Dylan’s expanded 1997 masterpiece reveals new layers
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When Bob Dylan released “Time Out of Mind” in 1997, it was heralded as a late-career masterpiece featuring songs like “Make You Feel My Love,” “Love Sick” and “Not Dark Yet.”
Now, a quarter century and several other seminal Dylan records later, “Time Out of Mind” is still viewed as a masterpiece, just a mid-career one.
“Fragments — Time Out of Mind Sessions (1996-1997),” the 17th volume of Dylan’s bootleg series archival release series, reveals even more layers to the record that reset the trajectory of Dylan’s career. It also proves, yet again, that Dylan’s discards are as good or better than most people’s official catalogue.
The five disc set is an amalgamation of previously unheard studio outtakes, a remixed version of the original record, live tracks and previously released alternate versions.
The remixed original record allows listeners to experience “Time Out of Mind” in a new way, stripping away Daniel Lanois’ swampy production to present the songs closer to how they were played in the studio. The live versions captured between 1998 and 2001 crackle, with Dylan’s touring band flexing its muscle.
But the heart of the release is the studio outtakes. It’s through these that we hear Dylan recrafting the songs, taking discarded bits from one and adding them to another, dropping and adding lyrics seemingly at whim.