Audio: Bob Dylan’s ‘Blood On The Tracks’ Sessions, Dec. 27, 1974 – ‘Idiot Wind’

Thirty-nine years ago, on December 27, 1974, Bob Dylan entered Sound 80 Studios in Minneapolis and re-recorded two songs he’d previously recorded in New York for a new album he was working on. Those new versions of “Idiot Wind” and “You’re Big Girl Now” are the ones that ended up on Blood On The Tracks.

I remember when I first listened to Blood On The Tracks when it was released in late January, 1975. The song that immediately blew me away was “Idiot Wind.” I thought at the time that Dylan had finally written a kind of followup to “Like A Rolling Stone” due to the bitterness in his voice and the bite of the chorus:

Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your mouth
Blowing down the backroads headin’ south
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth
You’re an idiot, babe
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe

The Blood On The Tracks sessions began at Columbia A&R Studios in New York on September 16, 1974. That studio was where he’d recorded his first six albums including Highway 61 Revisited. Dylan recorded in New York off and on, wrapping up on September 25, 1974. A test pressing of the album was made and Dylan planned to release that version of the album, which has been circulating as a bootleg ever since.

However Dylan changed his mind after playing the test pressing for his brother David who, according to Clinton Heylin, suggested Dylan recut the album in Minneapolis with local musicians.

“I had the acetate,” Dylan said years later. “I hadn’t listened to it for a couple of months. The record still hadn’t come out, and I put it on. I just didn’t… I thought the songs could have sounded differently, better. So I went in and re-recorded them.”

Two sessions took place — one on December 27 and a final session on December 30. Five songs recut during those sessions made it onto the album, and, of course, there has been disagreement for nearly 39 years now as to whether Dylan should have stuck with the New York tracks, or gone with the mix of New York and Minneapolis tracks as he did.

Dylan said to a radio interviewer who told him she enjoyed Blood On The Tracks:

“A lot of people tell me they enjoyed that album. It’s hard for me to relate to people enjoying that kind of pain.”

Below you can hear the versions of “Idiot Wind” and “You’re A Big Girl Now” that made it onto the album. I’ve also included versions that didn’t. Plus a couple of live versions.

“Idiot Wind,” Sound 80, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 27, 2013:

Idiot Wind by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

“You’re A Big Girl Now,” Sound 80, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 27, 2013:

You're a Big Girl Now by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

“Idiot Wind,” New York sessions outtake:

Track 04 by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

“Idiot Wind,” outtake — stripped down acoustic version:

Track 11 by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

“Idiot Wind,” live New Orleans May 3, 1976:

“You’re A Big Girl Now,” New York outtake, Sept. 23, 1974:

You're A Big Girl Now (NY Outtake) by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

“You’re A Big Girl Now,” Jones Beach, Wantaugh, NY June 30, 1988

Plus “Up To Me,” a track recorded in New York that didn’t make the album:

Up to Me by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

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 has had three novels published that comprise the "Freak Scene Dream trilogy": "True Love Scars," "The Flowers Lied" and "Untitled" which can be ordered here. His new book, "Wicked Game: The True Story of Guitarist James Calvin Wilsey," can be pre-ordered from HoZac Books. In November Backbeat Books will publish "Addicted To Noise: The Music Writings of Michael Goldberg," which can be be pre-ordered here.

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