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Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Ghost Of Woody Guthrie - Unreleased Recordings, 1961



The Ghost of Woody Guthrie
Unreleased Recordings - 1961

Handsome Molly - July 29, 1961 - Riverside Church Tape
Baby Please Don't Go - December 22, 1961 - Minnesota Hotel Tape
Pastures Of Plenty - Early 1961 - Gleason Tape
Ain't Got No Home - December 22, 1961 - Minnesota Hotel Tape
Railroad Boy - May 1961 - Minnesota Party Tape
1913 Massacre - November 4, 1961 - Live at Carnegie Chapter Hall
Poor Lazarus - December 22, 1961 - Minnesota Hotel Tape
This Train Is Bound For Glory - May 1961 - Minnesota Party Tape
Gypsy Davy - Early 1961 - Gleason Tape
How'd You Do - May 1961 - Minnesota Party Tape
Young But Daily Growing - November 4, 1961 - Live at Carnegie Chapter Hall
In The Evening - December 22, 1961 - Minnesota Hotel Tape
It's Hard To Be Blind - December 22, 1961 - Minnesota Hotel Tape
Omie Wise - July 29, 1961 - Riverside Church Tape
Railroad Bill - May 1961 - Minnesota Party Tape
Talking Merchant Marine - November 4, 1961 - Live at Carnegie Chapter Hall
Stealin' - December 22, 1961 - Minnesota Hotel Tape
Cocaine Blues - December 22, 1961 - Minnesota Hotel Tape
Don't Push Me Down - May 1961 - Minnesota Party Tape
Car, Car - September 6, 1961 - Live at The Gaslight Cafe
In The Pines - November 4, 1961 - Live at Carnegie Chapter Hall
Remember Me - Early 1961 - Gleason Tape

Bonus

Ramblin' Round - May 1961 - Minnesota Party Tape
San Francisco Bay Blues - May 1961 - Minnesota Party Tape
See The My Grave Is Kept Clean - December 22, 1961 - Minnesota Hotel Tape
VD City - December 22, 1961 - Minnesota Hotel Tape
Backwater Blues - November 4, 1961 - Live at Carnegie Chapter Hall
Death Don't Have No Mercy - May 1961 - Minnesota Party Tape


These recordings collectively form the best of what Bob Dylan recorded before the release of his first album. None are original songs; as the name suggests, Woody Guthrie and the music of the 1930s and 1940s hang like a specter over much of the material here.

You can really get a sense of Dylan beginning his journey towards musical stardom. While his earliest recordings here sound reasonably tentative, by the later recordings he has developed a knack for showmanship and inhabiting the songs. He even cracks a lewd joke when introducing "Talking Merchant Marine."

As is unsurprising, the sound quality is questionable at times. While the Minnesota Hotel Tape and the Carnegie Chapter Hall recordings sound utterly remarkable, the Minnesota Party Tape and the Riverside Church Tape leave a bit to be desired. The Gleason Tape falls squarely in the middle - it has an ambiance that makes up for its loud tape noise. None of the recording quality detracts significantly from the songs, and listenability was a concern, as ever, in compiling this set.

The bonus content includes a couple of songs that were on an earlier iteration of this record, and a handful of others that were interesting (especially Backwater Blues!) but that couldn't quite fit on the proper CD. "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" represents the only representation of music present on Dylan's debut LP, though the melody of "1913 Massacre" would be re-appropriated for "Song To Woody."

I hope you enjoy the collection, which represents a glimpse into the formative period in the performance art of Bob Dylan.

The next release will be published on April 1, 2015, and will concern the esteemed 1966 World Tour. Until then, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes.

-CS

UPDATE - March 10, 2015: New links are above, containing The Ghost Of Woody Guthrie with improved versions of the Minnesota Party Tape songs. For those of you who already downloaded the compilation, you can grab the Minnesota Party Tape link only. It contains all Minnesota Party Tape tracks except "How'd You Do," which sounded strangely worse on the alternate source. Please let me know if any of the new links are problematic.