Category Archives: Bob Dylan recording sessions

October 17: Bob Dylan first recording session for John Wesley Harding in 1967

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I heard the sound that Gordon Lightfoot was getting, with Charlie McCoy and Kenny Buttrey. I’d used Charlie and Kenny both before, and I figured if he could get that sound, I could…. but we couldn’t get it. (Laughs) It was an attempt to get it, but it didn’t come off. We got a different sound… I don’t know what you’d call that… It’s a muffled sound.
~Bob Dylan to Jann Wenner November 29, 1969

49 years ago today Bob Dylan started recording “John Wesley Harding”.

Some background from wikipedia:

Dylan went to work on John Wesley Harding in the fall of 1967. By then, 18 months had passed since the completion of Blonde on Blonde. After recovering from the worst of the results of his motorcycle accident, Dylan spent a substantial amount of time recording the informal basement sessions at West Saugerties, New York; little was heard from him throughout 1967. During that time, he stockpiled a large number of recordings, including many new compositions. He eventually submitted nearly all of them for copyright, but declined to include any of them in his next studio release (Dylan would not release any of those recordings to the commercial market until 1975’s The Basement Tapes; and by then, some of those recordings had been bootlegged, usually sourced from an easy-to-find set of publisher’s demos). Instead, Dylan used a different set of songs for John Wesley Harding.

Continue reading October 17: Bob Dylan first recording session for John Wesley Harding in 1967

August 7: Bob Dylan: The 2nd The Times They Are A-Changin’ recording session, 1963





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“Another thing about Times They Are A-Changin’ – I wanted to say in it that if you have something that you don’t want to lose, and people threaten you, you are not really free.”
~Bob Dylan (to Ray Coleman, May 1965)

“The message isn’t in the words, …. I don’t do anything with a sort of message.
I’m just transferring my thoughts into music. Nobody can give you a message like that.”
~Bob Dylan (to Ray Coleman, May 1965)

Dylan’s third album reflects his mood in August-October 1963. It is also a product for his need to live up to and expand on the role he found himself in, topical poet, the restless young man with something to say, singing to and for a new generation.
~Paul Williams (BD performing artist 1960-73)

Studio A
Columbia Recording Studios
New York City, New York
7 August 1963
The 2nd The Times They Are A-Changin’ session, produced by Tom Wilson

Another session at Studio A was held the following day, this time yielding master takes for four songs: “Ballad of Hollis Brown”, “With God on Our Side”, “Only a Pawn in Their Game”, and “Boots of Spanish Leather”, all of which were later included on the final album sequence.
~Wikipedia

Continue reading August 7: Bob Dylan: The 2nd The Times They Are A-Changin’ recording session, 1963

August 2: Bob Dylan – 5th recording session for Highway 61 Revisited in 1965





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“I never wanted to write topical songs,…. Have you heard my last two records, Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61? It’s all there. That’s the real Dylan.”
~Bob Dylan (to Frances Taylor – Aug 1965)

“Highway 61 Revisited is the product of a series of recording session in which Dylan is performing at his peak, pure creativeness, sheer intensity, inspired by and pulling forth equivalent performances from the musicians around him. Whichever way he turns, something new and remarkable happens.”
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan Performing Artist I: The Early Years 1960-1973)

Studio A
Columbia Recording Studios
New York City, New York
2 August 1965
The 5th Highway 61 Revisited session, produced by Bob Johnston

Continue reading August 2: Bob Dylan – 5th recording session for Highway 61 Revisited in 1965

July 31: Bob Dylan 5th recording session for Desire 1975





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The result is a sound and a set of songs unlike anything Dylan or anyone else has ever done before…. The lyrics of “Sara” and “Abandoned Love” (and, for that matter, of “Isis” and “Hurricane”) could not be more perfect, but overall the triumph of Desire is musical
~Paul Williams (BD performing artist 1974-86)

Recorded in the summer lull before the first Rolling Thunder tour and released soon after it, the stand-out tracks are ‘Isis’, ‘Romance in Durango’ and ‘Black Diamond Bay’, but ‘Hurricane’, ‘One More Cup of Coffee’ and ‘Oh Sister’ are breathing down their necks.
~Michael Gray (BD Encyclopedia)

Studio E
Columbia Recording Studios
New York City, New York
31 July 1975
5th Desire session, produced by Don DeVito

The following night [31 July 1975], Dylan held another session, this time recording three songs. From this session, Dylan recorded the master take for “Isis” as well as master takes for “Abandoned Love” and “Sara.” Dylan’s wife Sara, the subject of the song that bore her name, also accompanied him to this session.

Continue reading July 31: Bob Dylan 5th recording session for Desire 1975

July 30: Bob Dylan 4th recording session for Desire in 1975

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The result is a sound and a set of songs unlike anything Dylan or anyone else has ever done before…. The lyrics of “Sara” and “Abandoned Love” (and, for that matter, of “Isis” and “Hurricane”) could not be more perfect, but overall the triumph of Desire is musical
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist, Vol 2: The Middle Years 1974-1986)

Recorded in the summer lull before the first Rolling Thunder tour and released soon after it, the stand-out tracks are ‘Isis’, ‘Romance in Durango’ and ‘Black Diamond Bay’, but ‘Hurricane’, ‘One More Cup of Coffee’ and ‘Oh Sister’ are breathing down their necks.
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)

Studio E
Columbia Recording Studios
New York City, New York
30 July 1975
4th Desire session, produced by Don DeVito

Continue reading July 30: Bob Dylan 4th recording session for Desire in 1975