Audio: The Copyright Files – Bob Dylan’s ‘I Shall Be Free #10’

Forty-Four years ago, on January 6, 1971, according to Tim Dunn’s “The Bob Dylan Copyright Files 1962-2007,” Bob Dylan’s song “I Shall Be Free #10” was copyrighted.

What’s odd about that is that the song was written and recorded nearly six and a half years earlier. It appeared on Dylan’s fourth album, Another Side Of Bob Dylan, which was released August 8, 1964.

I guess it slipped through the cracks.

Some (Clinton Heylin for one) think this song is a throwaway. I disagree. It provides a good counterpoint to the heavier material on the album, and it contains plenty of great lines.

While it’s a humorous song, it’s also an example of Dylan beginning to move away from traditional, straightforward songwriting.

The more surreal writing of later albums (Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde On Blonde, John Wesley Harding) is alive and well in this song.

And it contains at least one classic Dylan line:

“I’m a poet, I know it, hope I don’t blow it.”

According to Clinton Heylin, there were some verses that Dylan chose not to record. Here’s one of them:

now malcolm x is on my trail
robert welch wants to throw me in jail
bishop sheen says i got no belief
rabbi greenbaum says I’m a thief

Below are two outtakes plus the version that’s on Another Side Of Bob Dylan.

“I Shall Be Free” (official version as it appears on Another Side of Bob Dylan), recorded June 9, 1964:

I Shall Be Free No 10 by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

“I Shall Be Free #10” (outtake #2), recorded June 9, 1964:

I Shall Be Free No.10 (outtake 2) by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

“I Shall Be Free #10” (outtake), recorded June 9, 1964:

I Shall Be Free No.10 (outtake) by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

About Michael Goldberg

Michael Goldberg is a distinguished pioneer in the online music space; Newsweek magazine called him an ‘Internet visionary.’ In 1994 he founded Addicted To Noise (ATN), the highly influential music web site. He was a senior vice-president and editor in chief at SonicNet from March 1997 through May 2000. In 1997, Addicted To Noise won Webby awards for best music site in 1998 and 1999, and also won Yahoo Internet Life! awards for three years running as best music site in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Prior to starting Addicted To Noise, Goldberg was an editor and senior writer at Rolling Stone magazine for 10 years. His writing has also appeared in Wired, Esquire, Vibe, Details, Downbeat, NME and numerous other publications. Michael recently completed his first novel, Days of the Crazy-Wild, and is currently writing a second novel.

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