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Bob Dylan’s (Copyright) Blues: “Freewheelin'” Outtakes and More Get a Limited, Pricey Release

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Bob Dylan - 50th CollectionJanuary 2013 is barely one week old, but a candidate for strangest catalogue music story of the year has already broken.  A 4-CD set of outtakes from the early career of Bob Dylan has recently been released, but don’t look for it in your local record shop, or even online.  The 50th Anniversary Collection contains 86 Dylan songs, all recorded in 1962.  But despite the interest that fans worldwide might have in this material (some of which has never circulated, even in collectors’ circles), the set was only released in an as a 100-unit limited edition in Europe.  The set was designed as a preventative measure to keep this material out of the public domain and in the hands of its legal owners, Sony Music Entertainment.

Those readers who travel internationally or peruse the import CD bins have no doubt noticed the number of landmark recordings that have already fallen into the European public domain.  Inexpensive and frequently subpar reissues of Frank Sinatra’s entire Capitol catalogue, Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, Dave Brubeck’s Time Out and the earliest Motown Records albums are all legally available in Europe in a variety of editions via labels other than those from which those titles originated.  Many anticipated the public domain laws being changed to prevent The Beatles’ classic recordings from becoming public property, and indeed, the term of European copyright was recently extended from 50 years to 70 years.  As a Sony Music source told Rolling Stone, “This [Dylan release] isn’t a scheme to make money.  The copyright law in Europe was recently extended from 50 to 70 years for everything recorded in 1963 and beyond. [Emphasis mine – JM] With everything before that, there’s a new ‘Use It or Lose It’ provision. It basically said, ‘If you haven’t used the recordings in the first 50 years, you aren’t going to get any more.’”

There are numerous arguments for and against copyright extension, but the release of this Dylan collection is just the latest high-profile example of a label having to take action to protect its valuable assets.  The Elvis Presley Estate’s Follow That Dream label, for instance, releases a treasure trove of rare Presley material on a regular basis.  Some of that early material, in turn, has become fodder for a number of unauthorized European labels.

Dylan’s 1962 debut album entered the European public domain on January 1, and has already been reissued by multiple labels in a variety of versions.  The Sony source continued, “The whole point of copyrighting this stuff is that we intend to do something with it at some point in the future.  But it wasn’t the right time to do it right after he released Tempest. There are other things we want to do in 2013 though.”  100 copies of The 50th Anniversary Collection were released to record stores in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Sweden, reportedly 25 copies to each of four stores.  The set is plainly packaged and pressed on what appear to be CD-Rs. Unsurprisingly, copies have already made their way to eBay for four-figure amounts.

After the jump: what will you find on these four discs?  Hit the jump for more, including a complete track listing with source information!

The Freewheelin' Bob DylanThe first two CDs include a chronological account of Dylan’s completed studio recordings from 1962, with no false starts or incomplete takes included.  (Reports have surfaced that there is an error on the first disc, with “Talking Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues (Take 2)” listed but absent.  In its place is “Wichita Blues (Take 2),” which already appears on the same disc.)  The third and fourth discs consist of live and home recordings, including performances from a Carnegie Hall concert and the Gaslight.  (This set rounds up the Gaslight performances not included on Starbucks’ 10-track highlights CD as well as “No More Auction Block,” previously aired on The Bootleg Series Vols. 1-3.)

What action would you like to see Sony take with this material?  Should any further action be taken at this point?  Is a new installment of The Bootleg Series warranted?  Sound off below!

Bob Dylan, The 50th Anniversary Collection (Sony Music Entertainment, 2012)

CD 1

  1. Going Down To New Orleans (Take 1)
  2. Going Down To New Orleans (Take 2)
  3. Sally Gal (Take 2)
  4. Sally Gal (Take 3)
  5. Rambling Gambling Willie (Take 1)
  6. Rambling Gambling Willie (Take 3)
  7. Corrina, Corrina (Take 1)
  8. Corrina, Corrina (Take 2)
  9. The Death Of Emmett Till (Take 1)
  10. (I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle (Take 2)
  11. Rocks And Gravel (Solid Road) (Take 3)
  12. Sally Gal (Take 4)
  13. Sally Gal (Take 5)
  14. Baby, Please Don’t Go (Take 1)
  15. Baby, Please Don’t Go (Take 3)
  16. Milk Cow (Calf’s) Blues (Good Morning Blues) (Take 1)
  17. Milk Cow (Calf’s) Blues (Good Morning Blues) (Take 3)
  18. Wichita Blues (Going To Louisiana) (Take 1)
  19. Wichita Blues (Going To Louisiana) (Take 2) (listed as Talking Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues (Take 2))
  20. Milk Cow (Calf’s) Blues (Good Morning Blues) (Take 4)
  21. Wichita Blues (Going To Louisiana) (Take 2)
  22. Baby, I’m In The Mood For You (Take 2)
  23. Blowin’ In The Wind (Take 1)
  24. Blowin’ In The Wind (Take 2)
  25. Worried Blues (Take 1)
  26. Baby, I’m In The Mood For You (Take 4)

CD 2

  1. Bob Dylan’s Blues (Take 2)
  2. Bob Dylan’s Blues (Take 3)
  3. Corrina, Corrina (Take 2)
  4. Corrina, Corrina (Take 3)
  5. That’s All Right, Mama (Take 1)
  6. That’s All Right, Mama (Take 3)
  7. That’s All Right, Mama (Take 5)
  8. Mixed Up Confusion (Take 3)
  9. Mixed Up Confusion (Take 5)
  10. Mixed Up Confusion (Take 6)
  11. Mixed Up Confusion (Take 7)
  12. Mixed Up Confusion (Take 9)
  13. Mixed Up Confusion (Take 10)
  14. Mixed Up Confusion (Take 11)
  15. That’s All Right, Mama (Take 3)
  16. Rocks And Gravels (Solid Road) (Take 2)
  17. Ballad Of Hollis Brown (Take 2)
  18. Kingsport Town (Take 1)
  19. When Death Comes Creepin’ (Whatcha Gonna Do?) (Take 1)
  20. Hero Blues (Take 1)
  21. When Death Comes Creepin’ (Whatcha Gonna Do?) (Take 1)
  22. I Shall Be Free (Take 3)
  23. I Shall Be Free (Take 5)
  24. Hero Blues (Take 2)
  25. Hero Blues (Take 4)

CD 3

  1. Hard Times In New York Town (Mackenzie Home Tapes)
  2. The Death Of Emmett Till (Mackenzie Home Tapes)
  3. I Rode Out One Morning (Mackenzie Home Tapes)
  4. House Of The Rising Sun (Mackenzie Home Tapes)
  5. See That My Grave Is Kept Clean (Mackenzie Home Tapes)
  6. Ballad Of Donald White (Mackenzie Home Tapes)
  7. Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance (Gerde’s Folk City)
  8. Talkin’ New York (Gerde’s Folk City)
  9. Corrina, Corrina (Gerde’s Folk City)
  10. Deep Ellum Blues (Gerde’s Folk City)
  11. Blowin’ In The Wind (Gerde’s Folk City)
  12. The Death Of Emmett Till (Finjan Club, Montreal)
  13. Stealin’ (Finjan Club, Montreal)
  14. Hiram Hubbard (Finjan Club, Montreal)
  15. Blowin’ In The Wind (Finjan Club, Montreal)
  16. Rocks And Gravel (Finjan Club, Montreal)
  17. Quit Your Low Down Ways (Finjan Club, Montreal)
  18. He Was A Friend Of Mine (Finjan Club, Montreal)
  19. Let Me Die In My Footsteps (Finjan Club, Montreal)
  20. Two Trains Runnin’ (Finjan Club, Montreal)
  21. Ramblin’ On My Mind (Finjan Club, Montreal)
  22. Muleskinner Blues (Finjan Club, Montreal)
  23. Muleskinner Blues (Part 2) (Finjan Club, Montreal)

CD 4

  1. Sally Gal (Carnegie Hall Hootenanny)
  2. Highway 51 (Carnegie Hall Hootenanny)
  3. Talking John Birch Paranoid Blues (Carnegie Hall Hootenanny)
  4. Ballad Of Hollis Brown (Carnegie Hall Hootenanny)
  5. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall (Carnegie Hall Hootenanny)
  6. See That My Grave Is Kept Clean (The Gaslight Café, NYC)
  7. No More Auction Block (The Gaslight Café, NYC)
  8. Motherless Children (The Gaslight Café, NYC)
  9. Kind Hearted Woman Blues (The Gaslight Café, NYC)
  10. Black Cross (The Gaslight Café, NYC)
  11. Ballad Of Hollis Brown (The Gaslight Café, NYC)
  12. Ain’t No More Cane (The Gaslight Café, NYC)

Written by Joe Marchese

January 8, 2013 at 13:18

8 Responses

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  1. Wot! No comments yet! I expect all the Dylan heads are currently fighting each other on e-bay,and taking out second mortgages to get hold of this. Good luck guys…

    Simon

    January 8, 2013 at 13:45

  2. No, Dylan freaks already had alot of this, and now have this version too, as downloads are all over the place. I listened to it over the weekend. In a sense, the songs on CD1 & 2 should have ended up comprising Dylan’s second album, with Freewheelin being the third album.

    Only fools (probably NOT Dylan fans) would pay big bucks for an “original” of this, as it is a CD-R only, and counterfeits are ever so easy to make.

    It is ironic that to control copyright, SONY/Columbia placed the material directly into bootleggers and counterfeiters hands. The bootlegs (probably out soon) will be on proper CDs with good graphic packages.

    Kevin

    January 8, 2013 at 14:20

  3. Further action? Put out several 10 CD sets of studio session material at $50 list price for each box of 10. There will be plenty of customers. Donate the proceeds to a good charity of Bob’s choice, and manufacture them in a place where people need jobs

    Kevin

    January 8, 2013 at 14:23

  4. As far as I’m concerned, this is a wonderful gift from Sony Music to Dylan fans. Like many people, I’ve found and downloaded this 4-disc collection losslessly. The rare original release is itself a CD-R set, so my homemade CD-R set is bit for bit identical to the original. The sound on the studio tracks on Discs 1 & 2 is superb. As for the concert recordings on Disc 3 & 4, they are non-professional recordings which Sony obviously copied from bootlegs. Sony’s ownership claim on those concert recordings is dubious, and some of them have recording defects which would make them unusable for any official release. The “Carnegie Hall Hootenanny” tracks are audience recordings, and while the Finjan Club recording is a soundboard tape, the first two songs have serious,likely uncorrectable speed fluctuations.
    In effect, “The Copyright Extension Collection” is the latest installment in Sony’s “The Bootleg Series”, and it is available free on the internet. While I would have preferred a properly packaged and annotated mainstream release, and I would have purchased it, the price of “The Copyright Extension Collection Vol.1″(FREE) is a bargain.

    Philip Cohen

    January 8, 2013 at 14:31

  5. Removing comments about torrent sites, etc? Hmm… I really don’t see the point of that.

    Shaun

    January 12, 2013 at 13:47

    • As moderators, we’re often forced to make unpopular decisions. I think you know that we welcome all kinds of discourse here, positive or negative. But there are plenty of other places to discuss the specifics of illegal downloading. You may find such discussion to be appropriate elsewhere, but we don’t believe an extended dialogue advocating such action is appropriate for this forum. If you wish to continue, simply make an email address visible in your comments and make contact in private. Thanks for understanding our feelings about this sensitive topic. We do welcome ongoing discussion, however, about the ramifications of the decision to release this material in the fashion which it was issued.

      Joe Marchese

      January 12, 2013 at 14:13

  6. The reality is this: people can get the information & links that they’re seeking from Google or Yahoo. Sony brought this situation on themselves. Dylan has millions of fans who would otherwise be denied access to this material. 100 official copies of this set is clearly not adequate to satisfy demand. The genie can’t be stuffed back into the bottle.

    Philip Cohen

    January 12, 2013 at 14:29

  7. I would guess that there are at least 100,000 copies out there now.

    In the end, all the media critics were totally wrong in saying that this was a HUGE mistake on SONY’s part. This event received media attention in virtually every newspaper, website and media outlet around the world, and people are still writing and talking about it.

    In other words, they are all talking about Dylan. Huge publicity. No, SONY was right on the mark. The media would have given very little attention to a release, whether on real CD or download of some 1962 outtakes and audience tapes.

    Kevin

    January 13, 2013 at 22:58


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