Song of the Day #4,467: ‘Ballad of Hollis Brown (Witmark Demos)’ – Bob Dylan

Between 1962 and 1964, Bob Dylan recorded a few dozen tracks for the publisher M. Witmark & Sons, with a plan to shop those songs to other artists.

Those songs, along with eight tracks he recorded for Leeds Music, were released in 2010 as the ninth volume of Dylan’s Bootleg Series. The collection features some of the earliest versions of beloved classics along with lesser-known and previously unheard tracks.

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Song of the Day #2,032: ‘Baby, Let Me Follow You Down (Demo)’ – Bob Dylan

witmark_demosHere’s a track from a collection of early Bob Dylan demos, recorded in 1961 and ’62.

Given my current obsession with the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, it’s hard not to hear a song like this in the context of that great film and the early Greenwich Village folk scene is captures.

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Song of the Day #1,540: ‘Blowin’ in the Wind (Witmark Demo)’ – Bob Dylan

One of the downsides of a truly random selection — such as that of my Random Weekend Songs of the Day — is that you wind up with clusters.

I haven’t checked the numbers, but it seems like tracks from Dylan’s Bootleg Series have turned up here on a pretty regular basis. Granted, he has released nine volumes of those bootlegs — all double-CD sets — so those songs make up a healthy percentage of my music collection. Around 3 percent, to be exact.

But 3-in-100 odds aren’t exactly the sort you’d bet heavily on in Vegas. Mathematically, these songs are over-performing.

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Song of the Day #902: ‘Tomorrow is a Long Time’ – Bob Dylan

Best Songs of 2010 – Honorable Mentions

I featured a lot of Bob Dylan on the blog this year, with my Dylan Weekends spanning from late January through October. Then Dylan returned the favor with a late year release, the latest in his Bootleg series.

The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 (which is in my backlog of things to review) is a collection of early recordings Dylan made for the purposes of selling his songs for covers and selling his talents to major labels. The 2-disc set contains rough versions of such early classics as ‘Blowin’ in the Wind,’ ‘Masters of War,’ ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,’ ‘The Times They Are A’Changin” and more.

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