This ranks high as one of the most important boot releases of all time, and on top of that, it’s simply a thrill and a joy to just sit back and listen to. If you’re only planning on getting one bootleg this decade, this is the one. Hands down.
Bob Dylan plays his first major solo concert at a major New York concert venue; Town Hall. He still hadn’t released his groundbreaking second album and chose only to play 3 songs from his first album. A confident young Dylan mostly playing songs unknown to the audience & ending with a long spoken poem called “Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie”.
The Town Hall was about three-quarter full…. not bad considering his only released album had been a “flop”.
It was/is a GREAT concert… a “must” for any Dylan fan.
The first bootleg recording (with some songs from the concert) started circulating in 1970. The full concert recording started circulating in 2008 (superb soundboard sound).
A highlight among highlights! …… It’s a tender and beautiful one with Bob’s voice going into higher registers. He starts of joking that it’s a difficult song to sing and that he might not be able to; but he pulls it of incredibly well.
~bobsboots.com (about Don’t Think Twice)
The hard rain is gonna fall is in the last verse when I say “when the pellets of poison are flooding the waters”. I mean, all the lies, you know, all the lies that people get told on their radios and their newspapers which, all you have to do is
just think for a minute, y’know, try and take peoples brains away, y’know, which maybe’s been done already. I dunno, maybe, I hate to think it’s been done, but all the lies, which are considered poison, y’know, er…
Bob Dylan (to Studs Terkel, April 63)
‘Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’… I wrote the words of it on a piece of paper. But there was just no tune that really fit to it, so I just sort of play chords without a tune. If all this comes under the heading of a definition, then I don’t care really to define what I do. Other people seem to have a hard time doing that.
~Bob Dylan (to Max Jones, May 64)
From “The Witmark Demos” (Bootleg Series 9):
@ #16 on my list of Dylan’s 200 best songs. The original version from “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” was recorded on December 6 – 1962…. 50 year’s ago today. The Witmark version above was recorded sometime in December 62.
‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’, recorded December 6, 1962, is another song whose genius and power are so great that our analytical minds (not our hearts) may have difficulty accepting and recognizing it’s simplicity.
~Paul Williams (Performing Artist 60-73)
Dylan sounds well-oiled with alcohol on the Houston tape, his voice very low and rich, his commentary between songs (and his pacing, when he talks) bizarre and rather charming. That voice! If you love Dylan’s work, then you must somehow get hold of copies of “Simple Twist of Fate” and “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” from Houston, 11/12/1981. And “Solid Rock”.
~Paul Williams (Performing Artist 74-86)
Another amazing concert from the 81-tour. Great sounding youtube’s. I will of course include the 3 songs mentioned by PW.
The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll:
How can I describe that voice? I cannot. There’s so much in it. It is full of detail, full of flavor, bursting with life. I suppose it is my job to explain how this is done, but I can’t begin to guess. I can only gesture awkwardly and enthusiastically at the result. And listen, and take in, and listen again, with enduring pleasure and awe.
~Paul Williams (describing “Simple Twist of Fate” from this show)
Here it is - Simple Twist of Fate:
Gotta Serve Somebody
I Believe In You
Like A Rolling Stone
The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll
Man Gave Names To All The Animals
Girl From The North Country
Ballad Of A Thin Man
Simple Twist Of Fate
Heart Of Mine
All Along The Watchtower
I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight
Gamblin’ Man (trad.)
The Times They Are A-Changin’
A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
Shot Of Love
Just Like A Woman
Masters Of War
When You Gonna Wake Up
In The Garden
Blowin’ In The Wind
It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
It Ain’t Me, Babe
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
“Hard Rain” from Houston is simply one of the all-time great performances of this great song.
A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall:
Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
Fred Tackett (guitar)
Steve Ripley (guitar)
Al Kooper (keyboards)
Tim Drummond (bass)
Jim Keltner (drums)
Arthur Rosato (drums)
Clydie King, Regina Havis, Madelyn Quebec (background vocals).
Both the Nashville (11/14) & the Houston performances of this song are outstanding, exemplary works of religious art – like medieval paintings of the crucifixion, filled with the painter’s own feelings about mortality and faith and despair and about the human condition at the time of painting as well as at the time of crucifying. Time is collapsed in such art….
~Paul Williams (about “Solid Rock” – from “Performing Artist 74-86)
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We give credit to artists when we can find the source.
1. Visions Of Johanna
2. Like A Rolling Stone
3. Tangled Up in Blue
4. Ballad Of A Thin Man
5. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
6. Blind Willie McTell (electric version)
7. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
8. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
9. Desolation Row
10. Idiot Wind (New York version)