Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window (1; fragment)
Until the release of Planet Waves in January 1974, the entire officially available recorded output of Bob Dylan and the Band (nee the Hawks) consisted of a mere ten songs, of which only two were studio recordings. This was a major loss considering the vast amount of material that actually existed:
Until the release of Masterpieces in 1976 (Japan and Australia only) and Biograph in 1985, Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window remained out-of-print and very hard to find. Biograph not only included the above song, but it also contained two more songs
from the 1965 Hawks sessions - Jet Pilot and I Wanna Be Your Lover (version two). With the release of The Bootleg Series in 1991, She's Your Lover Now was finally released, and recently Medicine Sunday showed up on the Highway 61 Interactive CD-ROM. Who knows what other surprises await us? [Note: refer to Krogsgaard's The Recording Sessions for more information on these sessions]
Actually, these 1965/1966 studio tracks were the first Blonde On Blonde sessions and give an idea of what the album would have sounded like if it had been done in its entirety with The Hawks instead of with the Nashville studio musicians. Would it have been a better album? I don't know, but it would have been very different! One of these songs did eventually wind up on the album and it doesn't sound out of place. According to Robert Shelton in No Direction Home, there was one mammoth 16 hour session that "yielded nothing". I don't know who decided that the material contained here represented "nothing", but somewhere along the line the decision was made to scrap plans for a Dylan/Hawks album in favor of the Nashville studio lineup. I don't regret that decision at all, because Blonde On Blonde is the greatest rock album of all time, but I think the finished Dylan/Hawks album would have been a pretty good album too.
The songs one by one:
Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window - A short fragment done in the slow style of the Highway 61 version and the complete fast version, originally a single and now available on Biograph. The fragment of the slow version shows great promise and would have been great if finished. The fast version is of course a classic.
I Wanna Be Your Lover - the one on Biograph is great, but the alternate unreleased version is even better and contains some of the nastiest lead guitar Robbie Robertson ever played. It's a little annoying, however, to hear Rick Danko constantly blow the obvious chord changes. Great lines like "Rasputin, he's so dignified. He touched the back of her head and he died."
Jet Pilot - For a long time I had serious doubts as to whether it belongs on this list, but now it's pretty much proven to have come from these sessions, but to me it sounds like something left over from the Highway 61 sessions. Not only do the tune and lyrics sound like an early version of From a Buick 6, the instrumentation also sounds like Kooper/Bloomfield. Anyway, this is just a fragment, but what appears on bootlegs is slightly longer than what we have on Biograph - even though it's the same version.
Medicine Sunday - A great find and a great loss that a complete version won't be heard
on the forthcoming CD set (but according to Krogsgaard's sessions notes, there wasn't a complete take of this song). This song, also known as Midnight Train (only because that phrase is mentioned in the first line), happens to be
an early version of Temporary Like Achilles. To my ears it would have been a vastly superior version, although (on
the basis of one verse) lacking the humor of the later official version.
This is probably the crux of what made these sessions get scrapped in favor
of Nashville - this music with the Hawks is very somber, sort of like Procol
Harum with Dylan as lead singer, if you can imagine what that would be like.
Number One - An instrumental. Was there ever a vocal track? The chord progression sounds too complicated to feature the standard Dylan-type vocal, but who knows? He might have been trying for a whole new thing here and then had to let it drop when the entire project moved to Nashville. Still a great track featuring the Hawks. Dylan apparently plays rhythm guitar.
One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later) - The same track that was released as a single and later on Blonde On Blonde. The stereo mix on the album is slightly different than the mono single mix, but otherwise the tracks are exactly the same. Not really part of any bootleg tape, this is included on this list for completion only.
Seems Like a Freeze-Out - There are at least two versions known, and many more attempts that are not in circulation. The two that are in general circulation are a slow version and a brighter, faster version that sounds to me more like a Nashville outtake. As for the slow version, it's really incredible! Garth's organ really steals the show and Robbie's guitar is perfect. The real surprise here is the harpsichord, probably played by Richard Manuel. Dylan plays piano on this track. Contains the "nightingale's code" line. One of the real highlights of this tape!
She's Your Lover Now - Probably the absolute greatest thing Dylan's ever recorded, now officially available on The Bootleg Series. No other Dylan recording has as much emotional impact as this one does. It's only too bad that the song comes to a sudden halt midway through the final verse, which remains unpublished. There is another version of this song with piano only, and the final verse is complete. It wasn't until I heard the full last verse that I came to realize what happened with the Hawks take and why it just crashes to a halt - Dylan screwed up the line "now your mouth cries wolf..." (a great line in itself!) which should have been "now your eyes cry wolf while your mouth says 'I'm not scared of animals like you'".
All in all, this entire tape is absolutely essential to any Dylan collection. I think it's the best studio sessions he's ever done!
Since writing this, it has been determined that some of the tracks mentioned in this article were performed by a combination of Hawks members and leftovers from the Highway 61 sessions, notably Al Kooper and Paul Griffin. Refer to the sessions info for more details on who played what.
Also, in reference to released Dylan/Band material, the entire encore set with Dylan is available on the expanded remaster of the Band's Rock of Ages live album from December 31, 1971.
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