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5 Dylan Gems from The Zimmerman Institute

The greatest and most influential single songwriter of his generation, but most of all with Bob it’s the voice - as Joan Baez once said ‘many people don’t get it, but if you do it goes way deep’. I think most Dylan devotees would agree that his much ridiculed voice is his greatest asset, something that may baffle the uninitiated. And we shouldn’t be talking singular here, there are many Dylan voices. Here we have his later years, a fairly random selection that may be unfamiliar to the casual listener.
Foot Of Pride Apparently made 44 attempts at this over six sessions (his most ever), and still not included on Infidels (1983). Unheard til its appearance on The Bootleg Series Vols 1-3 (1991) . An astonishing achievement in delivering one of his most complex and convoluted lyrics with such charismatic elan. Three further iterations of the song (two of which have the title ‘Too Late’) recently appeared on the latest Bootleg Series release Springtime in New York (2021). Check this one out:
Standing In The Doorway This great, doom-laden epic ballad of love and loss is one of four or five standouts from the uneven Time Out Of Mind (1997); had it on repeat for a week when it came out. This and the next song offered as evidence that his reduced vocal range hasn’t affected his uniquely compelling way of delivering a line.
Someday Baby An outtake of a song from Modern Times (2006) released on the indispensable Tell-Tale Signs (2008). Not a song of the stature of the others here, but light-years ahead of the official release, with a hypnotic groove and one of his most gorgeous late-period studio vocals. Every word here demands and rewards your close attention. This is what it’s all about. Incomparable.
Every Grain Of Sand One of his greatest songs, buried on the sub-par Shot Of Love (1981). Another lovely vocal and with two sublime harp breaks (another of his ‘voices’). Performed sporadically over the years, it was a set-closer nearly every night on his outstanding fall 2021 US tour, though this version never seemed to reach the heights of the newer material performed at these great concerts.
Dignity Another major song unaccountably omitted from the album ( Oh Mercy 1989) for which it was recorded. Various bootleg versions circulate. There’s also a truncated piano demo on Spotify ( Tell-Tale Signs again). And here’s the best live version from Brixton Academy 1995. Not a great recording but his singing is fabulous.

5 Dylan Gems from The Zimmerman Institute
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