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Bob Dylan – The Original Mono Recordings

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Bob Dylan – The Original Mono Recordings (MP3 + FLAC)

Mastered from the Original Analog MONO MASTERS by Mark Wilder at Sterling Sound: This is the Ultimate AUDIOPHILE Digital Dylan Box Set

Bob Dylan’s first eight groundbreaking albums are returning to the marketplace for the first time ever in a limited edition box set of newly mastered mono versions on CD.

The Original Mono Recordings are comprised of these albums painstakingly reproduced from their first generation monaural mixes as the artist intended them to be heard: One channel of powerful sound, both direct and immediate. While stereo recordings had been available as early as the mid-1950s, mono was still the predominant, and often preferred, mode of recording and mixing by the top artists of the 1960s. As a result, artists like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan devoted their attention to the mono mixes, leaving the stereo mixing process to studio engineers.

Mastered from the original analog mono masters by legendary engineers at Sterling Sound in New York City, we guarantee this is the best you will ever hear Dylan sound on a digital format. This unprecedented set features some of the most important and timeless music ever made, now in a jaw-dropping sound that rivals what was heard in the studio control room.

Bob Dylan The Original Mono Recordings Contents:

Bob Dylan – 1962

1. You’re No Good

2. Talkin’ New York

3. In My Time of Dyin’

4. Man Of Constant Sorrow

5. Fixin’ To Die

6. Pretty Peggy-O

7. Highway 51 Blues

8. Gospel Plow

9. Baby, Let Me Follow You Down

10. House Of the Risin’ Sun

11. Freight Train Blues

12. Song To Woody

13. See That My Grave Is Kept Clean

The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan – 1963

1. Blowin’ in the Wind

2. Girl of the North Country

3. Masters of War

4. Down the Highway

5. Bob Dylan’s Blues

6. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

7. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right

8. Bob Dylan’s Dream

9. Oxford Town

10. Talkin’ World War III Blues

11. Corrina, Corrina

12. Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance

13. I Shall Be Free

The Times They Are A-Changin’ – 1964

1. The Times They Are A-Changin’

2. Ballad Of Hollis Brown

3. With God On Our Side

4. One Too Many Mornings

5. North Country Blues

6. Only A Pawn In Their Game

7. Boots Of Spanish Leather

8. When The Ship Comes In

9. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll

10. Restless Farewell

Another Side Of Bob Dylan – 1964

1. All I Really Want To Do

2. Black Crow Blues

3. Spanish Harlem Incident

4. Chimes Of Freedom

5. I Shall Be Free—No. 10

6. To Ramona

7. Motorpsycho Nitemare

8. My Back Pages

9. I Don’t Believe You

10. Ballad In Plain D

11. It Ain’t Me Babe

Bringing It All Back Home – 1965

1. Subterranean Homesick Blues

2. She Belongs To Me

3. Maggie’s Farm

4. Love Minus Zero/No Limit

5. Outlaw Blues

6. On The Road Again

7. Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream

8. Mr. Tambourine Man

9. Gates Of Eden

10. It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)

11. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

Highway 61 Revisited – 1965

1. Like A Rolling Stone

2. Tombstone Blues

3. It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry

4. From A Buick 6

5. Ballad Of A Thin Man

6. Queen Jane Approximately

7. Highway 61 Revisited

8. Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues

9. Desolation Row

Blonde on Blonde (2 LP) – 1966

1. Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35

2. Pledging My Time

3. Visions Of Johanna

4. One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later)

5. I Want You

6. Memphis Blues Again

7. Leopard-skin Pill-box Hat

8. Just Like A Woman

9. Most Likely You Go Your Way And I’ll Go Mine

10. Temporary Like Achilles

11. Absolutely Sweet Marie

12. 4th Time Around

13. Obviously 5 Believers

14. Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands

John Wesley Harding – 1967

1. John Wesley Harding

2. As I Went Out One Morning

3. I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine

4. All Along The Watchtower

5. The Ballad Of Frankie Lee And Judas Priest

6. Drifter’s Escape

7. Dear Landlord

8. I Am A Lonesome Hobo

9. I Pity The Poor Immigrant

10. The Wicked Messenger

11. Down Along The Cove

12. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight


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Interesting review comparing the last stereo remasters and the new mono ones:


Story by Phil Gallo

SoundSpike Editor at Large

Published October 18, 2010 09:41 AM

[Album: Bob Dylan, 'The Original Mono Recordings' [box Set] (Columbia)]

Bob Dylan's latest box set will include the reissue of his first eight albums on nine discs (two for "Blonde on Blonde") covering his debut through 1967's "John Wesley Harding." Using first generation monaural mixes, the set is enhanced with vintage photographs and an essay from Dylan aficionado Greil Marcus. The sleeves faithfully replicate the artwork -- complete with labels and stickers -- from the original albums.

The sets come in two formats: CD and LP, with the CDs being released Oct. 19 and the LPs on Dec. 21. Both sets are available as presale bundles with limited edition add-ins at Dylan's website.

Obviously an important set for any completist, but what, pray tell, might the average listener say is the difference, especially if they have already forked over the bucks for superb-sounding remastered albums of the last several years?

Alternate takes were not used in mono versions, as was the case in some of the Beatles mono masters, but there is a noticeable difference throughout. To attempt to figure out exactly what that difference is, landmark songs from Dylan's catalog on the new set were subjected to an A/B test with some original mono vinyl pressings, the stereo vinyl pressings and the stereo albums released between 2003 and 2009 that utilized SACD/CD technology -- a high-resolution, read-only, optical disc format for audio.

The first determination? The stereo SACDs sound brighter than any of the other pressings; the mono set has a much more natural sound to it. Here's a look at a few of Dylan's best-known songs.

"Like a Rolling Stone." (From "Highway 61 Revisited," 1965)

Let's get the personal bias out of the way. This is the greatest rock song ever, and in the top 5 of greatest records ever made, so even listening to a third generation cassette on a 20-year-old Walkman could not conceal its greatness or depth. That said, the original mono mix on vinyl emphasized a Wall of Sound quality with Dylan's vocals run through a heavy reverb effect. Part of the magic is that, as wide open as his voice is, it remains in your face. The mono CD version exposes a greater clarity in the instruments as the echo is reduced in the mix early on. Both mono versions use that electric guitar riff before the line "you used to go to the finest schools" to increase the dramatic effect, while the SACD version exposes a grinding quality to the rhythm guitar in the final third that is not as apparent in mono. The winner: Draw.

"Blowin' in the Wind." (From "Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," 1963)

Sundazed did a mono vinyl pressing in 2001 that minimized the tape-speed variation in the beginning of the track. Dylan sounds old on the vinyl version; his guitar crisper than on any CD version. The naturalness of his voice comes through on the new mono CD, especially from the middle of the song to the end. Here's the dig: On the original Columbia vinyl, Dylan's voice is significantly pronounced above the rhythm guitar which begs the question: Is it more important to make it sound good or sound as it did upon release? The SACD is an example of an exquisite mix with the voice in the middle, guitar on one side and harmonica on the other. Winner: The Sundazed vinyl.

"All Along the Watchtower." (From "John Wesley Harding," 1967)

The SACD was a mixed bag. The vocals were so clear you could hear Bob's voice cracking and going every which way -- is that a gulp between "princes" and "kept the view?" But the drums sound like a snare and an empty ice cream tub, and the harmonica is piercing. The vinyl is pleasant, but lacking in dynamics. The new mono version solves all of that, with Charles McCoy's bass giving the tune a previously buried charge. The Winner: Mono Box.

"Mr Tambourine Man." (From "Bringing It All Back Home," 1965)

The original vinyl mono takes the song's three elements -- voice, acoustic guitar and electric guitar -- and delicately places them in a perfect lineup. The SACD added clarity to each element, splitting the two guitars into separate channels. But the acoustic dwarfs the electric -- if the vocal is at 10, the acoustic is at 8 and the electric at 3. The mono CD version is a beautiful reproduction of the the original mono. Winner: Mono Box.

"Just Like a Woman." (From "Blonde on Blonde," 1966)

The new mono version does what the original mono version did -- it brings out the venom in Dylan's voice and gives the acoustic guitar lines a pronounced placement. There's minimal difference between the stereo and mono versions, and it boils down to a personal preference -- do you want the acoustic guitar, organ and drums between the chorus and verses to move horizontally or vertically? In stereo, they swing from one side back and forth across the playing field; in mono, they stack up like building blocks. Winner: Mono Box.

"One Too Many Mornings." (From "The Times They Are a-Changin'," 1964)

This is one of his more interesting early vocal presentations in which he experiments with shifting away from the didactic. The tonal shifts -- from the steely to the welcoming, lecturer to lullaby singer -- are in evidence in all the versions. The original mono vinyl release had a curious mix in which Dylan's vocals and harmonica dominate the recording, sounding as if the guitar is being played by another musician seated a few feet from where Dylan is standing. The 2005 stereo CD version has a more natural sound than the mono or stereo vinyl and the separation of components is not as apparent as on other tracks. The new mono version is a bit of a resolution, a combination of the best elements of both versions. The winner: Mono Box.

The value of this box is purely personal, depending on what makes a listening experience more enjoyable -- a single performance or the result of a series of sessions in a studio. The mono mixes present Dylan as he might have sounded in an in-studio concert -- bold and forward, his band supplemental and secondary. There's a power in the music on all of these discs that exists in many of the stereo editions, but it does drive home the issue of care that went into making records in the 1960s and '70s, giving them breathing room and an air of humanity.

It comes as a bit of a surprise that the album that benefits most in the mono presentation is the last one in the set, 1967's "John Wesley Harding," which was released at a time when most people had given up on the mono format. The mono presentation enhances the intimacy of the country-folk collection of sparse guitar-bass-drums tunes. It's easy to picture Dylan, McCoy and drummer Kenny Buttrey plowing through "Drifter's Escape," "Down Along the Cove," and the title track with little concern for the intricacies of a consistent vocal performance, or where a lead guitar riff might be placed. It's a rustic gem that seems to go in and out of favor. The mono version might resolve that fluctuation and get it ranked permanently among his top tier discs.

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