By Stephen Pate – In case you were wondering what Sony/Columbia would dig up the year from their vaults of old Dylan recordings, the news is out. A new box set has the complete 1966 World Tour on 36 CD’s coming November 11th, 2016 – Bob Dylan The Live Recordings 1966.

One of the interesting factoids about the 1966 World Tour was that Dylan started the tour in February 1966 at the same time as he was recording the Nashville sessions for Blonde on Blonde, the first double album of rock and roll music and one of his greatest.

Another factoid concerns the rude slow clapping that British fans carried on to disrupt the UK shows. Most commentators blame that on Dylan’s conversion to rock music but there are alternative reports. British communists and hard-line folkies led by Ewan MacColl were behind it. Dylan’s early support and sympathies were strongly in the Communist camp including his famous girl friend Susie who was an active socialist if not communist.

Two months after the tour, Dylan had his famous motorcycle accident in Woodstock and left the stage for years. When he re-emerged he had morphed again into a country roots singer.

Sony is promoting that most of the material has never been released which is true but representative concerts have been out for years.

The most famous official release is Live 1966 “The Royal Albert Hall Concert” The Bootleg Series Vol. 4.   Sony is re-releasing that album making a big deal about corrections as  The Real Royal Albert Hall 1966 Concert.

While it might seem boring to hear every night of a complete tour, some of the concerts were exceptional and different like the Melbourne Australia performance. Dylan was stoned and performed unique versions of songs like Visions of Johanna. Dylan was reported to be on drugs for most of the tour.

The best news is that Sony is pricing the box set at $150 US not the price-gouging $600 of last year’s studio box set. Amazon have the pre-order at 149.98 and price protect if the price drops before shipping. In the UK the price is £104.86.

The downside is that most people will get bored long before they hear all 36 CD’s. Twice in the past I followed Dylan for three concerts in a row. The 3rd concert was less than thrilling.

Bob Dylan The 1966 Live Recordings Box set

Bob Dylan The 1966 Live Recordings Box set

Clinton Heylin wrote the liner notes booklet. He has gone from acerbic Dylan critic to fawning fan-boy so I expect his notes to be gushing but detailed. There is an excellent write up on the 1966 tour on Wikipedia.

Whether the box set is worth buying is up to you. Fifty years later it gets harder and harder to keep up the excitement for old recording of Dylan. Repetitive CD’s like this tend to get a single listen then put on the shelf unless you’re writing the next great Dylan discography.

Box Set CD Contents – Bob Dylan: The 1966 Live Recordings

Disc 1 – Sydney, April 13, 1966 (Soundboard recorded by TCN 9 TV Australia)
Disc 2 – Sydney, April 13, 1966 (Soundboard recorded by TCN 9 TV Australia)
Disc 3 – Melbourne, April 20, 1966 (Soundboard / unknown broadcast)
Disc 4 – Copenhagen, May 1, 1966 (Soundboard)
Disc 5 – Dublin, May 5, 1966 (Soundboard)
Disc 6 – Dublin, May 5, 1966 (Soundboard)
Disc 7 – Belfast, May 6, 1966 (Soundboard)
Disc 8 – Belfast, May 6, 1966 (Soundboard)
Disc 9 – Bristol, May 10, 1966 (Soundboard / audience)
Disc 10 – Bristol, May 10, 1966 (Soundboard)
Disc 11 – Cardiff, May 11, 1966 (Soundboard)
Disc 12 – Birmingham, May 12, 1966 (Soundboard)
Disc 13 – Birmingham, May 12, 1966 (Soundboard)
Disc 14 – Liverpool, May 14, 1966 (Soundboard)
Disc 15 – Leicester, May 15, 1966 (Soundboard)
Disc 16 – Leicester, May 15, 1966 (Soundboard)
Disc 17 – Sheffield, May 16, 1966 (CBS Records recording)
Disc 18 – Sheffield, May 16, 1966 (Soundboard)
Disc 19 – Manchester, May 17, 1966 (CBS Records recording)
Disc 20 – Manchester, May 17, 1966 (CBS Records recording except Soundcheck / Soundboard)
Disc 21 – Glasgow, May 19, 1966 (Soundboard)
Disc 22 – Edinburgh, May 20, 1966 (Soundboard)
Disc 23 – Edinburgh, May 20, 1966 (Soundboard)
Disc 24 – Newcastle, May 21, 1966 (Soundboard)
Disc 25 – Newcastle, May 21, 1966 (Soundboard)
Disc 26 – Paris, May 24, 1966 (Soundboard)
Disc 27 – Paris, May 24, 1966 (Soundboard)
Disc 28 – London, May 26, 1966 (CBS Records recording)
Disc 29 – London, May 26, 1966 (CBS Records recording)
Disc 30 – London, May 27, 1966 (CBS Records recording)
Disc 31 – London, May 27, 1966 (CBS Records recordings)
Disc 32 – White Plains, NY, February 5, 1966 (Audience tape)
Disc 33 – Pittsburgh, PA, February 6, 1966 (Audience tape)
Disc 34 – Hempstead, NY, February 26, 1966 (Audience tape)
Disc 35 – Melbourne, April 19, 1966 (Audience tape)
Disc 36 – Stockholm, April 29, 1966 (Audience tape)

The press release “Bob Dylan: The 1966 Live Recordings” to be Released in November
Columbia/Legacy Set to Release Bob Dylan: The 1966 Live Recordings, A Monumental Box Set featuring Every Known Recording from the Artist’s Mythic and Controversial 1966 Tour of the US, UK, Europe and Australia

Highly Collectible 36 CD Box Set Includes Previously Unreleased Soundboards, CBS Records Mobile Recordings and Audience Tapes Capturing Electrifying Performances and Combative Crowd Responses

Many of the Recordings on this Collection Have Never Been Circulated in Any Form.

“While doing the archival research for The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12, last year’s box set of Dylan’s mid-60s studio sessions, we were continually struck by how great his 1966 live recordings really are,” said Adam Block, President, Legacy Recordings. “The intensity of Bob’s live performances and his fantastic delivery of these songs in concert add another insightful component in understanding and appreciating the musical revolution Bob Dylan ignited some 50 years ago.”

Meticulously researched, curated and restored for this extraordinary collection, Bob Dylan: The 1966 Live Recordings is drawn from three main audio sources: soundboards, CBS Records mobile recordings and audience tapes. With the exception of the Manchester concert (May 17, 1966) released as Bob Dylan Live 1966 – The Bootleg Series Vol. 4 (Columbia/Legacy) in 1998, a pair of songs appearing on the 1985 Biograph compilation and a smattering of others, the overwhelming majority of tracks and performances on Bob Dylan: The 1966 Live Recordings are previously unreleased in any format–official or bootlegged–and are being made available now for the very first time.

All the songs on The 1966 Live Recordings were written by Bob Dylan (vocal, guitar, piano, harmonica) with the sole exception of “Baby, Let Me Follow You Down,” a traditional song arranged by Bob Dylan for concert performance. Dylan is accompanied on these recordings by Robbie Robertson (guitar), Rick Danko (bass, backing vocals), Richard Manuel (piano), Garth Hudson (organ) and Mickey Jones (drums). (Sandy Konikoff plays drums on the White Plains and Pittsburgh shows only.)

Liner notes for Bob Dylan: The 1966 Live Recordings have been provided by Clinton Heylin, a consultant on the project and author of JUDAS!: From Forest Hills to the Free Trade Hall: A Historical View of Dylan’s Big Boo, the definitive written account of Dylan’s historic and pivotal 1965-66 world tours.