Well, that's only partially true. It wasn't found in an attic, but instead a basement. How do I know ? Simple; I was the one who found it. Here's the whole (long) story.
|Ralph Gleason with the Beatles, backstage at Candlestick Park|
Gleason kept a vast archive of records, magazines, newspapers, posters, press materials and all kinds of ephemera. When he died in 1975, his family preserved his materials in their Berkeley home, occasionally making it available to writers and scholars. Toby Gleason has supervised the release of a number of the superb television programs his father made during his lifetime, including the highly lauded Jazz Casual programs (featuring John Coltrane and Duke Ellington) and Bob Dylan's historic 1965 San Francisco press conference.
The Gleason family decided a few years back they wanted to selectively sell some items from Ralph's vast archive, and I was very fortunate to be invited by them to discuss a possible purchase. They wanted to take it slowly, but we had good chemistry, and so I made an initial purchase, with the understanding that more would be made available as time passed. Every year or so, I'd visit them and make another purchase. Gleason's collection was among the best I'd ever seen, and it was a real exercise in forbearance to be patient and respect their wishes to take it slowly--but I did. Toby Gleason is extremely knowledgeable and it was a pleasure to spend time with him, talking music and seeing the incredible history his father had collected, and his family had the good sense to preserve. Many of the magazines, newspapers, and papers they had saved had little commercial value, but a great deal of historical significance, and so I purchased them to donate to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's Archive and Library (opening later this year.)
Unfortunately Jean Gleason, Ralph's widow, became ill last year and passed away at the age of 90. After her death, a decision was made to sell the family home, and I was invited up to buy anything that I wanted. For two or three days, Toby and I explored the deep recesses of the home's multi-room basement, which was filled with magazines, records, newspapers and reel to reel tapes. When we came to the wall of tapes, we discovered many labeled "Bob Dylan." Gleason had been one of Dylan's early and most vocal supporters, and became close to him. He also had a number of friends at Dylan's label, Columbia Records (I found letters to Gleason from Dylan's discoverer, John Hammond, among his papers.) Looking at the 40 or so Dylan tapes in the Gleason collection, it was clear some were sent to him by Columbia, some by Dylan's management, and some from fans and readers of Gleason. Many were explicitly labeled, some only said "Dylan." Toby and I agreed that since we didn't know what was on them, I'd take them back to Los Angeles and listen, to see out what was on each one (I also bought 30 or so non-Dylan tapes from the family.)
|In this house's basement, the tape was found !|
I called Jeff Rosen in Dylan's office, to see if he knew of the tape--he didn't, but was interested in hearing it. Jeff is someone all Dylan fans owe a big debt of gratitude to--among many other things, he's responsible for the superb Bootleg Series, which in my opinion are the best compiled, annotated and illustrated albums a fan could hope for. Very quickly, I spoke to Toby Gleason, sent Jeff a CDR of the show, and he responded that he was interested in buying it for a possible future release. I worked out a deal with Jeff--very easy--and voila, about a year later, it's coming out.
I'm very excited about the upcoming Witmark Demos/Bootleg Series album and the Mono Box Set, to be sure. But I'm absolutely thrilled that this great Dylan show--which I'm listening to right now--is finally seeing the light of day, thanks to Ralph J. Gleason, and his family.
Other items from the Ralph J. Gleason collection are available for sale on the Recordmecca website. And we're always looking to purchase rare records and high-end music collectibles.