Bob is only 22 years old in this interview. He gives a great performance including the first ever recording of Boots of Spanish Leather. This one is an absolute must have for Dylan fans as well as for those who love listening to magical moments locked in time. This one's a keeper Bob, just like you. Happy Birthday!
This is a remarkable recording from WFMT radio in Chicago. The Dylan that performs here is remarkably like the Dylan we know from interviews today - just younger, and a little more open.
The young man is easily excitable but quite fun.
The class contrarian, Dylan opens the show with Farewell. It's his first chance to set the pace during the interview and he tries to make the most of it. Dylan strums away and declines to stop and let WFMT-Chicago host Studs Terkel speak until the last note of this song is played out.
WFMT-Chicago radio's Studs Terkel
Dylan has evidently declined to give the Chicago programmer a set list but Terkel is a radio professional and he deals with the situation. Here, Terkel plays the part of host and a lion tamer. His "big cat" is a scrawny Midwestern songwriter with big dreams.
You can almost Dylan his roll his shoulders. He could care less. "Alright." he says as he gathers his guitar from the studio floor. And what we hear next is just remarkable.
The topic of Dylan as a folk singer stops the conversation in its tracks. Dylan does not consider himself to be a folk performer and he announces that he will no longer perform popular folk tunes.
(The tone of Dylan's anti-folk state of mind explains the odd introduction to the recording - the radio show call man had introduced Dylan to the home audience by calling him "a folk singer!")
"I did it. We'll just say I did it," Dylan says of being a folk singer. "It was something I did."
Things are tense now, but again Terkel maneuvers through the choppy waters and reaches Dylan. He is able to pull another live performance from Dylan. This occurs when the host asks Dylan if there are any of his songs that he thinks might one day be recorded and sung by other artists.
Suddenly, Dylan is uncharacteristically enthusiastic. Ignoring the conversation with Terkel, the young Dylan begins tuning and strumming his guitar. He is pacing the cage like a tiger! He is ready to perform. Finally, the room grows silent and Dylan can begin.
It's the first ever confirmed recording of Boots of Spanish Leather! Dylan had written it weeks before but it had not yet been put to tape in the studio. It's magnificent.
"It's always been with me. I can't really say what lead me to it," Dylan continues. "I like to do a lot of things. I'm one of these people who tend to think that everybody has a certain gift. The trouble is just trying to figure out what it is."
NY, NY: A place to pound a nail:
"Blowin' In the Wind, that's a popular song!" Terkel says.
Dylan, evidently resentful, responds: "Oh god, I hope not!"