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Fragments - Time Out Of Mind Sessions (1996-1997): The Bootleg Series Vol. 17

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Die Bootleg Recordings Nummer 17 in allen Editionen sind wieder eine edle Publikation in gewohnter Manier wie die anderen davor für die große Gefolgschaft des Poeten der bis zu Weihnachten 2024 seine Rough and Rowdy Ways World Wide Tour noch bestreitet.

The editors of AllMusic scored this album three out of five stars, with reviewer Stephen Thomas Erlewine noting that Daniel Lanois' original production on Time Out of Mind had a "murkiness [that] nagged at Dylan" and that the recordings are a chronicle of Dylan attempting to find the right sound for these songs. Considering the often sombre and spectral mood of Time Out of Mind, it’s fascinating to hear how in some cases the different takes are much more upbeat and lighter than the final recordings. Back cover variant to Fragments (Time Out Of Mind Sessions (1996-1997)), with three label logos instead of two. Critics even suggested it might be the final great Bob Dylan album – it wasn’t of course, but, as it turned out, Time Out of Mind, was the last album Dylan made with a producer – all his records since have been self-produced, under the pseudonym Jack Frost. It has breathed fresh life into what is one of my favourite latter day Dylan albums (the original is still a superb album).

Disc 4 offers live versions of all the tracks from Time Out of Mind except Dirt Road Blues, but with the addition of Mississipi, which was originally intended for the album. This edition includes a new 2022 remix, by Michael Brauer, of the eleven original recordings on Time Out Of Mind, sounding more like how the songs came across when the musicians originally played them in the room. It still sounds like a Lanois production but some of the more processed sounds are reduced to give a more 'live in the studio' feel. And the final Tell Tale Signs disc, well I can see why it’s here it adds a piece to the journey of the songs on Time Out of Mind. Tell Tale Signs, but it’s nice to have it as part of the box set for continuity and completist reasons.

The vocals are more up front and overall it doesn't sound as polished as final product, which is not a bad thing. That’s one for Dylanologists and diehard fans to debate long into the small hours of one too many mornings but it certainly lets you hear and appreciate the songs and the instrumentation in a whole new light – just listen to the drums on the new mix of ‘Standing in the Doorway’, the organ on ‘Tryin’ to Get to Heaven’ and the dirty blues of ‘Cold Irons Bound’, which will rattle your bones even more than the original. He couldn’t work this close to his home and his family, which, by now, included six children and multiple grandchildren. These are not driving rock numbers, and yet they were three or four drum kits rolling away at any point.Disc 1 is a new mix of the original album, with a less gloomy feel, and bringing Dylan's feral growl right up front in your living room. There are multiple versions of both songs littered across Fragments, and it is fascinating to hear them expand and contract, changing shapes and keys and tempos. You'll have to splurge a little, but no matter how you want to debate it, this is classic Bob Dylan. Sessions stretched to 10 hours while Lanois drove Dylan to try “Not Dark Yet” again in E-flat, then in B-flat, until Dylan finally snapped, “If you haven’t got it now, you ain’t getting it.

Prior to its release, Dylan had been plagued by ill health – a life-threatening respiratory infection caused by inhaling fungus spores, which he put down to riding his Harley in the Louisiana swamps. Disc four presents songs from Time Out of Mind in a series of spectacular live performances from 1998-2001.

At a push, it could have been a 4 disc set without the live material and still been as good, that shows how good the unreleased tracks are. For Dylan, the song had always been the thing: His catalog had always boasted the folk virtues of pliability. All tracks on disc four are previously unavailable with the exception of "Make You Feel My Love" (May 21, 1998, Los Angeles).

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