The 1966 Live Recordings

The 1966 Live Recordings

Posted by leeshkay | Published a year ago

With 143 ratings

By: Bob Dylan

Purchased At: $95.07 (10 used & new offers)

"Folk-rock. I've never even said that word." Bob Dylan.

For fans of Dylan's early period this massive set will be a good addition to the music shelf. If you've heard Vol. 4 in the Bootleg Series you already have a good idea of what's here. 1966 was a pivotal year for both Dylan and music. And similar to the earlier release of the '65-'66 studio recordings, this set includes every gig he did in '66. Five "stars" because I was around then listening to Dylan and I still remember how exciting it sounded when he strapped on an electric guitar and had a tough, rocking, roadhouse band backing him. Some fans will rate this release higher or lower depending on how they hear all these concerts. So, to each his own on that subject. If you want to know a lot more about these concerts, read the recently published book "Judas!: From Forest Hills to the Free Trade Hall..." by Clinton Heylin, an in depth look at that whole period.

But let's also remember that (also like the '65-'66 studio set) these recordings had to be released by the record label or their 50 year copyright protection would go out the window, allowing anyone who had access to the recordings to release them and keep the money. So while I'm very happy to have these recordings don't believe all the hype about finding all these tapes and issuing them just for avid fans (like me admittedly) to pounce on.

I haven't had this set long enough (I started listening just before release day) to listen to every single gig--but I'm in no hurry--preferring to hear each concert as a standalone experience. So I listened to the first couple of concerts and then picked various dates from across this set to get a better idea of overall sound quality. Most of these sets have decent to good sound--but remember these are soundboard recordings for the most part with their own sonic limitations, and a few concerts recorded by CBS for possible release, that are the best sounding of the bunch. The last concerts (grouped together because of their audience origins) from Feb. and April of '66 in the U.S., Australia, and Sweden, are audience tapes with less than stellar sound. But at least they're all included. The packaging isn't as massively cool as the previously mentioned studio box set, but does have good notes by Clinton Heylin, along with some nice period photos. The outer box is a thick-ish cardboard with some nice period graphics all over it, not much bigger than the CD envelopes inside (with pics from Pennebaker's films) that has been used for other large sets, especially for jazz artists or classical music.

The set lists are pretty much the same from gig to gig. There's no real need to dissect every gig or song from different concerts. Dylan changed up his performances from gig to gig which you can hear across this collection. At this late date it may be hard for some people to listen to several of these gigs in one sitting, and wonder what all the excitement is (was) about. Admittedly (for me) this is something to be enjoyed in small doses like the huge Grateful Dead sets--a concert or two at a time--rather than sitting down and listening to several gigs nonstop. And I wonder if Dylan fans who weren't lucky enough to have been around in '66, and experienced that whole era, when Dylan morphed from acoustic folk music/'"voice of the people", to a whole other rock 'n' roll thing with (essentially) The Hawks adding to his new overwhelming (for some folk fans) electric sound, can fully appreciate what Dylan was doing.

"I adjusted the strap on my Telecaster so I could release it with a quick thumb movement and use the guitar as a weapon. The concerts were starting to feel that unpredictable." Robbie Robertson.

Every night you can hear Dylan escaping the bonds of folk music when he and his band plugged in and turned up the sound. There's an edge, an excitement, in Dylan's vocals and in his backing band's powerful playing that swept away the "old" Dylan sound. That was Dylan, the beacon, the leader, of the folk movement. This was Dylan blasting into outer space using electrified instruments. The concert from 6 May '66 in Belfast is just one example of this change. The acoustic set is nice, but the eruption when the full band plays is something else again.

"At one of the shows, where the stage wasn't much higher than the seating of the audience, a girl stormed the stage with scissors in her hand. Security grabbed her in time, but it was a close call." Robbie Robertson.

But if you weren't around in '66 and into Dylan's music, this collection will give you a good idea of the changes ("Drop dead Dylan.") Dylan was making in his music. I can remember being stunned at hearing Dylan "go rock 'n' roll" and being excited about it. But other Dylan fans I knew were dismayed at his "sell-out" from the perceived folk music principles he had previously laid out for fans. Remember the "Judas!" comment from an outraged audience member? That kind of thinking was very real back then. Dylan's "new" music was heard as some kind of hostile takeover, a betrayal, of his previous stance in folk music, which was the very soul of '60s folk/protest music for many people who believed he was a "traitor" (as some people yelled) to the folk movement. And it all disappeared when Dylan appeared on stage with an electric guitar around his neck and even more musicians standing with him with even more electric instruments. And the loud sound! And now having the chance to hear all these gigs as Dylan and his band attack many of these tunes brings back some of that '66 excitement and wonder. And for fans who weren't there way back then this is a chance to hear Dylan change his style night after night from a previously scruffy Guthrie inspired folk singer to rock 'n' roller. In (for me) small doses this is a chance to relive that whole era, and this music still has the electric excitement from that time. If you have the coin and are a fan of early, game-changing Dylan, you might want to investigate this set. If this is too much check out the 2 CD concert release (set for Dec. release) for a good idea of what's here. And now on to The Who box set (now held back until Dec.), celebrating their first album. It would've been too much to have so much good music in the span of a week or so and try and review it all. What a great couple of months for '60s music fans. And if you're a Deadhead and want a 21 CD set of live Dead from '71 post a comment and I'll get back to you.

- terrance_cox

I've been chasing recordings of this music since the day I turned over the 45 of 'I Want You' and found the Liverpool, 'Just Like Tom Thumb'...it blew me away...here was Dylan playing the sound I'd heard live earlier in October, '65, but with more power and intricacy...I knew there had to be more if they had this...I was 18!

Fifty years on, after chasing bootlegs on vinyl and CD, Sony/Columbia has gone a long way to end my qwest...Nothing, nothing matches the trove of music contained in this box set...This is the holy grail of 60s rock n' roll, no other ensemble rocked as hard as Dylan and the Hawks in 1966, not the Stones, not the Animals, not the Beatles, not the Who;nobody...These guys, night after night, blew the house down and did it facing intense audience hostility at nearly every gig...An intensity Dylan and the Hawks turned back on their tormentors with thunderous rock n' roll...It's all captured here...

I've listened to all the soundboard recordings in the box and, while the sets are identical (with the exception of Sydney), the performances are not...there are significant differences across shows, innovations and arrangements evolve and change in both acoustic and electric sets...Dylan's harp playing on some tracks from acoustic sets are worth the price of the entire box...And with the Hawks, they burned a path for ensemble players to follow...

You will not be bored buying the box...Treat your ears to an early Christmas present...

- silas_martin

The 1966 Live Recordings of 23 Bob Dylan concerts are compiled here in a 36 cd box set. The box is well constructed and is the same design as the Complete Album box set. The cds are housed in cardboard sleeves same size and quality as in the Complete Album set. The box set does contain The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live, 1966: The "Royal Albert Hall Concert", exact same sound quality but it includes an incomplete (1:09) soundcheck of Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues not on the Vol. 4 set. There are four concerts recorded by CBS records and they are in Stereo The rest are Mono soundboard recordings made using a Nagra reel to reel recorder; state of the art in it's day, it's the same tape machine used to record all the Beatles Let It Be movie soundtrack hours. 5 of the concerts on 5 of the cds are audience recordings. These recordings are CDs #32-36, relegated to the end of the box, taken out of the chronology of the rest of CDs #1-31. I haven't had a chance to listen to them. I have only had a chance to hear the first concert in the box. It's a soundboard recording. The sets each night are Dylan alone for the 1st half of the show, a 15 min intermission and Dylan & The Band for the 2nd half of the show. The first show sounds great until you get to the 2nd half. The mix has the Band sounding like they are only bleeding into a vocal mike. I cringed at first thinking all the concerts might sound like that, but they get it right by the 2nd show and it's all treasure after that.

- alice_cooper

I was in the audience for the Birmingham concert and the recording here is just as I remember it, including Dylan's comment
"there's dirt on the stage". I had no idea that it was recorded at all so I am delighted with this as it brought back so many memories. The first half of the concert was spellbinding (like many other venues on this tour) and I remember vividly how extraordinarily loud the second half was. Some of the audience were shouting "get rid of the band" and some actually walked out of the theatre. I didn't understand this, as Dylan had "gone electric" on some of his albums already at that point. This concert was a tremendous experience and in some ways it changed my life, because the music scene was turned upside down by what could be defined as Dylan's "mercurial alchemy." Dylan was looking for a mercurial sound on the "Blonde on Blonde" album and he surely managed that in spades. This was the birth of folk rock if anything was.
For true Dylan fans I think this box set is an indispensable record of Dylan in 1966 so I would not think twice about investing about £100 on it - it is worth every penny.

- tommy_rodriguez

Firstly the Quality is sublime. Every harmonica and guitar note rings out brilliantly. I'm listening sequentially through the Tour which seems to work well. Effectively travelling largely around the U.K.; including Bristol, Liverpool and Leicester.
The acoustic and electric sets are both equally great and the jarring contrast as the tour progresses keeps the interest going. As you listen the opening chords of Tell Me, Momma are the entree to the electric set.
Must be Dylan's best tour?

- saul_chavez

Just a stunning collection. There’ not a lot else to be said. It’s for the aficionados, obviously. The already available Free Trade Hall set probably remains the best but some of the nuances from some of the other concerts are truly fascinating. It’s great to hear “Judas” plying his trade night after night.

- kenzie_cooper

A must for any avid Bob Dylan fan/collector.A well presented package of which to me the 'price was right'.

- janessa_price

Wonderful insight into the past. Play yourself 20 versions of same song back to back, listen to conversations with the crowds, stunning collection for the dedicated.

- kora_alvarez

History in the making but I feel for the fans who are no longer here to enjoy these monumental recordings, people who collected any scraps that were available over the years. These shows should have been public 25 years ago, savour them now. The music is brilliant but the package is ordinary, the booklet is disappointing.

- stevie_foster

A bit too much of the same, but every Dylan fan should own these historic recordings

- wynter_thompson

Incredible document of incredible music from an incredible time.

- anton_hughes

For me this a double whammy! Not only is it Dylan but it's also has four fifths of the Band (Levon left the tour because he didn't like getting booed at every night). Dylan and the band are on fire for these dates. Being young with something to prove the shows are full of energy.
That being said the discs themselves vary in sound quality. Still the very early days of recording live Rock music and it shows. Plus not all the shows are complete, actually, in some cases, all the songs are even complete. It is great getting this many shows at once, even tho most of the set lists are identical but it still a great box. After the Basement Tapes box set and getting the Isle Of White concert in the Self Portrait box set there is finally a lot of Dylan // Band material on the market and so far it has all been great! This is a wotthy next step In the saga.
There are at least a half dozen excellent shows in here and the other shows are great but limited by their sonics. The Albert Hall show is great (released here for the first time. The "Albert Hall" judas show is actually from a Free Trade Hall.). Dylan is really on fire but he was playing to the Beatles and The Stones out In the audience. I would say shows vary from 4/10 to 8/10 sound wise. I am sure some of these shows I will only play once but the others will get heavy rotation.
The set is good and at a reasonable price but it would have been great to have a Blu Ray or even a DVD of the live footage shot form the tour. The liner notes are very skimpy as the box set seems to be rushed out.
I read a very interesting artical about all the archive box sets this year. Several countries have copyright laws that say if the music doesn't get released it becomes public domain after 50 years, however if they release it before the end of the 50 years the copyright lasts 100 years. Hence releasing all the live material from 1966 was kind of a must!
Over all, even with it's limitations this is an excellent box set and I am sure I will be spending a lot of time with it!

- cynthia_torres

On saluera l'effort complétiste de Columbia qui sort ici l'intégralité des enregistrements connus de la tournée la plus célèbre du rock. Ils sont allés jusqu'à mettre quelques disques issus des enregistrements pirates de l'époque (inécoutables, soyons honnêtes) en fin de coffret. Que l'on se rassure les deux bons tiers du coffret sont d'une qualité tout à fait satisfaisante. A noter qu'il s'agit de la même setlist (à quelques variations près) qui se répète, donc même si Dylan varie les interprétations tout en nuance de soir en soir, le non-initié pourra se sentir assomé là où le fan se délectera. Mais c'est la nature du produit qui veut ça. Un coffret économique et complet, présenté avec soin, à réserver aux mordus donc. Les autres se contenteront du Bootleg Series Vol 4 ou du Real Royal Albert Hall, deux concerts présentés ici et disponibles indépendamment qui sont sans doute objectivement les meilleurs.

- kendrick_garcia

Alla metà degli anni '60, Bob Dylan, paladino del movimento folk, decide che è tempo di seguire la propria visione verso nuove strade e nuove direzioni: mette da parte la chitarra acustica, ne imbraccia una elettrica e, affiancato dagli Hawks (gruppo rock successivamente divenuto celebre come The Band), scatena tutta la potenza della sua nuova musica in una tournèe che lo porterà ad esibirsi negli USA, in Australia, nel Regno Unito e in Europa. Per la richezza poetico-espressiva delle canzoni in scaletta, l'incontenibile energia rock delle esibizioni e le reazioni controverse del pubblico (a Manchester un fan arriva addirittura a urlargli contro: "Giuda!"), quel tour del 1966 è divenuto uno dei più importanti, celebri e discussi della carriera di Dylan e della storia della musica in generale. Il cofanetto "The 1966 live recordings" raccoglie in 36 cd tutte le registrazioni ad oggi note di quello storico tour, con materiale relativo a oltre venti date diverse. Un'opera straordinaria e una preziosa testimonianza musicale, assolutamente irrinunciabile per ogni appassionato di Dylan che si rispetti.

- whitney_nguyen

No hay que decir que es una caja para los muy fans de Dylan, una vez dicho esto hay que añadir que se trata de una gira mitica yo diria indispensable para entender que necesaria para entender el desarrollo de la musica popular de nuestros dias., es casi un diario de abordo de toda una epoca. Tanto Martin Scorcese como sobre todo D.A Pennebaker hicieron dos excelentes documentales sobre la misma, sobre todo el segundo. Estos cociertos documentan ala perfeccion la transicion del Dylan folk al Dylan electrico y la evolucion que concierto a concierto se va produciendo, como el publico y el mismo se van acostumbrando a esa evolucion. De hecho el programa en todos ellos es casi identico y siempre tienen una primera parte acustica de Dylan solo y luego Dylan con los Hawks, que terminarian siendo tras esta gira The Band. Aqui los musicos son Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel ,Garth Hudson y Mickey Jones, salvo este ultimo, luego vino el famoso encierro de Woostock y las no menos miticas "cintas desde el sotano".
Todo es pura historia, pura leyenda. el sonido depende de cada concierto y las fuentes tambien, desde la grabacion casera a la mesa de mezcla, en cualquier caso conservan el sabor de lo autentico, la verdad que le ha llevado a ser premio Nobel, a ser una piedra principal de la musica de nuestros dias. Curiosamente CBS solo grabo dos de los conciertos para editarlos, el de Manchester que finalmente fue editado como si se hubiera el "famoso" concierto del Albert Hall de Londres, aqui tiene el del Royal Albert Hall autentico editado por vez primera. Es sin duda un privilegio asistir tras tantos años a estos conciertos en donde se puede vivir el embiente de aquelos eventos. Sydney, Melburne, Copenhagen, Dubkin, Belfast,Bristol, Cardiff, Birminham, Liverpool, Leicester, Sheffield, Manchester,Glasgow, Edinburg, Newcastle, Paris, Londres, White Pains NY, Piittburg,, Hampstead, Melburne y Stockholm. Faltas muy pocos lugares de la gira pero al parecer no ha sido posible obtener documentos sonoros de los mismos de cualquier forma el trabajo de arqueologia de esta edicion es mas que evidente. Es una caja que es casi para especialistas en Dylan pero interesantisima y bastante bien de precio a tenor de que se trata de 36 CD nada mas y nada menos. Una aventura prodigioda de un nuevo Odiseo en busca de otro mundo.

- malani_lee

Un Bob Dylan en plena vorágine creativa que en cada concierto, pieza a pieza, demuestra una mejora respecto la versión de la anterior actuación. Cofre digno en lo editorial y en lo musical (pese a las fallas de la calidad del sonido en muchas tomas dado el origen del mismo aunque en la gran mayoría el sonido sorprende por su calidad justamente por los prejuicios que provocan las fuentes de las que ha sido tomado); recomendable para "enfermos" del autor (es mi caso) aunque, en mi opinión, no para el aficionado básico al cual la recomendaría la versión "ligera" del lanzamiento (ASIN: B01LXC8WWO). Una gira histórica contenida en 20 cm2 que todo aficionado "enfermo" debería tener.

- virginia_wilson

Reading Clinton Heylin's book Judas (about the 65/66 concert series) at the same time as listening to the concerts. The mixes are different for the shows some OK some not so good...but it is the conversation between the sets of Dylan to the Band and audience (and the audience yelling back!) that are interesting...Just read Robbie Robertson book too, so when you tie it all together you get a real feel for what happened. You do not need all these concerts unless you want to hear history in the making...no wonder Dylan stayed off the road for 8 years after...and came back with The Band when he did! Just the London Shows (available) would satisfy the average fans, and save you a few bucks too. You decide!

- ada_lee

Imperdibile cronistoria audio di uno dei tour che hanno sconvolto ma nello stesso tempo determinato la storia del rock. Tutti i concerti tenuti da Bob Dylan e dalla Band nel 1966, almeno quelli a suo tempo registrati (ma credo che vi saranno altre sorprese). Tra esaltazioni e stroncature l'arte di Dylan - quella della metà degli anni '60, ma poi altre 'arti' seguiranno nel corso di tutta la sua carriera fino ad oggi, anche se con diversi stili musicali - emerge pura e assoluta. Cofanetto indispensabile per i cultori di Dylan, ma necessario anche per i non assolutisti dylaniani.

- fox_gutierrez

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