Since 1991, Bob Dylan and his team have combed the archives for new and interesting rarities from the vault to create The Bootleg Series. Once a tightly curated affair, the series has since expanded to take on a kitchen sink, "warts-and-all" approach. Fans have savored new archival Dylan releases every fall for several years and have been speculating what would arrive this year.
While it appears likely that a new volume won't hit shelves until next year, the Dylan team have chosen to take a look back at the series with a new compilation and the digital debut of several deluxe edition Bootleg Series volumes.
On Friday, Dylan released a 28-track collection of highlights: The Best of The Bootleg Series. This idea was explored previously on Dylan: The Best of The Bootleg Series, a CD given away with a 2018 issue of the magazine Uncut. However, there are songs on that disc that aren't present here and vice-versa. Available only through digital platforms including Spotify, Amazon and Qobuz, the set spans the Bootleg Series with selections from nearly every volume. You can listen to it below.
The collection is effectively a sampler for a larger digital campaign as several Bootleg Series volumes have landed on digital download and streaming platforms for the first time. Up to this point they were only represented by slim "highlights" albums. So whether you haven't had a chance to hear them before or you just want your Dylan rarities "to-go," you'll now find The Cutting Edge, The Basement Tapes: Complete, Another Self Portrait, Trouble No More, or Tell Tale Signs (including the material from the controversial third disc) presented in their "deluxe edition" configurations across digital download and streaming providers.
If that weren't enough, Bob Dylan has relaunched his acclaimed Theme Time Radio Hour show with a brand-new two-hour episode. The first such broadcast since 2009, this episode finds him spinning and discussing songs about whiskey. It premiered on the show's home of SiriusXM but is now available as a podcast to stream or download across digital music services. You can give it a listen below!
So for listeners who don't mind their music byte-sized, there will be plenty of material to enjoy as we wait for whatever may come next from Team Dylan. What do you want to hear on the next Bootleg Series volume? What should the next Theme Time Radio Hour subject be? Sound off in the comments below!
- Up to Me - Take 1
- Blind Willie McTell - Studio Outtake - 1983
- Baby, Let Me Follow You Down - Live at Royal Albert Hall, London, UK - May 26, 1966
- Maggie's Farm - Live at Newport Folk Festival, Newport, RI - July 1965
- The Groom's Still Waiting at the Altar - Live at the Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, CA - November 13, 1980 (listed as 1979)
- Dink's Song
- Pretty Saro - Unreleased from "Self Portrait" Sessions
- Mama, You Been On My Mind - Studio Outtake - 1964
- Mississippi - Outtake from "Time Out Of Mind" Sessions
- Visions of Johanna - Take 5, Rehearsal
- Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues - Take 3, Rehearsal
- Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You - Live at Montreal Forum, Montreal, Quebec - December 1975
- Born In Time - Outtake from 'Oh Mercy' sessions
- You Ain't Goin' Nowhere - Take 1
- All You Have to Do Is Dream - Take 2
- Wanted Man - Take 1
- Tell Me That It Isn't True - Take 2
- Wallflower - Alternate Version, 1971
- Most of the Time - Alternate Version from 'Oh Mercy' sessions
- A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall - Live at Montreal Forum, Montreal, Quebec - December 1975
- Series of Dreams - Outtake from 'Oh Mercy' sessions
- Slow Train - Live at Earls Court, London, UK - June 29, 1981
- I Pity the Poor Immigrant - Take 4
- Moonshiner - Studio Outtake - 1963
- Seven Days - Live at the Curtis Hixon Convention Center, Tampa, FL - April 1976
- Tangled Up in Blue - Take 3, Remake 3
- Guess I'm Doing Fine - Witmark Demo - 1964
- Every Grain of Sand - Demo - 1980
Tracks 1 and 26 released on More Blood, More Tracks - The Bootleg Series Vol. 14 (Deluxe Edition), Columbia/Legacy CD 19075858962, 2018
Tracks 2, 8, 24, 25, and 28 released on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1 - 3 [Rare & Unreleased] 1961-1991, Columbia CD C3K 47382, 1991
Tracks 3 released on The Real Royal Albert Hall 1966 Concert!, Columbia/Legacy CD 88985374342, 2016
Tracks 4 and 6 released on No Direction Home: The Soundtrack (A Martin Scorsese Picture), Columbia/Legacy CD C2K 93937, 2005
Tracks 5 and 22 released on Trouble No More: The Bootleg Series Vol.13 / 1979-1981, Columbia CD 8898545465, 2017
Tracks 7 and 18 released on Another Self Portrait (1969-1971) - The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10, Columbia/Legacy CD 8888334882, 2013
Track 9, 13, 19, and 21 released on Tell Tale Signs (Rare And Unreleased 1989-2006) - The Bootleg Series, Vol. 8, Columbia/Legacy CD 88697357952, 2008
Tracks 10 and 11 released on The Cutting Edge 1965 - 1966: The Bootleg Series Vol.12, Columbia/Legacy CD 88875124412, 2015
Track 12 and 20 released on Live 1975 (The Rolling Thunder Revue) - The Bootleg Series, Vol. 5, Columbia/Legacy CD COL-5101402, 2002
Tracks 14 and 15 released on The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 11, Columbia/Legacy CD88875016122, 2014
Tracks 16, 17 and 23 released on Travelin' Thru: The Bootleg Series Vol. 15 1967-1969, Columbia/Legacy CD 19075981921, 2019
Track 27 released on The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 - The Bootleg Series, Vol. 9, Columbia/Legacy CD 88697761782, 2010