Ten Years of Bootlegs: #10 – Bob Dylan – Abandoned Desire

I started this blog (well the first incarnation of this blog which originally was on Blogger.com) back on May 29, 2004. Its initially purpose was to journal the 10 months my wife and are were spending in Strasbourg, France. I wanted a way to both store my experiences their for posterity and share them with my friends and family. At first I was writing breathlessly about my experiences in a foreign country, amazed and excited about every little new things. But as these things happen the new and exciting slowly became old and familiar. I wrote less and less about my French experiences and began writing movie, music and book reviews. When we moved back to the states I kept that aspect of the blog up and The Midnight Cafe became less a journal and more of a pop culture site.

It didn’t take long for me to start writing about bootlegs. At first I was reviewing them and then I started actually posting the music. It was very trial and error in those days as I was still figuring out the best way to upload the shows and make them readily available to my readers. For a time I was writing about pop culture, sharing interesting things I found on the Internet and posting bootlegs. But more and more the bootlegs began taking over and eventually The Midnight Cafe became the bootleg blog you all know and (hopefully) love.

The very first bootleg I ever posted was a show featuring Jim James, Conor Oberst and m. ward. Sadly I no longer have that show (lost in one of many hard drive failures since then) but you can see that early post here. It should be noted that the free music I mention in that post isn’t bootlegs but rather studio MP3s I had been writing about (and sharing) at the time.  That first bootleg was posted in October of 2008.  To celebrate the 10th anniversary of me posting bootlegs to this blog I thought I’d highlight the ten most popular bootlegs I’ve ever posted.  The plan is to do one each month.  I’d like to repost the shows and maybe talk about them and my blog a little.  Since I missed January I’ll try to post two in February and then if everything goes smoothly I’ll count town one show each month until we get to October and celebrate the most popular bootleg I’ve ever shared.

I’ll be using the WordPress counter, sorting by number of views over the entire history of the blog. As mentioned this blog started on Blogger, migrated to a free WordPress site then spent many years on my own paid for space (though using the WordPress platform) and then a few years back I loaded everything back onto the free WordPress site.  My guess is that this has royally screwed up the counter, but its all I got.

Interestingly (and this may point directly to how screwed up the counter is) none of the top ten posts have been accessed more than a few thousand times.  Truth is I’ve never been a really huge site in terms of hit count.  I average somewhere between 1000-1500 unique visitors a day.  I have a small, but really enthusiastic base of regular readers (and commenters – you guys are awesome) but like any site most of my visitors come randomly via web searchers and don’t stick around very long.I also post a lot of shows.  My average is probably 2-3 boots a days which adds up pretty quickly.  Because of all this no single post gets that much love, even after ten years.

When I first started preparing for this series I was shocked to learn that the majority of my most popular posts are not bootlegs but old pop cultural posts I did ages ago. Far and away my most popular post ever was a little thing I did on the movies I have seen on Premier Magazine’s list of the most dangerous movies ever made. I wrote that one back in 2007 and periodically still get messages about it.  I try not to be disheartened about how my sillier posts from more than a decade ago still get more love than all the bootlegs I’ve posted since then.

Anyways without further ado here’s the 10th most popular bootlegs post on The Midnight Cafe.


Bob Dylan – Abandoned Desire

As you might expect from the title this is a compilation of alt cuts to Dylan’s 1976 album Desire. The bootleg combined combines the quadraphonic mix  (taken from a vinyl source) with studio outtakes from the album sessions in July 1975 and a recording session with Bette Midler in October 1975.   Unfortunately the firsts 8 tracks have been removed because they have been officially released. The Dylan Stubs site has full images of the liner art for the bootleg which comes with lots of info on these sessions.

I originally posted it on Nov 21 2015.  It has since been viewed 2, 251 times.  That seems an insanely low number to me.  I really suspect that the counter is only counting hits that have come in via this free WordPress site and none of the others transferred over.  Whatever the case its a cool collection of songs and well worth the listen.


29 thoughts on “Ten Years of Bootlegs: #10 – Bob Dylan – Abandoned Desire

    1. Funny you say that because since I am doing this over a 9 month period it is quite possible the results will change over that time. I wonder what I’ll do if one month the number 8 show (or whatever) moves up a notch by the next month which would technically make it win the number 7 slot as well. In fact by linking to the show in these posts I will be raising their numbers.

      Oh well, its all for fun anyway.

  1. 1000 views a day isn`t bad. I check Midnite Cafe every day. I followed a blog titled `Just add cones`. This blog had great prog oriented posts and was primarily Pink Floyd oriented. After awhile the author of Just add cones became disillusioned over the fact that he was only getting about 20 views a day. He called it quits. I am glad that your blog has lasted. The world would be a colder place without it.

    1. I hope I didn’t come off as complaining about the 1000 or so uniques a day. I’m perfectly happy with that. Especially since I don’t exactly advertise. I do repost the links to various social media type sites although half the time I don’t actually point things back to my blog just the Amazon links. My goal is to get the music out as far as I can, not get millions of hits. I honestly pay little attention to my stats. Every now and again I’ll look at them to see where folks are coming from and what posts are popular at the moment, but mostly I’m happy to post the shows and share the music.

      I do very much appreciate the community we have grown and the comments the shows get.

      I’ve kind of shocked I’ve been doing this for ten years. Of course it hasn’t been a straight ten years as I was posting other stuff for awhile alongside the boots and I took a few breaks here and there for travel and family, but it really doesn’t seem possible it has been that long.

  2. Great idea – and congratulations on having a popular blog for this long. I too am a daily checker, and always find amazing music here. I remember this great boot well!

  3. Congratulations on the forthcoming anniversary, some staying power!!
    It’s a brilliant site and apart from the rare postings you have undoubtedly widened my listing base.

  4. Only discovered your website recently. Love the Dylan and Dead stuff. I used to visit Virgin records back in 1970 in London for the latest white label Dylan but this is brilliant. Thanks a lot x

      1. Strange. I still get message from flac frontend saying metadata problem. I’ll try mp3 and see how I get on. Never had this problem before with your flac files….

  5. Hmmm. I’m afraid this is one of the boots that I lost during my recent hard drive crash so the only copy I have is the one on Amazon. Hope you can get it to work right. Sorry for the trouble.

  6. Hi Matt. I managed to covert the flac files eventually. I don’t understand why FLAC frontend wouldn’t do it. Eventually I stuck the files through audacity and that worked. Go figure!!! Just thought it might be useful in case anyone else was having problems. Thanks again x

  7. Hi Mat:

    Just getting into the game a little late but I am enjoying this website in a large way.

    Can I ask where you managed to initially collect all the Dylan bootlegs you share? Are they from CDRs you purchased back in the day or accumulated digitally online?

    Thanks again!

    1. I’ve collected them from all over the place. I started collecting CDs (well initially it was cassette tapes but those are long gone) from various trading boards all of which are now pretty much defunct. I now get them from sites like Guitars101 and Expecting Rain (an incredible source for Bob shows – you have to register but its free and totally worth it). I also use torrents sites like Dime a Dozen (they are pretty hard core about keeping your ratios up which is difficult, but doable). I’ve also received lots and lots of shows from fans of the site over the years.

      My suggestions would be to hit up Expecting Rain. They have tons of shows that are easily downloadable and the site is user friendly. Plus if you have a request you can make it and most likely someone will both have it and be willing to share it.

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