Saturday, March 01, 2014

Larry Sloman's notes for Bootleg Series Entry 8

Many years frigging ago, Dave and Jim discovered bootlegs of Dylan via an encounter with White Panthers or Yippies in Milwaukee, driving a Cadillac, who had copies of Tarantula with A.J. Weberman's intro, in the trunk...all of this was a passport to strange existential mysticism for us, like the Beatles "Paul is Dead" adventure, but of far more import and essnece... Here is Larry Sloman's take... on something similar whist was floatin around the midwest and else where back in these hemp flavored days.. as editor of the Cardinal... Larry became known to us (if memory serves me well) through big Jim Cusimano, who was Dave's English teacher at Whitewater, and through Paul DeMark via Harry Duncan, as part of the Madison Blues Coop. Writes Larry

... I was there at the birth of the first Dylan bootleg. Oddly enough, I was in a line with my friend Mitch waiting to see Procol Harum and the Byrds perform on June 27th, 1969 at the Fillmore East - rock impresario Bill Graham's palace, a glittering jewel on the grungy streets of the Lower East Side in New York. You never know what you might confront waiting on those lines to get into the Fillmore. A few years earlier, when it was still the Village Theater, I was standing under the marquee and was amazed to see Tiny Tim, who would later go onto fame by marrying his sweetheart on the Johnny Carson show. Tiny, who was in an ill-fitting, rumpled suit, grabbed his ukulele out of his paper shopping bag and began to serenade an old Jewish couple who had just bought some rugelach from Ratner's Bakery next door. "This is a song done by the late, great Russ Columbo in 1931," Tiny intoned and then went into a beautiful version of "You Call It Madness (But I Call It Love)." He stood under that marquee for almost an hour, conjuring up their past and bringing tears to the eyes of that old couple. The next year, Abbie Hoffman was working that line, recruiting the unwashed hippies for his Yippie! political movement by distributing a booklet he had printed (using funds from one of New York City's neighborhood endowment programs) called Fuck the System that detailed ways for the denizens of the East Village to get food and other necessities for free.
So you'd never know who you'd run into on one of those Fillmore lines. The night of the Procol Harum show, Mitch was the first to see this guy with long hair, held in place by a psychedelically-colored headband. In his arms, he had a half dozen white-jacketed record albums, the rest of his inventory having been stashed in his army surplus backpack against the side of the building.
"I got the new Dylan album," he hissed, walking up and down the line. That caught Mitch's ear. He raised his arm sharply, causing a commotion among the long fringes of his brown suede jacket. The guy rushed over.

"New Dylan album?" Mitch was incredulous.

The guy held out a copy. The album jacket was all white and blank, except for a hand-stamped "GWW" on the front cover. We would later learn that stood for "Great White Wonder" - Larry Sloman from Dylan Bootleg 8 liner notes. For more...

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