Bob Dylan

The Circus Is in Town

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On June 1, 1965, mere weeks prior to his epochal electric performance at the Newport Folk Festival, Bob Dylan entered the BBC's London studio to cut a dozen songs that the network aired in two halves later that month. As a portrait of Dylan at the midpoint of what was arguably the most pivotal year of his career, these BBC tapes retain immense historical value. Even at the bitter end of his folkie phase, he delivers solo renditions of "Mr. Tambourine Man," "Boots of Spanish Leather," and "It Ain't Me, Babe" with the passion and energy they demand, building to a climactic reading of "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" that foreshadows everything to follow. Although master soundboard tapes are rumored to exist, The Circus Is in Town originates from home recordings made directly from the original BBC broadcast, and its excessive tape hiss and thin sound make for sometimes frustrating listening. Listeners seeking this material are recommended to instead acquire MainStream's At the Beeb, which employs cutting-edge remastering and noise-reduction tools to make a quantum leap forward in fidelity.