Friday, October 12, 2007

A quick note to let you know that there's a new contest posted on the main Fingertips site: you can enter to win the new 3CD Bob Dylan compilation, which they're simply calling Dylan (probably because they've already used up "Greatest Hits" and "Best Of"). What's notable about this one is that it spans his entire career, from his first CD in 1962 through to last year's Modern Times.

Dylan fans are already complaining--not without some merit--that the collection is pretty much of a retread; given the depth and breadth of Dylan's catalog, even a three-disc collection can end up, as this one has, pretty much just rounding up the usual suspects. One track that qualifies as an obscure gem, not previously collected on any of the other packages of Dylan's best stuff, is the song "Dark Eyes," from his nicely titled but otherwise forgettable 1985 album, Empire Burlesque. There are also a trio of songs from three of Dylan's lesser-heard '90s albums, Under the Red Sky, Good As I Been to You, and the truly great World Gone Wrong. Other than that, lots and lots of pretty high-profile tunes.

While I understand the fans' disgruntlement, the thing is, die-hard Dylan fans already have everything, so simply putting more obscure songs on the collection doesn't give aficionados any more need to own it than a package full of the big, safe hits. And if it's rarities the zealots are looking for, the record company has been reasonably good about offering those over the years through the so-called "Bootleg Series." A package such as Dylan is clearly being aimed at people who maybe don't otherwise have any Dylan CDs. As predictable as it seems to long-time fans, this new triple-CD set is now the best thing a new fan can buy to get lots of the major works in one place.

(Of course, if you enter the contest and win, you won't even have to buy it.)

I think maybe what the Dylan fans are really complaining about is how these packages serve to keep newbie fans continually in the dark about lots of other really good songs. And I completely agree. In fact, I've personally decided to do something about that: I've assembled an iMix playlist featuring 15 really great Dylan songs that have never, any one of them, been collected on any of the greatest hits and best of CDs that have been done to date. You can check it out on iTunes here. They may not be familiar to anyone who's not already a big fan, but these, too, are some wonderful songs. Check it out and see what you think.

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