The Gospel Project
Bob Dylan Live 1979-80
The original idea was to complete this project in four distinct steps:
ACQUISITION: Acquire copies of every circulating recording from this tour.
VERIFICATION: Verify unique concerts by identifying differences in recordings and performances.
ARCHIVE: Acquire and remaster to CD-R the best available recordings of each concert to create a permanent archive of this tour.
CIRCULATE: Donate complete copies of archive to US and European academic libraries and the Unofficial Bob Dylan Free Tape Library to increase public availability for fans and scholars. Publish a comprehensive catalog of these recordings on the web to facilitate study and spark further interest within the fan community.
Needless to say, nothing has worked out as smoothly as I imagined. Before beginning this Project, I had already acquired the dozen commonly circulating concerts along with a number of less common concerts from this tour. However, I found it much more difficult to acquire copies of rarer concerts from the “completist” collectors because I had little to offer in exchange which they did not already have. Fortunately, a number of generous collectors have helped me where usual trading methods have failed.
As I began sifting through this large box of recordings, I found I needed to develop an indexing methodology to cross-reference the many mislabeled, incomplete, and erroneous recordings which circulate from this tour. As with many other Dylan tours, many of the recordings circulating from this tour were cobbled together from a variety of source tapes. Broad distribution of individual mislabeled or incomplete recordings has led to a number of erroneous conclusions regarding setlists and venues from this tour. The effort to unscramble these errors is more difficult, in this instance, due to the fact Dylan played largely identical sets throughout the tour.
Consequently, I remain deeply entangled in the ACQUISITION and VERIFICATION phases of this Project. My day job and three small children limit me to annotating, at most, three or four recordings a week. Considering the additional time required to process trades and develop website material, I am afraid I will be at this Project for some time to come. Recognizing this, I have decided to begin incrementally publishing the results of my research on the web in an effort to solicit greater assistance from the Dylan community.
IF YOU APPRECIATE WHAT I AM TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH AND THINK YOU MAY BE ABLE TO HELP, PLEASE LOOK OVER MY “HELP WANTED” LISTING BELOW AND CONTACT ME.
I am still trying to find portions of certain recordings and, in some cases, entire recordings for certain dates. Please click here to see an updated list of recordings I am currently seeking. My color-coded “Tour Guide” is not an accurate listing of the recordings I am seeking. It only identifies which shows remain to be annotated -- in other words, I may already have a couple copies of the show, but haven’t yet listened to them all to verify the venue and source.
I would like to bolster this site with more first-hand information regarding the tour and public reaction at the time. Concert reviews from local papers, national news items regarding the tour and the two albums which bracket it, and any concert photos from this tour would be appreciated. Please contact me if you would be willing to scan or photocopy any of the above for me. I would be especially interested to find individuals in any of the cities this tour visited who might be willing to check the local library for contemporaneous news coverage.
I hadn’t planned to begin mastering recordings to disc until I had all the basic recordings in hand. However, a few original masters have become available and I would like to get them circulating sooner if possible. Do you have experience in mastering analog-to-digital sound recordings? Synchronizing two mono recordings into a single stereo recording? Creating Real Audio clips? Can it be done on a Mac? Please contact me if you have experience, advice, cautionary tales.
Cyberspace can be a lonely place. Let me know what you think of the Project, the website, or the tour.