Surprise Release of ‘70s Bob Dylan Rarities Comes With a Catch

The album was likely compiled to avoid the recordings becoming part of the public domain

Bob Dylan in 1973's "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid."
Bob Dylan in 1973's "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid."
LMPC via Getty Images

If you’re a Bob Dylan enthusiast — and a whole lot of people are, given the continuing array of archival releases, as well as podcasts offering deep dives into the same — news of another trip into the legendary musician’s back catalog will likely come as welcome news. But there’s a twist for this latest release: 50th Anniversary Collection 1973 is only available in Europe.

Writing at Ultimate Classic Rock, Allison Rapp has more details on the release, which features songs Dylan recorded for the soundtrack to the film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. The release includes the song “Rock Me Mama,” which Rapp notes was the basis for “Wagon Wheel,” a song initially recorded by Old Crow Medicine Show and subsequently covered by Darius Rucker and Nathan Carter.

The Europe-only release of this Bob Dylan album follows several similar archival releases that exist in part to maintain copyright; under European Union law, audio recordings can go into the public domain if not released within 50 years of their recording. The same issue has also led to the release of archival material by the likes of Pink Floyd in recent years. In 2012, Columbia Records released a limited-edition set of four CDs of early Dylan recordings titled The 50th Anniversary Collection: The Copyright Extension Collection, Volume 1.

Lessons From Bob Dylan’s “Rough and Rowdy Ways” Tour
Familiarity is never a guarantee when it comes to the legendary musician’s live show

If you’re looking to purchase a copy of 50th Anniversary Collection 1973, it won’t be easy. The U.K.-based online shop Badlands currently lists it as sold out, and Discogs currently has no copies available. All of which means that Dylan enthusiasts will need to keep their eyes peeled in the coming months.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.