Monday, October 18, 2010


First we had bootleg LPs. The Demo Tapes (1973), Ceremoies Of The
Horsemen (1974), Early '60s Revisited (1974), Poems In Naked Wonder (1978), The Witmark Demos (1983). Then we had bootleg CDs. The Witmark Demos (1994), The Witmark Years (1994), Through A Bullet Of Light (1994), In The Pines (1998), Let My Poor Voice Be Heard (2007), Where Are You Now My Blue Eyed Son? (2008). I may have missed some but they all had those famous demo recordings, from Witmark and from Leeds, some had some of them, some had all.

And now we have Bob's new album in the Bootleg Series: The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 (2010) and so we have them all again, but now as an official release. A good opportunity to give information about the tracks one might think, but far from that. So gives the 60-page booklet no specification at all for the recording dates of the 47 tracks, except that they're from the period 1962-1964.

The sequence of the songs looks familiar, with only some small differences. We can assume that this list is probably chronological correct, but we can only guess about that for there's no explanation given. It can mean that sources as Heylin or Olof's Files are wrong in dating Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues to winter 1963, as it now fits in the part from march 1963. But nothing is revealed and it can also be a mistake of the compiler.

The only insight we get is with this Producer's Note:
"All of the recordings included here were created to be used for demonstration purposes. In some cases, especially on the earliest tracks, the songs were recorded to be released on acetates so other artists could perform them. As time progressed, the songs were often just rough sketches hastily recorded so that the publisher could get the songs down for purposes of copyright. Consequently, there is an extremely wide range of sound quality. We have done an exhaustive survey to use the best sources wherever possible. A good bulk of these recordings come directly from the Warner/Seven Arts master tapes which, unfortunately, were in spotty condition. We've tried to present them in the unadulterated way in which they were stored at the Witmark and Leeds archives."

Does that bring us any further? Where did they make their survey for the best sources if not in the archives? Which recordings belong to the good bulk? Isn't it likely that all master tapes are in the archives, accompanied by notes? A date can be very helpful with copyright matters. It almost seems as if we've got just a rough sketch hastily put together. And if they had to use other sources than the master tapes, were that acetates, copies of tapes or just our well known bootleg recordings?

Based on our own sources, and assuming that the new track listing is indeed chronological, we can date this new Dylan album as follows:

LEEDS february 1962
101. Man On The Street (Fragment)
102. Hard Times In New York Town
103. Poor Boy Blues
104. Ballad For A Friend
105. Rambling, Gambling Willie
106. Talking Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues
107. Standing On The Highway
108. Man On The Street

WITMARK july 1962
109. Blowin’ In The Wind

WITMARK november 1962
110. Long Ago, Far Away

WITMARK december 1962
111. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
112. Tomorrow Is A Long Time
113. The Death Of Emmett Till
114. Let Me Die In My Footsteps
115. Ballad Of Hollis Brown
116. Quit Your Low Down Ways
117. Baby, I’m In The Mood For You

WITMARK winter 1963
118. Bound To Lose, Bound To Win
119. All Over You
120. I’d Hate To Be You On That Dreadful Day

WITMARK march 1963
121. Long Time Gone
122. Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues (was: winter 1963)
123. Masters Of War
124. Oxford Town
125. Farewell
201. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
202. Walkin’ Down The Line

WITMARK april 1963
203. I Shall Be Free
204. Bob Dylan’s Blues
205. Bob Dylan’s Dream
206. Boots Of Spanish Leather

WITMARK may 1963
207. Walls of Red Wing (from the 24-4-1963 Freewheelin' session)
208. Girl From The North Country
209. Seven Curses

WITMARK may 1963
210. Hero Blues

WITMARK august 1963
211. Whatcha Gonna Do?
212. Gypsy Lou

WITMARK august 1963
213. Ain’t Gonna Grieve
214. John Brown
215. Only A Hobo

WITMARK august 1963
216. When The Ship Comes In

WITMARK october 1963
217. The Times They Are A-Changin’

WITMARK december 1963
218. Paths Of Victory

WITMARK january 1964
219. Guess I’m Doing Fine
220. Baby Let Me Follow You Down

WITMARK june 1964
221. Mama, You Been On My Mind
222. Mr. Tambourine Man
223. I’ll Keep It With Mine

And then, since we have it now official, how is the sound of this new Bootleg Series Vol. 9, The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964. We took a look at three songs with EAC and compared them with the same songs from the Hollow Horn Recording Artist Vol. 1: Let My Poor Voice Be Heard.There is much difference between them and to my ears the official Standing On The Highway goes faster. Wouldn't it be interesting to compare all songs with all different sources we already have?

First Let Me Die In My Footsteps on the new album:
And on the Hollow Horn release:
Spectral view looks like this for the new album:
And like this for Hollow Horn:
And the frequency analysis for the new Bob:
And for the old Hollow Horn:
A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall looks like this on the new album:
On Hollow Horn it looks like this:
And the spectral view looks like this on the new album:
And on the Hollow Horn it looks like this:
Frequency analysis for A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall on the new album:
And the same for Hollow Horn:
Standing On The Highway looks on the official release like this:
And on the Hollow Horn bootleg like this:
The official spectral view:
The Hollow Horn spectral view:
The official frequency analysis:
The Hollow Horn frequency analysis:


No comments:

Post a Comment