The Best of the Original Mono Recordings is a single-disc distillation of 2010’s nine-disc box The Original Mono Recordings, picking 14 tracks from the eight albums on the box and adding the non-LP single “Positively 4th Street.” The inclusion of this 1965 Top Ten hit makes this disc enticing to collectors, although it does suggest that the box would benefit from a brief bonus disc of singles containing that song, “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window,” “If You Gotta Go, Go Now,” and “Mixed-Up Confusion.” But this disc is intended to be nothing more than a sampler hinting at the treasures within the big box. And as a sampler, this works very well, rounding up the Dylan songs everybody knows -- “Blowin’ in the Wind," “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” “Chimes of Freedom,” “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35,” “I Want You,” “All Along the Watchtower” -- which helps illustrate the subtle differences between stereo and mono and, in the process, will help the curious decide if they want to jump into the big set. And if they don’t, they will at least have a terrifically entertaining little collection in their possession.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine