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Monday, 13 April 2009

Fantasy Records Acetate

Updated 27th August 2004

This information, mainly from 2004 is reprinted here with permission kindly granted from Alan Fraser. Visit Alan's website Searching For A Gem

I've been very fortunate to receive a copy of a mystery acetate of "live" Dylan performances from Fantasy Records of Berkeley, CA.

The purchaser of this acetate has been in contact with Fantasy Records and they have confirmed that the acetate is genuine, and it was created from a tape between 1972 and 1980 by Ralph Gleason, who was then co-owner of Fantasy. The acetate was mastered by Fantasy's chief mastering engineer, David Turner. Fantasy also said they have the original tape in their vaults, along with a recording of Bob's show at Berkeley Community Theatre, 22 Feb 1964. Ralph Gleason attended that concert and reviewed it for the "San Francisco Chronicle". We now know he recorded it too!

Of special interest on the acetate are two "new" recordings of Mr.Tambourine Man and Eternal Circle!

Mr Tambourine Man - unknown live recording. Has the line "hidden leaves" instead of "frozen leaves". Bob said in an interview that this song was written on leaving New Orleans, which was 12 Feb 1964. The first known version up to now is the Eric von Schmidt home recording which is probably from late April 1964, but which this must predate. The Jun 1964 Witmark demo has "frozen leaves".

Eternal Circle - unknown live recording, dedicated by Bob to "...anybody who plays an instrument. It’s not so easy". The opening line is "I strummed" instead of "I sang" No live recording of this song has surfaced till now.

Songs known to have been performed at Berkeley, 22 Feb 1964, include: One Too Many Mornings, Restless Farewell, North Country Blues, Only A Pawn In Their Game, Who Killed Davey Moore, The Walls Of Red Wing, Eternal Circle and Chimes Of Freedom, plus With God On Our Side and Blowin' In The Wind with Joan. Not Mr. Tambourine Man, though... You'd think Ralph would have mentioned Mr Tambourine Man if it had been played! However, Eternal Circle could indeed be from Berkeley. When Mr. Tambourine Man is from can only be speculated. Two songs on this
acetate are known studio recordings with fake applause added, and it may not therefore be a live recording.

This is the acetate's content, some now released, some still unreleased tracks were on the unreleased 1964 "In Concert" album:

1) Who Killed Davey Moore: 10/26/63 Carnegie Hall, on Bootleg Series

2) Gates of Eden: 10/31/64 Philharmonic Hall, on Bootleg Series 6

3) Bob Dylan’s New Orleans Rag: 4/12/63 Town Hall, on "In Concert"

4) Seven Curses: 10/26/63 Has a slightly longer intro than version on "In Concert,"

5) Walls of Red Wing: 4/24/63 Studio outtake w/applause added on the end. On Bootleg Series

6) If You Gotta Go, Go Now: 10/31/64, on Bootleg Series 6

7) Mr Tambourine Man: ? Has the line "hidden leaves" instead of "frozen leaves" NEW

8) Hero Blues: Times outtake w/piano, w/applause added on the end. Laugh in the harmonica solo is reduced on acetate.

9) Percy’s Song: 10/26/63 No intro as on "In Concert," but has lots of audience coughing that is not on "In Concert" version.

10) Eternal Circle: ? Dedicated to, "anybody who plays an instrument. It’s not so easy". Opening line is "I strummed" instead of "I sang" NEW

Tracks 5 and 8 are studio out-takes with fake applause.

These two new recordings might actually be sourced from the London Royal Festival Hall, May 17, 1964, which was recorded and is in Columbia's vaults. Michael Krogsgaard mentioned in On The Tracks #8 that he had heard some of those master reels and a work tape consisting of "Eternal Circle" and "Mr Tambourine Man" taken from the Royal Festival Hall 1964 tape.

Clinton Heylin:

"I now know what it is – it’s an alternate (i.e. later) version of In Concert. The number on the acetate label, 77182, is surely a Columbia Job No. The first version of In Concert had a job no. of 77110, I believe. If my memory serves me at all, there was an article in an early "Look Back" that ‘showed’ that In Concert was originally scheduled for release between Another Side and Bringing It All Back Home. Well, I can check w/ my friend at Sony NY but I suspect Job No. 77182 will turn out to be winter 1965 – hence the cuts from Halloween. Curious that they should NOT use the Mr. Tambourine Man from there, but this performance is exquisite (clearly superior). The clear echo on Dylan’s voice could be electronically created, but very, very unlikely. So it’s an echoey room. Everything points to Royal Festival Hall. Listen to the way Dylan has to pick the melody line whilst taking a (superb, tingling) harmonica break. He’s hanging on every word. And we know Royal Festival Hall was taped for Columbia by Pye. It also explains why Mr. Tambourine Man and Eternal Circle appear ‘together’ . Also, the clumsy way that applause has been dubbed onto Hero Blues suggests that (i) Mr. Tambourine Man is live, because the applause sounds ‘natural’ and; (ii) that Dylan (presumably) had expressed dissatisfaction with the Town Hall version on the original In Concert, hence the ‘odd’ substitution.

The Gleason connection is easy on this. Gleason was commissioned by Columbia to write the sleeve-notes for In Concert (undoubtedly at Dylan’s request). So, if In Concert was reconfigured, Gleason would obviously have needed to revise those sleeve notes (seemingly now lost) – hence the need for another acetate. With a cover slick all ready, and Dylan’s new-found success, this album of largely unreleased ‘acoustic’ Dylan must have seemed an obvious stop gap measure for the label after Bringing It All Back Home. Little did Columbia expect Dylan to deliver a second studio album less than six months after Bringing It All Back Home!! The rest, as they say, is history. Another piece in the jigsaw, and a rather fine one."

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