In Concert Brandeis University 1963 (Columbia Legacy 88697 79455 2)
Brandeis University Waltham, MA – May 10th, 1963
(38:24): Honey Just Allow Me One More Chance (incomplete), Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues, The Ballad of Hollis Brown, Masters of War, Talkin’ World War Three Blues, Bob Dylan’s Dream, Talkin’ Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues
When Columbia released Bob Dylan’s Witmark Demos and The Original Mono Recordings in October, they made a surprise announcement that Amazon.com would offer the Brandeis show as a bonus disc for those who purchase them through their site. In Concert Brandeis University 1963 is an almost forty minute mono soundboard recording which had never been in circulation before.
According to the original press release: “The original tape of the show was recently discovered in the archives of Rolling Stone magazine co-founder Ralph Gleason, who had been in possession of the recording for over 40 years. Ralph’s son Toby Gleason says the seven-inch reel-to-reel was discovered last year during the process of clearing out his father’s house after his mother died.
“‘My father had nothing to do with that Brandeis show,’ Gleason says. ‘I suspect he got the tape from Bob himself or from one of the people in Bob’s organization. My father was one of the nationally credited writers that wrote about Bob the most, and they became close.'”
Dylan’s appearance at Brandeis came at a very busy time. He had just finished recording The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (which would be released in two weeks), was recording demos for Witmark, and was making frequent radio appearances.
The set is comprised of material from the new album including one, “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues,” which was originally going to be on the album but pulled off. Also played is “Talkin’ Bear Mountain Picnic Blues,” a constant in his live act at the time yet wouldn’t be released until The Bootleg Series 1-3 in 1991, and “Ballad Of Hollis Brown” which would appear on his third album The Times They Are A-Changin’.
The show is rather low-key compared to the April Town Hall concert and the October appearance in Carnegie Hall. Dylan sounds nervous and doesn’t engage the audience like the other shows until the final song of the night. And all of the performances, while very good, are stiff and formal.
Brandeis University 1963 is good as a bonus disc but Columbia probably made the correct decision in not making this part of the bootleg series. It is too short and formal to be truly entertaining and is best appreciated by committed Dylan collectors. Copies are available online for those who have to have it. It’s packaged in a single pocket cardboard sleeve with a photograph from the folk festival on the front and a setlist posted on the back.