The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings (Sampler)

The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings (Sampler)

In October 1975, Bob Dylan assembled a group of musicians from the sessions for his forthcoming album, Desire, for an informal series of rehearsals at a warehouse in Midtown Manhattan. Nobody seemed to know exactly what the plan was. (Nobody besides Dylan, at least. Presumably. You’d think.) Friends showed up, coaxed out of clubs and off the street. (Bruce Springsteen was busy; Joan Baez liked the challenge; Joni Mitchell only planned to stay for a night but stuck around for several.) Within a week, the size of the group had swelled to about 15 people; a week later, they were on tour: The Rolling Thunder Revue. Released in conjunction with Martin Scorsese’s quasi-documentary on the band’s formation and tour, the recordings here capture Dylan at his most intensely theatrical, shedding the starkness of his recent Blood on the Tracks for something more swaggering, boisterous, and convivial: Dylan not as inscrutable prophet but as the ringleader of a giant circus. As with a lot of Dylan live sets recorded after his myth had reached full bloom, the songs here are almost unrecognizable from their original recordings: “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” becomes barrelhouse hard rock; “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” becomes a drunken waltz. But the highlight here is a take on the then-yet-unreleased “Isis” that, in common parlance and no uncertain terms, rips.

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada