A previously unknown live recording of a 21-year-old Bob Dylan will be released by Columbia Records/Legacy on digital, CD and vinyl on April 10. Taped at the Brandeis First Annual Folk Festival in Waltham, Massachusetts on May 10, 1963, “Bob Dylan In Concert – Brandeis University 1963” captures the young artist on-stage, in front of an appreciative audience two weeks prior to the release of “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” (May 27, 1963).
“The Bob Dylan In Concert – Brandeis University 1963” concert tape was discovered recently in the archives of the noted music writer and Rolling Stone co-founder Ralph Gleason, where it sat on a shelf for more than forty years. “It had been forgotten, until it was found last year in the clearing of the house after my mother died,” said Toby Gleason, Ralph’s son. “It’s a seven inch reel-to-reel that sounds like it was taped from the mixing desk.”
Drawn from two sets that spring night at the Brandeis Folk Festival, tracks on “Bob Dylan In Concert – Brandeis University 1963” include “Honey, Just Allow Me On More Chance” (incomplete), “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues,” “Ballad Of Hollis Brown,” “Masters of War,” “Talkin’ World War III Blues,” “Bob Dylan’s Dream,” and “Talkin’ Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues.”
Previously available as a limited time offer, “Bob Dylan In Concert – Brandeis University 1963” is being reissued in response to overwhelming popular demand for a wide release. The new Columbia/Legacy edition features liner notes penned exclusively for this release by noted Bob Dylan scholar Michael Gray, author of The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia and the three-volume “Song & Dance Man: The Art of Bob Dylan,” provided an explication of the album’s seven songs and historical/cultural context for the performances.
“It’s a small miracle this recording exists,” Gray writes in his essay. “Clearly a professional recording…. (t)he Bob Dylan performance it captured, from way back when Kennedy was President and the Beatles hadn’t yet reached America, wasn’t even on fans’ radar…. It reveals him not at any Big Moment but giving a performance like his folk club sets of the period: repertoire from an ordinary working day….Dylan has leapt a creative canyon with this material….This is the last live performance we have of Bob Dylan before he becomes a star….”