Bob Dylan

Gaslight Tapes

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This bootleg of Bob Dylan performing at the Gaslight in New York City is well worth seeking out for fans of the artist's folk years, as it proves to be a fascinating sampling of a young genius still finding his own voice in a live setting. Though a few originals are here (including an early live performance of "John Brown"), Dylan sticks mostly to traditionals, as was the norm in the early years of the folk wave. The funny thing is, Dylan plays his covers with such conviction that they actually almost eclipse his originals; while the performances of "Hard Rain" and "Don't Think Twice" seem to imply that Dylan was still unsure of his talents as a songwriter, he sounds strong and fierce in his renditions of "The Coo Coo Bird," "Handsome Molly," and "Motherless Children Have a Hard Time" -- arguably the greatest track on the whole collection. The quality of the sound is surprisingly very good, especially considering it was taken directly from an early-'60s soundboard. Fans and scholars take note -- this is inarguably one of the most historically important Dylan bootlegs out there, and it is definitely worth taking the time to find.

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