Attentive readers may recall a story I told earlier this year about a mysterious (no return address) and life-changing package of bootleg LPs that arrived at my old Stereo Review offices in 1973 or early '74. The short version is they were all on the legendary Trademark of Quality label, and many of them featured cover art by a then little known comic book artist named William Stout (who has since gone to well-deserved fame both as a graphic designer and art director for film, most recently on Pan's Labyrinth).
Anyway, as I mentioned in the earlier post, perhaps my favorite and the most mindboggling of the boots in the package was a live acoustic Dylan set -- in perfect sound! -- from an April 20, 1966 show in Melbourne, Australia. I was web-surfing the other day, and finally found Stout's cover for the LP, so it seemed like time to share.
So, from the marsupial album (as I used to call it), here's Bob -- obviously cruising on any number of chemicals -- with an absolutely spellbinding solo version of "Visions of Johanna." Once you get past the stoned stage patter and the tuning up, obviously.
When pressed, I've always said the song itself is Dylan's masterpiece, and on balance I think this is the best version of it ever. Listening to it again for the first time in years, however, I now kind of think it's also one of the handful of greatest live performances of anything by anybody.
[h/t Steve Schwartz]