Yesterday, I picked up the 6 disc version of Bob Dylan’s bootleg series volume 12, with the title The Cutting Edge. It chronicles the recording sessions between 1965 and 1966, Dylan’s most exploratory and inventive period.
The highlight of the set is an entire disc dedicated to every take of “Like a Rolling Stone”. There are only two complete takes of the song, the one that appeared on Highway 61 revisited and Take 11, which features more intricate work on the organ.
Anyway, this got me listening to a bunch of Dylan this morning. One track I’ve always loved is “Maggie’s Farm”, and especially the version from July 25, 1965, the day he ‘went electric’ at the Newport Folk Festival.
The song just sounds so explosive and dynamic. The lyrics themselves are a rebuke of the folk music scene, which was angry at Dylan for recording an album with electric instruments; that now classic album, Bringing It All Back Home.
The song itself was a take on the song “Penny’s Farm”, which Dylan took as a jumping off point for his declaration that he wasn’t going to conform to the folk expectations anymore.
They say sing well you slave and I just get bored.