Bob Dylan

Royal Albert Hall

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Recorded in May 1966 during Dylan's British tour with the Hawks (soon to become the Band), this documents a landmark in the history of Dylan, folk-rock, and rock itself. Although Dylan had been recording electric rock & roll for a year at this point, his appearances with a full band continued to arouse tremendous controversy and even hostility, as much of the folk audience that formed his original constituency viewed him as a sellout. He divided his sets between acoustic and rock formats; this bootleg comes from the electric half, in which he performed eight of his mid-'60s tunes, including "Like a Rolling Stone," "Just like Tom Thumb's Blues," "Ballad of a Thin Man," the unreleased "Tell Me Mama," and radically reworked arrangements of "I Don't Believe You" and "One Too Many Mornings," which had appeared in plaintive acoustic versions on his albums. The songs are delivered with a fierceness and tight ensemble backing that exceeds the energy of his mid-'60s albums, and must have been quite a revelation for the more open-minded members of the audience. Some of the less open-minded customers are heard heckling Dylan on this recording, to which he responds by heckling right back and charging into a stormy version of "Like a Rolling Stone" that holds nothing in reserve. It's been said that this isn't actually from Albert Hall, but wherever the tape dates from (it is certainly from the 1966 British tour), it's way, WAY overdue for official release, though most Dylan fans and many serious rock scholars have a copy already.

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