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1960 Bob Dylan recording

Friday, January 25th, 2013

1960 Bob Dylan recording

A recording made by Bob Dylan known as the Minnesota Party Tape. The recording features Dylan singing and playing the guitar with a group of his friends: Bil Golfus, Bonnie Beecher, Cynthia Fisher and Cleve Pettersen. Fisher sings with him on “Come See Jerusalem.” Recorded by Cleve Pettersen at an apartment (possibly rented by Hugh Brown) on 15th Avenue Southeast, Minneapolis in the fall of 1960. Pettersen used a Realistic reel-reel tape recorder and Realistic tape stock.

Songlist: Blues yodel no. 8 — Come see Jerusalem — San Francisco Bay blues — I’m a gambler — Talkin’ merchant marine — Talkin’ Hugh Brown — Talkin’ lobbyist — Red rosey bush — Johnny I hardly knew you — Jesus Christ — Streets of glory — K.C. Moan

For details, view the tape in our online collections database.

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Blonde on Blonde

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Blonde on Blonde

Bob Dylan’s album Blonde on Blonde, released in 1966 by Columbia Records. This double album contains songs “I Want You,” “Rainy Day Women #12 $ 32,” and “Temporary Like Achilles.” Today, May 24, 2011 is Dylan’s 70th birthday. Bob Dylan was born in Duluth and raised in Hibbing.

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Bob Dylan’s lyrics for Temporary Like Achilles

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Temporary Like Achilles FrontTemporary Like Achilles Back

One of the first times in my career that I asked myself A) do I really get to do this for a living? and B) will I get my butt fired for buying this? was when I purchased a Bob Dylan manuscript. The item in question was Dylan’s lyrics to “Temporary Like Achilles.” Dylan recorded perhaps his best work ever on the double album Blonde on Blonde and when he was finished he handed his manuscripts, including this one, to the Nashville studio engineer Charley Bragg. Bragg later auctioned off the work through a London house and the Historical Society picked up “TLA” from a rare book dealer in Hollywood, CA in 1988. A thing of beauty, isn’t it? (Click to enlarge.)

Patrick Coleman, Acquisitions Librarian

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Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

I’ll just sit here and watch the river flow and lick my wounds…

On December 10th Sotheby’s [London] is auctioning off what is arguably the most significant piece of 20th Century Western culture to come on the market, Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics to “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” Critics have run out of superlatives to describe Dylan’s genius and even a phrase like “the voice of a generation” seems laughably inadequate. The auction estimate of $ 200 -300 thousand dollars will, I predict, be shattered. I would want to go to the auction with a half a million to feel competitive. While we sit here, all tangled up in blue,    hoping for an angel to bring this home to Minnesota, let’s nominate Dylan to our 150 Best Minnesota Books list.

Bob Dylan. Tarantula. Hibbing, Minnesota: Wimp Press, [1970].


Like an inordinately large number of books on our list Tarantula has an interesting publishing history. Dylan’s first book – consisting of largely enigmatic poetry – was scheduled to be published in 1966. He was 23, a “famous shy boy,” and a “magic name,” as the publisher said. His motorcycle accident delayed the publication because Dylan was in the process of making a few changes when he was sidelined. Since the publisher, Macmillan, had galleys already made up the inevitable happened. Like everything “Dylan” it was bootlegged. The first bootleg copy was allegedly printed in Hibbing under the imprint of the Wimp Press. It was a low quality mimeographed printing which promised that any profits would “contribute to the furtherance of Woodstock Nation.”  Because this edition is virtually impossible to find nowadays we will allow collectors of all 150 best books to substitute the first legal printing of the book published by the Macmillan Company in 1971. In fact if you don’t have the money to buy the above mentioned holy grail of Dylan manuscripts, there is an autographed copy of Tarantula available for just $15,000. The MHS library has Professor Dennis Anderson’s copy of the book along with boxes of his research material gathered in Europe where he taught a class on Dylan.  From the book…

look, you know i don’t wanna

come on ungrateful, but that

warren report, you know as well

as me, just didn’t make it. you know.

like they might as well have

asked some banana salesman from

des moines, who was up in Toronto

on the big day, if he saw anyone

around looking suspicious/…

Allow me one more pontification: Dylan’s Chronicles is a “Minnesota Must Read” [not that that is the list we are making here]. I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised by how fun and informative the book is.

Chronicles: Volume One

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Bob Dylan’s “Minnesota Party Tape”

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

Before Bob Dylan headed to New York to become one of the world’s most renowned folk singer-songwriters, he made music as a virtual unknown in Minneapolis while attending the University of Minnesota. Now, an original recording of one of Dylan’s legendary impromptu performances at an apartment in 1960 has found its way to the Minnesota Historical Society Library.

Thanks to Minneapolis resident Cleve Pettersen, the original recording of what fans and music buffs know as the “Minnesota Party Tape” is now available for the first time to the public at the library in the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul.Pettersen was just a teenager in 1960 when he bought his first reel-to-reel tape recorder and spent a lot of time in coffeehouses in the Dinkytown neighborhood near the University of Minnesota. Pettersen wanted to get a local folk singer to sing songs into his new recorder and asked some local musicians who would be willing. A young Bob Dylan agreed to be recorded.Pettersen went to an apartment on 15th Ave. S.E. in Minneapolis and hung out with Dylan, Bonnie Beecher, and “Cynthia”- another local musician and friend of Dylan’s. Pettersen set up the recorder and Dylan casually sang 12 folk songs into it.

Petterson has been the sole owner of the original tape ever since – until he made the decision in 2004 to donate it to the Society for all to enjoy.”The surfacing of this original recording should correct all the rumors and speculation circulating on the Internet and within the circles of Dylan followers and music critics,” said Bonnie Wilson, curator at the Society. “Citizens donating historically significant items and artifacts, such as this recording, have enabled the Society’s collections to grow and make rare works accessible to all.”The play list includes: “Blue Yodel No. 8,” “Come See Jerusalem,” “San Francisco Bay Blues,” “I’m a Gambler,” “Talkin’ Merchant Marine,” “Talkin’ Hugh Brown,” “Talkin’ Lobbyist,” “Red Rosey Bush,” “Johnny I Hardly Knew You,” “Jesus Christ,” “Streets of Glory” and “K.C. Moan.”The original tape is copied onto CD and cassette formats and is now available for listening at the library free of charge. Making copies of the recording will not be allowed.

The library hours are: Tuesdays, noon to 8 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed Sundays and Mondays. This recording will become a part of the expansive collections at the Society, including more than 2,000 sound recordings, 4,000 newspaper titles, more than 350,000 photographs, and more than 36,000 cubic feet of manuscripts.

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An Ounce of Preservation: A Guide to the Care of Papers and Photographs