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Before the Flood (Audio Cassette)

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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette (Oct. 25 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Columbia
  • ASIN: B0000025OV
  • In-Print Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

Product Description

Product Description

Japanese only paper sleeve pressing. Sony. 2009.

Dylan has issued a large number of live albums in his day, but 1974's Before the Flood deserves special mention because of the presence of the Band behind him. Dylan had recently brought the Band into the studio to record the chart-topping (yet still somehow underappreciated) Planet Waves, which was the first (and, as it turned out, only) studio record he made after leaving Columbia for Asylum. He then asked them along on the subsequent tour, which at the time became the most successful rock tour in history. The fruits of that partnership are contained on this two-CD set, which actually ignores Planet Waves completely in favor of older classics. Although the album includes several strong collaborations, the highlights ironically come during Dylan's solo-acoustic portion, which yields powerful and gritty versions of "Don't Think Twice" and "It's Alright Ma," and during the Band's own exhilarating numbers with Dylan sitting out. --Marc Greilsamer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bud Sturguess on Nov. 28 2003
Format: Audio CD
The sheer fearlessness of The Band in this 1974 live performance is so confident that it makes one wonder how they ever could have caught their famous case of 'Stage Fright.' "Before the Flood" is the live document of Bob Dylan's tour for his "Planet Waves" album, joined by his one-time backing outfit, The Band. At the time, the tour was one of the most successful ever. It couldn't have come at a better time for both parties; Dylan had staggered musically as he entered the 70s, releasing the ill-fated "Self Portrait" album, and fans of The Band were disappointed that they hadn't released any original material since 1971, their latest album having been a collection of covers, the "Moondog Matinee."
"Before the Flood" captures the electrical bond that had linked the two legends together in the first place, something missing from earlier classic Dylan/Band efforts like "The Basement Tapes." The Band (unintentionally) upstages and outshines their former mentor, being the more thrilling of the two, but Dylan finally demonstrates the sincreity and power of his cross from folk to rock. But here, the response from fans surely isn't the boos it met in 1965; Dylan compositions associated with his folk period are given a more exciting life, notably 'It Ain't Me Babe' and 'Blowing In the Wind,' as he soars on 'Rainy Day Women,' 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door,' and 'All Along the Watchtower.' The Band however steals the show, even though there are more Dylan compositions on the album; they captivate with such paintings of rural life as 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down' and Richard Manuel's shiver inducing vocal on 'I Shall Be Released.' "Before the Flood" also contains the most thrilling and rambunctious live version of the raw 'The Shape I'm In.'
This album packages one of the best live performances in rock and roll. "Before the Flood" is an absolute necessity for Dylan/Band fans and concert experts in general, and it's a pleasantly affordable necessity at that.
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Format: Audio CD
When these recordings were made, the Band had been backing Bob Dylan on and off for nine years, so they were used to his idiosyncrasies, and they provide superb, muscular backing all the way through.
Dylan, as usual, significantly alters some of his songs, ending up with a somewhat harsh version of "Lay Lady Lay" and a slightly tuneless "Ballad Of A Thin Man". But almost everything else is great, or at least good.
He does three acoustic solo tunes at the beginning of disc 2, of which "Just Like A Woman" is the best and "It's Alright, Ma" the worst, but everything else is band-backed (in more ways than one!).
And the Band are a joy to hear. They bring out the best in Dylan on fiery live renditions of "Most Likely You'll Go Your Way", "Rainy Day Women", "Highway 61 Revisited" and "All Along The Watchtower", as well as the inevitable "Like A Rolling Stone", which almost matches the power and majesty of the so-called "Royal Albert Hall" version.
Robbie Robertson provides excellent guitar work, particularly on "It Ain't Me Babe", Levon Helm was always one of the greatest rock n' roll-drummers, Rick Danko's bass playing on "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" is masterful, and Garth Hudson's organ provides texture and the characteristic, swirling sound of Bob Dylan's greatest-ever backing group.
The Band's own songs generally work very well also. "Endless Highway", "Up On Cripple Creek", "The Weight" and "The Shape I'm In" are the best (this is not the first time I've wondered why the late Richard Manuel sang "I Shall Be Released" in a falsetto), and even though the songwriting of Robbie Robertson and that of Bob Dylan are quite different, they don't clash too badly at all.
The sound is very good, and both Dylan and the Band play with lots of energy, making this a thoroughly enjoyable documentation of the last coorporation between Bob Dylan and the Band.
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Format: Audio CD
As at least one other reviewer has noted, there are three things going on in this album: Dylan and the Band, Dylan alone, and the Band without Dylan. Dylan and the Band get three stars. The Band's backing is fine, but not particularly choice. Dylan's singing on several of the songs borders on self-parody. Dylan alone gets 5 stars. His rendition of Don't Think Twice and Just Like A Woman are stadium-big, but quite good. The Band alone gets 4 1/2 stars. You get some reruns from the great Rock of Ages album, and no one would miss these inferior versions. But you get a few songs you can't get elsewhere: A fun version of When You Awake, the definitive version of one of the few songs they wrote from 72-75, Endless Highway, a fine version of I Shall Be Released, and, best of all, a roaring rendition of Up on Cripple Creek.
There isn't much live The Band out there. Rock of Ages is a classic, especially the new expanded version. Last Waltz is not too bad--apparently, though, it took a lot of surgery to make that listenable. Live at Watkins Glen--isn't. So fans should definitely treasure this album for that reason, as well as for the moments when Dylan shines.
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Format: Audio CD
I don't know about the reality of what the reviewer who was frustrated by this album was or is.... I attended both Denver concerts on this tour on February 6th, 1974. Yes on the same night. The first one was pretty damn good by any standards. The second concert of the night was spectacular, unbelievable and whatever other adjectives you could find to describe and indescribable event. Dylan and the Band were unbelievably tight. They were like sextuplets all joined at the hips! On that night the entire Denver medical community could not have separated them. This performance was above and beyond. Dylan and the band were clearly enjoying themselves and the raucous crowd. Not even Springsteen at his best could match the unparalleled energy of that second show.
Besides the historical nature of this tour (The US post office had to set up extra mailboxes for ticket requests in many major cities) the album captures the spirit of the event. Certainly it could have been recorded better with current technology! Then again this was 1974! I doubt that any of the shows on this tour matched the intensity of that second Denver performance but the Album (CD) is still darn good Rock and Roll from the prime time of the genre.
The songs are great, the band is great and if Dylan wasn't at his best during that particular recording he was still better than just about every other performer around. Too bad they didn't record the second Denver concert but who would have known that it would all come together on that one night. This is a "must have" album if for no other reason than it was the first of the super tours. Without it there would have been no Springsteen, No Greatful Dead, No Neil Young or any of the great concerts we take for granted today. It was the beginning and in some ways it was the end! Catch this little piece of musical history and enjoy.
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