Last weekend, my friend Greg invited me over to listen to his copy of Ten of Swords, the classic 20-side Dylan bootleg. It contains a comprehensive — no, exhaustive — selection of live shows, alternate takes, and demoes from Dylan's most groundbreaking years — 1961–1966. The highlight is the infamous Manchester show from 1966; it's filled with murmuring disapproval of Dylan's electrification and reaches a climax when an audience member shouts "Judas!" right before the band kicks into "Like a Rolling Stone." (A side note: One of the most satisfying things about No Direction Home, Martin Scorsese's biopic of Dylan, is the revelation that Dylan, after hearing the taunts, shouts to his band: "Play it fxxking loud!" as they launch into the song). Since the release of Ten of Swords, many, if not most, of the tracks (including the entire "Judas!" show) have been mined by Columbia and assembled into official releases (with better sound quality, it should be said), but this didn't dampen the thrill of hearing tracks like "I Was Young When I Left Home" on the original, illicit vinyl. All I could think afterwards was: Thank goodness there was no eBay during the height of my Bob Dylan craze. UPDATE: An informative Salon article about the 2004 release of the Rolling Thunder bootleg.UPDATE: Damn you, eBay! As I was getting a sense of what Ten of Swords might cost nowadays — curiosity, nothing more, I swear — I noticed a Beatles bootleg set called The Complete BBC Sessions, a sort of Beatles-oriented Ten of Swords in response to the official version called Live at the BBC. The numbers: 10CDs, 239 tracks and a variety of chatter on the Complete Sessions to 2CDs, 60+ tracks, a little chatter on the official release. This NYT critique of Live at the BBC issues some pointed criticism at the Beatles' label: "While Apple has fiddled and litigated, bootleggers have catered plentifully to collectors interested in these things."