Carnegie Chapter Hall

November 4, 1961

Pretty Peggy-O
In the Pines
Gospel Plow
1913 Massacre
Backwater Blues
Long Time A-Growin'
Fixin to Die
This concert took place in the "small" Carnegie Hall in November 1961. This hall is really nothing more than an annex to the bigger, more prestigious Carnegie Hall. The crowd was supposed to have been pretty small for this early concert, but they seem very enthusiastic. Dylan himself seems very friendly and talkative, if a little nervous, and seems to be attempting to hone his stage craft a little bit. His stage patter is amusing and self-effacing. For instance he talks about the set list taped on his guitar and says he looked at other set lists on other singers' guitars and copied down some of those songs, and so some of them he doesn't know too well. In fact he does all of these songs very well and it's easy to see why he attracted so much attention in his early years.

No original songs here. Three of these songs appeared on the first album and the others are among those rarely heard on any Dylan tape. In the Pines is an old song that seems to have had its origins in post-slavery days. I've heard this song under the alternate title Black Girl, but Dylan sings it as "little girl". Backwater Blues is a Leadbelly song and Dylan gets to sing some downhome blues. His guitar playing is pretty impressive. 1913 Massacre is note for note Song To Woody! So this is where he got the tune. The story in this song is a tragic tale of death and destruction during a miner's strike. By far the most shocking thing on this tape is Long Time A-Growin', because Dylan sings this in none other than his Nashville Skyline voice - eight years before he shocked the world with his transformed voice on that album. Obviously, Dylan was capable of modifying his vocal style when the song demanded it as far back as 1961. Apparently what he's trying to do here is sing in an Irish style. The results are not at all bad and the song has long been one of my favorites. The songs that appeared on the first album sound pretty much the same. Fixin' To Die stands out in particular and is a pretty powerful performance overall.

Unfortunately the tape doesn't contain the complete concert and cuts off just as he's starting to announce "something different", but what we have here is pretty essential stuff if you're at all interested in his development as a performing artist. The sound is pretty good too - Definitely a PA tape.


  • Acoustic Troubador [Vigotone]
  • Hard Times in New York City 1961 -1962

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