Monday, April 8, 2013
"The Witmark Demos" by Bob Dylan (1962-64)
One of the best things about not having enough money to buy everything you want is that you often come across that item several years later, and, having forgotten all about it, it’s brand new to you. Everyone else may have heard it; all the critics have expressed their views; but for me it’s like finding treasure. It becomes personal; mine; a secret which has apparently passed by all the others who got there first. That’s how this album affected me.
Released in 2010 by Sony Brothers, this unique collection represents the “demos” recorded by Bob Dylan in the first few years of his life as a recording artist. As a result, the collection contains such unusual items as Dylan doing “The Times they Are a Changing” on piano, rather than guitar, It’s more of a hymn than a protest song. I can hardly imagine him lugging a piano around to all those Civil Rights rallies and having the same effect as he did with his guitar upon the millions who saw and heard him.
Almost all of the selections on this album were released on Mr. Dylan’s first 3 albums for Columbia. And even without much change in the arrangements; indeed some were not changed at all; there is more urgency on these tracks than in their final incarnations. There is also a bit of banter with the engineers as he struggles through some of the numbers which lends more of a “live” effect to the songs, making the whole listening experience even better. This is Dylan; alone playing guitar, piano and harmonica; singing the songs he sings best. If you are lucky, as I was, in missing this collection when it was first released; then you are in for a real treat.
Below is the track listing from the rear cover;
Annette Funicello appears at 43 seconds.