First Listen: Bob Dylan, ‘The Witmark Demos 1962-1964’
After listening to the nearly 50 songs on The Witmark Demos 1962-1964, it slayed me to think that Bob Dylan wrote and recorded these songs before he was even 24. It’s one thing to write “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” or “Blowin’ in the Wind” by that age, but add “Ballad of Hollis Brown,” “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues,” “Boots of Spanish Leather,” “Mr. Tambourine Man” and other bits of genius to the list, and it really hits hard what a phenomenal talent Dylan was at such a young age. Sure, many of them were riffs on other folk songs, but they were topical, courageous, surreal and sometimes damn funny.
Most of the recordings on The Witmark Demos 1962-1964 were made for the M. Witmark & Sons publishing company. Artists would record their songs for publishing companies so they might be heard by other artists wishing to cover their songs, or maybe for TV or movie use.
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