Bob Dylan's groundbreaking blend of folk, rock, and blues is like an effervescent newborn to some and a crusty uncle to others, but it's hard not to acknowledge that his songs are part of the extended family that is popular music. In his five-decade career, Dylan has done nothing short of elevating pop songwriting to a high art — evidence of plenty of this is on The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 (47 stripped-down, acoustic renderings of his songs of that era), and The Original Mono Recordings (his nearly flawless first eight albums) — both out October 19.
It's old news to prepare people with the warning that Dylan has aged a bit — 69 years or so. His voice is ever-scratchier, and he plays versions of his classic songs that are tough to recognize. That said, a man who has been with his catalog this long and still obliges fans with favorites including "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Masters of War," after playing them perhaps thousands of times, should do them exactly the way he wants.