Fragments - Time Out Of Mind Sessions (1996-1997): The Bootleg Series Vol. 17
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However, the outtakes and alternate versions on discs 2,3 and 4 are so good that the box is still a 5 star purchase. The compilation includes a remix of the original Time Out of Mind album, outtakes, alternate versions and live recordings. But the story of Fragments—the story of the album Time Out Of Mind isn’t, but almost was—rests with “Mississippi. This set gets it right, consisting as it does of well over 60 minute discs but it also has more impact focussing on one album. 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 on-stage from 1998-2001.
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 Two. In 1996-97 Dylan wrote eleven tracks about growing old and these tunes are full of heartbreak and loss. But—as the new mix on Fragments underlines—his baleful pallor was stagehand’s makeup, the gushing blood just red silk scarves.The official story surrounding Time Out of Mind goes something like this: Bob Dylan, stricken by the death of Jerry Garcia and sensing a hellhound on his own trail, turned to his beloved old blues records to exorcise the quickening dread he felt upon realizing that the bell also tolls for Zimmerman. This edition includes a new 2022 remix, by Michael Brauer, of the eleven original recordings on Time Out Of Mind, sounding more like how the songs came across when the musicians originally played them in the room. The digital version saved me a lot of money, but I do miss the physical CD’s and more importantly the booklets, a digital booklet would have been handy. On Disc 2’s take on the folk standard “The Water Is Wide,” Dylan leans into the performance as if he might reach out and touch the shoulder of his beloved. LPs gatefold jackets include photos, tracklist and credits, both sleeves titled each one as indicated on tracklist with a catalog number on its own.
It’s as devoted as he ever sounded, and behind him, Garnier and Mangurian play so subtly and understated they register as lighting. Disc 1 is a new mix of the original album, with a less gloomy feel, and bringing Dylan's feral growl right up front in your living room. Dylan would try songs out in different keys, abruptly switching in the middle and expecting the band to remap their own chord progressions without a moment’s hesitation. The music came on like a big, black thunderhead, rolling forward with guitar echo merging into a clatter of drums.Dylan’s voice is cleaner and more audible in the mix, which will please listeners who thought Lanois’ original production was too murky and swampy, and with too many effects on Dylan’s vocals. They decamped instead to Criteria Studio in Miami, a space with a hallowed history ( Aretha Franklin’s Young, Gifted and Black, the Allman Brothers’ Eat a Peach) and the ambiance of an airport security detention center. With that in mind, the first disc in this 5CD offering is a new 2022 remix of the original release, by engineer, Michael Brauer, who says he was trying to capture something that had more of a feel of what was going on in the room, with less additional processing. But although you get a tantalizing glimpse of its potential, the view is blocked by a marching-band triplet fill on the drums and some Hornsby-esque piano trills.