This official soundtrack to the Martin Scorsese-directed PBS biopic No Direction Home could well be subtitled The Alternatin' Bob Dylan. The two-CD set consists entirely of rarities and previously unreleased versions of Robert Zimmerman's best-known songs. While a few selections lack the polish of today's sonic standards, the unparalleled musical and historical significance of No Direction Home more than compensates. Covering 1959 to 1966, from Dylan's genesis as a songwriter to his ascendance as the heppest of the hep, Direction begins with a home recording, the insistent, haunted, Lightnin' Hopkins-style folk-blues "When I Got Troubles," and ends with (what else?) a live-with-the-Hawks (a.k.a. the Band) "Like a Rolling Stone." In between we find many gems: a live "Chimes of Freedom" with Dylan's lacerating, indignant, impatient vocals; "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," which is gentler yet filled with even more wistful resignation than the "final" version; a live "Maggie's Farm" with some supremely wired, ecstatically noisy electric guitar; and an ironically bouncy "Memphis Blues Again" (in which the Zim muffs the lyrics). Direction is, strangely, liable to please everybody: Fanatics will faint, casual fans will be captivated, and neophytes will learn what all the clamor's about.
Recommended For You
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!