BOB DYLAN & THE BAND
Isle Of Wight 1969 [no label, 1CD]

Live at Woodside Bay, Near Ryde, Isle Of Wight, England, August 31, 1969. An audience reel-to-reel recording. Very good quality.

On the cusp of the ’70s, rock music was still a bubbly mixture of styles and ideas. You could record anything and there would be an audience and more importantly a record label willing to put it out.

Bob Dylan and The Band fired off Music From Big Pink and signalled a return to the “invisible republic” of the past when everything was simpler. This album more than any reportedly energised and inspired English musicians like Eric Clapton and George Harrison to look Westward and backwards.

Instead of rocking out like they did in 1966, Dylan and The Band slowed things into a country square dance. No exhortations to “play ****in’ loud” instead, steel guitars, accordians and a crooning, bleating Dylan took to the stage and, by all accounts, only a selected enlightened few were mesmerised. Mostly, the show was considered under-rehearsed.

Incredibly, this performance was the first time Dylan stepped on stage after the motorcycle accident. Some were expecting the Second Coming as his appearance boosted attendence. On hand for this show was rock’s royalty, The Beatles, two Stones, The Who, Free, Eric Clapton and, in the audience, a young Elton John.

This was the year the Beatles were to release Abbey Road, all “special effects” and stylish, the year Led Zeppelin II was launched and proto-heavy metal birthed. Instead, 100,000 fans at the Isle of Wight were treated to the countrified and loosely-played Like A Rolling Stone.

So how did it feel?

Now for the first time you can hear the almost-complete show from an astonishingly clear audience recording. The origin of this audience reel to reel tape was keithdylan who bought the master copy from a dealer/fan and decided to share it, warts and all on the net at the Hunger City site. Later it was mastered and artwork done by JTT, around October 2007. This cleaned up version deleted gaps, added fades and other little touches and was shared by eddiethecat. This is the cleaned up version. A big thanks for their generosity.

The reference to Lord Tennyson is the remark Dylan made at the press conference that he wanted to play the Festival for an opportunity to visit the birthplace of the famous poet. After the show, Dylan and the celebrities retired to a party where The Beatles played an acetate of their to-be-released Abbey Road. No one recorded Bob Dylan’s reaction. - The Little Chicken

[Dylan solo]
01. She Belongs To Me
02. I Threw It All Away
03. Maggie’s Farm
04. Wild Mountain Thyme
05. It Ain’t Me Babe
06. To Ramona
07. Mr. Tambourine Man

[The Band enter the stage]
08. I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine
09. Lay Lady Lay
10. Highway 61 Revisited
11. One Too Many Mornings
12. I Pity The Poor Immigrant
13. Like A Rolling Stone
14. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight
15. Quinn The Eskimo
16. Minstrel Boy
17. Rainy Day Women [fades early, incomplete]

Click here to download the tracks.

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