August 9, 2017 – 12:08 pm

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San Francisco/San Jose 1965 [no label, 4CD]

Previously uncirculated. Live at the Masonic Memorial Temple, San Francisco, CA; December 11, 1965. Live at the Civic Auditorium, San Jose, CA; December 12, 1965. Recorded by Allen Ginsberg. Audio is uneven but a must for fans and collectors.

Andy Crush, (August 7, 2017):

Last week with little fanfare, two recordings with nearly identical titles appeared on YouTube. With some interruptions, they document two Dylan shows from 1965, near the beginning of that fateful tour: one in San Francisco on September 11 [sic], 1965, and the other in San Jose from the following evening. As you might expect, the performances are enough to knock you out, but the sound quality is up and down. If you’re one of the aforementioned fanatics, you’ll find a lot to love; if your fandom more casual, you’re probably better of listening to one of the much clearer tapes from the same era that have been released commercially.

But anyone with an interest in the American culture of the ’60s will be fascinated with what comes before and after the music. The bootleg taper we have to thank for these recordings is Allen Ginsberg. He and Dylan had been friends for a couple of years already in ‘65, and he was testing out a new piece of equipment at the shows, with Dylan’s personal permission. We know the part about Dylan’s permission is true because we can hear the musician giving it, as part of a 20-minute backstage conversation between the two icons that’s preserved at the beginning of the first tape.

The first tape opens with Ginsberg’s bookish Manhattan patter, describing the “absolute, beautiful precision” of his tape recorder, which, he says, he recently purchased for $500. “I don’t know why the fuck I don’t get one of those,” Dylan muses, and then he has an idea: “Hey, why don’t you tape some of the concert?” Dylan says he’s interested in hearing how the band sounds that night, and Ginsberg offers to give him a copy of the tape when the show is over.

If it weren’t for the fact that their circle of acquaintances included several fellow giants of the era, the ensuing conversation might come off like mundane gossip. Dylan says he recently had a long and pleasant conversation with Marlon Brando, about whom he has apparently mixed feelings. “He thinks about the universe, like you,” he tells Ginsberg, then pivots: “He’s just a very plain, simple, common, ordinary, Nebraska cat. Really that is all he amounts to.” Later, Dylan mentions offhandedly that he talked to Phil Spector about making a record with Ginsberg. The titanic pop producer and the iconoclastic poet would have made exquisitely strange bedfellows. Unfortunately, we’ll never know what the collaboration would have yielded, because it never came to pass.

At the beginning of the second recording, Ginsberg speaks with a fan who apparently recognized him outside of the San Jose show. “Allen Ginsberg… is Joan Baez here tonight?” the young fan asks. (She isn’t.) Between Dylan’s two sets - one acoustic, one electric, as was his standard operating procedure in this era - he and Ginsberg resume the previous night’s conversation. For a moment, they engage in elliptical banter about the crowd at the previous night’s San Fransisco show, sounding a bit like caricatures of their own hipster-mystic public personas. “What you see now is a typical concert. Last night, you saw one that was, y’know, pretty wild. I dug it. San Fransisco. I dug… I sort of felt who they were out there,” Dylan raps as he prepares for the raucous second set, which at times unfolded like trench warfare between the artist and an audience that refused to let go of their earnest folk singer. “Who do you feel they are?” Ginsberg asks. You can hear someone tuning a guitar in the background. “I have no idea, none whatsoever,” Dylan answers.

The Ginsberg tapes evidently came from the Stanford University library’s department of special collections, which administers a large archive of the poet’s papers. The library publicized the existence of the recordings in a blog post in 2015, accurately touting them as documents of “a transformational time in Dylan’s performances.” Though the library has digitized over 2,000 recordings from the Ginsberg papers, the Dylan shows still aren’t officially available online - until last week, you had to physically travel to the library to hear them. The new YouTube videos mark the first time the tapes have become available for the wide listening public.

Keith Gubitz, the California-based Dylan collector who uploaded the videos, says that he’s seen his hero play live about “a few hundred times” since first hearing “Blowin’ in the Wind” as an eight-year-old in 1962. He told SPIN that word about Ginsberg tapes began circulating online amongst a community of fellow Dylan enthusiasts in July, but he’s not sure exactly how they made it out from Stanford’s listening room.

“In ‘89, I met a guy that was following the Bob tour. He basically was a Deadhead, and saw Bob and decided to switch tracks,” he said, describing his own entry into the world of Dylan tapers and traders. “I met him in line when I was trying to buy tickets, and we hooked up and started following Bob together. We would stay in hotels and dub the tapes right after the show.”

Gubitz isn’t a taper anymore, but he maintains a large collection of other people’s Dylan show recordings on YouTube. He says he’s occasionally run into problems with YouTube pulling his videos down, but it doesn’t happen frequently, and he’s not worried about anything happening to the Ginsberg tapes. You might consider listening to them sooner rather than later, however, just in case they disappear.

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Thanks to charlespoet for sharing the tracks on the net.

charlespoet added: All I did with these recordings was track them.

And thanks to Philip Cohen for the tracklist.

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Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (320 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Please Do Not Hammer The Links. Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. The tracks should still be around. Please try again later.

Kindly email us if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files. Also email us if you have any rarities you’d like to share with our readers.

Masonic Memorial Temple, San Francisco, CA; December 11, 1965
Disc 1
Track 101. banter
Track 102. banter
Track 103. banter
Track 104. banter
Track 105. banter
Track 106. banter
Track 107. banter
Track 108. To Ramona
Track 109. Gates of Eden
Track 110. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue/Desolation Row
Track 111. Love Minus Zero/No Limit
Track 112. Visions of Johanna
Track 113. Mr Tambourine Man
70 mins

Disc 2
Track 201. Tombstone Blues
Track 202. I Don’t Believe You
Track 203. Baby Let Me Follow You Down
Track 204. Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues
Track 205. Long Distance Operator
Track 206. It Ain’t Me Babe
Track 207. Ballad of a Thin Man
Track 208. Positively 4th Street
Track 209. Like A Rolling Stone
44 mins

Civic Auditorium, San Jose, CA; December 12, 1965
Disc 1
Track 101. banter
Track 102. She Belongs to Me
Track 103. To Ramona
Track 104. Gates of Eden
Track 105. It’s All Over Now Baby Blue
Track 106. Desolation Row
Track 107. Love Minus Zero/No Limit
Track 108. Mr Tambourine Man
49 mins

Disc 2
Track 201. banter
Track 202. banter
Track 203. banter
Track 204. banter
Track 205. Tombstone Blues Mr Tambourine Man
Track 206. I Don’t Believe You
Track 207. Baby Let Me Follow You Down
Track 208. Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues
Track 209. Long Distance Operator
Track 210. It Ain’t Me Babe
Track 211. Ballad of a Thin Man
Track 212. Positively 4th Street
Track 213. Like A Rolling Stone
64 mins

Click here to order Bob Dylan releases.

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Click here for more shows that are still open for sharing.

Click here for closed shows.
(Readers can email us a request to reopen closed shows.)


  2. Great!

    By celtis on Aug 9, 2017

  3. Utterly astonishing stuff. Thank you so much!

    By Bud Dolan on Aug 9, 2017

  4. Indeed what the guys said, astonishing . . .
    Thanks BigO! Another welcome addition to the Bobby collection

    By swappers on Aug 9, 2017

  5. And thanks to Philip Cohen for the tracklist.

    By bigozine2 on Aug 9, 2017

  6. Outstanding, positively 4th st is a masterpiece, very rarely performed live.

    By Bill on Aug 9, 2017

  7. So did bob really have a big cock ?

    By Tony C on Aug 9, 2017

  8. Thank you again !!!!!!! I leave banter out of CD:s. But there’s still plenty of songs !!!!!! If sound isn’t outstanding, these recordings are historical and when Allen Ginsberg has rerorded them it’s a BIG bonus ! You notice how great was Dylan’s respect in poetry-circles !!!!!!

    By Arto Parviainen on Aug 9, 2017

  9. My favorite era of Bob Dylan, and the historical context of this makes it worthwhile. Thanks for this treasure and I will grab when I get home.

    By Tony on Aug 9, 2017

  10. Slight correction required - San Francisco track 205 is actually ‘Tombstone Blues’, not ‘Tambourine Man’.

    By Bud Dolan on Aug 9, 2017

  11. san francisco track 110 is
    It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue/Desolation Row
    big thx to BigO

    By walli ledl on Aug 10, 2017

  12. Ps… if anyone out there comes up with cover artwork, please do share that too ….thanks in anticipation…

    By Canute on Aug 11, 2017

  13. Banter track 103: “Hey we got a new drummer tonite.” > Exit Levon Helm, enter Mickey Jones. WOW. History on tape right here!!!

    By sean b on Aug 15, 2017

  14. Were these files taken down? I had them for a day now they don’t work. Have the Dylan Overlords struck again?

    By Bernard Zalon on Aug 15, 2017

  15. Forget that. My computer was on mute.

    By Bernard Zalon on Aug 15, 2017

  16. Bernard, you’re truly retarded! Now let’s discuss how sore my ass is!

    By Tony C on Aug 27, 2017

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