Bob Dylan – 10″ Witmark Demos Acetate ‘Only a Hobo/Long Time Gone’

A 10″ Music Publisher’s Holding Company (MPHC) acetate of Bob Dylan’s demo recordings of ‘Only a Hobo’ and ‘Long Time Gone’, cut for his music publisher M. Witmark & Co.

These songs remained unreleased until the 2010 Dylan box set The Bootleg Series Vol. 9/The Witmark Demos 1962-1964. As the liner notes for that album note, ‘Columbia [Records] wouldn’t let new artists in the studio every time they felt they had a song or two worth hearing, but Witmark was more accommodating.  [Witmark’s parent company, Warner Bros’s division] MPHC had a six-by-eight foot studio where singers could rehearse and songwriters could make demos, who recorded these songs on a rudimentary tape console at 7.5 inches per second. Professional studios usually recorded at 15 IPS for better sound quality, but a reel of tape went twice as far at half speed.  If [Dylan’s publisher] Artie Mogull found someone interested in cutting one of the songs, [the engineer] would run an acetate (a one-off record) and a lead sheet and get it over to the record label.’

This is one of those demonstration acetates, made to present to artists or record producers who might be interested in recording a version of these songs.  The label design suggests this disc was cut in the late 1960s.  The fidelity is basic, reflecting the conditions it was recorded under.  As the Witmark Demos notes explain, ‘In some cases, especially on the earliest tracks, the songs were recorded to be released on acetates so other artists could perform them.  As time progressed, the songs were often just rough sketches hastily recorded so that the publisher could get the songs down for purposes of copyright.  Consequently there is an extremely wide range of sound quality.’

In EX/VG++ condition.

With Recordmecca’s written lifetime guarantee of authenticity, signed by Jeff Gold, who appraised The Bob Dylan Archive, for Dylan’s management.



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