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    Description

    Bob Dylan 1963 Original Freewheelin' Album w/Four Deleted Tracks, Rarest of the Rare

    JUST ADDED: 30-SECOND SNIPPETS OF TWO OF THE RARE TRACKS PLAYED FROM THIS VERY RECORD (down below).

    An original mono pressing of Bob Dylan's legendary second album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, that lists the common songs everywhere but plays the four rare, deleted tracks that all Dylan fans know and love: "Talking John Birch Blues," "Gamblin' Willie's Dead Man's Hand," "Rocks and Gravel" and "Let Me Die in My Footsteps" (actual titles can vary slightly from different sources; see below).

    This is the one... the record that everybody wants but almost nobody has. Pressed only once and only in the hundreds and only in Los Angeles, California in early 1963, it is stunningly rare and has been called the rarest and most sought-after record by a major artist. This is the first one Heritage has been able to find to offer you in a decade.

    This record is from the collection of Paul Prince, as much a first-generation Bob Dylan fan and collector as any person can be outside of New York City. Mr. Prince entered the hobby in spectacular fashion in the spring of 1963; he walked into a Southern California record store and asked for the brand new album by this unknown New York folksinger Bob Dylan. The clerk turned around, opened up a box from Columbia Records and pulled out a fresh new sealed copy of the Freewheelin'. Paul paid the man, took his new record home, popped it on the turntable, got to the second song and started going, "Whaaaat?"

    The rest, as they say, is collecting history.

    Mr. Prince's original mono Freewheelin', in his collection for 56 years, is the one being offered here. From one of the finest Bob Dylan collections in the world.

    Paul has also included a second original first-run mono ("Guaranteed High Fidelity") copy of the Freewheelin' with a jacket identical in every way to the rare one, so that the new owner can have an original unmarked LP jacket if they so desire. The original jacket has the four wrong songs crossed out in pen (plus Paul's name written on it), done back in the day which was so typical for this particular rarity.

    Only this first pressing of the Freewheelin' contained the controversial song "Talkin' John Birch Society Blues," which CBS -TV decided to keep Bob from performing on The Ed Sullivan Show that spring. CBS Inc. followed suit by keeping it off this unknown folksinger's second album, which already had been fully approved and for which the Columbia Records presses had started rolling in Los Angeles. For reasons unknown because Dylan never addresses this type of subject in interviews, three additional tracks were yanked off the release, and four new songs were substituted for those four deleted tracks. Thus, you have what we'll call the "rare" and "common" tracks for purposes of describing these Freewheelin' lots.

    The four deleted tracks sometimes had slightly alternate names, just adding to the mystery and confusion surrounding the entire ordeal. They were also sprinkled evenly across the entire LP. They are:

    On Side One:

    "Rocks and Gravel" aka (also known as) "Solid Road"

    "Talkin' John Birch Blues" aka "Talkin' John Birch Society Blues" aka "Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues" aka "Talkin' John Birch"

    And on Side Two:

    "Gamblin' Willie's Dead Man's Hand" aka "Ramblin' Gamblin' Willie"

    And "Let Me Die in My Footsteps"

    One can just imagine the confusion at the Columbia Records pressing plant on Robertson Blvd. in Los Angeles in early 1963 when orders came down to switch out the masters on both sides of the LP. Most factory workers, including those at record plants, go entirely by matrix and catalog numbers... not the names of musicians, albums or songs. Take it from me - I used to work in a CBS Records LP manufacturing plant.

    So when the orders from New York came into Los Angeles the scrap the masters, jackets, labels and metal parts for CL-1986 and CS-8786 (the mono and stereo Freewheelin' catalog numbers), most of the components with the rare songs were destroyed or thrown away. But not all of them were, and thus were born instant, amazing collector's items in extremely tiny numbers.

    The biggest boneheaded move by Columbia was when the label actually pressed, sealed, boxed up and shipped out to stores the Freewheelin' album in spring 1963 with the common songs on the front & back of the jacket as well as both red record labels... BUT the rare songs in the grooves. Crucially, some old metal 'stampers' with the rare songs had accidentally survived the purge, and so a first pressing of Freewheelin's in L.A. went out playing, indeed, "John Birch Society Blues" et al. when the needle was dropped on the vinyl.

    We keep mentioning Los Angeles, but the plant distributed Columbia albums to the whole western United States, so it's not known just how far away this erroneous pressing was shipped. California is a certainty, but... Phoenix, Seattle even Denver maybe?

    One thing that was seemingly never made was an original Freewheelin' with the four deleted tracks found everywhere: on the jacket front, on the jacket back, on the record labels, and in the grooves. It just never got that far, or else they were truly 100% destroyed. I was lucky enough to talk with and quiz producer John Hammond about this in a phone call in the 1970's, but he was way too "big picture" to remember the fine details that collectors are so hungry to know.

    We do benefit from having an absurdly tiny amount of white promo labels, white promo timing strips and record grooves playing the four deleted tracks - but never all together. There are also two known stereo copies with red commercial labels that play the rare music and have the rare songs on the labels.

    What we don't benefit from is ever having seen an American jacket front with the four rare songs. In Canada, they naively put the rare tracks on the jacket front (but nowhere else), which would have become an amazing collector's item if the mistake had been corrected immediately; instead, Canada blissfully kept it in print that way for years. So most Bobcats have to settle for that Canadian jacket as their "rare Freewheelin'," although it's still extremely cool. (We'll have one of those in our auction next March.)

    We've also seen an image of the Freewheelin's back cover as it was originally going to come out, discussing the rare tracks along with all the other songs; it was printed in a European Dylan fanzine a long time ago. But a picture of an American rare Freewheelin' front cover? Never, ever. It was either never printed, or was completely destroyed when the order came down. (OR.. there's still one lurking in the closet of an old Columbia executive somewhere...)

    In the photographs, we chose to show you the rare vinyl on the left and the common vinyl on the right, side-by-side. This is how record collectors for decades have tried to find this rare disc at garage sales, flea markets and used-record stores. On side one of the super-rare original Freewheelin', "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall," the longest track on the LP and therefore the obvious fattest band, plays in the third spot. On the common Freewheelin', it's in the last spot. So ever since the 1970's when all this became known, collectors have pulled used Freewheelin's out of their sleeves and hoped & prayed to find a thin band at the end of side one, instead of the wide "Hard Rain." Alas, it virtually never happens.

    In today's lexicon this was all "a hot mess" indeed, but the challenge of getting all this straight is one of the big, fun parts of serious Dylan collecting and indeed the almost-impossible chase for an original Freewheelin'. You can traverse the planet and meet with the biggest Bob Dylan collectors worldwide, and almost none of them will have this record. Trust me; I've done just that.

    Pete Howard
    Consignment Director, Entertainment & Music

    Matrix numbers found on the rare, original LP:
    Side One: XLP - 58717 - 1A
    Side Two: XLP - 58718 - 1A

    Condition: the rare original Freewheelin' has a jacket which grades to VG-4, with ring wear and typical used-record scuffing on the front, and writing on the back.

    The record itself grades to VG-5 and does play really well, with one defect: Side Two, Track One, "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," which gives off some pops, and it does skip in three or four places which jumps the needle forward to the next groove, meaning some sung lyrics are missed, on that one song only.

    The second, all-common Freewheelin', included mostly for its jacket: Jacket is VG EX-7 with minor stain on back cover lower left. And the disc is VG EX-6.

    COA from Heritage Auctions.





    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2019
    16th-17th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,327

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