An internal Columbia memo regarding the January 1968 release of John Wesley Harding is reproduced in the booklet for Dylan's Complete Album Collection, Vol.1 (see below).  Apparently addressed to Columbia's distribution branch managers, the memo reveals that the company's West Coast pressing plant at Santa Maria offered an over-the-counter service to record dealers in the Los Angeles area, providing a short-cut to the normal distribution process.  If this was also true 18 months earlier, then stores in LA that were prepared to drive to Santa Maria to collect copies of Blonde On Blonde could have had the new album on sale during week commencing 27 June, while most stores had to wait until it came through the normal distribution channel the following week. 

Columbia memo re John Wesley Harding


This could explain how KRLA BEAT writer Carol Deck (see her article in the July 16, 1966, issue of the magazine) was able to describe the music on the album in detail while still indicating that the record was not yet fully available at the time of writing.  She could have got her copy from one of the more intrepid LA stores who’d bought early from the pressing plant.  This was perhaps just one factor in the history of confusion and conflicting stories regarding the album’s release date.