Next Tuesday, October 24, publishing house Callaway will release Mixing Up the Medicine, a 600+-page tome promised to be "the most comprehensive book yet published on the work of Nobel Prize-winning singer-songwriter-poet and cultural icon, Bob Dylan." As entire libraries could be filled with the books written on Dylan, that's no small boast - but this hefty coffee table volume looks like it might live up to the hype. Written and edited by Mark Davidson and Parker Fishel, the book celebrates both Dylan himself and The Bob Dylan Center, the expansive Tulsa, Oklahoma museum that opened to the public in May 2022 which has become ground zero for studies of the artist's life and work. Though the book is massive - filled with over 1,100 images by 135 photographers plus 30 original essays, an introduction by Sean Wilentz, and an epilogue by Douglas Brinkley - its companion CD/LP is a brief Dylan primer.
Mixing Up the Medicine / A Retrospective offers a mere dozen songs, spanning 1964-2000, on single CD and vinyl. Though many indelible Dylan favorites are missing ("Positively 4th Street," "Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35," "It Ain't Me, Babe," "My Back Pages," "Gotta Serve Somebody," among many others), it's tough to argue with this succinct set - a taster for the vast Dylan catalogue. It offers a couple of his early "protest songs" ("The Times They Are A-Changin'," "Blowin' in the Wind"), a sample of the groundbreaking Dylan-goes-electric period ("Like a Rolling Stone," "Subterranean Homesick Blues"), his return to the folk style on "All Along the Watchtower" (later taken to the electric stratosphere by Jimi Hendrix), a taste of Nashville Skyline ("Lay, Lady, Lay"), key '70s highlights ("Forever Young," "Hurricane," "Tangled Up in Blue," and "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"), and one cut each from the '90s (instant standard "[To] Make You Feel My Love") and '00s (the Oscar-winning "Things Have Changed"). There's a lot missing - nothing at all from the 1980s, 2010s, or 2020s made the cut - but this dose of Dylan's Medicine is certainly easy to swallow.
Look for the book next Tuesday and the CD or LP companion disc tomorrow from Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings. You'll find the track listing and pre-order links below!
Bob Dylan, Mixing Up the Medicine / A Retrospective (Columbia/Legacy, 2023)
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- The Times They Are A-Changin'
- Blowin' in the Wind
- Like a Rolling Stone
- Subterranean Homesick Blues
- All Along the Watchtower
- Lay, Lady, Lay
- Forever Young
- Tangled Up in Blue
- Knockin' on Heaven's Door
- Make You Feel My Love
- Things Have Changed
Track 1 from The Times They Are A-Changin' - Columbia CS 8905, 1964
Track 2 from The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan - Columbia CS 8786, 1963
Track 3 from Highway 61 Revisited - Columbia CS 9189, 1965
Track 4 from Bringing It All Back Home - Columbia CS 9128, 1965
Track 5 from John Wesley Harding - Columbia CS 9604, 1967
Track 6 from Nashville Skyline - Columbia KCS 9825, 1969
Track 7 from Planet Waves - Asylum 7E-1003, 1974
Track 8 from Blood on the Tracks - Columbia PC 33235, 1975
Track 9 from Desire - Columbia PC 33893, 1976
Track 10 from Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid (Original Soundtrack Recording) - Columbia KC 32460, 1973
Track 11 from Time Out of Mind - Columbia CK 68556, 1997
Track 12 from Wonder Boys (Music from the Motion Picture) - Columbia CK 63849, 2000