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Bob Dylan rarities double-CD set for Japanese release

Cover art. (Sony Music Japan)

To celebrate Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan’s appearance at Japan’s Fuji Rock Festival on July 29, Sony Music Japan is releasing “Rare Performances From The Copyright Collection," a 2CD set of (mostly) limited released recordings from 1962 to 1966.

A limited Japan-only release is not unusual. Forty years ago, to celebrate his first Japan concert appearances, a triple album compilation, “Masterpieces,” was released, followed by the live album, “At Budokan." The latter was eventually distributed worldwide due to customer demand. The Fuji Rock performance will be Dylan’s 101st Japanese concert.

From 2012 to 2015, The “Copyright Collection” was a yearly attempt to maintain legal ownership of Dylan and Sony’s intellectual property in certain European territories. Although the material from 1966 received a widespread, worldwide release as part of “The Bootleg Series" ("Vol 12: The Cutting Edge 1965-1966”), the earlier material was released in extremely limited quantities in a few countries, where the law dictates any material not released after 50 years would become part of the public domain, anybody could release it. These recordings from 1962 to 1965 were released on extremely limited CD-Rs, vinyl, or as downloads.

CD1: Track listing 1962-1964

According to a press release by Sony Japan, the first CD starts with two tracks from an April 16, 1962, gig at Gerde’s Folk City in Greenwich Village (“Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Corrina, Corrina.”) The next five tracks - “John Brown,” “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” “Bob Dylan's Dream,” “Seven Curses,” and “Boots of Spanish Leather” - are all from an April 12, 1963, appearance at New York’s Town Hall. Next up are “Masters of War” and “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,” from Dylan’s October 26, 1963, concert at Carnegie Hall. Track 10 is “When the Ship Comes In,” which Dylan performed during the March on Washington at the Lincoln Memorial, August 28, 1963, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. also spoke.

The rest of CD1 includes four tracks from Dylan’s Royal Festival Hall concert on May 17, 1964 (“The Times, They Are A-Changin’,” “Girl From the North Country,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “It Ain’t Me, Babe,” and “Chimes of Freedom”), with a Newport Folk Festival performance of “To Ramona,” from July 26, inserted as the penultimate track.

CD2: Track listing 1965-1966

The track listing on the second CD is not in strict chronological order, although the first eight tracks are from 1965, and the final six are from 1966.

The CD starts various solo acoustic performances from the U.K. First up is “One Too Many Mornings” from a June 1, 1965, BBC TV appearance, followed by an April 30 performance of “It's Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” at The Oval, City Hall, Sheffield, England. “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” is from the following evening at the Liverpool Odeon, and “The Gates of Eden” is from May 7, at the Manchester Free Trade Hall. “It's All Over Now, Baby Blue” is also from Liverpool, and “She Belongs to Me” is from London’s Royal Albert Hall on May 10.

Back in the U.S., the next track is an electric performance “Maggie’s Farm” from the Hollywood Bowl on September 3. Dylan’s legendary first professional electric performance on July 25, at the Newport Folk Festival, is represented by “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry,” then known as “Phantom Engineer.”

The first track from 1966 is an April 13 performance of “Desolation Row” at Australia’s Sydney Stadium. The remaining tracks are all culled from live U.K. appearances: “Baby, Let Me Follow You Down” and “I Don’t Believe You” (Capitol Theatre, Cardiff, Wales, May 11), “Ballad of a Thin Man (Odeon Theatre, Glasgow, May 20), “Visions of Johanna” (a.k.a. “Freeze Out”) (ABC, Belfast, May 6), and the legendary “Judas!” performance of “Like a Rolling Stone” from Manchester Free Trade Hall, May 17.

Street date is July 18. No word of this being released in other territories.

Artist Bob Dylan