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    THE SPARK THAT IGNITED A GENERATION

    Bob Dylan Previously Unknown 1963 Concert Handbill for First Major Show of His Career.
    A small, original flyer from Bob Dylan's landmark Town Hall concert in New York City on April 12, 1963. This is a previously undiscovered "slinger" that was handed out on street corners in the days leading up to the concert. Interestingly, it depicts the Dylan of 1962 with the same corduroy cap he wore on his debut album cover a year earlier. It also duplicates the artwork of small display ads that ran in folk-music publications to advertise the upcoming show.

    But this was definitely a pre-concert hand-out, and comes with stellar provenance. It was designed by Jules Halfant, the Art Director of Vanguard Records, a key folk-music label based in NYC at the time and home to Joan Baez. A number of years ago, Halfant's estate was sorted through after his passing. Included were the large cardboard concert poster for this concert, an 8" x 10" handbill which duplicated the poster's artwork, and this smaller leaflet to be passed out on the street. The consignor is privy to a conversation with a close associate of Halfant's who actually handed these out in the street before the concert, giving us a first-hand witness to add to this item's provenance.

    The thinking was, the larger window card was for posting on windows and bulletin boards; the larger handbill was for retail countertops, ticket outlets and other public places to be taken home by interested parties; and this small slinger was designed to be handed off to people bustling by on the sidewalk who could stuff them into their pockets - or deposit in the very next trash can they encountered. (It's a practice, of course, that continues to this day.)

    Thus, these small "sidewalk flyers" were the least saved of the three formats, being handed to mostly disinterested people, making them tremendously fleeting and elusive today. This is the first one we've ever encountered, and it's only because it came from a company's files. Rock-music collectors will draw a comparison to the very first Bill Graham music event in San Francisco, the Mime Troupe Appeals I flyer. It, too, was very small in size, and to this day there's only one or two survivors known to exist.

    The promoter had to really hustle because nobody really knew Dylan yet, and the concert didn't sell out. His landmark Freewheelin' Bob Dylan album, featuring the world-changing "Blowin' in the Wind," wouldn't come out for another month.

    Dylan scholars know what a hugely important and significant concert this was in Dylan's career. He'd been playing around Greenwich Village and surrounds for two years, but this was truly his coming-out party; all bios agree that it was his first major concert, period. But still being an underground figure, only the hippest of the hip of New York's music and arts scenes turned out to see what this new phenom was all about.

    Dylan debuted a plethora of new songs at this gig, as it was his first show where he played nothing but his own original songs, no covers. Columbia Records recorded the show, so bootleg collectors have heard snippets of it for decades, and Columbia Legacy has also sourced it for their official Bootleg Series of Dylan box sets.

    There are very few Bob Dylan advertising posters and handbills from his first couple of years because he mostly played clubs, not concerts, and those venues generally didn't create such materials (although Gerde's Folk City did produce three). But getting something with Dylan's picture on it, especially in that rookie corduroy cap? Other than the Carnegie Chapter Hall four-page leaflet from '61, of which there are many, forget about it.

    This small handbill is in lovely Mint condition simply because it was in the art director's files for almost half a century. It would be easy for nefarious bootleggers to reproduce it, so the provenance of such a piece is absolutely critical. And there's no better story behind an old new-condition item like this than the one in which it came directly from the person who designed and printed it in the first place. 5 5/8" wide by 6 3/8" tall. COA from Heritage Auctions.




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 2019
    20th-21st Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 20
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,020

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