Bob Dylan

Highway 61 Revisited Again

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The bootleg Highway 61 Revisited Again amounts to almost an alternate version of the Highway 61 Revisited album itself. In addition to containing alternate studio versions of every one of the record's nine songs, it also has an outtake cut during the sessions ("Killing Me Alive," also known as "Sitting on a Barbed Wire Fence"); a slow and fast version of a tune only released on a non-LP single, "Can You Please Crawl out Your Window?"; and an alternate version of the 1965 single "Positively 4th Street." This doesn't, it should be noted, include every Highway 61 Revisited outtake; others have surfaced on other bootlegs, and a few have found official release. It is, however, a reasonable selection of the most interesting of the unissued outtakes, with variations that range from major to very small. Certainly "Desolation Row" is a big deviation from the official studio track, as it includes an electric guitar by Charlie McCoy in the arrangement, as well as a slightly different lyric in a passage about spoon-feeding Casanova "boiled guts of birds." The slow version of "Can You Please Crawl out Your Window?" has a tenderness missing from the raunchier, bluesier remake; "Killing Me Alive" has a more honky tonk feel than the more commonly circulating, more guitar-oriented one; and the slightly but noticeably different version of "From a Buick 6" that somehow slipped out on early mispressings of the LP is also included. Other tracks, however, are very close to the official versions, the most audible differences sometimes being longer fadeouts. Yet the abundance of such outtakes, even when the variations are tiny, make one wish that a deluxe official edition of the album could eventually be constructed that would add these outtakes and others to the official track listing.