While the official version of “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?” was released on December 21, 1965, a different version was mistakenly released as the A-side of what was supposed to be the “Positively Fourth Street” single three months earlier on September 7, 1065.
As a kid I heard “Positively Fourth Street” on the radio, loved it and went to the record store down the hill from where I lived and bought a copy.
I was surprised to discover a different song on the A-side but it was just as great as “Positively Fourth Street.”
Michael Bloomfield and Al Kooper both play on this version, which according to Clinton Heylin, was recorded on July 30, 1965 at Columbia’s Studio A in New York:
Here it is as well in better fidelity:
Forty-nine years ago, on December 21, 1965, the official version recorded with the Hawks on October 4, 1965, was released.
OK, so we know this day, 49 years ago, was historic. Bob Dylan going public with his new electric rock ‘n’ roll sound.
We all know the story. We all know the different versions of the story.
What remains amazing is the music.
On Saturday July 24, 1965 Dylan played a workshop and did three acoustic numbers. I’ve got “All I Really Want To Do” and “Love Minus Zero/ No Limit” from that workshop, and then all the songs from his evening performance on July 25, 1965.
Here Dylan rock out through “Maggie’s Farm,” “Like A Rolling Stone” and “Phantom Engineer,” an early version of “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry.”
This music will be as alive as anyone until humans are no more.
In response to my post yesterday, “Bob Dylan’s ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ Manuscript Sells for $2 Million But Dylan’s Secrets Remain Secret,” Mike Jones commented:
The LARS lyrics went for more than I thought they would…how are a few pieces of paper worth more than the Newport guitar? I don’t get the whole ephemera thing. I guess people like to have historical stuff, just to look at or whatever. But I would much rather have the Newport guitar, which sold for like half as much. That seems very strange to me.
I understand why some folks, especially musicians, would want the guitar Bob Dylan played at the Newport Folk Festival gig that drew the line between the old Dylan, and the new.
For me though — and I’m not saying paying $2 mil makes any kind of sense — between the guitar and the manuscript, I’d go for the manuscript.
Certainly the guitar is an iconic object, symbolic of Dylan’s rejection of so-called ‘folk music’ for rock ‘n’ roll, but he could have played any Strat that day and made the same music, made the same impact. Dylan’s art and his creativity didn’t hinge on that particular guitar. In fact, he played many guitars over the years. It’s always been Dylan, not his instruments, that makes the difference.
But that manuscript.
That’s the artist at work. That’s the artist in the throes of the creative process.
On those pages we see the song take shape. Words crossed out and other words written in. The chorus forming before our eyes from page to page.
And those cryptic notes to the side of the lyrics. “Al Capone,” “On the Road,” “Pony Blues,” “Butcher Boy.”
From these pages and the ones for “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” we get the curtain pulled back a little on Dylan’s creative process.
And when one combines what’s on these pages, with what he reveals in “Chronicles: Volume One” and elsewhere, we do get a vague sense of the Dylan mind at work.
We’ll never get to the bottom of it, and it’s probably better that way, but still.
So Bob Dylan’s ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ lyrics are very different from the Newport guitar. They’re a time machine that takes us back to that day (s) when Bob Dylan put the ideas that were in his head down on hotel stationary, and created a timeless song, a song that, nearly 50 years after he wrote it, stands tall.
But what do you think?
Would you opt for the Newport guitar, or the “Like A Rolling Stone” manuscript pages?
Or is there something else that you’d go for instead. If you had the money, and if you could afford to spend it in this way.
Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 singing “Like A Rolling Stone”:
Forty-nine years ago, on June 16, 1965, Bob Dylan and a handful of ace session musicians including the great blues guitarist Michael Bloomfield and a upstart organ player, Al Kooper, recorded the take of “Like A Rolling Stone” that established Bob Dylan as one of the great rock ‘n’ rollers of all time.
The session took place in Columbia Studio A in New York, where Dylan was comfortable working, and where he had recorded his previous albums.
Dylan had started recording the song the previous day but didn’t cut a killer take.
Michael Bloomfield, guitar, Joe Macho, Jr., bass, Bobby Gregg, drums. Al Kooper, organ; Paul Griffin, piano; Bruce Langhorne, tambourine.
Greil Marcus writing about the fourth take on June 16, 1965, the take with the magic:
Take 4 — 6.34
“Four,” Wilson says. As it happens, this will be the master take, and the only time the song is found.
“One two, one two three”: the bang that sets it off is not quite as big as in the take just before, but it somehow makes more space for itself, pushes the others away for the fraction of a second necessary to mark the act. Gregg, too, has found the song. He has a strategy, creating humps in the verses and then carrying everyone over them.
As big as the drums are, Griffin plays with light hands; you can imagine his keys loosening. At the very start, piano and bass seem the bedrock — but so much is happening, and with such gravity, you cannot as a listener stay in one place. You may have heard this performance thousands of times, but here, as it takes shape, the fact that it does take shape doesn’t seem quite real. The false starts have created a sense that there can be no finished version, and even if you know this is where it happens, as with all the takes before it you are waiting for it to stop short.
Bloomfield is playing with finesse, passion, and most of all modesty. He has a sense of what to leave out, of when to play and when not to. He waits for his moments, and then he leaps. And this is the only take where, for him, everything is clear.
There is a moment, just after the first “How does it feel?” when Kooper’s organ, Bloomfield’s guitar, and Gregg’s cymbals come together in a single waterspout, and you can feel the song running under its own power. You wonder: what are the musicians thinking, as this astonishing story, told with such a sensation of daring and jeopardy, unfolds in front of them for the first time?
Kooper holds down a stop at the fade, long after everyone else has quit playing. “Like wild thing, baby,” someone says, beside himself. “That sounds good to me,” Wilson says, happiness all over his voice.
You can read Marcus’ description of the entire June 16 session here.
The song that changed everything:
“Maggie’s Farm” into “Like A Rolling Stone” at Newport Folk Festival, July 25, 1965:
Hollywood Bowl, Sept. 3, 1965:
Liverpool, England, May 14, 1966:
The Royal Albert Hall, London, May 26, 1966:
Not sure when or where this is from or who is playing the solo but it smokes:
Bob Dylan with Michael Bloomfield, Warfield Theater, San Francisco, November 15, 1980:
On October 5, 1965 Bob Dylan began recording Blonde On Blonde at Columbia Recording Studios, Studio A in New York.
Off and on through January 27, 1965 Dylan and a bunch of musicians that included The Band made many recordings. Most of them didn’t make it onto Blonde On Blonde. After that Dylan headed for Nashville where the bulk of the album was cut.
Below are some of the New York versions recorded. I’m obsessed with Blonde On Blonde, so I find all of these fascinating.
“I Don’t Wanna Be Your Partner”:
“Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window”:
“Number One” (Instrumental):
“She’s Your Lover Now”:
“Stuck Inside Of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again”:
“I Wanna Be Your Lover”:
“She’s Your Lover Now” (Solo):
“Visions of Johanna”:
“Please Crawl Out Your Window” (another version):
“Please Crawl Out Your Window” (and another version – cuts off):
“I’ll Keep It With Mine”:
“Visions of Johanna” (another version):
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Dylan at Newport, 1965. Is there more to say about it?
But today I’m digging the music. And I’m digging seeing Dylan along and with Michael Bloomfield on lead guitar, Al Kooper on organ, Barry Goldberg on piano, bassist Jerome Arnold and drummer Sam Lay, along with Barry Goldberg on piano, playing an amazing set.
I really love this version of “Maggie’s Farm.” Michael Bloomfield sounds terrific.
On January 17, 1965, Bob Dylan appeared on “The Les Crane Show” at WABC studios in New York.
He was interviewed at length by Les Crane, and he performed two songs: “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” and “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleedin’)”
Here’s a bit of the interview. The entire interview is reprinted below the audio.
Dylan: Well, I’m gonna try to make a movie this summer. Which Allen Ginsberg is writing. I’m rewriting …
Crane: Allen Ginsberg, the poet?
Dylan: Yeah, yeah.
Crane: He was on this program you know.
Crane: Extolling the virtues of marijuana one night.
Dylan: Really? Allen?? (audience laughter). Sounds like a lie to me (audience laughter).
Crane: That’s really … You think I’m lying?
Dylan: No, I didn’t mean that.
Crane: Allen Ginsberg was sitting in that chair where Caterina Valente is sitting right now and he said that he thought that we ought to legalize pot.
Dylan: He said that?
Crane: Right on the television.
Crane: Can you imagine that?
Dylan: Nah. Allen is a little funny sometimes (audience roars with laughter).
Crane: Allen’s funny sometimes, huh? Yes … what is this movie going to be about?
Dylan: Oh it’s a, sort of a horror cowboy movie (audience laughter). Takes place on the New York Thruway.
Crane: A horror cowboy movie that takes place .. I don’t think that’s exactly what Tommy Sands had in mind.
Dylan: No, well, its, that’s the kind of movie it’s gonna be though. You know.
Crane: It’s gonna be one of those underground pictures, right?
Dylan: No. It’s gonna be all straight. On the up and up.
Crane: Yeah? Are you gonna star in it?
Dylan: Yeah, yeah, I’m a hero.
I’ve included the songs, audio of Les and Bob’s conversation, and a transcript of the interview.
“It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”:
Les Crane interviews Bob Dylan, February 17, 1965:
“It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleedin'”:
Here’s the interview in full:
Crane: Mr Bob Dylan, Ladies and Gentlemen! (applause) (shouts) Hello Bobby!
Dylan: I’m alright!
Crane: Are you plugged in? All right.
Dylan: [sings It’s All Over Now Baby Blue]
Crane: Thank you Bob and I’ll be right back.
—-< break >—-
Crane: How’d it feel?
Crane: Did it feel good?
Dylan: Felt good.
Crane: Yeah, you were groovy. What’cha doin’ with that?
Dylan: Oh, I’m just trying to get it down so it doesn’t fall in the way of my voice you know.
Crane: We had … looking at that harmonica, have you ever met Jesse Fuller?
Crane: Jessie was on the show a couple of weeks ago. We didn’t get a chance to talk much but next time he comes back, I want to because he looks like an amazing gentleman. Talking about amazing gentlemen, how old are you?
Crane: 23 years old!
Dylan: Yeah, I’ll be 24 in May!
Crane: Yeah. A lot’s happened to you in just 23 years hasn’t it?
Dylan: Yeah, yeah, fantastic!
Crane: Are you happy about it?
Dylan: Oh, yeah, yeah.
Crane: You oughta be. Because you’re successful at doing, I think, what you want to do more than anything else.
Dylan: Yeah, yeah, I don’t have much to think about.
Crane: You don’t have much to think about? I think you must be thinking about an awful lot of things to write the kind of things you do.
Dylan: Yeah, yeah.
Crane: Tell ’em!
Crane: Tell ’em, just for those out there in the audience that might not know all of the songs that you’ve written. Just name a few of the big ones!
Crane: This is the composer of …
Dylan: SUBTERRANEAN HOMESICK BLUES!
Crane: No! That ain’t one of the big ones! (audience laughter)
Dylan: Let’s see, One Too Many Mornings.
Crane: How about Blowin’ In The Wind?
Dylan: Yeah? (applause)
Crane: Do you folks. maybe you remember the night that Judy Collins…, and I kept saying “You gotta sing this song, you gotta sing this song” and Judy Collins came out and and sang the full original version of Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall? Well, Bob wrote that!
Dylan: Yeah, I wrote that (applause).
Crane: Who are you waving at?
Crane: Odetta! (To audience) Do you know who Odetta is? (lots of applause). Put a light on that lady!! How are you darling? … Talk about great artists! That’s one of them! (To Odetta) You are going to be on show in a while aren’t you?
Odetta: Next month.
Crane: Next month. Yeah, Odetta is all booked …
Crane: When did you first start pickin’ and singin’, Bob?
Dylan: Oh… When I was about ten, eleven.
— continued —
Use this link or the one below below to get to the rest of this post.
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There is some confusion as to whether Bob Dylan’s January 15, 1965 session at Columbia Studio A in New York was the last for Bringing It All Back Home.
Two writers who had access to Columbia’s archives — Clinton Heylin and Michael Krogsgaard — have documented three sessions that took place on January 13, 14 and 15.
However the Bootleg Series Vol. 7 album, No Direction Home: the Soundtrack, includes a recording of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” that is dated January 16, 1965.
Of course Columbia’s record keeping regarding the Dylan sessions is, as Dylan might put it, “mixed up confusion,” so perhaps that recording was from one of the other sessions.
However photographer Daniel Kraemer writes in “Bob Dylan: A Portrait of the Artist’s Early Years” that he attended “the next to last session” where he says Dylan recorded “Mr. Tambourine Man,” It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding” and “Gates of Eden,” so that had to be the January 15 session. (If you have info on whether there was a January 16 session, please let me know.)
In any case, the January 15 session was momentous. Dylan recorded killer takes of “Maggie’s Farm,” “On the Road Again,” “It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding,” “Gates of Eden” “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” all of which were used for Bringing It all Back Home.
In his book, “Like A Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads,” Greil Marcus writes about side two of Bringing It All Back Home: There was no laughter on the other side of the album. There, except for ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ and ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,’ where single backing instruments were so subtle they seemed more like emanations from the songs than pieces added to them, this was Bob Dylan as he had always been, alone, with his guitar and harmonica. The side comprised four long songs, all of which promised they would never get near Top 40 radio — and they were so self-evidently full of meaning, so strking, so important, so elegant and so beautiful that their quiet drowned out the noise of the songs on the other side. Bob Dlan may haave meant to draw a line, but it was in a furrow already plowed, and flowers grew over it. The faster he moved, the more his trap held.”
Columbia Recording Studios
New York City, New York
January 15, 1965
The 3rd and last Bringing It All Back Home recording session, produced by Tom Wilson.
1. Maggie’s Farm
2. On The Road Again
3. On The Road Again
4. On The Road Again
5. On The Road Again
6. On The Road Again
7. On The Road Again
8. On The Road Again
9. On The Road Again
10. On The Road Again
11. On The Road Again
12. On The Road Again
13. On The Road Again
14. It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
15. It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
16. Gates Of Eden
17. Mr. Tambourine Man
18. Mr. Tambourine Man
19. Mr. Tambourine Man
20. Mr. Tambourine Man
21. Mr. Tambourine Man
22. Mr. Tambourine Man
23. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
24. If You Gotta Go, Go Now
25. If You Gotta Go, Go Now
26. If You Gotta Go, Go Now
27. If You Gotta Go, Go Now
1-13, 24-27 Bob Dylan (guitar, harmonica, vocal), Al Gorgoni (guitar), Kenneth Rankin (guitar), Bruce Langhorne (guitar), Joseph
Macho Jr. (bass), William E. Lee (bass), Bobby Gregg (drums), Frank Owens (piano).
14-23 Bob Dylan (guitar, harmonica, vocal).