Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisited: 4-Track or 8-Track?

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JWB
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Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisited: 4-Track or 8-Track?

Postby JWB » Tue May 31, 2005 5:41 am

Hoffman has always insisted that "Highway 61 Revisited" was recorded on 8-Track.

But all of the literature I've read, and studio documentation I've seen, says it was done on 4-Track.

Here's an example:

Image

He says that he handled the mutli-tracks when he remastered the album for DCC. (Why? I don't know. I thought he didn't like to remix.)

There is also similar conflict regarding "John Wesley Harding". All of the lietrature, and tape boxes, say 8-Track...yet Steve says that Nashville didn't have an 8-Track in 1967.

Does anybody know of any documentation or pictures that either supports or negates Steve?

Anybody have any opinions?

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Postby Andreas » Tue May 31, 2005 6:03 am

You have probably read that post, but anyway:
Steve Hoffman wrote:Those HWY 61 8-track tapes were all gathered up and were sitting in Bob Irwin's office.

I'm glad I didn't remix though; the original mix has so much friggin' character and history to it. I might not ever have been able to duplicate that sound.


http://www.stevehoffman.tv/forums/showp ... stcount=21

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Postby lukpac » Tue May 31, 2005 7:34 am

I believe the LA studios were first with the 8-track, in late '64/early '65 (Bruce & Terry, Byrds, etc). Not sure when NYC got one, but a 4-track recording would certainly explain why that mix isn't better than it is.

Seems pretty unlikely that Nashville wouldn't have had an 8-track by 1967.
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Postby JWB » Tue May 31, 2005 7:46 am

But it says 4-Track on the frigging "Like A Rolling Stone" tape sheet. I would like to confront Steve with this info, but I don't think it would get me anywhere...he's pretty insistant.

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Postby lukpac » Tue May 31, 2005 8:04 am

JWB wrote:But it says 4-Track on the frigging "Like A Rolling Stone" tape sheet.


Don't think I disagreed with that.

I would like to confront Steve with this info, but I don't think it would get me anywhere...he's pretty insistant.


Well, you won't know unless you try.

You could try Bob Irwin too.
"I know because it is impossible for a tape to hold the compression levels of these treble boosted MFSL's like Something/Anything. The metal particulate on the tape would shatter and all you'd hear is distortion if even that." - VD

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Postby Chris M » Tue May 31, 2005 6:58 pm

Knowing comparitvely little about Dylan's recording sessions what surprises me is the number of LARS takes :shock:

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Postby MK » Tue May 31, 2005 7:27 pm

Couldn't what's-his-name, the Sony mastering engineer at SH Forums confirm this? Actually Mark Wilder can...I hesitate to bring him up but awhile back he posted his phone number on Audio Asylum because some asshole was spreading false information about the Sony SACD's he mastered. I wonder if anyone tried that number.
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Postby Rspaight » Wed Jun 01, 2005 7:43 am

Chris M wrote:Knowing comparitvely little about Dylan's recording sessions what surprises me is the number of LARS takes :shock:


Good point. For Dylan, that's practically Steely Dan territory.

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Postby Phil Elliott » Wed Jun 01, 2005 2:23 pm

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Postby JWB » Wed Jun 01, 2005 2:49 pm

Hmmm....he says "Highway 61" was 4-Track, but "Blonde On Blonde" was 8-Track. I thought "Blonde On Blonde" was 4-Track too?

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Postby lukpac » Wed Jun 01, 2005 4:32 pm

http://www.punkhart.com/dylan/sessions-1.html

So Bob Dylan's sessions in New York City in the 1960s ended with a number of cancellations. From February 1966 until 1970, Dylan would record all his material in Nashville, where a huge number of musicians were readily available. One major argument for changing to Nashville may well have been technical. In 1966 the New York studio was still using 4-track equipment. Most of Blonde On Blonde was recorded in 8-track. which technology was available in Nashville.


http://www.punkhart.com/dylan/sessions-2.html

In the last article I stated that most of Blonde On Blonde was recorded in 8-track in Nashville. It now appears that this is probably not true. The first album for which there are session tapes in 8-track is John Wesley Harding. All existing tapes from the Blonde On Blonde sessions are 4-track.
"I know because it is impossible for a tape to hold the compression levels of these treble boosted MFSL's like Something/Anything. The metal particulate on the tape would shatter and all you'd hear is distortion if even that." - VD

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Postby lukpac » Mon Sep 26, 2005 1:06 pm

FYI the 6/15/65 Tom Wilson session for Phantom Engineer notes "4 track" if anyone cares (per the No Direction Home insert).
"I know because it is impossible for a tape to hold the compression levels of these treble boosted MFSL's like Something/Anything. The metal particulate on the tape would shatter and all you'd hear is distortion if even that." - VD

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Re:

Postby lukpac » Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:11 am

On a Dylan kick...revisiting this.

Phil Elliott wrote:Bob Johnston speaks:

http://mixonline.com/recording/intervie ... _johnston/


Besides the fact that he's apparently mistaken about BoB, there's this:

Dylan had had a falling out with his previous producer, Tom Wilson. What did you bring to the picture, and what was your first meeting like?

It was in the Columbia Studios on West 52nd Street. I just walked up to him and said, “Hi, I'm Bob Johnston,” and he just smiled and said, “Hi, I'm Bob, too.” As for producing, I always say I'm someone who just lets the tapes roll, but anyone who can't write songs, can't sing, can't produce, can't perform really shouldn't be working with an artist. You need to relate on their level, if for no other reason than you can stay out of their way when you need to. All of the other staff producers at Columbia were tapping their feet out of time and whistling out of tune and picking songs based on what their boss liked last week so they could keep their jobs three more months. But I figured Dylan knew something none of us knew, and I wanted to let him get it out. Also, I should tell you that though “Like a Rolling Stone” was on Highway 61, it was produced by Tom Wilson. I produced all the rest of the songs on it.

What were the sessions for Highway 61 like?

The old studios on 52nd Street were a big complex with tons of staff engineers. I walked in on the first day, and there was a German engineer in the studio waiting for me, and he said, “Vot are ve vorking on today?” I told him it was Bob Dylan, and he said, “Do ve haff to?” And I said, “Hell, no,” and got another engineer. [That turned out to be Mike Figlio, who also recorded Tony Bennett's “I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” and who would follow Johnston down to Columbia Nashville a few years later.]


As far as I know, all of Dylan's NYC sessions from this time period were done at Columbia's Studio A, which was located at 799 East Seventh Ave. I'm not certain if 52nd St (studios B and E) was even in operation at the time.

As far as Highway 61 goes, has anybody seen track sheets for the (slightly) later Bob Johnston sessions a month and a half later? It's possible that 8-track had been utilized for those.

Some shots from Studio A from (I believe) 1966:

http://www.historyofrecording.com/colum ... iosny.html
http://www.historyofrecording.com/louwaxman.html
http://www.historyofrecording.com/royhalee.html
"I know because it is impossible for a tape to hold the compression levels of these treble boosted MFSL's like Something/Anything. The metal particulate on the tape would shatter and all you'd hear is distortion if even that." - VD