Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bob Dylan The Original Mono Recordings

This box collects Bob Dylan’s first eight 12-inch LPs, his albums from Bob Dylan in 1962 to John Wesley Harding in 1968, as most people heard them, as they were expected to be heard, and as most often they were meant to be heard: in mono. --- Greil Marcus, taken from the liner notes of Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings

Get The Original Mono Recordings at

Bob Dylan’s first 8 studio albums in mono for the first time ever on CD:
Bob Dylan
The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
The Time They Are A-Changin'
Another Side Of Bob Dylan
Bringing It All Back Home
Highway 61 Revisited
Blonde On Blonde
John Wesley Harding

-Each CD housed in heavy, wrapped LP-replica jackets with reproductions of original inner sleeves and inserts
-60 pages
-Rigid slipcase to hold the 8 jackets and book

The mono recordings: If you're a Dylan fan, these mono recordings are essential, absolutely. Dylan's early "solo" albums always sounded pretty awkward in stereo, the only available format when i was "coming up" ten years removed from the 1960's Dylan. Not until i started finding mono records in used bins did i really begin to appreciate early Dylan. Jazz and rock mono recordings from the 50s and the 60s have a wholly different sound and present a wholly different aural vision, so to speak, than stereo. The best examples i can think of to illustrate this point are mono editions of Coleman's "Shape of Jazz To Come" in which, without stereo separation, you can really get a sense of the sonic sculptures Coleman was creating with his music, or Cream's "Disraeli Gears", Jefferson Airplane's "Surrealistic Pillow", "Paperback Writer", and the Stones' early singles and the mono edition of "Let It Bleed", in each of which the music is, compared to their stereo counterparts, much more forcefully propelled from the speakers because of the monolithic assault perpetrated by the unseparated sound: cutting guitars, booming basses, thundering drums all competing against each other to be heard, and the listener often gets an image of almost violent pushing and shoving to be heard bordering on chaos, but--in the hands of capable engineers--so properly balanced that something greater than the sum of its parts erupts and cascades from the speakers. And if that ain't rock and roll, what the hell is?!? Same goes for Dylan's "rock" albums. Most simply stated, as Greil Marcus points out in the booklet accompanying the discs, they were recorded to be heard in mono.

Sound quality: Wonderful! The remastering of the discs never disappoints; Dylan's recordings were generally well produced and mastered in the first place. The early "solo" recordings can only be properly heard in mono. Dylan's rock albums have much more force in mono than in stereo. Pay attention to "Desolation Row" and hear the depth, the warmth, and the clarity of guitars, bass, and Dylan's voice. You can hear the wood of the guitar in the resonance of the lead runs! And the force of the music is perhaps unique to mono--stereo separation allows too much space, and encourages the sounds of the instruments to spread out and relax. Not that that's a bad quality by any means, just one the absence of which demands the music to shape itself otherwise, and on these discs that shape is the sound of a freight train. The beauty and subtlety of the songs on "John Wesley Harding" absolutely need monophonic reproduction to have the quality of "plot unity" so essential to great literature and--in this instance--great music. There is a handful of albums i cannot listen to in stereo since discovering the mono versions: "John Wesley Harding" is one of them. ("Shape of Jazz", "Revolver", "Sgt. Pepper", "Beggar's Banquet" are some others, to give an example of the esteem i think "John Wesley Harding" deserves!)

The sleeves: So many people are commenting on the various permutations of sleeves; here's what's in my box set: "Bob Dylan" has repro Columbia ad sleeve, "Freewheelin'" has repro generic Columbia sleeve, "The Times" has white sleeve and insert with "poetry", "Hwy 61" has white sleeve and insert with sketch of Dylan, all other discs have white sleeves and no inserts. The quality of the reproduction of the jackets is absolutely superlative!

Yup, this box set is worth every penny. Dylan must be pleased to know that HIS box set beats the hell out of Lennon's! Now what we need is a Rolling Stones mono box set.
Get The Original Mono Recordings at
Disc: 1
1. You're No Good (2010 mono version)
2. Talkin' New York (2010 mono version)
3. In My Time Of Dyin' (2010 mono version)
4. Man Of Constant Sorrow (2010 mono version)
5. Fixin' To Die (2010 mono version)
6. Pretty Peggy-O (2010 mono version)
7. Highway 51 (2010 mono version)
8. Gospel Plow (2010 mono version)
9. Baby, Let Me Follow You Down (2010 mono version)
10. House Of The Risin' Sun (2010 mono version)
11. Freight Train Blues (2010 mono version)
12. Song To Woody (2010 mono version)
13. See That My Grave Is Kept Clean (2010 mono version)
Disc: 2
1. Blowin' In The Wind (2010 mono version)
2. Girl From The North Country (2010 mono version)
3. Masters Of War (2010 mono version)
4. Down The Highway (2010 mono version)
5. Bob Dylan's Blues (2010 mono version)
6. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (2010 mono version)
7. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (2010 mono version)
8. Bob Dylan's Dream (2010 mono version)
9. Oxford Town (2010 mono version)
10. Talkin' World War III Blues (2010 mono version)
11. Corrina, Corrina (2010 mono version)
12. Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance (2010 mono version)
13. I Shall Be Free (2010 mono version)
Disc: 3
1. The Times They Are A-Changin' (2010 mono version)
2. Ballad Of Hollis Brown (2010 mono version)
3. With God On Our Side (2010 mono version)
4. One Too Many Mornings (2010 mono version)
5. North Country Blues (2010 mono version)
6. Only A Pawn In Their Game (2010 mono version)
7. Boots Of Spanish Leather (2010 mono version)
8. When The Ship Comes In (2010 mono version)
9. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll (2010 mono version)
10. Restless Farewell (2010 mono version)
Disc: 4
1. All I Really Want To Do (2010 mono version)
2. Black Crow Blues (2010 mono version)
3. Spanish Harlem Incident (2010 mono version)
4. Chimes Of Freedom (2010 mono version)
5. I Shall Be Free No. 10 (2010 mono version)
6. To Ramona (2010 mono version)
7. Motorpsycho Nitemare (2010 mono version)
8. My Back Pages (2010 mono version)
9. I Don't Believe You (2010 mono version)
10. Ballad In Plain D (2010 mono version)
11. It Ain't Me Babe (2010 mono version)
Disc: 5
1. Subterranean Homesick Blues (2010 mono version)
2. She Belongs To Me (2010 mono version)
3. Maggie's Farm (2010 mono version)
4. Love Minus Zero/No Limit (2010 mono version)
5. Outlaw Blues (2010 mono version)
6. On The Road Again (2010 mono version)
7. Bob Dylan's 115th Dream (2010 mono version)
8. Mr. Tambourine Man (2010 mono version)
9. Gates Of Eden (2010 mono version)
10. It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (2010 mono version)
11. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (2010 mono version)
Disc: 6
1. Like A Rolling Stone (2010 mono version)
2. Tombstone Blues (2010 mono version)
3. It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry (2010 mono version)
4. From A Buick 6 (2010 mono version)
5. Ballad Of A Thin Man (2010 mono version)
6. Queen Jane Approximately (2010 mono version)
7. Highway '61 Revisited (2010 mono version)
8. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues (2010 mono version)
9. Desolation Row (2010 mono version)
Disc: 7
1. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (2010 mono version)
2. Pledging My Time (2010 mono version)
3. Visions Of Johanna (2010 mono version)
4. One Of Us Must Know (2010 mono version)
5. I Want You (2010 mono version)
6. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again (2010 mono version)
7. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (2010 mono version)
8. Just Like A Woman (2010 mono version)
Disc: 8
1. Most Likely You Go Your Way And I'll Go Mine (2010 mono version)
2. Temporary Like Achilles (2010 mono version)
3. Absolutely Sweet Marie (2010 mono version)
4. 4th Time Around (2010 mono version)
5. Obviously 5 Believers (2010 mono version)
6. Sad Eyed Lad

Get The Original Mono Recordings at

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