How does it feel ... to own 20 versions of Dylan's 'Rolling Stone'?

Tue Oct 6, 2015 4:25am EDT
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By Andrew Heavens

LONDON (Reuters) - "I need a dump truck mama to unload my head," Bob Dylan sang on his raucous 1965 B-side "From A Buick 6".

And here's that brain dump, every note Dylan recorded in one 14-month burst of creativity. It comes in an 18-CD "Ultra-Deluxe" box set - "Bob Dylan: The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12", out in November, yours for $599.99.

The price and scale of the release, drawn from such a short period, has jolted fans and left many wondering how much further record companies are prepared to go to mine back catalogs for physical product in this era of mass piracy and streaming.

"Is Bob Dylan's latest album the craziest box set ever?" the BBC asked on its arts website.

There are cheaper 2-CD and 6-CD sets for devotees who still have some sort of grip on reality. But owners of the full version will get 20 (yes, 20) versions of "Like A Rolling Stone", and 359 takes of other songs, including studio rejects, rehearsals, false starts and "breakdowns".

The set starts with the first sketches of Dylan's classic "Bringing It All Back Home" album on Jan. 13, 1965, speeds through "Highway 61 Revisited", and ends in a Denver hotel room, with the poet-performer playing the last track of his visionary double LP "Blonde on Blonde" on March 12, 1966.

Gold dust for true obsessives, you would have thought. But the cost is testing some of his most ardent admirers.

"It’s just too rich for my blood. The seven plus hours and 110 tracks on the 6-CD set will suffice!", Derek Barker, the editor of Britain-based Dylan journal ISIS, told Reuters.   Continued...

A Sotheby's employee shows the handwritten lyrics for Bob Dylan's 'Like a Rolling Stone' song that is part part of a collection from; 'A Rock and Roll History: Presley to Punk' at Sotheby's auction house in New York, June 20, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid