Travelin' Thru, Featuring Johnny Cash: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 15 - The latest installment in the long-running Bootleg series covers Dylan’s journey to Nashville between 1967 and 1970. It includes recordings from the John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline and Self Portrait sessions and over 20 tracks from the legendary sessions with Johnny Cash. 50 tracks on 3 CDs – over 40 previously unreleased.
The Bootleg Series Vol. 15: Travelin’ Thru showcases never-before-heard recordings from Bob Dylan’s journey to Nashville—including his cherished collaboration with Johnny Cash.
While Dylan had recorded in Nashville once before in sessions that would form part of 1966’s Blonde On Blonde, things had changed considerably when he came back to record a year and a half later—his first session since suffering a motorcycle accident that took him out of the public eye. On John Wesley Harding, Dylan worked more methodically than before; the seven alternate takes from the album featured here find Dylan fitting his songs’ rhythms to match their lyrics.
Returning in to Nashville in 1969, Dylan shifted even more toward the sound of country music on Nashville Skyline, even adopting a distinctive croon in his singing voice. “Lay Lady Lay,” “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You” and “I Threw It All Away” still rank among the most treasured entries in Dylan’s songwriting canon.
A key participant in the Nashville Skyline sessions was Johnny Cash, who’d previously covered Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” leading to a deep mutual respect between the two musical legends. Though Cash appeared on only one song on Nashville Skyline, “Girl From The North Country” (and also penned the album’s Grammy Award-winning liner notes), Travelin’ Thru features 25 previously unreleased tracks featuring Dylan and Cash in the studio. Highlights include takes on several of Cash’s most recognizable hits (“I Walk The Line,” “Ring Of Fire”), covers of Jimmie Rodgers and Carl Perkins (“Matchbox,” featuring Perkins himself on guitar) and a unique medley of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” and Cash’s “Understand Your Man.” A month after Nashville Skyline was released, Dylan made his first live TV appearance in five years on The Johnny Cash Show; that performance is also included here, as are two Cash covers (“Ring Of Fire,” “Folsom Prison Blues”) recorded during the sessions to Self Portrait.
Travelin’ Thru closes with a 1970 collaboration between Dylan and famed banjo player Earl Scruggs. Recorded in upstate New York for a PBS special on Scruggs, this informal session features renditions of Dylan’s “Nashville Skyline Rag” and others.
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