Mystery Solved ! Why “Bob Dylan In Concert” wasn’t released

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As Dylan fanatics know, in 1964 Columbia Records planned to release a live album titled “Bob Dylan In Concert” (see July 28 post here for more on this mythic LP.) For reasons previously unknown, the album was pulled from Columbia’s schedule and remains unreleased.

Recently I’ve had the privilege of purchasing some of the papers of the late Ralph J. Gleason, legendary music critic and friend of Dylan (who was hired to write the liner notes to “In Concert.”) While going through a box of files, I found a transcription of a 1969 interview Gleason had given to a college student who was writing a term paper on Dylan and his place in the music business. Gleason shares his insights about Dylan, tells many stories, and on page 16 sheds new light on “Bob Dylan In Concert” and why it wasn’t released.

Previously it had been thought that Dylan’s intense productivity during this time negated the “need” for a live album. Put quite simply, Dylan had written and recorded so many new songs that a decision was made to focus on studio recordings. But here we learn that Dylan was interested in issuing a live album, but for whatever reason, didn’t think this one worked (there were two different versions compiled for the “In Concert” album, but evidently he didn’t like either.)

It isn’t a big surprise to learn that Dylan scuttled the release himself, but if you’re like me, it’s great to finally hear the bottom line from somebody involved.

In the coming months, I’ll be sharing more from the Gleason collection on Dylan and other artists –and of course you can always find other interesting music collectibles on my website, Recordmecca

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