The “Bringing It All Back Home” Recording Sessions Columbia Recording Studios, New York City, January 13–15, 1965
For three days in the winter of 1965, Bob Dylan and producer Tom Wilson recorded Bringing It All Back Home , one of Dylan’s greatest. They rehearsed acoustic versions the first day, completed ten songs, and only that bit where Bob and Dylan crack up at the start of “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream” made it on the album. The following two days, with a band consisting of Guitarists Al Gorgoni, Kenny Rankin,Bruce Langhorne , pianist Paul Griffin, bassists Joseph Macho, Jr. and William E. Lee, and drummer Bobby Gregg, Dylan recorded the album.
For the uninitiated, two things stand out. Wilson’s easy rapport with Dylan. This was the fourth album they worked on together and Wilson was comfortable enough to snap at Dylan “If you wanna do it right do it slow, if you wanna do it the way you wanna do it, go ahead.” during the recording of “Bob Dylan’s 110th Dream”. The song that posed the most problems was “On The Road Again”, where he didn’t have the arrangement quite nailed down. It took five takes and they ended up using an earlier one.
Otherwise, “It’s All Over Now Baby, Blue”, “Gates Of Eden”, “She Belongs To Me”, “Maggie’s Farm”, “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” are all first takes. Which suggests the level of absolute professionalism. Joan Baez has spoken of Dylan being up all night the summer of 1964 writing the words fueled on cigarettes and wine, all that work is the genius but the recording is a pure professionalism. As for Tom Wilson, in case you wonder if Tom Wilson overstated the case when he claimed to give folk rock its sound, needs only listen to the sessions of these albums to realize the truth of that statement. He died of a heart attack at the age of 47 in 1978.
The speed of these sessions is self-evident, Bootleg XII Collector’s Edition takes 18 discs to cover three albums, and Bringing It Home is completed in two discs and four tracks. Having said that, an evening session with other musicians on January 14th were recorded, not used, and are not here. Half of the tracks here are just Dylan and guitarist Bruce Langhorn.
Fifty years later, 24 year old Dylan, goofing on song titles, orchestrating his band, sharing laughs comes down to us through the years.