I have been on a Bob Dylan kick lately & it pretty much culminated in me listening to Blood on the Tracks & reading about this was about Dylan’s marriage & divorce to his wife Sara. It is a brilliant album, perhaps my favorite as it holds at times a melancholic view of the relationship & at others a romantic nostalgic view of something that meant a great deal to him at least at one point.
A few years they toyed with the idea of getting remarried but it never happened. All 10 songs on the album were originally recorded at New York City sessions produced by Phil Ramone. With Columbia set to release the LP, Dylan pulled back at the last minute, and at year’s end re-recorded five of its songs in Minneapolis with a crew of area session musicians assembled by his brother, David Zimmerman. All but one (“Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts”) of the scrapped New York songs have seen official release. The New York version of “You’re a Big Girl Now” was released on 1985’s Biograph. The other three (“Tangled Up in Blue”, “Idiot Wind”, and “If You See Her, Say Hello”) were released on The Bootleg Series, Vol. 1-3 in 1991. Also included on that box set was “Call Letter Blues”, an outtake from the New York sessions.
Dylan’s fans theorize endlessly about his reasons for revamping the album, with one unconfirmed view being that the musical feel of the album had been monotonous, with too many songs in the same key and the same languid rhythm. It has also been said that, just two weeks before the release of Blood on the Tracks, Dylan played an acetate of the record for his brother, his ensuing comments leading Dylan to re-cut the album.
Told of the album’s lasting popularity, Dylan was later to say (in a radio interview by Mary Travers): “A lot of people tell me they enjoy that album. It’s hard for me to relate to that. I mean, it, you know, people enjoying the type of pain, you know?”
THE NEW YORK SESSIONS of Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks is this week’s bootleg Thursday post. It has quite a few different recordings of classic songs that many will find enlightening or different but not monotonous in any way. This includes Lily, Rosemary & the Jack of Hearts which before today has been previously unreleased.