By Shmuel Berger
“There have long been rumors that Mr. Dylan had stashed away an extensive archive. It is now revealed that he did keep a private trove of his work, dating back to his earliest days as an artist, including lyrics, correspondence, recordings, films and photographs.”
Just recently, the discovery of a very early recording of Dylan at age 13 was met with disbelief in some quarters. Well, as it turns out, this was not the only example of recently discovered materials from Bob’s childhood….
Busy being born: Bob Dylan’s The Childhood Tapes Released!
1: The First Cry
Happened right after the umbilical cord was snipped.
Here we hear Bob Dylan cry for the first time.
The cry after the cutting of the umbilical cord is thought to have been revisited later with “Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, Mama, can this really be the end?”
Dad Abe Zimmerman caught it all on film, including Mom Beatty begging little Bobby not to cry.
Thought to be the inspiration for “Baby, Stop Crying”
2: The Bris Tape
This is the second known recording, taped at 8 days of age. The scream upon the circumcision blade incising is also thought to have been revisited later in “Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, Mama, can this really be the end?”
3: The Potty Trained Photo
This is a rare photo of actual Dylan feces, in celebration of his first successful defecation into the potty. Later Dylan converted the photo into the cover of Self Portrait, which caused Greil Marcus of Rolling Stone to begin his review of the album by asking “What is this shit?” After that review, Dylan reportedly said: ““Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, Mama, can this really be the end?”, but apparently in a cynical and sarcastic tone.
4: T he Bicycle Crash
Abe Zimmerman caught Bob on a primitive camera here. Bob, while trying to learn how to ride, crashes the new bicycle he got for Chanukah.
After the bike crash he wanted to go to this Big Pink house in Woodstock New York and chill out, but his parents wouldn’t let him because he was like 9 years old. After the bike crash he wrote a letter (with a Sharpie) to his Mom and said “Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, Mama, can this really be the end?”
And then he added: “To be stuck inside of Hibbing with the Woodstock Blues again”. So this is a HUGE finding for Dylan scholars.
And then he ran away and joined the circus, if you ask him.
5: The Bar Mitzvah Tapes
This is the jewel in the crown of the Bob Dylan Childhood Tapes.
Here the just turned thirteen Bob Dylan slips in, before his weekly parsha reading – the chutzpa of it! – imagine – shocking as The Rites of Spring – he slips in “God said to Abraham kill me a son/ Abe says, “Where do you want this killin’ done?”/God says, “Out on Highway 61””. The congregation was stunned. The folk were electrified, so to speak.
Then in the sermon the Rabbi said mockingly: “of course, there’s no Highway 61 in the Bible” and Bobby stands up and yells “There’s something happening here, but you don’t know what it is? Do you Rabbi Cohen?”
As we approach 2000 articles on this site, indexing is important, but sadly chaotic. You can find indexes to series linked under the image of Dylan at the top of the page and some relating to recent series on the home page.
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