Hear A Young Bob Dylan Sing 11 Songs and Tell Tall Tales on a 1962 Radio Show

In Feb­ru­ary of 1962, less than a month before the release of his debut album, an obscure young folk singer named Bob Dylan record­ed some songs and an inter­view for a local New York City radio show called Folksinger’s Choice.

The show was broad­cast on WBAI and host­ed by Cyn­thia Good­ing, an estab­lished folk singer 17 years old­er than Dylan. As it hap­pened, both Good­ing and Dylan were native Min­nesotans. Good­ing had first met Dylan in Min­neapo­lis in late 1959, not long after he grad­u­at­ed from high school.

As the inter­view gets rolling, the 20-year-old Dylan wastes lit­tle time before launch­ing into some tall tales about his past. He says he moved to Min­neapo­lis from South Dako­ta, because Min­neapo­lis was “about the only place you did­n’t have to go too far to find the Mis­sis­sip­pi Riv­er.” Before that, he says, he trav­eled with a car­ni­val, “off and on for about six years.” When Good­ing asks whether that might have inter­fered with his school­ing, Dylan does­n’t miss a beat. “Well,” he says, “I skipped a bunch of things, and I did­n’t go to school a bunch of years and I skipped this and that.” He says he wrote a song for the “ele­phant lady” in the car­ni­val and called it “Won’t You Buy A Post­card?” But he quick­ly adds that he for­got how it went.

To fol­low along with the inter­view, click here to open the full tran­script in a new win­dow. And while you won’t hear Dylan’s ode to the ele­phant lady, if you lis­ten to the com­plete one-hour pro­gram you will be treat­ed to 11 songs from his ear­ly reper­toire.  They include sev­er­al that Dylan wrote, along with some old folk and blues songs:
  1. “(I Heard That) Lone­some Whis­tle” (Hank Williams/Jimmie Davis)
  2. “Fix­in’ to Die” (Buk­ka White)
  3. “Smoke­stack Ligh­n­ing” (Howl­in’ Wolf)
  4. “Hard Trav­elin’ ” (Woody Guthrie)
  5. “The Death of Emmett Till”  (Bob Dylan)
  6. “Stand­ing on the High­way” (Bob Dylan)
  7. “Roll on John” (Rufus Crisp)
  8. “Stealin’ ” (tra­di­tion­al)
  9. “It Makes a Long Time Man Feel Bad” (tra­di­tion­al)
  10. “Baby, Please Don’t Go” (Big Joe Williams)
  11. “Hard Times in New York Town” (Bob Dylan)

Relat­ed con­tent:

The Times They Are a‑Changin’: 1964 Gives a Rare Glimpse of the Ear­ly Bob Dylan

Two Leg­ends Togeth­er: A Young Bob Dylan Talks and Plays on the Studs Terkel Pro­gram, 1963

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Comments (2)
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  • Francie Hiles says:

    I’ve nev­er lis­tened to this inter­view before. I absolute­ly LOVE it!! I love Bob’s inno­cence & humil­i­ty about singing and his song­writ­ing.
    I also loved learn­ing about Cyn­thia Good­ing — what a cool, hip woman!!

  • Fred Garver says:

    I was giv­en the CD of this inter­view about 20 (or more) years ago. After many moves it was lost until this morn­ing. I attempt­ed to make a copy but had too much trou­ble. I then googled it and BINGO, there it was.
    I heard of Cyn­thia God­ding many years ago. I have been a fan of Bob Dylan since his ear­ly days in Green­wich Vil­lage cof­fee shops. I’ve been a ded­i­cat­ed fan of Bob Dylan from the first time I saw him singing at the foun­tain in Wash­ing­ton Square Park. (I am 81 yrs old) and have nev­er missed an oppor­tu­ni­ty to see him in per­son.
    I’m gonna see him in a few weeks in Ft Laud­erdale on Oct 24.
    Each time I’ve seen him, there are many peo­ple with gray hair or no hair but addi­tion­al­ly I see many tee­ny-bop­pers. When I asked them how do they know about Dylan, they usu­al­ly tell me their par­ents always lis­tened to Dylan at home.
    I’m so proud that he was award­ed the Nobel Prize.

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