Stunning!! This eagerly anticipated 4 CD release truly delivers. Excellent soundboard tapes of most recordings.
During the winter months of 1978, Bob Dylan conducted rehearsals for his upcoming 115-date world tour in downtown Santa Monica’s aptly named Rundown Studios. Captured for posterity by engineers Arthur Rosato and Joel Bernstein, the Rundown tapes represent a remarkably panoramic window into Dylan’s creative process as he reinvents his classic songs via improvised lyrics and arrangements that gradually transform the raw, fiery melodies into larger-than-life pop fantasias seemingly earmarked for the casino ballrooms of Las Vegas. The four-CD bootleg box set The Rundown Rehearsal Tapes is an embarrassment of riches for the serious Dylan enthusiast, encompassing virtually every landmark in his storied songbook as well as some new compositions and a handful of traditional blues standards that never made it past the rehearsal stage.
~Jason Ankeny (read more over @ allmusic.com)
The info about the different disc’s is from the Sleeve info (edited by bobsboots.com)
The first CD opens with an arrangement of Like A Rolling Stone that’s quite different from the one utilized on the tour itself, before introducing a first ever CD transfer of the complete December 30th 1977 tape. This particular rehearsal comes at a time when the touring band was still in a state of flux, with Denny Siewell on drums, Jesse Ed Davis on guitar and Katie Segal and Debbie Dye Gibson on backing vocals. It also features Dylan figuring out a piano arrangement of It’s all over now baby blue, as well as versions of three songs that failed to appear on the tour; Most likely you go your way, Leopard skin pill box hat and If not for you. Though this is a first generation digital transfer of the cassette master, this is one recording not from the mixing console, but recorded by one of the musicians with a boom box. (hence the slightly recessed vocals). However, it remains a fascinating insight into the embryonic stage of rehearsals at this point.
Tracks 15-17 on the first CD gain come from a first-gen digital transfer of a tape that has generally only circulated in mediocre quality, from high generational recordings. This session featured a different drummer, (Bruce Gary), as well as a unique 1978 arrangement of the Blood On The Tracks classic You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go. Finally, the CD concludes with a teaser of the goodies to be found on CD2… a previously uncirculated take of the old blues standard My Babe.