Fans Rejoice at Dylan Discovery

It may not be a chest of gold doubloons, but treasure hunters in a music critic’s basement made a Brandeis-related discovery that has Bob Dylan enthusiasts humming with excitement.

'Bob Dylan In Concert: Brandeis University 1963' was released on Oct. 19.
'Bob Dylan In Concert: Brandeis University 1963' was released on Oct. 19.

Brandeis alumni may talk about their brushes with greatness — taking music classes with Bernstein, lectures by Eleanor Roosevelt, Tuesdays with Morrie — but Bob Dylan? Robert Allen Zimmerman himself? Mr. Tambourine Man? The symbol of ’60s angst and protest — in Waltham?

Indeed, he not only was here, but performed with distinction at the Brandeis Folk Festival on May 10, 1963.

Now, one of those serendipitous basement treasure hunts we often read about has unearthed a bootlegged seven-inch reel-to-reel tape that has the music world atwitter. Found in the cluttered detritus of the late Rolling Stone magazine co-founder Ralph Gleason’s long career, the tape was unearthed by Jeff Gold, of recordmecca.com.

The music, which Gold characterizes on his blog as being of “superb quality — obviously professionally recorded — early Dylan, singing and playing wonderfully,” was scheduled to be launched on Dylan’s still-adoring public Oct. 19 as a bonus for Amazon.com buyers of “Bootleg Series Volume 9: The Witmar Demos.”

According to Rolling Stone reporter Andy Greene, “Dylan has been releasing Bootleg Series concerts for 12 years, but this is the first time a previously uncirculated show has hit the market.” The disc won’t be sold in stores, but is available only through the Amazon promotion and similar promotions by retailers in other countries.

Titles on the 40-minute recording include “Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance,” “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues,” “Bob Dylan’s Dream,” “Talkin’ Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues,” “Masters of War,” “Ballad of Hollis Brown” and “Talkin’ World War III Blues.”

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