August 14, 2013 – 3:49 pm

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Charlotte 1978 [no label, 2CD]

Live at the Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, North Carolina; December 10, 1978. Very good to excellent audience recording.

By the time Bob Dylan brought his 1978 Never Ending Tour back to the United States, he had not only ironed out the kinks but the group was a finely-tuned music machine.

So much so that, probably based on the audience-recorded Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte bootleg, Rolling Stone magazine listed this show among The 10 Best Bob Dylan Bootlegs (The definitive tour recordings from every era of Dylan’s career):

Few eras of Bob Dylan’s live career have a worse reputation than the 1978 tour. Backed by an 11-piece band, the show featured radically rearranged versions of Dylan’s greatest hits – with lots of saxophone and back-up singers. Just weeks into the tour Columbia taped Bob Dylan At Budokan, which was originally only supposed to come out in Japan. Cringe-worthy, slick versions of “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Blowin’ In The Wind” sullied Dylan’s reputation as a live performer for years to come, but when the tour came to America many months later it finally hit a groove. By this point Dylan was playing songs from Street Legal, which was recorded with his touring band. Unlike most of his catalog, these tracks were actually enhanced by the big band. On this tape from Charlotte, Dylan is on fire as the band plays killer versions of Street Legal tracks “Señor (Tales of Yankee Power),” “We Better Talk This Over” and “Changing of the Guards.” With the exception of “Señor,” he’d play virtually nothing from the drastically underrated Street Legal over the next three decades. - Andy Greene

However, the master recording for the Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte bootleg was shared by mr RS and kept alive at Dime by Erik_snow (EricBT). A big round of thanks to everyone involved.

Original notes:

Taper: RS
Source: Flac files from taper.

Equipment: “Taped using a 3-head portable cassette recorder and electret condenser mic which was possibly above-average equipment for the typical audience stealth taper in those days.”

From taper’s master list:
Dec 10, 1978 - CHARLOTTE, NC - Tape - C-127, C-128, C-129 > DAT D-78-12 > CD-78-31, 32 (27 songs; complete) - backup on MD-78-3, MD-78-4, MD-78-5 These are *stereo master cassettes*. D-78-12 is the master for the 12/10/78 show on CD: Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte. As of Aug. 2005, this show has been newly remastered to CDr from the original master cassettes.

Of course, my Charlotte recording has been commercially booted (and Knoxville 2/5 too), but the quality of the raw (undoctored) transfers tends to beat the bootleg discs by quite a ways. I recently did a new transfer (via improved equipment & connections) to CDr from the original Charlotte Maxell cassettes which are still in surprisingly good condition, and that one sounds best ever.

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (224 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Please Do Not Hammer The Links. Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. The tracks should still be around. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Disc 1
Track 101. My Back Pages (instrumental) (5.7MB)
Track 102. She’s Love Crazy (4.6MB)
Track 103. Mr Tambourine Man (9.0MB)
UPDATE: August 21, 2013: Have removed the gap at the 32-second mark; but there seems to be a skip - it’s in the original source.
Track 104. Shelter From The Storm (7.0MB)
Track 105. Love Minus Zero - No Limit (6.0MB)
Track 106. Tangled Up In Blue (14.1MB)
Track 107. Ballad Of A Thin Man (9.3MB)
Track 108. Maggie’s Farm (9.9MB)
Track 109. I Don’t Believe You (7.3MB)
Track 110. Like A Rolling Stone (12.9MB)
Track 111. I Shall Be Released (7.1MB)
Track 112. Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power) (11.9MB)
Track 113. The Times They Are A-Changin’ (8.1MB)
Track 114. Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35 (6.0MB)
Track 115. It Ain’t Me, Babe (acoustic) (10.5MB)

Disc 2
Track 201. Am I Your Stepchild? (6.0MB)
Track 202. One More Cup Of Coffee (Valley Below) (12.6MB)
Track 203. Blowin’ In The Wind (8.3MB)
Track 204. Girl From The North Country (9.3MB)
Track 205. We Better Talk This Over (6.6MB)
Track 206. Masters Of War (8.3MB)
Track 207. Just Like A Woman (9.7MB)
Track 208. All Along The Watchtower (6.2MB)
Track 209. To Ramona (9.8MB)
Track 210. It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) (11.0MB)
Track 211. Forever Young (10.0MB)
Track 212. Changing Of The Guards (13.6MB)

Released just two weeks before the Dylan and the band hit Paris was Street Legal in the middle of June 1978. This is the album that for the first time featured Bob Dylan in front of a big band with female backup singers. There are two mixes of this album. The original 1978 mix and the revised 1999 mix by Don DeVito. DeVito was the original producer who didn’t like the earlier mix. Since then, all released versions use the 1999 mix. Buy it here .

If you liked what you’ve heard, Dylan did release a live album from this tour. Bob Dylan at Budokan was released only in Japan by Columbia Records. It was recorded at the Budokan in Tokyo on Feb 28 and March 1, 1978. Due to popular demand, it later received a worldwide released in April 1979. It received a critical bashing for being a show-business type of album, too different from what was expected of a singer-songwriter. From Rolling Stone to Robert Christgau, the album was savaged. But Europeans and we presume the Japanese voted heavily with their dollars and bought the album pushing Budokan to No 4 in the UK. You decide, buy it here.

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  1. 19 Responses to “BOB DYLAN - CHARLOTTE 1978”

  2. Thank you very much!
    Agree about Street Legal. Great album.
    So few pieces in concert… Only His Bobness will know why.

    By Kint on Aug 14, 2013

  3. I love Street Legal but can’t stand Live at Budokan, so this should be interesting (and I’m particularly intrigued by the two unreleased songs…).

    By YogaforCynics on Aug 14, 2013

  4. Live At Budokan is why the 1978 tour has a lousy reputation - it’s a calamitous live album and sadly, not the last either since Dylan then gave us the pointless “Real Live” and horror of horrors “Dylan And The Dead”

    It seems whenever Dylan was in control, he gave us lousy live albums. The Bootleg Series albums have been making up for that giving us decent gigs from the archives which of course his Bobness decided NOT to release.

    Mind you, words fail me at the newest archive release - just what the World really needed - 4 CD’s of stuff covering the dreadful “Self Portrait” era. Amazing. I won’t be buying that… just buying “Self Portrait” was painful enough, especially after listening to it for the first time!

    By Harold Michaels on Aug 14, 2013

  5. Thanks very much BigO for posting another from Dylan in 1978. There are some great tracks on Street Legal with Changing Of The Guards probably being my favourite. It seems the Final Night Paris show you posted a few days ago has the best live version I have heard to date.

    By ewoodym on Aug 15, 2013

  6. @Harold Michaels:

    Awesome post! Reading that made my night. Thanks, man.

    By kingpossum on Aug 15, 2013

  7. I never understood the pedantic, hipster bullshit -reminiscent of the ‘Judas affair’ and the booing in Newport - on ‘Selfportrait’. I’ve already ordered the newest box. Thanks for this.

    By eggman on Aug 18, 2013

  8. just got turned down for min wage 10 hours a week janitor job in a homeless_addict shelter. This to explain my gnarly mood.
    Unfortunately, 103 Mr. Tambourine Man has a 1.8 sec gap with music missing. Yeah, I know, next I’ll be a homeless_addict staying at the shelter…

    By 5yrsnojob on Aug 21, 2013

  9. Hello 5yrsnojob

    Thanks for your feedback. Have removed the gap but there appears to be a skip, which is inherent in the source material. Cheers.

    By bigozine2 on Aug 21, 2013

  10. eggman - did u read the cover story / interview of his bobness in rolling stone from late last year? or was it earlier this year. im not looking at it right now but i read it twice. i was sure it was from last year. he talks about the subjects u mention. it is one of the most interesting interviews he has ever given. i wish it had been filmed.

    By darth on Aug 21, 2013

  11. Worst Dylan photo ever? darth must have taken it.

    By Everyone Else On bigO on Aug 23, 2013

  12. Worst Dylan photo ever? darth must have taken it.

    if he started looking at his pix one at a time and never looked at them a 2nd time he would have to forego sleep and blah blah blah…

    By pure drivel on Aug 23, 2013

  13. Harold Michaels: I hope you changed your mind about the “new version” of “Self Portrait”. Brilliant songs, great versions - it could have been a great album, if His Bobness had cared about making a good album instead of pissing off old-time folkies and too serious fans.

    By jack candy on Oct 29, 2013

  14. can somebody help me im on a bit of a dylan kick and im sure when looking at one of bobs older post here at big o that one of post had three songs that he had not recorded and now i cant seem to find wich one its is ,or was i dreaming please help

    By bronze medal on Jun 9, 2015

  15. bronze medal - don’t know if it’s this one, Yonder Comes Sin, but 3 songs on it he never recorded. Yonder Comes Sin, Thief On The Cross, and Ain’t Gonna Go To Hell (for Nobody). It’s been on here for some time.

    By ScarRad on Jun 9, 2015

  16. thanks ScarRad not seen this one before but thanks ill make a request, im sure i read a comment something like a great show as well as having 3 songs not recorded in the post that are still up if that makes sense ,ill keep looking thank you

    By bronze medal on Jun 9, 2015

  17. thank you big o for bob, got it today great work you must of read my mind thanks and ScarRad get well

    By bronze medal on Jun 12, 2015

  18. I saw three shows from this 1978 tour and loved them all. It was always fascinating to hear how Dylan changed the lyrics to his songs, sometimes on the spot. The complete alteration of Tangled Up in Blue for this tour is just something sensational. At the shows themselves the lighting was spectacular and a huge departure from his earlier shows. The lighting for the 1974 tour with the Band was very straightforward in comparison.

    By AlanRichard on Jan 22, 2016

  19. Hi,

    Track 102. She’s Love Crazy (4.6MB)

    I have fixed the drop-out at 23 seconds (224 Bit rate) and I can send it to you if you want.


    By Jake on Sep 5, 2017

  20. I saw the Charlotte show in ‘78. Thanks for posting this. I think the crowd had a real good time. The place smelled a little like burning leaves and it was full of smoke. (Wink, wink,nudge, nudge)

    By Mojo Bone on Apr 17, 2018

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