Bob Dylan

His Gotham Ingress

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On November 4, 1961 -- the ink on his Columbia Records contract still wet -- Bob Dylan leaped from the Greenwich Village coffeehouse circuit to New York's Carnegie Chapter Hall, delivering his first-ever performance in a traditional concert venue. Regardless of whatever pressures Dylan may have felt upon hitting the big time, the surviving tapes document a young man with absolute confidence in his own talents, translating the energy of his small audience into a performance of extraordinary intimacy. The bootleg release His Gotham Ingress assembles seven songs from the Chapter Hall date, and listeners who've heard Dylan's previous reel-to-reel sessions will be astounded by the rapid evolution of his ability. Joking and bullsh*tting like he never left the cozy confines of Gerde's Folk City, he invests traditional songs like Leadbelly's "In the Pines" and Bukka White's "Fixin' to Die" with relevance and reverence. The disc also includes ten songs from the so-called Minnesota Hotel Tape, recorded December 22, 1961, during a visit to the Minneapolis apartment of former girlfriend Bonnie Beecher. Another invaluable glimpse into Dylan's development as an artist, songs like "Poor Lazarus" and "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow" prove him a remarkably persuasive interpreter of traditional folk material, while "Hard Times in New York Town" captures his talent for reinventing time-tested melodies to fit his own purposes. While the Minnesota Hotel Tape is presented in full on Shooting Star's Songs for Bonnie, His Gotham Ingress nevertheless represents a definitive presentation of the Carnegie Chapter Hall date, thanks in part to typically striking TMOQ packaging.