Freewheelin’ in it’s released form is essentially a “best of” from one of the most creative years in Dylan’s life. The lag between sessions resulted in an album whose sound metamorphosed at least twice.
~Clinton Heylin (BD – The Recording Sessions)
Dylan nailed 5 master versions for “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” @ this important recording session.
@ #62 on my list of Dylan’s 200 best songs. First recorded on March 23, 1989 during the recording sessions for Oh Mercy. It was overdubbed and first released in 1991 as the final song on “The Bootleg Series 1-3”. It is a great haunting song.. with fascinating lyrics.
I can’t wait, wait for you to change your mind
It’s late, I’m trying to walk the line
Well, it’s way past midnight and there are people all around
Some on their way up, some on their way down
The air burns and I’m trying to think straight
And I don’t know how much longer I can wait
…one day Bob comes in, sits at the piano, and plays this song, ‘Can’t Wait’. And this is a gospel version. Tony starts playing this real sexy groove with him, and Bob is hammering out this gospel piano and really singing. The hair on my arms went up. It was stunning. Luckily, I was recording. We were thinking, ‘If this is going to be anything like this, this record is going to be unbelievable.’
~Mark Howard (Engineer on Time Out Of Mind) about the early version – “Oxnard version”
Dylan opens the year with one of the most remarkable performances of the “Never Ending tour,” despite still visible suffering the after effects of the bug (at several points he sits on the drum rise, scrunched up in some discomfort)… the shock of the evening is not in his song selection.. but the fact that he performs almost the entire show without a guitar.. harmonica in hand, making strange shadow-boxing movements, cupping the harmonica to his mouth on nearly every song, blowing his sweetest harp breaks in years.
~Clinton Heylin (Bob Dylan: A Life in Stolen Moments Day by Day 1941-1995)
Concert # 641 of The Never-Ending Tour. First concert of the 1995 European Spring Tour. First concert in 1995.
Prague, Czech Republic
11 March 1995
Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
Bucky Baxter (pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar)
The closest I ever got to the sound I hear in my mind was on individual bands in the Blonde on Blonde album. It’s that thin, that wild mercury sound. It’s metallic and bright gold, with whatever that conjures up. That’s my particular sound.
~Bob Dylan (to Ron Rosenbaum – Nov 1977)
He had a piano in his room at the hotel and during the day I would go up there and he would teach me a song. I would be like a cassette machine. I would play the song over and over on the piano for him. This served a double purpose. One, he could concentrate on writing the lyrics and didn’t have to mess with playing the piano; two, I could go to the studio early that night and teach it to the band before he even got there, so they could be playing the song before he even walked through the door.
~Al Kooper (talking about BoB recording sessions)
Columbia Music Row Studios
9-10 March 1966