The Second Disc

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German Is The Loving Tongue: “Pure Dylan” Import Anthology Offers New-to-CD Tracks

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Though Bob Dylan has disowned the phrase, his Never-Ending Tour is as strong as ever.  Dylan and his band are currently canvassing Europe, with eight of those gigs taking place in Germany.  The German stand began on October 23 and concludes next week, on November 7.  A total of over 100,000 German spectators will have attended Dylan’s concerts, performed with special guest (and past Dylan collaborator) Mark Knopfler.  In conjunction with the German leg of the tour, Sony Music Germany has released a new compilation that’s sure to raise the eyebrows of Dylan collectors around the world.

Pure: An Intimate Look at Bob Dylan offers a 17-track, 78-minute selection of career highlights, but these aren’t of the “greatest hits” variety.  You won’t find “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” “Tangled Up in Blue” or “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” here.  The mission was to collect rarely heard songs not available on the other “best-of” compilations, and to that end, the compilers have succeeded.  “Trouble in Mind,” with Knopfler on guitar, first appeared as the B-side of 1979’s “Gotta Serve Somebody” single, and makes its first authorized appearance on CD.  The solo piano version of “Spanish is the Loving Tongue” initially graced the flipside of 1971’s “Watching the River Flow” and is also scarcely available on disc.

Hit the jump for more, including the complete track listing with discographical annotation!

Pure, housed in a digipak, indeed offers a cross-section of songs largely unknown to all but the faithful.  Only two albums have more than one track represented.  Though 1974’s Blood on the Tracks is an expected choice (with “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” and “If You See Her, Say Hello”), 1989’s Oh Mercy is certainly more of a surprise.  “Most of the Time” and “Shooting Star” have been culled from that album.  The earliest track is a live version of “Moonshiner” taken from Dylan’s stand at New York City’s Gaslight, recorded in 1962 but commercially unreleased until 2005 on a Starbucks exclusive CD.  The most recent cut is “This Dream of You” from Dylan’s last non-holiday studio album, 2009’s Together Through Life.   It’s actually the only song on Together composed by Dylan alone, as he co-wrote the remaining tracks with Robert Hunter, best known for his work with The Grateful Dead.

Pure is available now in Germany, and through Amazon U.S. as an import only.  Die-hard aficionados might also be interested in a new U.K. compilation entitled Beyond Here Lies Nothin’: The Collection.  This 33-track set, 2-CD set comes from the budget division of Sony U.K., and offers the familiar hits missing from Pure, but no new-to-CD tracks.   It, too, is available now.

Bob Dylan, Pure: An Intimate Look at Bob Dylan (Columbia/Sony Germany, 2011)

  1. Trouble in Mind
  2. Girl From The North Country
  3. Most Of The Time
  4. She Belongs To Me
  5. Billy 1
  6. Shooting Star
  7. Sugar Baby
  8. You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go
  9. Tomorrow Night
  10. Every Grain Of Sand
  11. Percy’s Song
  12. Born In Time
  13. Boots Of Spanish Leather
  14. This Dream Of You
  15. Spanish Is The Loving Tongue (B-side of “Watching the River Flow”, 1971)
  16. If You See Her, Say Hello
  17. Moonshiner (Live Version)

Track 1 previously unreleased on CD, from Columbia single 1-11072-B, 1979
Track 2 from Nashville Skyline, Columbia CS 9825, 1969
Tracks 3 & 6 from Oh Mercy, Columbia CK 45281, 1989
Track 4 from Bringing It All Back Home, Columbia CS 9128, 1965
Track 5 from Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Columbia KC 32460, 1973
Track 7 from Love and Theft, Columbia CK 85975, 2001
Tracks 8 & 16 from Blood on the Tracks, Columbia PC 33235, 1974
Track 9 from Good As I Been To You, Columbia CK 53200, 1992
Track 10 from Shot of Love, Columbia PC 37496, 1981
Track 11 recorded 1963, released on Biograph, Columbia C5X 38830, 1985
Track 12 from Under the Red Sky, Columbia CK 46794, 1990
Track 13 from The Times They Are A-Changin’, Columbia CS 8905, 1964
Track 14 from Together Through Life, Columbia 88697 43893 1, 2009
Track 15 previously unreleased on CD, from Columbia single 4-45409-B, 1971
Track 17 from Live at the Gaslight, Columbia CD A-96016, 2005

Written by Joe Marchese

November 3, 2011 at 12:48

8 Responses

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  1. What about “Band Of The Hand”??? Love that song, never on CD, I’m pretty sure…

    Randy Anthony

    November 3, 2011 at 13:48

  2. I got this disc yesterday, and it is awesome. Although it contains two songs found on the “Biograph” box, with its non-chronologicial tracklisting, this set serves as something of a “Biograph (Disc 4).”

    It’s also worth mentioning that this is yet more evidence that Sony has remastered the entire Dylan catalog–despite the fact that “Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid” is still only available on one of those antiquated CBS “red-letter” discs that has been floating around music stores for the past couple of decades, “Billy 1” sounds radically improved in this collection.

    Oh, and the version of “Spanish Is The Loving Tongue” appearing here did show up on a 3-disc Dylan comp from Australia called “Masterpieces.”


    November 3, 2011 at 16:20

  3. I wish they had taken this concept a bit further and really focused on Dylan’s “one-offs” that either were only on vinyl or on various compilation CDs/soundtrack CDs. There are many many more than appear here. The unofficial bootleg series of CDs called “Hard To Find” does a decent job. With 15 out of 17 tracks on this disc being very common, I do not applaud this issue.

    The “Masterpieces” 2CD (or 3LP) set may exist in a greater number of pressings than this title. It’s nice to see another release of “Spanish…”, but this new issue will end up doing little to increase recognition of this masterpiece performance.


    November 4, 2011 at 09:03

    • The problem with Dylan is that one could compile a disc (or two or three) of one-offs, a disc of vinyl-only odds and sods (“Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground,” “If You Gotta Go, Go Now”) and a disc of iTunes download-only exclusives (the “Went To See The Gypsy” demo, the “Lay Lady Lay” alternate take). No matter what Sony releases, they’re always going to be doing so at the expense of not releasing something else.

      You’re right; other than “Spanish…” and “Trouble…”, there’s nothing on here that’s particularly rare. But do yourself a favor: Take the tracklisting for this disc, and dial up these songs on iTunes in the order presented. It’s a pretty amazing listen–a cohesive album in its own right, recorded over a span of nearly fifty years..


      November 4, 2011 at 09:30

      • The bootleg CD series called Hard To Find is, as I recall, 7 CDs, although it started including some concert recordings. There is also a 5 CD box called “Alias” which features his many guest appearances (sometimes under pseudonyms, thus the title…my favorite is Roosevelt Gook)

        Although I rarely listen to Dylan in any shuffle or random mode, my daughter forced me to one day, and it was very good.

        iTunes and good listening experiences do not mix in my world


        November 4, 2011 at 09:47

  4. Have we reached a point where there are more “Best of” and “Greatest of” and “Collection of” CDs for Bob Dylan than there have been original works of Bob Dylan? I know that the industry has done this to many other artists (take a look at Amazon). I know that artists generally do not control this industrial practice, but it gets to be too much.


    November 4, 2011 at 09:11

  5. I once had a 17-disc bootleg set called “Official Rarities” that collected pretty much every officially released one-off. b-side, and guest appearance that Dylan ever did…but then I went ahead and tracked down official copies of pretty much everything on the set. (One notable exception: the four tracks that Bob recorded with Victoria Spivey back in the early 1960’s are still vinyl-only. This website has been around for years, but has not yet taken any orders for any of the titles.) There is also a 10-disc set comprised of all of the live tracks that were once offered as streaming audio on Dylan’s official website.

    (P.S.–I mentioned iTunes figuratively. I use it mostly to burn CD-R’s from music on CD’s already in my collection.)


    November 4, 2011 at 17:53

  6. The fine art of compiling … PURE DYLAN is a mind-blowing beauty! Compliments go to HP, German expert extraordinaire!

    Richie Cory

    November 5, 2011 at 05:41

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