One Push Of The Button: TV Shows (Part 1) (Hollow Horn)
Disc 1 (79:43): Folk Songs And More, March 4th, 1963: Blowin’ In The Wind, Man Of Constant Sorrow, Ballad Of Hollis Brown. Songs Of Freedom, July 30th, 1963: Blowin’ In The Wind, Only A Pawn In Their Game. Quest, February 1st, 1964: The Times They Are A-Changin’, Talkin’ World War III Blues, The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll, Girl Of The North Country, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, Restless Farewell. Steve Allen Show, February 25th, 1964, The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll. Tonight, May 1964: With God On Our Side. Hallelujah, May 14th, 1964: Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright. Les Crane Show, February 17th, 1965: It’s All Over Now Baby Blue, It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding). Johnny Cash Show, May 1st, 1969: I Threw It All Away, Living The Blues, Girl Of The North Country
Disc 2 (79:50): BBC TV Special, June 1st, 1965: Ballad Of Hollis Brown, Mr. Tambourine Man, Gates Of Eden, If You Gotta Go Go Now, The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll, It Ain’t Me Babe, Love Minus Zero/No Limit, One Too Many Mornings, Boots Of Spanish Leather, It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding), She Belongs To Me, It’s All Over Now Baby Blue. Grammy Awards, February 27th, 1980: Gotta Serve Somebody
One Push Of The Button collects together the audio of various rare Bob Dylan television appearances. Most occur between 1963 to 1965, but Hollow Horn also include Dylan on “The Johnny Cash Show” in 1969 and his performance of “Gotta Serve Somebody” from the 22nd Grammy Awards. All of the tapes used by Hollow Horn are in good to very good sound quality taped straight from the telecasts.
His earliest appearance on television was on “Folk Songs And More Folk Songs.” This was an hour long show which also featured Carolyn Hester, The Staples Singers, The Brothers Four and others. It was taped at Westinghouse Studios in New York on March 4th, 1963. Hosted by John Henry Faulk, Dylan sings three songs throughout the show. Faulk can be heard saying “whatever we’ve done as a people has turned up on songs. Folk songs we call them” as Dylan begins singing his biggest hit at the time “Blowin’ In The Wind.” He plays also the traditional “Man Of Constant Sorrow” and a strange rendition of “Ballad Of Hollis Brown” with Michael Kirkland accompanying Dylan on the banjo. This is in contrast to the bleak arrangement recorded in the studio and lends an incongruous levity to the stark narrative.
No footage exists of the “Songs Of Freedom” broadcast on WNEW-TV in New York, but only the audio. This was taped on July 30th, 1963 and broadcast almost a month later on August 26th. He sings “Blowin’ In The Wind” and the freshly written “Only A Pawn In The Game.”
The longest segment on the first disc is his performance on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) show Quest. Filmed on February 1st, 1964 and telecast on March 10th, he plays six songs on his first appearance on Canadian television. This document is also the earliest performance filmed in its entirety. Dylan’s third album The Times They Are A-Changin’ had just been released two weeks before and he starts the show with the title track “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” The other new songs are “The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll” and “Restless Farewell.” The other three songs come from The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan “Talkin’ World War III Blues,” “Girl Of The North Country,” and a touching version of “Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.”
Later in the month Dylan appeared on the “Steve Allen Show” taped at NBC studios in Los Angeles. Hollow Horn include an interview before the track where Allen asks Bob about the meaning of the new song “Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll.” Dylan states the characters, William Zanzinger and Hattie Carroll are real people but declines to discuss it further, saying “if I talk about it I will talk for a long time. If I sing about it it will only take three minutes.” This is one of the earliest interviews with Dylan on network television and, as one commentator states: “As Elvis and The Beatles indicated, one sweep through America’s televised heartland would produce moments etched within our personal histories. Although Dylan’s appearance on Steve Allen is not remembered as a turning point in evolved taste, it was in retrospect, the most prolific and important televised introduction to date of a complete American genius.”
Dylan’s first to appearances on British television follow. “Tonight” was broadcast on BBC 1 on May 12th, 1964. Cliff Michelmore introduces Dylan before he sings three verses of “With God On Our Side.” The tape unfortunately cuts out at the end. Two days later he was filmed at Didsbury Studios in Manchester for “Hallelujah” on ATV. No footage is extant, but it is know he performed “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright,” “Blowin’ In The Wind” and the freshly written “Chimes Of Freedom.” Only the first song exists on audio and is notable for Dylan coughing at the very end.
“The Les Crane Show” was taped on February 17th 1965 for WABC TV in New York. Hollow Horn include the two songs he played, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” and It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding).” Between the two tracks they include a piece of the hilarious interview where Dylan is impressed to learn that Alan Ginsberg sat in the same chair as he and discusses his up coming “cowboy horror movie” that takes place “on the New York Thruway” and where he plays his mother. Dylan is accompanied by Bruce Langhorn on electric guitar. No footage exists of this appearance except for a two second glimpse on very rare home 8mm silent film. The final selection on the first disc skips ahead four years for the Nashville Skyline era. The appearance on “The Johnny Cash Show” was taped in Nashville on May 1st, 1969 and he plays “I Threw It All Away,” “Living The Blues” and “Girl Of The North Country” as a duet with Cash.
Almost the entire second disc is occupied by his 1965 BBC-TV concert. This is the show Albert Grossman and Tito Burns are arguing over in the movie Don’t Look Back. It was taped on June 1st, 1965 after his short tour of England. “Hollis Brown” to “It Ain’t Me, Babe” were telecast on June 26th and “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” to “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” on June 19th and unfortunately no footage survives. For almost thirty years the only audio in circulation was a tape made by someone who placed the tape recorder in front of their television set. But Hollow Horn use the new tape source that surfaced several years ago and were first pressed on BBC In Concert 1965 (BlackDog-005) in identical sound quality. The liner notes on that release explain: “However, some of the more inventive fans didwork out ways of recording the shows through a ‘line input’. What we have on this release is evidence of such a recording. It is effectively a mono soundboard recording of Dylan’s 1965 BBC In Concert performance, and it sounds wonderful – far better than had been available before. Every strum of the guitar is captured with remarkable clarity for a tape of its age. This new recording has recently been unearthed after remaining unheard and uncirculated since it was first recorded.”
The session was taped in front of a live audience and the broadcast presents a majority of the current setlist. (Songs missing are “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” “To Ramona,” “Talkin’ World War III Blues,” “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright,” “With God On Our Side,” and “All I Really Wanna Do.”) Dylan is very serious for most of the performance. He tells no stories and gives very little in way of elaboration or interaction with the studio audience. He gives a cut introduction to “Boots Of Spanish Leather” and loosens up a bit for the final song, saying “This is called ‘It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)’ ho ho ho. It’s a funny song.” The final track on disc two is “Gotta Serve Somebody.” This comes from the 22nd Annual Grammy Awards on February 27th, 1980 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. He won the award for Best Vocal Rock Performance, Male for the song and he performs the high-charged rock arrangement employed on the first gospel tour.
One Push Of The Button is the third volume of Hollow Horn’s current Performing Artist series and a second volume of television appearances can be expected. It is packaged in the gorgeous digipack used for all of their other titles with stills from the various programs. Like everything else produced by this label, they use the best available sounding tapes with remastering of the tapes to improve the sound. The only minor flaw is the ten minutes of silence following the final track on disc two.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)