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Bob Dylan – John Hammond's 1962 Acetate

John Hammond's personal acetate for "Gospel Plow," from Bob Dylan's first album. Hammond was Dylan's producer, promoter, and the A&R man who signed him to Columbia Records in 1961. Hammond's belief in Dylan was so steadfast, even in the face of a complete lack of sales, that Dylan was known as "Hammond's Folly" at Columbia Records. Here we have an extremely historic artifact of Dylan and Hammond's earliest work together–an acetate of Dylan's song "Gospel Plow" from the sessions for his first album (this song was recorded in one take, on November 22, 1961–the second and final day of the recording sessions for his first album.) Hammond famously produced these sessions, and this one-sided 10" disc has the only take recorded of this song. Individual acetates of each song were cut for Hammond, and used by him to review the song choices and sequence the album. This acetate was given by Hammond to Missy Staunton, who worked as assistant to Billy James, Dylan's publicist at Columbia. In Staunton's letter which accompanies this disc, she explains that working with James "I first got to know John Hammond and other A&R People" and "I went to recording sessions and everyone knew I loved music, so sometimes I would be offered acetates when people were done with them." As with all Columbia Records acetates of this era, there is no label, but the master number (CO 68748,) take number (TK 1; in this case there was only one take,) title and "B.Dylan" are written in the center in grease pencil. Note "J. Hammond" is written on the sleeve at the top right corner, indicating who this disc was to be sent to. The disc is in VG+ condition and sounds great; the sleeve has a couple of tears (two on the front which have been archivally repaired and aren't visible in the photo) This is truly an extraordinary Dylan item, dating from Dylan's first recording sessions, coming from John Hammond himself, and with direct provenance. Guaranteed authentic without time limit. (As one often finds with acetates from this era, there is another cut on the other side which has been x'd out with grease pencil and intentional scratching to prevent it from being played. Acetate blanks were expensive, and so if a disc didn't come out as expected, the cutting engineer would just "x" out the attemped cut, and flip the disc over to use the other side.)

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