Early Bob Dylan demos released in new 'Bootleg' set

LOS ANGELES, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Bob Dylan’s label has dusted off 47 demos recorded by the singer between 1962 and 1964 for its latest foray into his extensive archives.

“The Bootleg Series Volume 9 -- The Witmark Demos” is due in stores on Oct. 19, the same day Columbia Records also releases new mono mixes of Dylan’s first eight albums in a boxed set.

Columbia launched its Dylan “Bootleg Series” in 1991, and the most recent set was issued in 2008, “Tell Tale Signs.”

The Witmark demos, which have long been bootlegged by collectors, include early versions of such songs as “Blowin’ In The Wind, “The Times They Are A Changin’” and “Masters Of War.”

Dylan, accompanied only by his acoustic guitar, harmonica and occasionally piano, recorded them for his first music publisher, Leeds Music, in January 1962, and for his second publisher, M. Witmark & Sons, between 1962 and 1964 -- all before he turned 24.

The publishers, in turn, would pitch the songs to other artists, which is how they came to be recorded by the likes of Peter, Paul and Mary and Stevie Wonder (“Blowin’ In The Wind”), Judy Collins (“Tomorrow Is A Long Time”) and the Byrds (“Mr Tambourine Man”).

Columbia said 15 of the compositions have never been officially released, although one of those listed, the civil-rights tale “The Death Of Emmett Till,” appeared on the 1972 Smithsonian Folkways compilation “Broadside Ballads, Vol. 6: Broadside Reunion.”

The boxed set, “Bob Dylan - The Original Mono Recordings,” comprises eight albums reproduced from their first-generation mono mixes, spanning his 1962 self-titled debut through to 1967’s “John Wesley Harding,” and including his 1966 double opus “Blonde on Blonde.” Many of these albums were reissued in SACD stereo in 2003.

Mono was often the preferred sound reproduction classification of such acts as Dylan and the Beatles (who reissued mono versions of their albums last year), while the stereo mixes were left to studio engineers. (Reporting by Dean Goodman)