Rolling Stone - 4/4/914.5 Stars (out of 5)
- "...documents...the paths not taken....listeners can get a distinct feel from this set for the kinds of a decisions that make a song or shape a career....testament to an individual's struggle to bring meaning to experience, to an artist searching for a personal voice that can take the measure of an emotion and a time, to that voice rising to say what it needs to say..."
Uncut - 01/03, p.1365 stars out of 5
- "...Dazzling....A perfectly judged, and desperately needed, reminder of Dylan's roots..."
Musician - 4/91
"...the power of Dylan's creations is almost overshadowed by the fierceness of his creativity. The sheer volume of good stuff is staggering..."
THE BOOTLEG SERIES, VOLUMES 1-3 consists mostly of previously unreleased studio outtakes. It also include demos and alternate versions of released material, and a handful of live tracks.
Personnel includes: Bob Dylan (vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano); Kenny Rakin, Charles Brown, III, Steven Soles, Bobby Neuwirth, Danny Kortchmar, Steve Ripley (guitar); Ben Keith (pedal steel guitar); David Mansfield (mandolin); Scarlet Rivera (violin); Paul Griffen (piano, keyboards); Alan Clark (organ, keyboards); Ben Tench (organ); Barry Beckett, Roy Bittan (keyboards); Joseph Macho, Jr., Harvey Brooks, Russell Bridges, Tony Brown, Rob Stoner, Tim Drummond (bass); Bobby Gregg, Russ Kunkel, Howie Wyeth, Jim Keltner (drums); Gary Burke (congas); Clydie King, Regina Havis, Carolyn Dennis (background vocals); Mark Knopfler, Eric Weissberg, Pick Withers, Jennifer Warnes, Mick Taylor, Robbie Shakespeare, Sly Dunbar, Full Force, Little Steven, Daniel Lanois, Mason Ruffner, Cyril Neville.
Producers include: John Hammond, Tom Wilson, Bob Johnson, Don DeVito, Jerry Wexler.
Compilation producer: Jeff Rosen.
Recorded between 1961 and 1989. Includes a 68-page booklet with song-by-song notes by John Bauldie.
Adapter: Bob Dylan.
Personnel: Bob Dylan (vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano); Richard Manuel (vocals, piano); Levon Helm (vocals, drums); Rick Danko (vocals); Daniel Lanois (guitar, 12-string guitar, percussion); Al Gorgoni, Danny Kortchmar, Eric Weissberg, Al Gorgone, Barry Kornfeld, Kenny Rankin, Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul, Mark Knopfler, Mason Ruffner, Mick Ronson, Mick Taylor , Michael Bloomfield, Rick DiFonzo, Robbie Robertson, Steve Ripley, Steven Soles, T-Bone Burnett, George Harrison, Fred Tackett, Bob Neuwirth, Charlie Brown (guitar); Erik Frandsen (slide guitar, steel guitar); David Mansfield (mandolin); Scarlet Rivera (violin); Sugar Blue (harmonica); Paul Griffin (piano, keyboards, drums); Alan Clark (organ, keyboards); Garth Hudson, Al Kooper, Benmont Tench (organ); Tom McFaul, Paul Griffen, Peter Wood, Roy Bittan, Barry Beckett (keyboards); Pick Withers, Roddy Colonna, Jim Keltner, Kenny Buttrey, Russ Kunkel, Sly Dunbar, Richard Crooks , Sanford Konikoff, Bobby Gregg, Howie Wyeth (drums); Gary Burke (congas); Cyril Neville (talking drum); Clydie King, Emmylou Harris, Full Force, Regina Havis, Carolyn Dennis, Jennifer Warnes (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Jim Ball; Josh Abbey; Mark Wilder; Tim Geelan.
Audio Remixers: Bill Whitman; Rick Chertoff.
Liner Note Author: John Bauldie.
Recording information: Carnegie Hall, New York, NY (11/20/1961-02/23/1989); CBS Studios, Nashville, TN (11/20/1961-02/23/1989); Gaslight Cafe, Greenwich Village, New York, NY (11/20/1961-02/23/1989); Minnesota Hotel, Minneapolis, MN (11/20/1961-02/23/1989); Muscle Schoals Studio, Sheffield, AL (11/20/1961-02/23/1989); Tampa, FL (11/20/1961-02/23/1989); Town Hall, New York, NY (11/20/1961-02/23/1989); Witmark Studios, New York, NY (11/20/1961-02/23/1989).
Photographers: Len Siegler; Don Hunstein; Morgan Renard; Joe Alper; Howard Alk; Dick Cooper; John Cohen.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Dave Van Ronk; Pete Seeger .
Arranger: Bob Dylan.
Dylan proved to be not only one of the most bootlegged of 20th Century performers, but also one of the first (GREAT WHITE WONDER was one of the releases that turned bootlegging from a pastime into an industry). Over the years, Dylan's legions of fans rabidly traded recordings of live shows, out-takes, demos and other rare material. THE BOOTLEG SERIES attempts to supply the definitive collection of what had been bootlegged material. Its three discs move along chronologically, spanning the length of Dylan's career and providing candid, previously verboten glimpses into his creative process, and consequently, his musical genius.
The first disc features some intriguing versions of traditional tunes like "He Was a Friend Of Mine" and "House Carpenter," and some obscure cuts from his "protest" period, such as "Paths of Victory" and "Who Killed Davy Moore?" Disc two finds him in his prime, moving from alternative versions of HIGHWAY 61 material to radically recast tunes from the sublime BLOOD ON THE TRACKS. The gems on the third disc are the eerie ballad "Blind Willie McTell," inexplicably cut from the INFIDELS sessions, and the newest song on this collection, "Series of Dreams," a swirling, surreal look back at a lifetime on the edge. THE BOOTLEG SERIES is a must for any serious Dylan fan.