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Comrades From The North

As we pen this missive Columbia/Sony have finally released Dylan's Bootleg Series Volume 6, the October 31 concert of 1964. Of course this show has circulated in great quality for many years but never with the complete version of Silver Dagger which is present here. Let's give credit where it is due - Columbia really are making a pretty good job of these concert re-issues. It is easy to pick fault (the reverb on the Live '66 release, missing the opening song on the Live '75 release) but that would be churlish.

The 1964 concert presents an artist at the instant before he makes the quantum leap into a quite different musical world. The new songs point the way - the audience are held spellbound as his creativity and sheer lyrical audacity manifest themselves in the likes of Gates of Eden, Mr. Tambourine Man and It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding). No other writer could come close and Dylan is the most confident of performers in this most good-natured of shows. A full review is featured elsewhere in this issue of The Bridge. There is some irony in these releases, of course. Given that Dylan is continuing with his hectic, so-called Never-Ending Tour which is now in its 17th year one might have expected a lot more officially released live product from this activity. The major source of live tracks has been through the field recordings on the official web-site. There have been plenty of those and it is nice to report that they have started to appear again after quite a gap. There has been the odd release such as Unplugged but nothing representative of a given phase of a tour. Perhaps the world no longer needs a 'modern' Bob Dylan live album but there is no doubt that fans would welcome a sensitively compiled CD from one of these tours. Better yet a boxed set presenting various facets of the NET.

The latest round of shows are somewhat mixed. The band is great, naturally. They sparkle with musicianship even though some fans believe that the jury is out regarding Freddy. But the early shows felt lack-lustre and Dylan's voice was a little strained. There are plenty more shows to come so it's likely that these things will settle down as the shows roll onwards.

It is with much regret but also realism that we must report that the subscription for The Bridge is set to increase. This will be the first increase since the inception of our little journal and we have had to face the inevitable due to increases in postal charges. We do hope that you will understand the position and stick with us into the next subscription year which starts now! Renewal slips are enclosed with this issue. Hope that you make it to a show or three.

And to each of you, may you climb on every rung ..........

Mike and John

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