Fragments – Time Out Of Mind Sessions (1996-1997) The Bootleg Series Vol. 17
Bob Dylan continues his bootleg series with number 17. For this box set, Fragments – Time Out Of Mind Sessions (1996 – 1997) The Bootleg Series Vol. 17, Dylan digs into the archives of the recording and live performances for his now classic album Time Out Of Mind. It is hard to believe that Time Out Of Mind is now 25 years old, but it is now considered one of his best works and deserves the ‘bootleg’ treatment. Dylan has explored many of his 1960s and 1970s albums, so it is refreshing to see him look back to the 1990s.
Fragments – Time Out Of Mind Sessions (1996 – 1997). The Bootleg Series Vol. 17 is available in two versions. A two CD/four album set and the expansive five CD/ten album set. Either one is brilliant, although Dyaln enthusiasts will find much more on the larger box set. The expanded set includes a 2022 remix of the original album, Time Out Of Mind. It does not sound wildly different but does have a cleaner sound overall. One thing is clear, the album has aged very well and sounds as good and fresh as it did in 1997.
Time Out Of Mind is a brilliant album. From the opening song “Love Sick” to the closing majestic track “Highlands” (a somewhat sequel to “Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands”). Many critics felt that this signified the return of Bob Dylan, but he hasn’t gone anywhere. Besides the releases noted above, he made an appearance on the MTV show Unplugged and released a live album. That album was the perfect precursor to Time Out Of Mind. There is not a weak track on the album and Dylan wrote some brilliant lyrics throughout the album. And while it is nice to have a new mix of that classic album, the truly interesting aspects of this release are the alternative versions, demos, live recordings and songs that did not make it to the final cut of the album.
“Red River Shores” and “Marchin’ To The City” are two examples of songs that are every bit as good as the other songs on the album. For whatever reason, the decision was made to leave them, here they are for all to enjoy. These are different versions that have been released previously on The Bootleg Series Volume 8 – Tell Tale Signs: Rare And Unreleased 1989 – 2006, although those versions are also included on the extended set. These versions are stirring and well worth hearing.
Alternative versions of the released songs are well worth a listen as well. “Not Dark Yet – Version 2” has an incredible energy to it and sounds even more urgent than the version on Time Out Of Mind. The same rings true for “Dirt Road Blues – Version 1”. These alternative recordings show how the songs grew and the various potentials of each song.
This is true when it comes to the live recordings from that time period. Anyone who has seen Dylan live knows that he does not always stick to the script, and his songs take on a whole new life in concert. In fact, there are two live versions of “Can’t Wait” as an example of just how Dylan interprets the song. Some of the live versions have been available before on CD singles and such, but it is good to have them all collected here together.
Dylan has always taken great care with his Bootleg Series releases. Many artists could take lessons from him in terms of his releases. Fragments – Time Out Of Mind Sessions (1996 – 1997). The Bootleg Series Vol. 17 is no exception. The packaging is beautiful and informative and the music inside the package is brilliant. It sheds a little light into Dylan’s creative process and also shows the care he takes in making his music and albums. It is also hard to believe that this is Volume 17! Given his extensive discography, there will be many more in the future.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: BOB DYLAN – FRAGMENTS – TIME OUT OF MIND SESSIONS (1996-1997) THE BOOTLEG SERIES VOL. 17