Bob Dylan 1st Album masters just sold at auction

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by MC Rag, Sep 24, 2013.

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  1. MC Rag

    MC Rag Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    Bob Dylan Original 1961 Master Tapes The recordings contained on these three master tapes were used to make the first. Bob Dylan record, "Bob Dylan." Markings on the tape boxes and the enclosed tape logs describe the John Hammond produced sessions at Columbia Studios on November 20 and 22 in 1961. The dates agree with the liner notes contained in the current CD release. The tapes themselves are half inch Scotch 190, a profes- sional tape formulation of the day. Their condition is exceptionally good. From information on the tape log and having worked with the tapes myself, they have three tracks running at the recording speed of 15 inches per second, a format typical of the era. One track is allotted to the vocal and harmonica microphone, another to the guitar and the third (the centre track) to John Hammond's comments over the control room talkback microphone. As expected, the quality of the audio is excellent, really fantastic. A standard practice for making masters is recording a set of tones onto the tapes. Alignment tones are present here allowing for accurate playback of the masters. The tapes come from the tracking sessions and are engineered so tracks can be balanced or mixed at a later session. Mixing multi-track masters in later years as more tracks became available were often a complex affair. Here the mix is simple. Once the engineers established their recording levels dur- ing Dylan's first run at "You're No Good," the vocal and guitar channels can be set at unity for a balanced playback. It is likely though, final mixed masters were derived from these recordings. Technically from a pure quality audio point of view, these masters are the best. They are first generation, professional format, analog recordings of the original audio path; microphone to tape. The playback is aston- ishing. Bob Dylan in the studio is 20 years old. The essence of Dylan's talent and artistry are clearly on display. The recording is present and natural, reveals nuance and detail, and renders Dylan's performances big as life. John Hammond's first announcement anticipating the first take. Hammond's comments coming in from the centre track add the distinct personalities of the producer and artist for the listener. It's as close an experience we can have to being at the session. We hear multiple takes, false starts, some banter, and the process of identifying best versions. In my opinion, listening to the session master is more engaging than the actual Regarding audio quality, starting approximately half way through reel two, possibly the beginning of day two and continuing through reel three, a low level noise is discernible in the audio. Apparently it occurred at the session, was detected, and indicated on the original tape logs. According to the log, some cuts may be "ng" (no good?) due to noise coming from the centre channel. The noise crosstalks from the centre channel slightly bleeding into the music though is not noticeable on the CD. It is believed that the tone generator for aligning the tape recorders may have been left on by mistake still feeding the centre track. The engineers would not have detected the tone during the session because Hammond's centre track talkback recording would not be monitored in the control room safely preventing feedback. Consider another practice from the days of analog mastering. It was stand- ard practice to make valuable masters redundant. If a tape was lost or damaged a back up was needed. Studios could make multiple masters by recording simultaneously to two identically aligned recorders. Perhaps Columbia Studios used this strategy. Each reel num- ber designated on these tape boxes ends with a letter "D" possibly indicating duplicate. The story behind the tapes says they were bulk erased and discarded. Maybe this was because they were duplicates. The logs themselves are seemingly original handwritten affairs, not photocopies. Like the tapes, they are in very good legible condition with information most likely entered by John Hammond's hand. Though it is possible the Dylan masters have twins sitting in a vault at Columbia, in our research no others than have surfaced. *Handwritten notes by John Hammond
     
  2. therockman

    therockman Senior Member In Memoriam

  3. ruben lopez

    ruben lopez Nunc Est Bibendum

    Location:
    Barcelona Spain
    Amazing
    This stuff should be at the library of congress,to say the least:goodie:
     
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  4. ruben lopez

    ruben lopez Nunc Est Bibendum

    Location:
    Barcelona Spain
    How much?:D
     
  5. alankin1

    alankin1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Philly
    Why isn't this in Sony's vault?
     
    Hamhead, Tommyboy, hominy and 2 others like this.
  6. BlueTrane

    BlueTrane Forum Resident

    Not marked, "do not use"? Pass.
     
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  7. therockman

    therockman Senior Member In Memoriam


    :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
     
  8. MC Rag

    MC Rag Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Actually maybe this didn't sell after all. The first auction site I saw this on said SOLD, but when I tried to find the price, I came across another site that says LOT PASSED - Starting bid was £15,000 , estimate £50,000 - £70,000!
     
  9. PH416156

    PH416156 Alea Iacta Est

    Location:
    Europe
    This is what I was thinking...
     
  10. crispi

    crispi Vinyl Archaeologist

    Location:
    Berlin
    The description subtly hints at the fact that these are (or might be) copies:

    "It was stand- ard practice to make valuable masters redundant. If a tape was lost or damaged a back up was needed. Studios could make multiple masters by recording simultaneously to two identically aligned recorders."

    From what I've learned, Columbia always recorded on two tapes at the same time. So, this stuff IS in Sony's vault. It's just weird that they would put these (copies) on auction anyway, since it's well known that they have often used the safety copies when the original tapes were damaged. Very weird.
     
  11. RayS

    RayS A Little Bit Older and a Little Bit Slower

    Location:
    Out of My Element
    I believe that is explained within the text. This is apparently (or claims to be, for the cynical among you) a duplicate deemed redundant at some point.

    I would think someone in Europe would jump on this, since the vast majority of it would seem to be outside of copyright and could be legally released.
     
    PhantomStranger and slane like this.
  12. jimjim

    jimjim Forum Resident

    It does mention "D for duplicate" up there so it's a copy, not a master. But intresting nevertheless....
     
  13. slane

    slane Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    No, not a 2nd generation copy, but a 'parallel' master, is it not? Recorded simultaneously with 'the' master.
     
  14. aoxomoxoa

    aoxomoxoa Play that fast thing one more time

    Location:
    USA
    Bootleg series volume 12?
     
  15. PH416156

    PH416156 Alea Iacta Est

    Location:
    Europe
    OK. Still, looks a bit strange seeing it outside Sony's vaults. How many times (duplicates of) master tapes from major acts are sold this way?
     
  16. John DeAngelis

    John DeAngelis Senior Member

    Location:
    New York, NY
    The tapes in question are duplicates of session tapes, not master tapes. The master tape(s) is what the actual album is made from (hopefully).
     
  17. I'd buy this if I had the extra scratch laying around.
     
  18. Hamhead

    Hamhead The Bear From Delaware

    I'm surprised that Sony hasn't blocked the auction and asked to the return of the tapes.
     
    JohnnyH likes this.
  19. JohnnyH

    JohnnyH Senior Member

    Location:
    England
    Fascinating...
     
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