Biograph (1985)


 
Disc One 1. Lay Lady Lay 2. Baby Let Me Follow You Down 3. If Not For You 4. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight 5. I'll Keep it With Mine 6. The Times They Are A-Changin' 7. Blowin' in the Wind 8. Masters of War 9. The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll 10.Percy's Song 11.Mixed Up Confusion 12.Tombstone Blues 13.The Groom's Still Waiting at the Altar 14.Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine) 15.Like a Rolling Stone 16.Lay Down Your Weary Tune 17.Subterranean Homesick Blues 18.I Don't Believe YOu (She Acts Like We Never Have Met) Disc Two 1. Visions of Johanna 2. Every Grain of Sand 3. Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn) 4. Mr. Tamborine Man 5. Dear Landlord 6. It Ain't Me Babe 7. You Angel You 8. Million Dollar Bash 9. To Ramona 10.Your a Big Girl Now 11.Abandoned Love 12.Tangled Up in Blue 13.It's All Over Now, Baby Blue 14.Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window? 15.Positively 4th Street 16.Isis 17.Jet Pilot Disc Three 1. Caribbean Wind 2. Up to me 3. Baby, I'm in the Mood for You 4. I Wanna Be Your Lover 5. I Want You 6. Heart of Mine 7. On a Night Like This 8. Just Like a Woman 9. Romance in Durango 10.Senor (Tales of Yankee Power) 11.Gotta Serve Somebody 12.I Believe in You 13.Time Passes Slowly 14.I Shall Be Released 15.Knockin' on Heaven's Door 16.All Along the Watchtower 17.Solid Rock 18.Forever Young

 

As far as I know, this was the first box set ever to have been released. I'm not even sure the term "box set" was invented at the time. If it was the first ever, this was the perfect artist and the perfect time for someone to release such a thing. The formula on this compilation pretty much sets the standards for every other box set that would ever be recorded, mostly familiar material plus a lot of unreleased gems, with some alternate versions of well known songs tossed in the mix as well.

This isn't as complete as one might think it should be. Even in 1985, Dylan really had too much great material for the limited amount of space that is devoted to these tracks, so be fair warned if some of your favorites aren't here. Pretty much all of the best of the best is featured, which I'm sure was the intention. The set isn't exactly chronological either, although it does seem to follow a loose time line. Most of the sixties stuff is near the beginning, with most of the latter day stuff near the end. The fascinating thing about this record, though, is to listen to the evolution of Dylan's music through the years. One may have forgotten, but Dylan mostly would change styles from record to record, and most of his albums are featured here even though there may only be one song from selected records. He simply had too much material.

Then there's a wealth of unreleased material as well. I haven't attempted to try it, but I'll bet if you grouped all of the unreleased stuff here (including the never before released alternate versions of some tracks) it would probably account for one whole disc out of the total three. As he would prove on his first bootleg compilation a few years later, he had tons of incredible songs that, for whatever reason, was never legitmately released in the first place. The album serves as a perfect "biography" of the man, the genius, and the multitude of songs and styles he managed to master. His recording career hasn't been as frequent since this record, but it serves as a great sampler of the many great things he gave the world.

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