SoundStage! Music Online Editor's Pick Archives
November/December 2003

Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks
Columbia CH 90323, 2003

Musical Performance
*****
Recording Quality

****

Overall Enjoyment
*****

For me, Bob Dylan's albums fall into easily identifiable groupings, maybe because I've heard each one so many times that their track sequences are second nature. Blood on the Tracks is in the group of true masterpieces, sharing this designation with Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde. All three, along with a dozen more of Dylan's best albums, have been remastered and released as Hybrid SACDs, a few in multichannel format. This is a musical event because Columbia has done these recordings proud, making up for the mediocre-sounding (at best) original CDs with remasters that sound clean and highly detailed. The CD layer of Blood on the Tracks is a vast improvement, but the SACD layer is firmly in "I hear things I've never heard before" territory. Low-level detail leaps from the mix, but due to an overall increase in resolution, not just a bump in the upper-midrange/lower-treble region. These remasters sound clearer and more energetic than the original CDs, and with the SACD layer, we get to hear more of the master tape. What ABKCO did for the Rolling Stones catalog last year, Columbia has done for Bob Dylan's music this year: restored it for another generation to appreciate and given audiophiles a very good reason to buy it all over again....Marc Mickelson


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