Music » CD Reviews

Bob Dylan

Dylan (Columbia/Legacy)

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It's been 10 years since Bob Dylan sparked a renaissance with Time out of Mind. Now three albums into his creative rebirth, his record company has compiled a triple-disc retrospective that gets it mostly right. Dylan plays out chronologically, starting with selections from the singer-songwriter's 1962 self-titled debut and wrapping up with last year's Modern Times. The discs feature Dylan as earnest folkie ("Blowin' in the Wind"), raging social agitator (the still-blistering "Masters of War"), and various other personas. His mid-'60s peak period is rightfully well represented — from the poetic "Mr. Tambourine Man" to the boozy farce of "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35."

But like many career-spanning anthologies, Dylan won't please everyone. In its effort to cover more than four decades of music, the set skips over some crucial material (for example, "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" is the only selection from the phenomenal Basement Tapes), and favorites are MIA (where's "I Want You"?). Plus, there are no rarities in the mix, leaving little incentive for already-committed fans to shell out $50. Still, since it adds two entire decades to 1985's terrific Biograph box, Dylan stands as the most comprehensive aural document on the rock legend.

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