Appendix E: Notes on methods and source materials
Some tolerance has to be allowed when comparing vinyl discs; earlier pressings tend to sound rather better, and the quality of the vinyl used may vary. Furthermore, cutting engineers would often apply their own adjustments to the sound in order to get what they considered a good result. After allowing for these factors, it is sometimes hard to tell whether the same or different master tapes have been used for vinyl releases.
Another element of variation between different vinyl pressings is the speed (and therefore pitch) at which they play. Many pieces of analogue equipment were used in the production chain, and each would be subject to slight variations in operating speed. Sometimes these would cancel each other out, but sometimes they added together to produce significant variations in the end product. To eliminate any further variation at the playback stage I have set the speed of my turntable using the strobe markings on the platter.
In the analogue world, the recording and playback speeds of a track will affect its length, and this is one reason why comparing track lengths is particularly difficult. So instead of comparing total track lengths, I have concentrated on timing the length of additional music in the longer of two versions; doing it this way, any error will be much smaller. I have also ignored the timings printed on album sleeves and labels, as these are very unreliable.
All comparisons were made using the following recordings:
Mono vinyl copies: UK first pressing (CBS BPG 62572); CD-R of US first pressing (Columbia CL 2389); Highway 61 & Blonde On Blonde Mono Mixes bootleg CD (Gold Standard HM-313).
Stereo vinyl copies: UK first pressing (CBS SBPG 62572); CD-Rs of US first pressing with alternate "Buick 6" (Columbia CS 9189) and of a slightly later pressing with the standard take; 1970s Dutch copy (CBS S 62572); 1980s Japanese pressing (CBS/Sony 25AP 273) with alternate "Buick 6".
Stereo CD copies: Original UK edition (Columbia 460953 2); DCC gold CD (GZS-1021); Japanese 20-bit reissue (Sony SRCS 7904); UK hybrid SACD reissue (Columbia 512351 6); Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab SACD remaster (UDSACD 2124).
Rough Mix tape: 7½ ips open-reel tape (not from bootleg); Highway 61 Revisited Again bootleg CD (92-BD-09-04).
Emmett Grogan acetates: CD-R derived from acetates without editing or noise reduction (not from bootleg).
Other acetates: as above.
Mixes for The Bootleg Series Vol.12 – The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: 18-CD Collector's Edition (Columbia/Legacy 8887512440218).
Books, Magazines, Websites etc.
Information was drawn from the following:
Lars M Banke & David Eckstrom, A Few Notes About Foreign Bob Dylan Albums, Part IV, in Issue 23 of Look Back, 1989
John Bauldie: Interview with Steve Hoffman in Issue 44 of The Telegraph, 1992
John Bauldie: Details of the Emmett Grogan Acetates in Issue 51 of The Telegraph, 1995
Bob Dylan Songbook, Witmark, 1965
Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Interactive CD-ROM (Columbia / Graphix Zone CDAC 085700), 1995
Alan Fraser's "Searching For A Gem" website documenting Dylan's record releases worldwide, http://www.searchingforagem.com
Steve Hoffman's Music Forum web site: www.stevehoffman.tv/forums
Al Kooper with Ben Edmonds, Backstage Passes, Stein and Day, 1977
Michael Krogsgaard, Positively Bob Dylan (1960 - 1991) (for US CD release dates)
Michael Krogsgaard, Bob Dylan: The Recording Sessions, Part 1, in Issue 52 of The Telegraph, 1995 (this can be seen online at http://www.punkhart.com/dylan/sessions-1.html )
Rod MacBeath, Looking Up Dylan's Sleeves, Part 1, in Issue 50 of The Telegraph, 1994
Daryl Sanders, That Thin, Wild Mercury Sound: Dylan, Nashville and the Making of Blonde on Blonde, Chicago Review Press, 2018 (Kindle Edition)
Anthony Scaduto, Bob Dylan, W. H. Allen, 1972
M. C. Strong, The Wee Rock Discography, Canongate, 1996
My thanks to Jon McAuliffe, Geoff Batchelor, Richard Batey, Peter Stone Brown, Peter Coulthard, Fredric J Einstein, BJ Ellis, Andrea Falesi, Richard Feirstein, Steve Hoffman of DCC, John Howells, Dan Jordan, Al Kooper, Patrick Moss, Hominy Rhodes, Daryl Sanders, Bob Stacy, Andreas Volkert, Paul Woods and Matthew Zuckerman for information, recordings, opinion or encouragement; and to the late Sandy Gant, who very kindly provided me with CD-Rs of several early US vinyl copies of Highway 61 Revisited.
Thanks too to anyone else who has posted contributions on the subject to rec.music.dylan, or on the Steve Hoffman Music Forums, and whose name I've overlooked here.
Last updated November 2018