THIS November, as with many a recent November, sees the release of the latest volume of Bob Dylan’s acclaimed Bootleg Series. This series of records, as the name suggests, officially releases many of the outtakes and rare recordings that Dylan fans have spent years acquiring bootleg copies of. Previous releases have included the infamous ‘Royal Albert Hall’ concert (actually performed in Manchester) where a folk-fan called Dylan ‘Judas’ for going electric and The Cutting Edge, focusing on Dylan’s glory period of 1965 and 1966.

Mrs B rarely reads my column, which is why I can relatively safely discuss my long-awaited purchase of volume fourteen of the series: More Blood, Less Tracks. As the name suggests, this edition focuses on one of Dylan’s most revered works, namely 1975’s Blood on the Tracks. The album marked a critical and commercial return to form for Dylan, a success that was underpinned by two specific influences: the tutelage of painter Norman Raeben whose artistic techniques gave Dylan a new way to write; and the disintegration of his ten-year marriage to Sara Lownds, which gave him a subject to write about. As Dylan describes writing the opening Tangled Up in Blue, it was a song that took ten years to live and two years to write.

Blood on the Tracks is more than just a break-up album and to borrow the Facebook phrase, when it came to Dylan and relationships, it’s complicated. While some of the songs are about Lownds, others are about lover Ellen Bernstein, and Simple Twist of Fate looks longingly back to sixties girlfriend Suze Rotolo. To muddy the waters further, Dylan rerecorded half the album at the last minute, when a potential reconciliation with Sara led to a softening of both some of the lyrics and also the sound of the album.

The original sessions, recorded in New York in September 1974, were somewhat starker both in lyric and arrangement: for the most part, just featuring Dylan and his guitar. The warmer, full-band version of the songs may have made up the final album, but these original versions have long been a holy grail for Dylan fans. In the deluxe version of More Blood, Less Tracks, you can own every last note recorded in these notorious sessions.

It’s an extraordinary listen and harks back to Dylan’s earliest work in a way even the Judas fan would appreciate. But, whereas then Dylan’s anger was about politics, here his emotions are targeted closer to home: at his marriage, at love, at himself. I don’t know what it says about where we’ve got to, but while these stripped-down versions were considered too strong for the mid-seventies, they seem to suit the present day just fine.