The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 (The Bootleg Series Vol. 9) by Bob Dylan
Readers review this week's big album
Thursday 28 October 2010
"Bob Dylan can be compared to Marmite – you either love him or hate him, there's no in between. He is an icon: he influences many past, present and future artists. "
"Most artists' early demos are utterly throwaway – Dylan's are treasured gems! It's great to hear the early classics in embryonic form, but even better to hear songs I never knew existed."
"While they are good and insightful of the period of recording, I just think, 'How many Bob Dylan CDs do you need?'"
"Two and a half hours of bliss for any Bob Dylan fan."
"One of my favourite Bob Dylan records was The Basement Tapes. I love that you can hear the recording process and Bob laughing and joking with Robbie Robertson. The Witmark Demos reminds me of that. A must-have for Dylan fans everywhere."
"He coughs, even admits he's bored with a song. It doesn't take away from the beauty of the new material and the way this Bootleg series is packaged, with rare photographs of Dylan."
"While some people think this is a bit of a pointless release, as far as I'm concerned you can never have too much Bob Dylan and any new contributions are always welcomed. It's fascinating to listen to him as a young man again and these early recordings of his are like hearing from an old friend from the past."
"An essential part of anybody's music collection, this largely unpublished material lays down a number of Dylan's most famous and important songs. You hear him speak sometimes, saying the songs aren't worth recording, and a few tracks have muffled sound, which adds to the experience."
"Littered with alternate takes, forgotten lyrics and unheard songs, The Witmark Demos are a fascinating collection of musical sketches from the youthful Dylan's then unexploited notepad. You can hear musical history being made (particularly on the piano-based demo of "Mr Tambourine Man") and explore dozens of discarded tracks that lesser artists would have built albums around."
"This collection of demos is unlikely to draw many bad reviews but if we are to judge the songs simply on merit, one does not have wonder for too long why they have stayed 'lost' for so long."
"Although The Witmark Demos includes a couple songs we have heard a million times before, I still found this collection brilliant. There is little dispute that Dylan is one of the great singer-songwriters, so to get an insight of this kind is a real treat. Some of the songs are a bit rough round the edges but that only adds to the intimacy of the recordings."
"The latest compilation has over two hours of recordings yet all the tracks are worth listening to. The songs do not feel churned out, despite the fact that they were bulk-produced as a means to convince other artists to record the tracks themselves. The raw nature of the recordings gives an insight into the mind of Dylan at work."
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