blood and thunder
1974-1976

After the covert release of the Basement Tapes, Dylan waited seven years to create what many fans consider his true masterpiece. Blood on the Tracks, released by Columbia on Jan. 17, 1975, is what Clinton Heylin calls "Dylan's most concerted effort to conceive and execute an album since Blonde on Blonde." While Nashville Skyline and John Wesley Harding continued Dylan's rock-country legacy, neither reached the genius of the Basement Tapes. Other albums followed with even less regard until Dylan went to Columbia's A&R Studios in September of 1974.

The resulting recordings included "Tangled up in Blue," an epic Dylan introduced in 1978 as a song that took ten years to live and two years to write (Heylin, p. 104). Other notables included "Idiot Wind" and the blues-inspired "Meet me in the Morning." Unfortunately, the Columbia release does not include many original recordings of the material. Originally recorded as a solo endeavor, Dylan eventually re-recorded tracks with a backing band -- the version that Columbia would later release. Alternative renditions of "Idiot Wind," "Tangled up in Blue" and "If you see her, say hello" would later be released Dylan's 1991 The Bootleg Series.

Following the positive reaction to Blood on the Tracks, Dylan wanted to return to the road with a truly original rock 'n' roll tour. He assembled an all-star cast that included Joan Baez, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, T-Bone Burnett, Roger McGuinn and the poet Allen Ginsberg. The material ranged from Dylan's 1975 "Hurricane," to classic folk ballads and bluegrass instrumentals.

The tour's final concert paid tribute to the imprisoned Ruben "the Hurricane" Carter, an African-American boxer accused of killing a white police officer. "The Night of the Hurricane I" took place at Madison Square Garden, Dec. 8, 1975. Muhammad Ali spoke to the largely white crowd, telling them, "You've got the connections and the complexion to get the protection" (Shelton, p. 460). Dylan had again engaged in a social cause through musical invention.

recordings

Chesnut Mare
Rolling Thunder Revue
Recorded May 3, 1976;
New Orleans
Size = 6.18 MB

Flint Hill Special
Rolling Thunder Revue
Recorded May 3, 1976,
New Orleans
Size = 2.21 MB

Dark as a Dungeon,
(w/ Joan Baez)
Rolling Thunder Revue
Recorded 1976
Size = 5.34 MB

Hurricane
Rolling Thunder Revue
Recorded NYC, Dec. 8, 1975,
"Night of the Hurricane I"
Size = 11.9 MB

This land is your land
Rolling Thunder Revue
Recorded NYC, Dec. 8, 1975,
"Night of the Hurricane I"
Size = 6.01 MB

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