A 36-CD box set featuring every known recording of Bob Dylan’s historic 1966 concert tour will be released Nov. 11, providing a companion piece to last year’s ambitious set documenting his studio recordings from 1965 and 1966.
“Bob Dylan: The 1966 Live Recordings” will feature songs taken from soundboard tapes, mobile recording trucks and audience tapes, according to an announcement Tuesday from Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings.
“While doing the archival research for ‘The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12,’ last year’s box set of Dylan’ mid-’60s studio sessions, we were continually struck by how great his 1966 live recordings really are,” Legacy Recordings President Adam Block said in a statement.
“The intensity of Bob’s live performances and his fantastic delivery of these songs in concert add another insightful component in understanding and appreciating the musical revolution Bob Dylan ignited some 50 years ago.”
On that tour, which included stops in the U.S., the U.K., Europe and Australia, Dylan was accompanied by four of the musicians who went on to be known as the Band — guitarist Robbie Robertson, pianist Richard Manuel, organist Garth Hudson and singer-bassist Rick Danko — as well as drummer Mickey Jones and, at two of the U.S. shows, drummer Sandy Konikoff.
The tapes capture not only Dylan’s performances of his songs but also the responses of fans, who were hostile at times after he had famously “gone electric” in 1965, the former darling of folk music circles antagonizing folk purists by incorporating the electrified power of rock music.
“The overwhelming majority of tracks and performances on ‘Bob Dylan: The 1966 Live Recordings’ are previously unreleased in any format — official or bootlegged — and are being made available now for the very first time,” the statement read.
The recording of his concert in Manchester, England, on May 17, 1966, was released in 1998 as part of “Bob Dylan Live 1966 — The Bootleg Series Vol. 4,” and a small handful of other tracks have been issued elsewhere.
The set, which is expected to sell for around $150 on Amazon and other outlets, will include new liner notes written by project consultant Clinton Heylin, the author of “Judas!: From Forest Hills to the Free Trade Hall: A Historical View of Dylan’s Big Boo,” examining his 1965 and 1966 world tours.
Each of the 36 CDs will come in a sleeve with artwork taken from color film shot on that tour by D.A. Pennebaker, director of the documentaries “Dont Look Back” and “Eat the Document.”
Separately, Columbia and Legacy also will release the May 26, 1966, recording of Dylan’s performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall under the title “The Real Royal Albert Hall 1966 Concert.” That will correct a long-standing mislabeling of his Manchester performance as “The Royal Albert Hall Concert” for “The Bootleg Series Vol. 4” release.
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