Bob Dylan

Acetates on the Tracks, Vol. 4 (1984-94)

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The fourth entry in the bootleg series Acetates on the Tracks squanders whatever promise and goodwill that previous volumes engendered. While the title guarantees acetate outtakes from landmark Bob Dylan recording sessions, the majority of material here originates from random live shows spanning from 1986 to 1992, with only a cache of leftovers from 1989's Daniel Lanois-produced Oh Mercy LP to satisfy the disc's stated purpose. There's nothing inherently wrong with the live material, which comprises both soundboard and audience recordings of superlative quality. A pair of Van Morrison duets from a 1989 Athens gig ("Crazy Love" and "And It Stoned Me") are particularly delightful. But when all of the music in question is readily available on myriad rival bootlegs, usually in the context of the complete live performance, what's the point of this hodgepodge? Likewise, listeners seeking the Oh Mercy material will be far better served by any number of full-length compilations, among them The Deeds of Mercy and Ring Them Bells.