Before Bob Dylan went electric at Newport in 1965, he tried going down a much different road. A true revolutionary and musical genius, Dylan worked secretly with Mantovani and Mitch Miller in August 1964 on a series of groundbreaking recordings that would finally destroy the heavy burden of being the King of Folk and forge a trailblazing path for all of popular music.
Shocked at what they heard, record executives and manager Albert Grossman forced producer Bob Johnston to strip all of Mantovani’s strings and Mitch Miller’s choral arrangements, as well as all of the show tunes and pop songs, gutting the original two-album set that would truly show another side of Bob Dylan, and leaving the world with the thin husk of just another“folk” album.
David Crosby: “Dylan was devastated. That's when he started using drugs and treating people badly. I mean, he's a musical genius and they robbed him of a masterpiece. I was at those sessions, and he was waaaaay out in front of everybody. It was like being in a room with Charlie Parker, Cecil Taylor, Hank Williams and Bach. You think The Beatles were “experimenting” because they used a couple of violins on “Yesterday”? Dylan had f*cking MANTOVANI! But Grossman freaked out.”
It would take Dylan six more years before he had the clout to release a double album with strings and choirs on his misunderstood pop masterpiece Self Portrait (see Columbia’s new Another Self Portrait (1969-1971): The Bootleg Series Vol.10.). If you love Dylan crooning "Blue Moon,"it all started here...
Now, for the first time, experience Another Side the way God and Dylan intended. All of the strings. All of the choirs. With 44 alternate takes, outtakes, unreleased songs, alternate takes of unreleased songs, and alternate takes of previously released alternate takes, including his first attempt at “Blue Moon,” yet another version of “Spanish Is the Loving Tongue” (with Trini Lopez), and “Surrey with Fringe on Top.”
David Crosby: “Wait, I may not have been at those sessions. Maybe it was McGuinn. It’s a little fuzzy... No, I was there, too, because I remember Andy Williams was hanging out a lot with Bob then. You’ve never heard anything until you’ve heard Bob and Andy doing 'All I Really Want to Do.' It's not just a song anymore - it's like a spiritual revelation or revolution. America would've been a very different place if they had let Bob sing with Mantovani and Miller. We probably would've pulled out of Vietnam a lot earlier. Bobby and Martin would still be alive. You just don't know what might have happened.”
The Deluxe Version of Another Side of Another Side includes the complete Perry Como Television Show Rehearsal Session from September 1964. Hear Perry and Bob croon sweetly to “It A’int Me, Babe,” “Spanish Harlem Incident” and several selections from My Fair Lady.
“I wrote a glowing review of Another Side when it came out in ’64. But I was a complete idiot. I want to publicly apologize for that misguided piece of writing. Frankly, Another Side pales in comparison to Another Side of Another Side. It’s clear now that Bob Dylan was and is a musical genius, that he had a much bigger concept of music than the suits at Columbia, and that the real masterpiece was stripped away from him by bean counters and philistines.”
The entire history of rock and roll and popular music will have to be re-written
when people hear Another Side of Another Side of Bob Dylan: The Mantovani-Mitch Miller Sessions (1964): The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 (Deluxe Version) [Box set]
Get your croon’ on.