Fresh off the rave reviews of Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings, a source inside the legend's inner circle spoke to Rolling Stone and laid out plans for future archival projects. It looks as though Dylan's Nashville era between the fall of 1967 and early-1969 will form the basis of the next collection — covering the historic sessions for John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline — which featured two days worth of joint sessions with Johnny Cash.
The Dylan insider hinted that the “Nashville” set wouldn't include every possible inch of session tape the way previous “Bootleg Series” editions have: “I think we did repeat versions of songs to death on (1966's) The Cutting Edge. We’re trying to find one really good take of each song. The giant dumps of everything like we’ve done in recent years really aren’t my preference. I like stuff that is more curated.”
When pressed about Dylan's historic 1974 reunion tour with the Band, the source asked: “Do people really want that? We can do a copyright protection, but Before The Flood is a pretty good record. I don’t think it warrants more than that.”
The insider spoke about a possible set containing pre-fame tapes Dylan had made both at clubs and in private, admitting, “We’ve thought about that for a long time. We collected a lot of early tapes, but fans don’t seem interested in the early stuff. I’ve always found that period really interesting, but I guess a lot of people don’t. We’ll do something, though, because we’ve got all these great things that people haven’t heard, but I think the interest is pretty minimal.”
On often-booted mid-'80s period, they explained, “We do think about it. The Infidels stuff is great, though it needs remixing because it has a very 1980s drum sound. With Empire Burlesque, the tracks didn’t get finished right. The stuff with the Heartbreakers is great, but they tried to make the rest of it sound contemporary and I don’t know if that really works, so I don’t know. We’re thinking about it.”
With the release of 1967's John Wesley Harding and especially 1969's Nashville Skyline, fans were confused as to why with the Vietnam war raging — especially during a hotly contested election cycle — Dylan was coming across more as a mild-mannered country bumpkin than the counter-culture icon he had had become.
During his August 17th, 1969 press conference prior to his prior to his return to the stage with the Band at the legendary Isle of Wight Festival, Dylan was pressed as to his stance on the drug scene: “I don't have any of those views. I wish I did, 'be glad to share them with you, but I. . . I think everyone should do their own life. Y'know?”