Another decade, another triple-disc Dylan compilation. This one purports to be both a definitive retrospective and a reflection of fan choices logged online, but the imperative of representing all periods of Dylan's career apparently outguns the punters' preferences. Well, mine, anyway. The problem with retrospective compilations is that they are constantly being updated, with genuine gems shaved off the front end to accommodate more recent, comparatively unproven work. But even allowing for that, who would really consider the likes of "Blood in My Eyes" and "You're Gonna Quit Me" preferable to "Visions of Johanna" and "It's Alright, Ma"? Only someone interested in giving a leg up to the less well-performing corners of Dylan's catalogue, that's who. Likewise, if you were going to feature just one 11-minute track, would you choose "Brownsville Girl" over "Desolation Row" or "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands"? Ominously sharing its title with his worst album, this set contains an incomparable fund of classics – and is just as frustrating as previous Dylan compilations. (Reviewed by Andy Gill for "The Independent")
In addition to these true words, one might add that obviously all of the tracks have been digitally remastered. Plus, the album's release is accompanied by what might very well be the first viral web marketing campaign for a Bob Dylan album.
MIKE HOBO | September 29, 2007 | RECORDS