The Minnesota Historical Society preserves and makes available a wide range of materials chronicling Minnesota's history and culture. The goals of the Collections Department are to collect and preserve; provide access and interpretation; and engage in education and outreach. This blog is a tool to share these stories and let people know what is happening in the department.
Bob Dylan's "Minnesota Party Tape"
Before Bob Dylan headed to New York to become one of the world's most renowned folk singer-songwriters, he made music as a virtual unknown in Minneapolis while attending the University of Minnesota. Now, an original recording of one of Dylan's legendary impromptu performances at an apartment in 1960 has found its way to the Minnesota Historical Society Library.
Thanks to Minneapolis resident Cleve Pettersen, the original recording of what fans and music buffs know as the "Minnesota Party Tape" is now available for the first time to the public at the library in the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul.Pettersen was just a teenager in 1960 when he bought his first reel-to-reel tape recorder and spent a lot of time in coffeehouses in the Dinkytown neighborhood near the University of Minnesota. Pettersen wanted to get a local folk singer to sing songs into his new recorder and asked some local musicians who would be willing. A young Bob Dylan agreed to be recorded.Pettersen went to an apartment on 15th Ave. S.E. in Minneapolis and hung out with Dylan, Bonnie Beecher, and "Cynthia"- another local musician and friend of Dylan's. Pettersen set up the recorder and Dylan casually sang 12 folk songs into it.
Petterson has been the sole owner of the original tape ever since - until he made the decision in 2004 to donate it to the Society for all to enjoy."The surfacing of this original recording should correct all the rumors and speculation circulating on the Internet and within the circles of Dylan followers and music critics," said Bonnie Wilson, curator at the Society. "Citizens donating historically significant items and artifacts, such as this recording, have enabled the Society's collections to grow and make rare works accessible to all."The play list includes: "Blue Yodel No. 8," "Come See Jerusalem," "San Francisco Bay Blues," "I'm a Gambler," "Talkin' Merchant Marine," "Talkin' Hugh Brown," "Talkin' Lobbyist," "Red Rosey Bush," "Johnny I Hardly Knew You," "Jesus Christ," "Streets of Glory" and "K.C. Moan."The original tape is copied onto CD and cassette formats and is now available for listening at the library free of charge. Making copies of the recording will not be allowed.
The library hours are: Tuesdays, noon to 8 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed Sundays and Mondays. This recording will become a part of the expansive collections at the Society, including more than 2,000 sound recordings, 4,000 newspaper titles, more than 350,000 photographs, and more than 36,000 cubic feet of manuscripts.