Bob Dylan’s Infidels-era Bootleg Series won’t arrive until September, but a source close to the Dylan camp says they’re already thinking about the next one. “I hate to give this stuff away,” says the source, “but I think there’s a good chance we’ll do Time Out of Mind next year because it’s the 25th anniversary.”
Time Out of Mind won a Grammy for Album of the Year in 1998 and earned Dylan his best reviews since the Seventies, but Dylan and producer Daniel Lanois had differing visions for the album and its birth was very laborious. “It got off the tracks more than a few times, and people got frustrated,” Dylan told Rolling Stone in 2001. “I felt extremely frustrated, because I couldn’t get any of the uptempo songs that I wanted.”
A small army of studio musicians worked on the record at Criteria Studio in Miami, Florida throughout late 1996 and into 1997, and there were handful of outtakes on the 2008 Bootleg Series Tell Tale Signs, but there’s still many recordings from the sessions that have never been heard by the public. That makes a Bootleg Series devoted solely to the album a tantalizing prospect to fans.
There’s no firm timeline for the Bootleg Series after Time Out of Mind, but a box centering around Dylan’s pre-fame recordings in New York City and Minneapolis will happen at some point. “We very much want to do that,” says the source. “Very, very, very much. We’re going to do that.”
Another one focusing on 1978’s Street Legal and Dylan’s world tour that year that is a “complete possibility,” says the source, but one dedicated to the Never Ending Tour is less likely. “First of all, the Never Ending Tour, as Bob said, isn’t the name of it,” says the source. “Secondly, Bob continues to tour. Maybe we’ll understand it towards the end of it. We’ll look at it that way.”
The past few years have seen a flood of copyright protection releases from the Dylan camp because European copyright law stipulates that recordings enter the public domain if they aren’t released after 50 years. It’s allowed fans to hear the complete sessions for landmark albums like Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde as well as Dylan’s studio collaborations with George Harrison and Johnny Cash.
But 1971 and 1972 were quiet times for Dylan where he did little in the studio other than record a handful of songs for Greatest Hits Vol. II and join up with friends like Doug Sahm, Roger McGuinn, and David Bromberg at their own sessions. “You won’t see anything for copyright protection over the next couple of years since there really isn’t anything to keep out of the grey market,” says the source. “I think we’ll probably return to that more in 2024 when we hit [the 50th anniversary of] the Before the Flood tour.”
How about the 1973 sessions for Planet Waves? “There’s not a lot of stuff that circulates from that,” says the source, “so we don’t see a reason to protect it.”