Thursday, October 1, 2009


One of my favourite Dylan periods has got to be the mid-70s. If the Bootleg Series Volume 5 from 2002 had have been issued on vinyl I surely would have worn out the grooves. Volume 5 of the acclaimed bootleg series documents the fall 1975 tour of Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue. The tour has been referred to as a travelling caravan and included such musicians as Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Roger McGuinn, the fabulous Scarlet Rivera, David Bowie's former lead guitarist Mick Ronson, Kinky Friedman and T Bone Burnett.

Before heading out on tour, Dylan had just completed recording his 17th album Desire. Many of the musicians on the album were retained for the Rolling Thunder Revue. Emmylou Harris, who sang on the album, was unfortunately unavailable to tour. While the album wasn't released until January of 1976, much of it's content was played on the tour.

Dylan hired Sam Shepherd to make a movie about the tour, focusing both on and off stage. The resulting Renaldo and Clara, released in 1978, bombed. But the tour was a huge success, at least thefall leg of it. A spring follow-up not so much. Dylan, in the moment as it were, would often paint his face for his performances. Those performances included the Desire LP closer Sara.

Sara has been referred to as Dylan's most public display of his private life. It was written for his then wife in the hopes of saving a faltering marriage. Married in 1965, Bob and Sara Dylan finally divorced in 1977.

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