Sonntag, 13. Februar 2011

The 1963 "Banjo Tape" -- convincingly dated by taper Peter K. Siegel to February 08, 1963

Sun Jan 17 10:13:18 1999
From: (Roger Ford)
Subject: Re: stephen grossman gaslights release?

Jeff ( wrote:
Okay, I'm looking for a cassette, apparently released during the 1970's by Stephan Grossman's label (he does the Guitar Workshop video, instructional,etc.) of Dylan performing at the Gaslight Cafe, but NOT what we commonly know of as "the Gaslight Tapes." Apparently, this tape is half Dylan, half Rev.Gary Davis (possibly performing at the same venue?). I really don't know much about this and it sounds very odd to me, but I am told by a third party -- who, incidentally, had been looking for this cassette for some time -- that it does indeed exist. Does anyone know anything about this? Am I a fool for asking?
This actually came out in 1984, and I got a copy purely because I happened to be on Stefan Grossman's mailing list for his taped guitar lessons and so on at the time. The Dylan content is actually what has always been known as the "Banjo Tape", so titled because it had someone, allegedly Happy Traum, playing banjo and singing occasional back-up vocals. The tape had already been circulating for donkeys' years. Previously it was thought to have been recorded at Gil Turner's home in January 1963, but Stefan claimed to have recorded it himself after hours in the basement of Gerde's Folk City on February 8, 1963 - the original basement tape!

The sound quality is slightly better than I've heard from other sources, so it's possible that Grossman does indeed have the original.

The cassette, titled just "Rev. Gary Davis / Bob Dylan", was published under the imprint of Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop Inc., in a series of "Limited Edition Cassettes"; this one was stated to be "very limited", and was only on sale for a very short time - presumably Stefan knew he was on dodgy ground selling it. It does have a printed insert card and label, but no picture and no catalogue number. It doesn't even list the songs for the Dylan side, which (according to Krogsgaard et al) are:
Lonesome River Edge (?)
Back Door Blues
Bob Dylan's Dream
You Can Get Her (?)'
All Over You
Masters of War
Keep Your Hands Off Her
Honey Babe
Going Back To Rome (?)
For the record, the Reverend Gary Davis side is stated to have been recorded by Grossman at the Gaslight Cafe on February 4, 1964.

Roger Ford

From: Peter K. Siegel
Ref: Feb 8, 1963
Date: Sat Jan 16, 1999 07:11

Hello Manfred,
Came upon your web site while doing research. Great site!
In "Stolen Moments", Heylin quotes Stefan Grossman and attributes the tape to Feb 8, 1963, recorded in the basement of "Gerde's Folk City" (which would make this the first of Dylan's "Basement Tapes" :-) Krogsgaard attributes this tape to late Jan 1963 and the home of Gil Turner. Which version is true, as far as you recall?
At Gil Turner's apartment in the East Village, NYC, not Gerde's Folk City basement.
I recorded the tape Stefan is talking about on exactly that night and place. Still have it here. Looks like the same songs but I don't know if it is the same tape you have. If it is, you can hear me (18-year-old folklorist) ask him where he learned "All Over You" which I took at the time to be an old "songster" song. He then goes off laughing about how he heard it in the wind, etc.
My recollection though, is that Gil Turner played the banjo. You can also hear an old electric fan that was on a stand in Gerde's basement.
Let me know if this is the tape you have a copy of. Happy is probably right, he knows whereof he speaks. But the Feb 8 tape was recorded in Gerde's by me for sure. I gave Stefan his tape probably the same year. The tape was recorded using a Tandberg tape machine and and EV 644 mike.
I was carrying the equipment because earlier the same night, I had recorded Bill Monroe's first NY show at the NYU auditorium also on 4th Street. That show featured Del McCoury on banjo, Jack Cooke on G/V, and Kenny Baker on fiddle. Good night huh?

Peter K. Siegel, Henry Street Folklore, Brooklyn, NY

On Sun, 17 Jan 1999 15:41:35 +0000, Ben Taylor wrote:

As confirmation, here is the dialogue which took place after the song "All Over You":
Dylan finishes the song: "... 'cause babe I'll do it all over you".
Dylan: Huh?
Someone: Oh, you missed the best part.
Dylan: I forgot, man, you know it? I forgot the other verse. You like that one?
Someone: [?]
Dylan: [laughs]
Someone: Where'd you hear that?
Dylan: Where'd I hear that? Haha, I don't know, man. I mighta heard it in the sky. Haha, I don't know, I heard it on the street. I heard it all over.. in the puddles, in the snowfalls, oh God, in bed...

Addendum by Peter K. Siegel
Re: Feb 8, 1963
Date: Sun Jan 17, 1999 20:41

Simultaneously I heard from Sandy Gant. Here is a copy of part of my reply to him:

"My recollection is that Bob saw I had a tape recorder and asked to make a tape. As I told Manfred, I thought Gil played the banjo, but it is within the realm of possibility that I am wrong about that. About the date, place, and person doing the taping, there is no doubt."
For several years I have pretty much made a policy of not giving out tapes, because of a number of incidents where I lived to regret it. I... am still concerned about putting better quality tapes out in the world without the artist's permission. This has just been how I have been doing it...."

Parts of Peter K. Siegel's recording of Bill Monroe from the same night are officially released on an excellent Smithsonian-Folkways box-set -- a (complete?) tape is in circulation among collectors.

Friends of Old Time Music

Various Artists SFW40160 (2006)

Partial Discography of Albums Produced by Peter K. Siegel

Doc Watson at Gerdes Folk City, by Doc Watson (Sugar Hill)

Friends of Old Time Music (Boxed Set), by Clarence Ashley, Horton Barker, Annie Bird, Dock Boggs, Gaither Carlton, Maybelle Carter, Jesse Fuller, The Georgia Sea Island Singers, The Greenbriar Boys, Roscoe Holcomb, Mississippi John Hurt, Fred McDowell, Sam McGee, Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys, The New Lost City Ramblers, McKinley Peebles, Fiddlin' Arthur Smith, Hobart Smith, Joseph Spence, The Stanley Brothers, Stanley Thompson, Doc Watson, Ed Young (Smithsonian Folkways)

Twelve Tunes for Two Banjos by Peter K. Siegel and Eli Smith (Banjeau)
Pioneering Women of Bluegrass
, by Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerard (Smithsonian Folkways)

The Spring of '65, by Joseph Spence and the Pinder Family (Rounder)

Ambush on All Sides, by Jade Bridge (Rounder/Henry Street)

As Quick as Fire: The Art of the Norwegian Hardanger Fiddle, by Knut Buen (Rounder/Henry Street)

Somos Boricuas, by Los Pleneros de la 21 (Rounder/Henry Street)

Tides and Sand: The Art of the Chinese Hammered Dulcimer, by Sisi Chen (Rounder/Henry Street)

Neil Young Live at the Fillmore East (as recording engineer), by Neil Young and Crazy Horse (Reprise)

Roy Buchanan, by Roy Buchanan (Polygram)

Second Album, by Roy Buchanan (Polygram)

We the People, by Ellen McIlwaine (Polygram)

Aquashow, by Elliott Murphy (Polygram)

Folk Fiddling from Sweden, by Björn Ståbi & Ole Hjorth (Nonesuch)

A Bell Ringing in the Empty Sky, by Gorô Yamaguchi (Nonesuch)

The Real Bahamas, Volume I (Co-produced with Jody Stecher), by Joseph Spence, Frederick McQueen, Pinder Family, others (Nonesuch)

The Real Bahamas, Volume II (Co-produced with Jody Stecher), by Joseph Spence, Frederick McQueen, Pinder Family, others (Nonesuch)

Sarangi: The Voice of a Hundred Colors, by Ram Narayan (Nonesuch)

Vidwan: Songs of the Carnatic Tradition, by Ramnad Krishnan (Nonesuch)

Woodsmoke and Oranges, by Paul Siebel (Elektra)

Have a Marijuana, by David Peel and the Lower East Side (Elektra)

The American Revolution, by David Peel and the Lower East Side (Elektra)

Morning Again, by Tom Paxton (Elektra)

The Things I Notice Now, by Tom Paxton (Elektra)

Related post:
Happy Traum (Email) Interview, 1996

Any copyrighted items are included here for "nonprofit educational purposes" (one of the criteria of "fair use", Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 107) only.

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