On September 16, 1974, Bob Dylan showed up at A&R Studios in New York for the first of the seven sessions that would produce the recordings for Blood On The Tracks.
He began by recording a version of “Up To Me,” a song that didn’t ultimately make the cut. Next up were two takes of “Tangled Up in Blue.”
And then, with just his acoustic guitar for accompaniment, Dylan recorded the first take of “If You See Her, Say Hello” — and hit a home run.
The version that ended up on the album is nothing like that first one, and it seriously misses the mark. The arrangement features a slower pace, celestial organ, and what sounds like a 12-string guitar that brings to mind the Stones’ “Lady Jane.” It doesn’t do justice to the song. Nor does Dylan’s more calculated vocal.
When you hear the first take you realize it could have helped make a really good album a great one.
The vocal he recorded the first time he played the song in the studio is perfect. There is a passion and a natural quality I hear that wasn’t repeated either on the second take he did that day, nor on the version cut at Sound 80 Studios in Minneapolis two and a half months later that he used.
Below you can hear that first version, followed by take two, and then the much different take that made it onto the album.
“If You See Her, Say Hello” – New York outtake which appeared on The Bootleg Series Volume 1-3:
“If You See Her, Say Hello” – Unreleased Test Pressing-
“If You See Her, Say Hello” – Released version off Blood On The Tracks: