Columbia to release Bob Dylan: The Witmark Demos and other news

Sony will release the next Bob Dylan Bootleg title in October featuring the Witmark Demos.  These have been in circulation for many years, and three years ago Hollow Horn produced the definitive release of the demos on Let My Poor Voice Be Heard (Hollow Horn Recording Artist Vol. 1).  We’ll see how they compare when this is release.

According to  SONY: 

Bob Dylan’s The Bootleg Series Volume 9 – The Witmark Demos will be released on Tuesday, October 19th, in conjunction with the re-release of the artist’s first eight long-playing albums in a box set titled Bob Dylan – The Original Mono Recordings. Both sets have been long sought-after by collectors and fans worldwide, with The Witmark Demos seeing their first commercial release nearly five decades after they were first recorded, and The Original Mono Recordingsreturning to the marketplace for the first time ever on CD as well as on fully analogue 180-gram vinyl. Both are now available for pre-sale with an exclusive t-shirt and limited edition 18×24″ Bob Dylan poster at You can also pre-order the CD or vinyl sets at Amazon

The Witmark Demos features 47 Bob Dylan songs recorded by the artist – accompanied only by his acoustic guitar, harmonica and occasionally piano – for his first music publisher, Leeds Music, in January 1962, and for his second publisher, M. Witmark & Sons, between 1962 and 1964.  Listening to these recordings, one can trace Dylan’s dramatic growth as a songwriter from early traditionally-styled songs like “Man On The Street” and “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Willie” through the social commentary of “Blowin’ In The Wind, “The Times They Are A Changin'” and “Masters Of War”, and the groundbreaking lyrical genius of “Mr. Tambourine Man.”  All of these songs, and all the others on The Witmark Demos, were written – and their subsequent demos recorded – before Bob Dylan turned 24 years old.

Among the many gems found on The Witmark Demos are 15 Bob Dylan songs that were recorded by the artist only for these sessions, and which have never been officially released to the public until now.  These include the plaintive “Ballad For A Friend,” the civil rights era-inspired “Long Ago, Far Away” and “The Death Of Emmett Till,” and the poignant “Guess I’m Doing Fine.”

While many of these early songs on The Witmark Demos found their way onto Bob Dylan’s own albums, much of the world’s first exposure to them was through their recordings by others, including Peter, Paul and Mary and Stevie Wonder (“Blowin’ In The Wind”), Judy Collins (“Tomorrow Is A Long Time”) and The Byrds (“Mr Tambourine Man”).  It’s a testament to the lasting cultural impact of these songs that they have been covered by more than a thousand artists in the nearly fifty years since these demos were created.  

The Witmark Demos also features a deluxe booklet featuring in-depth liner notes by noted music historian Colin Escott, as well as rare photographs of Bob Dylan captured during the same period as these early recordings.

The complete track listing of The Bootleg Series Volume 9 – The Witmark Demos is as follows:

Disc 1: 

  1. Man On The Street (Fragment)

  2. Hard Times In New York Town

  3. Poor Boy Blues

  4. Ballad For A Friend

  5. Rambling, Gambling Willie

  6. Talking Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues

  7. Standing On The Highway

  8. Man On The Street

  9. Blowin’ In The Wind

  10. Long Ago, Far Away

  11. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

  12. Tomorrow Is A Long Time

  13. The Death of Emmett Till

  14. Let Me Die In My Footsteps

  15. Ballad Of Hollis Brown

  16. Quit Your Low Down Ways

  17. Baby, I’m In The Mood For You

  18. Bound To Lose, Bound To Win

  19. All Over You

  20. I’d Hate To Be You On That Dreadful Day

  21. Long Time Gone

  22. Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues

  23. Masters Of War

  24. Oxford Town

  25. Farewell


Disc 2

  1. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right

  2. Walkin’ Down The Line

  3. I Shall Be Free

  4. Bob Dylan’s Blues

  5. Bob Dylan’s Dream

  6. Boots Of Spanish Leather

  7. Walls of Red Wing

  8. Girl From The North Country

  9. Seven Curses

  10. Hero Blues

  11. Whatcha Gonna Do?

  12. Gypsy Lou

  13. Ain’t Gonna Grieve

  14. John Brown

  15. Only A Hobo

  16. When The Ship Comes In

  17. The Times They Are A-Changin’

  18. Paths Of Victory

  19. Guess I’m Doing Fine

  20. Baby Let Me Follow You Down

  21. Mama, You Been On My Mind

  22. Mr. Tambourine Man

  23. I’ll Keep It With Mine

The Original Mono Recordings is comprised of Bob Dylan’s first eight long-playing albums, painstakingly reproduced from their first generation monaural mixes as the artist intended them to be heard:  One channel of powerful sound, both direct and immediate.  While stereo recordings had been available as early as the mid-1950s, mono was still the predominant – and often preferred – mode of recording and mixing by the top artists of the 1960s.  As a result, artists like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan devoted their attention to the mono mixes, leaving the stereo mixing process to studio engineers.

The Original Mono Recordings are accompanied by a deluxe booklet, featuring vintage photographs of Bob Dylan and an expansive essay from renowned author and critic – and longtime Dylan aficionado – Greil Marcus.  Each disc in the set comes in its own individual jacket which faithfully replicates the original album artwork, complete with labels and stickers that were found on the original 1960s releases.

These eight albums – spanning the artist’s self-titled debut in March 1962, through John Wesley Harding released on December 27, 1967 – are universally regarded as some of the most important works in the history of recorded music.  Together with The Witmark Demos, they provide the public with a wide-ranging view of Bob Dylan’s work during the 1960s, and chronicle his amazing evolution from fledgling songwriter to one of the world’s most inventive and singular recording artists.

The eight albums in The Complete Mono Recordings are as follows:

  • Bob Dylan – 1962

  • The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan – 1963

  • The Times They Are A-Changin’ – 1964

  • Another Side Of Bob Dylan – 1964

  • Bringing It All Back Home – 1965

  • Highway 61 Revisited – 1965

  • Blonde on Blonde – 1966

  • John Wesley Harding – 1967

 In other bootleg news:


Led Zeppelin A Sudden Attack Boston (Revised Edition) (GL 008/009) is the new release on Grand Lodge, the minor label responsible for Eric Clapton Prejudice, released last summer.  A Sudden Attack Boston (Revised Edition) is a two disc set with the tapes from the January 23rd and January 26th, Tea Party tapes.  These have been out before and sadly nothing is new.  The January 26th show is one of the all time legendary Zeppelin shows.  It went on for several hours, but only about an hour or so exists. 

The Rolling Stones Vive La France! – 2010 Remaster Version (SODD-115/116) is a two disc set with the June 7th, 1976 Paris show. 

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  1. Preordered Dylan “The Witmark Demos” from Amazon so I could get the exclusive live CD from May 10, 1963 at Brandeis University and even though I’m still just a casual “Bob” collector, I really like this release and especially the bonus disc. I was expecting a AUD recording and to my delight it’s a soundboard and very clean one!!! Amazon claims this has never been available in any form including bootleg. Is this true? Also I see that Amazon still has this live disc available. Last and this is to the record companies… why is it so hard to distribute these collectors discs with a plastic CD sleeve inside these cardboard style cases so that the CD is protected. When I opened my copy I looked at the disc and it had scratches and finger prints all over it. If your main target audience is collectors for this release then treat it like a collectors item please!!! End of rant….

  2. Has anyone picked up the “Zep” and compared to previous releases?


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