Bob Dylan - Live 1964 : Concert At Philharmonic Hall

  by Jon Rogers

published: 4 / 4 / 2004




Bob Dylan - Live 1964 : Concert At Philharmonic Hall


Label: Columbia
Format: CD X2
Historically important recording of 1964 concert, which finds the young Bob Dylan on the point of change and sees him both looking back to his folk-purist past as well as well as to the future



Review

If the so-called 'Royal Albert Hall' concert in 1966 is the holy grail of Bob Dylan concerts then this 'Halloween Concert' going back to 31 October 1964 probably comes in a close second, when the folk singer was just 23 years-old. Bootleg recordings of the concert has long been held in high esteem by collectors who saw the historical importance of the gig which, with hindsight, saw Dylan's musical development start to sharply diverge from the straight and narrow folk path he had trodden previously. The original illicit recording was lifted directly from Columbia, who had planned to release the concert as a live album. Previously Dylan's lover and musical partner Joan Baez had had a top ten hit with her 'In Concert' albums of 1962 and 1964 and Columbia hoped the release would do the same for their artist. Despite pressing up a potential sleeve design the label never got round to actually putting it out. Dylan's development was, effectively, moving much too fast for the label to keep up. In 1963 an earlier proposal for a live album was canned in favour of 'The Times They Are A-Changin' and the recently released 'Another Side of Bob Dylan' had come under severe criticism from the folk purists who wanted another album of protest songs instead of more personal songs like 'To Ramona', 'Ballad in Plain D' and 'It Ain't Me Babe'. For Sing Out! editor Irwin Silber, Dylan had "somehow lost contact with people." The album marked a shift to more introspective, personal topics than earlier songs like 'Masters of War'. The proposed live album at New York's Philharmonic Hall would end up with a similar fate as the previously sketched plans for a live album. By 13 January 1965, just over two months since the 'Halloween Concert', Dylan would be in a studio embarking on what would become his most significant album to date - Bringing It All Back Home - where he threw out the folk singer's handbook and took up rock 'n' roll, whilst, horror of horrors, deciding to plug-in his solid-body guitar. Fans would have to wait until 1974 for an official live album This release, the sixth in Dylan's trawl through his unreleased back catalogue as part of the bootleg series, captures the American singer on the cusp of these changes. Along with the more conventional protest songs like 'Talkin' World War III Blues' and 'The Times They Are A-Changin' there are the more abstract, Symbolist-influenced newer material like 'It's Alright, Ma' and 'Gates of Eden'. It is though far more important that just a historical curiosity marking a significant signpost in his career. Dylan is in a self-confident, light-hearted, jovial mood and his playing is superb. There is quite a bit of inter-song banter with Dylan before 'If You Gotta Go, Go Now' saying: "Don't let that scare you, it's just Halloween. I have my Bob Dylan mask on... I'm masquerading." While during a shaky duet of 'Mama, You Been On My Mind' with Joan Baez they both parody their own off-pitch harmonies. Elsewhere he switches from the biting-satire of 'Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues' to the charm of 'To Ramona' and then back to the hard-hitting (excuse the pun) 'Who Killed Davey Moore?' For the encore of 'All I Really Want to Do' he breaks down to giggle at the chorus At the same time the 'Halloween Concert' sees Dylan both looking back to his folk-purist past as well as laying down tenative markers to what the future may hold. All the way through, Dylan's enthralling.



Track Listing:-

1 The Times They Are A-Changin' (Live at Philharmonic Hall, New York, NY - October 1964)
2 Spanish Harlem Incident (Live at Philharmonic Hall, New York, NY - October 1964)
3 Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues (Live at Philharmonic Hall, New York, NY - October 1964)
4 To Ramona (Live at Philharmonic Hall, New York, NY - October 1964)
5 Who Killed Davey Moore? (Live at Philharmonic Hall, New York, NY - October 1964)
6 Gates of Eden (Live at Philharmonic Hall, New York, NY - October 1964)
7 If You Gotta Go, Go Now (Or Else You Got to Stay All Night) (Live at Philharmonic Hall, New York, NY - October 1964)
8 It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (Live at Philharmonic Hall, New York, NY - October 1964)
9 I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met) (Live at Philharmonic Hall, New York, NY - October 1964)
10 Mr. Tambourine Man (Live at Philharmonic Hall, New York, NY - October 1964)
11 A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (Live at Philharmonic Hall, New York, NY - October 1964)
12 Talkin' World War III Blues (Live at Philharmonic Hall, New York, NY - October 1964)
13 Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (Live at Philharmonic Hall, New York, NY - October 1964)
14 The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll (Live at Philharmonic Hall, New York, NY - October 1964)
15 Mama, You Been on My Mind (Live at Philharmonic Hall, New York, NY - October 1964)
16 Silver Dagger (Live at Philharmonic Hall, New York, NY - October 1964)
17 With God on Our Side (Live at Philharmonic Hall, New York, NY - October 1964)
18 It Ain't Me, Babe (Live at Philharmonic Hall, New York, NY - October 1964)
19 All I Really Want to Do (Live at Philharmonic Hall, New York, NY - October 1964)


Band Links:-

http://bobdylan.com/
https://www.facebook.com/bobdylan
https://twitter.com/bobdylan
https://www.youtube.com/user/BobDylanV
http://www.songkick.com/artists/408511


Label Links:-

http://www.columbia.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/ColumbiaRecor
https://twitter.com/ColumbiaUK
https://www.youtube.com/user/icolumbia



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