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Greil Marcus' Real Life Rock

Greil Marcus is a contributing editor of Artforum.

Bob Dylan’s the bootleg series, volumes 1–3 [rare & unreleased] 1961–1991 (Columbia) contains a shadow version of his entire career, embedded within 58 performances. They range from a tune taped in a Minnesota hotel room in 1961 to an outtake from the 1989 album Oh Mercy; along the way, three CDs collect concert recordings, alternate takes, rehearsals, and publishing demos, programmed roughly year by year. A lot of it is dross, a history of unfinished ideas or untranscended clichés, a book of footnotes. Other parts work as a series of interruptions—of

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