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Albums Of The Week: Bob Dylan | Fragments: Time Out of Mind Sessions (1996-1997) – The Bootleg Series, Vol. 17

Take a deep dive into Zimmy's Grammy-winning 1997 masterpiece with this five-disc set featuring a new mix plus dozens of outtakes, alternate versions & live recordings.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The latest chapter in Columbia/Legacy’s highly acclaimed Bob Dylan Bootleg Series takes a fresh look at Time Out Of Mind, Dylan’s mid-career masterpiece, celebrating the album and its enduring impact 25 years after its original release on Sept. 30, 1997.

Fragments: Time Out Of Mind Sessions (1996-1997) – The Bootleg Series Vol. 17 follows the evolution of songs written for the album, from intimate early incarnations in the previously unreleased 1996 Teatro sessions featuring Dylan (vocals, guitar, and piano), Daniel Lanois (guitar and organ), Tony Garnier (bass) and Tony Mangurian (drums and percussion) through incandescent live renditions (also previously unreleased) showcasing Dylan and his touring ensemble channeling the songs onstage from 1998-2001.

In early 1996, Dylan (whose last album of originals had been 1990’s Under The Red Sky) began writing a group of new songs and, in August-October that year, went into Teatro studio in Oxnard with Lanois (who’d produced 1989’s Oh Mercy) to record demos for a potential album. Recording for Time Out Of Mind took off in earnest in January 1997, when Dylan moved the sessions to Criteria Studio in Miami and the studio ensemble was expanded to encompass a mix of all-star session players and members of Dylan’s touring band including Bucky Baxter (acoustic guitar, pedal steel), Duke Robillard (guitar, electric Gibson L-5), Robert Britt (Martin acoustic, Fender Stratocaster), Cindy Cashdollar (slide guitar), Tony Garnier (bass guitar, upright bass), Augie Meyers (Vox organ combo, Hammond B3 organ, accordion), Jim Dickinson (keyboards, Wurlitzer electric piano, pump organ), and drummers Jim Keltner, Brian Blade and David Kemper.

The result, Time Out Of Mind, became a new pillar in the Dylan pantheon, its songs — Love Sick, Cold Irons Bound, Can’t Wait, Not Dark Yet — becoming concert staples and fan favorites with one composition, Make You Feel My Love, achieving rare status as a new contemporary standard in the Great American Songbook, a tune covered by hundreds of artists including Billy Joel, Garth Brooks, Neil Diamond and Adele. Time Out Of Mind won the 1998 Grammys for Album Of The Year and Best Contemporary Folk Album, while Cold Irons Bound took home the trophy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.

Disc 1 premieres 2022 mixes, by Michael H. Brauer at Brauer Sound Studios, of the 11 original recordings on Time Out Of Mind. In his liner notes for the set, Steven Hyden writes, “The album itself has been remixed to sound more like how the songs came across when the musicians originally played them in the room, without the effects and processing that Lanois applied later. It’s not meant to replace the Time Out Of Mind that won all of those Grammys a quarter-century ago; it’s a reimagining, an alternate view of a great work of art. If the original album remains mythic and enigmatic, this Time Out Of Mind puts you in close proximity to the players.” The Time Out Of Mind (2022 Remix) disc will be available in immersive audio, a first for Dylan.

Discs 2 and 3 are comprised of rare outtakes and alternate versions of songs written for Time Out Of Mind, including four original Dylan compositions — Dreamin’ Of You, Red River Shore, Mississippi (later re-recorded for Love & Theft in 2001) and Marchin’ To The City — not included on the canonical 1997 tracklist. A fifth unreleased performance, Dylan’s interpretation of The Water Is Wide, a traditional folk song of Scottish origin (and spiritual precursor of Highlands, Time Out Of Mind’s epic closer) opens Disc 2.

Disc 4 presents songs from Time Out Of Mind in a series of spectacular live performances from 1998-2001 featuring Dylan and his touring ensemble: Larry Campbell (guitar, mandolin, pedal steel, and slide guitar), Bucky Baxter (pedal steel and slide guitar, 1998-1999), Charlie Sexton (guitar, 2000-2001), Garnier (bass) and David Kemper (drums). All tracks on Disc 4 are previously unavailable, with the exception of Make You Feel My Love (May 21, 1998, Los Angeles), previously released on the Things Have Changed maxi-single.

Disc 5 brings together studio recordings of the four Dylan songs omitted from the original Time Out Of Mind track list as well as exemplary live performances of Cold Irons Bound and Tryin’ To Get To Heaven. The 12 tracks on Disc 5 were previously available on The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs – Rare and Unreleased 1989–2006.”