What to make of a box set compiling the half-century career of the most towering figure in American popular music? After all, Bob Dylan’s stature ensures that the target market already owns a goodly number (and in many cases, all) of the 41 live and studio albums contained here – and probably many in glorious 12″ analog.
Flipping through the 272-page hardcover booklet that reproduces each album’s liner notes, here’s what guitar geeks will make of it: Michael Bloomfield, T-Bone Burnett, Mike Campbell, Eric Clapton, “Duck” Dunn, Jerry Garcia, George Harrison, Steve Jones, Mark Knopf ler, Danny Kortchmar, David Lindley, Roger McGuinn, Robbie Robertson, Duke Robillard, Mick Ronson, Mason Ruffner, Charlie Sexton, Slash, Mick Taylor, the Brothers Vaughn, Bob Weir, Ronnie Wood…
Even without considering this murderer’s row (which doesn’t begin to account for the keyboardists and drummers), the package is beautiful and the music is stunning, especially amassed in such a fashion. But at $200-plus ($365 for a USB drive containing MP3 and lossless files), and with just 14 of the discs remastered and no previously unreleased bonus material included, Vol. One ultimately has to be a personal decision, especially with more Bootleg Series releases presumably coming down the pike.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s March ’14 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.