne, Australia) - Dylan takes this Grateful Dead song and, despite apparently not remembering many of the words, makes it his own in a full-band treatment. As beautifully melodic as you can get, and apparently the last song Jerry Garcia sang before he died.
7. The Girl on the Green Briar Shore (6/28/92 Goteborg, Sweden) - Only played twice, it's not a huge winner as far as the '92 covers go. The lyrics are lame, and the tune unmemorable.
8. Don't Let Your Deal Go Down (6/30/92 Dunkerque, France) - Looks like Dylan know about deals going down way before Modern Times. No one has investigated how much of this traditional song was taken from Timrod, but Dylan does a nice job with this bluegrass number. Interestingly enough, it opened every show he played it at.
9. The Roving Blade (Newry Town) (7/1/92 Reims, France) - Probably the most diverse of his performances, he played it three times...once in 92, once in 98, and once in 00. He does it well here; hopefully it'll come back for 07.
10. Blood In My Eyes (11/16/93 New York early) - One of the best songs off of World Gone Wrong gets an equally fine reading at this Supper Club show, this time with a full band.
11. Lady Came From Baltimore (4/6/94 Davenport) - One of the many songs here where you just wonder, why didn't he play this more often? A very nice song written by Tim Hardin in '67 (though it sounds very traditional), it only saw three outings.
12. Hazel (11/17/94 New York) - Ah, it's been a while since we saw a Dylan original in this comp. The two versions here, ten years apart, are both incredible, and very different (the '94 one, recorded for MTV Unplugged) featuring a prominent organ).
13. The New Minglewood Blues (6/15/96 Aarhus) - A song the Grateful Dead have done, it's a pretty standard 12-bar blues, but Dylan does it nicely. Some nice soloing.
14. The White Dove (12/04/97 Washington DC) - One of my favorite Dylan covers, he does a good job in this '97 version of the Carter Stanley song, but the '00 version with backing vocals is unbeatable.
15. Po Boy (11/6/01 Grand Rapids) - Strange that, while most Love & Theft songs have been played into the ground, this one hsa gotten less than a dozen outings. It's one of the best, and the only one I haven't seen yet, so I hope it's not gone for good.
16. A Voice From On High (8/19/02 Southampton) - One of the many gospel songs Bob opened shows with in the early part of the decade, it features Larry and Charlie's distinctive backing vocals and some nice mandolin.
17. Lawyers Guns and Money (10/5/02 Eugene) - Fall '02 saw a whole slew of Warren Zevon covers to commemorate his death. While he played Mutineer and Accidentally Like a Martyr a lot, this only got four outings. It's got hilarious lyrics, but is not one of the best covers of the season.
18. The End of the Innocence (10/8/02 Sacramento) - Played nine times, this was almost regular enough to not be on this comp. It's a Don Henley song from '89, released on his album of the same name that went platinum six times. His vocal performance on the album won him a Grammy, and if this version by Bob was released it could do the same thing too.
SEMI-PRECIOUS MEMORIES VOLUME 4
1. The Death of Emmitt Till (3/11/62 NY radio)
2. He Was A Friend Of Mine (7/2/62 Montreal)
3. Stealin'(7/2/62 Montreal)
4. Honey Just Allow Me One More Chance (4/25/63 Chicago)
5. If You Gotta Go Go Now (5/7/65 Manchester)
6. Hero Blues (1/3/74 Chicago)
7. Nobody 'Cept You (1/11/74 Montreal)
8. Fever (11/30/80 San Francisco)
9. A Couple of More Years (12/3/80 Portland)
10. Sukyaki (3/10/86 Tokyo)
11. Rock With Me Baby (7/1/86 Clarkston)
12. Had A Dream About You Baby (7/2/88 Mansfield)
13. San Francisco Bay Blues (12/6/88 Oakland)
14. Hey La La (My True La La) (6/13/89 Frejus)
15. Legend In My Time (7/26/89 Saratoga Springs)
16. The Harder They Come (8/22/89 Bonner Springs)
17. Everybody's Movin' (10/20/89 Poughkeepsie)
18. Homeward Bound (6/14/90 Innsbruck)
19. Female Ramblin' Sailor (4/5/92 Melbourne)
1. Black Muddy River (4/30/92 Eugene)
2. The Girl on the Green Briar Shore (6/30/92 Dunkerque)
3. Don't Let Your Deal Go Down (8/21/92 Hamilton)
4. Blood In My Eyes (11/17/93 early New York)
5. Lady Came From Baltimore (4/13/94 Peoria)
6. Willing (9/23/95 Ft. Lauderdale)
7. One More Night (9/29/95 Sunrise)
8. The New Minglewood Blues (6/24/96 Diffendandge)
9. The Roving Blade (Newry Town) (3/17/00 late Reno)
10. The White Dove (4/3/00 Cedar Rapids)
11. She's About A Mover (6/15/00 Portland)
12. Dixie (7/18/02 Canoga Park for M&A)
13. A Voice From On High (8/23/02 Fargo)
14. Lawyers Guns and Money (10/16/02 Los Angeles)
15. Po' Boy (11/15/02 Philadelphia)
16. The End of the Innocence (11/20/02 Kingston)
17. Hazel (4/2/04 Washington DC)