Bob Dylan – 1963

Sitting in a local winery tonight, listening to local musicians perform their own songs, I was reminded that you never know which of these really talented individuals will continue to entertain their neighbors and which will rise to greater prominence.

How many of the folks in Hibbing, Minnesota, back in the early ‘60s recognized that Bob Zimmerman would someday win a Nobel Prize? We often rub elbows with such folk, and never know it. I have, several times. In 1963, I heard Bob Dylan just as he was becoming Bob Dylan.

“In 1963, Bob Dylan played a club date in Chicago, at a place called The Bear (supposedly owned in part by his manager, Albert Grossman, a Chicago native.) A partial tape of seven songs from the show surfaced many years later, and it’s now been officially released on one of the “copyright extension” sets. During that same visit to the city, Dylan did an hour-long interview/performance with radio host Studs Terkel, which was also included on the copyright set, although it was edited to some degree.” (excerpt from

As followers of this blog know, I was an engineer at WFMT from 1960 to 1962 and recorded a number of Studs Terkel’s interviews (but not the one with Bob Dylan). I was still an avid WFMT listener in 1963.

One evening I heard an announcement that a new music venue had hoped to open on this night (I don’t remember the night) but their liquor license had been delayed so they were inviting folks to come down to their opening with complimentary soft drinks and free entertainment. The venue (I have forgotten the name, but it must have been The Bear) had several levels, each devoted to a different music style: jazz, gospel, and folk.

As it turns out, the folk opener was Bob Dylan. I jumped in my car and beat it to the place, but there wasn’t much of a crowd. I found myself sitting about 6 feet away from the stage and thoroughly enjoyed Dylan’s early songs, sung by the original early Dylan: Blowin’ in the wind, Don’t think twice, Masters of war, Hard times, and many others, including Boots of Spanish Leather (before it was released on record). I’ve often wondered where the heck that place was, and now, thanks to Hoffman’s site, I know.

I must confess that when Dylan outgrew his folk-music roots, I pretty much stopped listening to him. My loss. Katie and I did go to a concert he performed with Paul Simon in the DC area a few years back, but what I remember most about it was how ear-splittingly and painfully loud it was, and that it took two hours to get out of the parking lot after the concert.

Fortunately, other people continued to listen and to appreciate Dylan’s artistry. Congratulations to America’s new Nobel Laureate in Literature.


About Jesse

My name is Jesse Blatt. My first name is actually “Ramon,” but I haven’t used that name, except for official purposes, since 1970. I have a high school diploma and a PhD…nothing in between. I’ll get around to explaining that in a post sometime. From time to time I will be posting true stories from my past, though not in any special order. I’ve been fortunate to have had a dozen or so different careers, most of them very satisfying, some fairly frustrating, and none that I wish had never happened. In my many former lives, I have been a mail clerk, radio and TV engineer, radio announcer, electronics engineer, college instructor, psychologist, research consultant, Federal employee, supervisor of research professionals, computer programmer, web designer, instructional designer, construction site handyman, and carpenter, not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Bob Dylan – 1963

  1. Russ says:

    Hi Jesse – Good to see you a few weeks ago.
    Very nice blog, and you just be somewhat prophetic about Dylan, know that he has received the Nobel Prize for music. Best to all, Russ


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s