Sony Music’s Legacy division finally made it official this morning: The catalog enclave will issue a pair of Bob Dylan packages, “The Bootleg Series Volume 9: The Witmark Demos” and “The Original Mono Recordings,” on Oct. 19, just in time for the Xmas shopping season. The company also unveiled artwork for the collections.
The two-CD “Bootleg” series package’s title doesn’t quite describe the set’s contents. It actually comprises both Dylan’s January 1962 demos for Leeds Music and his later 1962-64 demos for M. Witmark & Sons. Dylan’s early publishers worked his songs to get covers from other artists, and the singer-songwriter benefited early in his career from hit versions of his tunes by Peter, Paul & Mary (who were handled by his manager Albert Grossman) and Columbia label mates the Byrds.
Many of the numbers Dylan demoed were lost to history until bootleggers unearthed them; 15 of the 47 songs on “Bootleg 9” were never officially recorded.
“The Original Mono Recordings” — which will be issued on both CD and 18–gram vinyl — will offer exact repro versions of Dylan’s first eight albums, from “Bob Dylan” (1962) to “John Wesley Harding” (1967) — one of the great creative achievements of the era. A booklet with the package will include a new essay by Greil Marcus, whose collection “Bob Dylan By Greil Marcus” (yes, that’s really the title) arrives on Oct. 26.