Searching For A Gem: Mission Statement

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[News] [Updates] [Red Herrings] [Trading] [Other Pages]


The prime mission of this site is to promote awareness within the Bob Dylan fan community of all the officially released material that is NOT CURRENTLY AVAILABLE on a Columbia Bob Dylan album on CD for fans to purchase (for these see ). Also, see the Site Privacy Policy.

Bob at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, 7 May 1965 (my first Dylan concert)

Therefore this site documents all official releases of Bob Dylan performances of songs from his albums and others, including guest appearances. The list includes releases from recognised labels (e.g. Columbia, Warner Brothers, Vanguard or Smithsonian Folkways), radio station/video releases, and promotional items that were not made available to the general public at the time, but which are now in legal circulation. I have also included magazine cover discs because they are listed in record collector magazines or offered for sale by specialist dealers, who do not trade in pirate or bootleg items. Pirate, bootleg and counterfeit items are not listed knowingly on this web-site, which aims to conform to all applicable regulations concerning Intellectual Property Rights.

A "rarity" is something that is no longer on catalogue, and can only be found at a specialist dealer (many of whom are now online, see the Trading page) or a record fair, or by trading with other Dylan collectors. An "obscurity" is a track not on a current Dylan album but which is available on CD - you should be able to go into a record store in person or online and buy it readily, so it doesn't qualify as a rarity. Please also note that an entry in these listings is not a guarantee that an item has a scarcity value or can command a high price.

I have omitted Bob's appearances on TV and radio shows that have not been officially released on audio albums or videos, or cannot be obtained as officially created radio station discs/tapes in legal circulation.

All rarities and obscurities included in Searching For A Gem are listed chronologically (as far as possible) by release date. It is my aim to include every occurrence of each item (or in some cases, to point the reader to where a listing of every occurrence of it can be found elsewhere on the Internet). Each item is allocated a unique "R-" number, e.g. "R-0002", and the same "R-" number is then used for each occurrence of the item, with a suffix, e.g. "R-0002-2", "R-0002-3", etc. To eliminate the tedious renumbering required when I first started this site, any new item released or discovered by/notified to me is allocated the next available "R-" number, regardless of where it is to be placed in the list. Because of this, and because some items were originally misdated and had to be moved in the list, the "R-" number sequence now looks a bit crazy, especially in the Sixties, so I've provided the Google search facility on the home page and a cross-references list by song title. Because of its length, this alphabetic list has expanded to five parts. To remove some confusion I have stopped using separate R-numbers for mono and stereo versions of the same rarity - the mono version now has the same R-number as the stereo version with an "M" suffix, e.g. the mono version of "R-0001" is "R-0001M".


Radio station discs: I haven't allocated R- numbers to slightly faded Dylan tracks or very short excerpts from Dylan album tracks that occur on radio station discs. Tracks on radio station discs are often faded or talked over. Because every occurrence is unique I don't give these R-numbers either.

Page changes: The site structure is complicated, but I've tried to compensate for this by adding a Google search facility to the home page. I have now combined every instance where an album or other item is reissued in the same artistic form as one entry for the year of first release. This avoids multiple entries, as well as reducing cross-references and reader navigation. This means for example I no longer have separate entries in the audio chronology for an album's release on LP, on cassette, and then as a CD. In the video chronology this applies to VHS tapes, laserdiscs and DVDs. If you have instances of rarities in other commercial formats, e.g. reel-to-reel tapes, 8-track cartridges, compact cassettes or MiniDiscs, please let me have details.

Mono Releases: All Mono LPs are eligible for inclusion on this site because the mono versions of Dylan songs are now unavailable on CD, and have their own pages on International Mono Releases. Mono LPs with rare tracks (e.g. mono versions with significant differences from the album tracks, such as different mixes, edits or fades) are listed in the Rarities pages. Mono 7" Singles & EPs are now on several pages on International Mono Releases.

International Stereo Releases: International releases which don't qualify for the main list but are nevertheless very collectable are now on International Stereo Releases (Living In Another Country). This is expanding rapidly and is being developed into a separate general discographical site, as is the other "Flying Pig" Production - Bob Dylan’s Unreleased Songs (Starlight In The East). Tracks from official albums that appear on "Various Artist" compilation albums are also listed in  International Stereo Releases. Exclusive stereo promotional albums and singles, together with promo versions of albums and singles that were also released commercially are also now on the International Stereo Releases pages. All entries in the former International Promotional Releases section have now been moved there.

Online Performances: the Performances page of was discontinued in the site revamp of Aug 2006. The Online Performances page of this site remains as a record of's previous valuable service for fans. Online performances on sites other than are now on Online Performances (Other).

Questionable Releases: Items formerly on the main list that have been challenged by contributors because of their legality are now on Questionable Releases and Questionable Video Releases. I don't list unofficial releases as a matter of policy, because these are comprehensively covered by other web-sites.

Honourable Mentions: Dylan-related items where Bob does not actually perform but are of interest to Dylan collectors are listed in Honourable Mentions and Honourable Mentions Video. I have included a list of covers of Blowin In The Wind, but this is not intended to be a comprehensive section on Dylan Covers. The late Dave Plentus' excellent Dylan Cover Albums site is now kept alive on Expecting Rain by Karl-Erik here .

Released Rarities: Items formerly on the main list that have been disqualified because they are now available on a currently available Bob Dylan CD in the USA are now on Released Rarities.

How new items are added

The policy of the site is this: if it's not on a current stereo Bob Dylan CD on the albums page , it's a rarity (obscurities are rarities that are on current in-print CDs that aren't listed on the albums page). Rarities not only include non-album songs (titles in red), but also live performances, alternate takes, alternate mixes, edits and mono versions of Dylan album tracks. For mono tracks, I don't give a separate R- number to the tracks that appeared on 1960s mono Dylan LPs (up to and including Nashville Skyline) unless the mono mix was significantly different from its current stereo form, but I do give their own R- number to mono versions of tracks from albums that appeared only in stereo. The mono and stereo versions of rarities from the 1960s and early 1970s are now listed separately with an "M" suffix for the mono rarity.


Any new item will go into the highest category that it qualifies for, for example a mono promotional item goes into the appropriate Mono LP page or Mono Singles page

Please note, in order to reduce the huge number of submissions, only submit scans of new items. If you have variant copies of items already listed on the site, please submit only a text description of your item that can be pasted into the web page. That will make the additions significantly easier to handle, and avoid web pages becoming too long. This is a new permanent policy for the site. I only want scans of items that you possess in your own collection, not pictures from the Internet. I have used some pictures from to illustrate important missing items but to avoid unpleasant confrontations with other web-site owners or collectors I do not want pictures from other web sites or from any Internet auction site. I also do not accept replacements for existing scans under any circumstances. Thank you for your co-operation.

1    The Rarities listings (Parts 1-6, "Traveling Wilburys", "Online Performances", "Interviews with Bob", "Video & DVD"):

[The Official Rarities Yearly Lists] [Traveling Wilburys] [Online Performances (] [Online Performances (Other)] [Interviews with Bob] [VHS & DVD]

2    Mono Items: Singles without rarities are now split into chorological Mono pages up to 1976; Mono regular albums have their own pages and there are also pages for mono Dylan-only compilations and mono Various Artist compilations with Dylan tracks, see:

[International Mono Releases]

3    International Releases (all stereo): "Regular LPs" (one page per album), "Compilation LPs" (multiple pages), "Stereo Singles" (all formats, multiple pages):

[International Stereo Releases]

Promotional Items: All stereo "Promotional Items" have now been moved to the appropriate page in International Stereo Releases. (Radio station LPs/CDs often contain faded Bob Dylan tracks or excerpts from them, often talked over. Because these excerpts vary in length considerably and are unique to individual records, Dylan album tracks treated in this way are no longer classified as rarities.)

4    Honourable Mentions (any other items of interest to Dylan collectors):

[Honourable Mentions] [Honourable Mentions Video]

5    Questionable Releases

Items that have been challenged by contributors are here: Note I don't add new items directly to the Questionable Releases page, it's reserved for items that were formerly on the Rarities listing! Otherwise this could expand into a whole separate site, and there are already several excellent web-sites covering these releases. I use the US RIAA definitions of counterfeit, pirate and bootleg recordings:

Counterfeit: Duplication of not only the sounds, but also of the original artwork, label, trademark, and packaging of a legitimate recording. The picture on the right is of a counterfeit Russian release which looks remarkably official at first sight. Sadly the apparently very attractive releases of Bob Dylan LPs as picture discs or on coloured vinyl all fall into this category, as none have been officially released by Columbia.

Pirate: Illegal compilations of songs from either a single artist or multiple artists. Pirate releases do not attempt to duplicate the artwork of original releases and are on unfamiliar record labels. The picture on the right is of a pirate German compilation of 1960s recordings on the Falcon label, which can surprisingly be bought freely on Amazon.
Bootleg: Sound recordings with songs from live performances or unreleased studio performances manufactured without authorisation from the artist. Bob Dylan is the most bootlegged artist in the world because of the wide availability of unreleased studio material and live recordings, a situation which is acknowledged by his own official "Bootleg Series" of releases from 1991. The picture on the right is of the Scorpio 3CD set The Genuine Bootleg Series. There are several sites on the Internet with comprehensive listings of Dylan bootlegs.

[Questionable Releases] [Questionable Releases Video]


If a performance currently listed as a rarity is officially released on a US Columbia CD listed on the Albums page of it will be removed from this list. I have now created a new page for Released Rarities listing all the items that contained it. If any of these still contain other rarities, they'll also remain in the main listing. The first removal from the Rarities list occurred in late November 2002 when The Bootleg Series Vol. 5 - Bob Dylan Live 1975: The Rolling Thunder Revue was released including It Ain't Me, Babe (R-0137).

[Released Rarities]

Red Herrings:

For records that have been reported to me but that are wrongly associated with Bob, see:

[Red Herrings]

Under Construction... used to call this site a "list-in-progress", and that's exactly right - it still is! Major expansion of the site is continually ongoing, thanks to the generous provision of sleeve and label scans from Hans Seegers, Gerd Rundel and Manuel García Jara and many others, many of which are of completely new items that cannot be found elsewhere on the Internet, plus much extra information about existing items. There are currently over 370 pages and nearly 60,000 pictures (twice that number if you include thumbnails).

In answer to queries about making the pages "printer-friendly", the volatility of the site means I strongly discourage people printing out these pages. A printed page would soon be out-of-date! For proof of this, see the Updates page link below.

The font used for the titles of each page is appropriately called "Jokerman", if you can't see it, download it here:

For details of recent updates, go here. For news of upcoming releases, go here.

If you know of any OFFICIALLY RELEASED item not on this list, please let me know!


Picture Submissions: If you have an item that you think warrants inclusion, please let me have just the title and a brief description at first. I have received some very lengthy descriptions (including large cover scans) of items which are not eligible for these pages because they are bootlegs - something that is not always obvious from their appearance. I don't like to see you wasting all that careful work! I am also very grateful for corrections, catalogue numbers, matrix numbers, precise release dates, cover scans, and any other information about the item that you think readers will find interesting. If there is no picture sleeve, please scan the label (and the generic sleeve if it's not shown on my Sleeves page). I can also make reasonably good scans of colour photocopies. Sadly, digital photos are usually disappointing with unrealistic colours, unwanted reflections and badly distorted geometrically, so I prefer not to use them. Taking digital photos without professional equipment and sending them to me  is usually a waste of your time and mine!

This equipment would do the job - album on base, lit evenly to avoid using flash and causing reflections, camera mounted vertically on stand!

Please note that because of the huge number of submissions to this site I would be very grateful if you could submit pictures 100% ready to be added to a page. That means all pictures should be aligned so they're exactly horizontal and vertical, especially label pictures, and cropped to be exactly square (or 2:1 if gatefold). I add pictures to the site at 320x320 (640x320 for gatefold) but I like submissions to be 300 dpi so I can show details if necessary. Pictures of sleeve/label details you submit should be either 1:1, 2:1 or 3:1, pictures with different width/height ratios don't fit in with the page layout. Scan LP sleeves in four sections on a flatbed scanner and paste them together in a program like Adobe PhotoShop or Paint Shop Pro to show the whole sleeve. (It's easy!) If you can't do this, but can send the four partial scans, I can create the complete sleeve.

So long, eBay! In view of the poor quality of description and illustration of items from eBay and other online auction sites, together with the high probability that items are counterfeit, no more items from such sites will be considered for inclusion here. I've also been told that featuring eBay items here has led to higher prices. Thanks to those who have submitted eBay links in the past, but please don't do so in future under any circumstances.

As an example, look at the scan by Manuel García Jara and a photo of the same single from an online auction site. The digital photo is appalling (and shows the wrong side of the sleeve)!

Columbia 4-43346 (USA) - A-side in Columbia Record Club sleeve, scan by Manuel García Jara

Columbia 4-43346 (USA) - A-side in Columbia Record Club sleeve, photo from online auction site

Rare/collectable Dylan and Dylan-related officially-released items that don't qualify for the main Rarities list are now listed on the International Stereo Releases and Honourable Mentions sections shown above. Alan Hoaksey is compiling an extensive directory of every officially-released Dylan item that will eventually be available online.


The list of people who've contributed to the site is now long enough to merit its own Thanks page!

Apologies in Advance

1.    Sorry, but I can't make copies of these for you!

Repeat: I cannot copy Dylan rarities for you!

"Sorry!" to those who continue to write to me asking for copies of rarities, despite this clear statement. It would be impossible for me to find the time to make CD-R, MP3 or DVD-R copies of rarities for requesters. Also, I could be getting myself into legal hot water. The purpose of this site is to provide discographical information for collectors of official releases, namely people who want to own the actual artefacts. I can't help people who want copies or compilations of these tracks in any way. Where material isn't currently available, I would like to see Columbia and the other recording companies represented here release it officially on CD. Time is way overdue for a Columbia Dylan Rarities collection! I am told there is a multi-CD set in unofficial circulation entitled Official Rarities - Searching For A Gem - please be aware that this set has been produced without the knowledge or consent of myself or any contributor to this site and the material it contains is pirated. You are recommended to have nothing to do with it.

2.    Sorry, but I can't value or find a buyer for your rare items!

Repeat: I cannot value your Dylan rarities!

A second "Sorry!" to those who continue to write to me asking for valuations, despite this clear statement. Again, it would be impossible for me to find the time to keep track of the values of all these rarities. Prices are very dependent upon condition and location. I could also incur legal problems here too. If I give you an estimated price that is too high then you'll be disappointed if you can't realise that price, and if I give you a price that's too low then you may let the item go too cheaply and lose money. Therefore I don't even try! "Goldmine" magazine used to publish an annual Price Guide - the last is here , and I'm told it's a very good reference source.

If you are willing to value rarities for our visitors, please contact me (especially if you're based in the USA, which is where most of the queries come from). I'll put your address on the Trading page so they can contact you directly.

I have also been asked to indicate how many copies of a rarity were actually produced by the record companies (as a way of assessing relative scarcity). I will indicate this information when it's provided to me, but time constraints mean I cannot make it a general principle.

3.    Sorry, but I can't find rarities for you!

I'm a collector, not a dealer, and this is not a commercial site. None of these rarities (many more than in my own personal collection) are either priced or for sale. Unbelievably, people have emailed me ordering items from the list - please don't, it wastes your precious time and mine! For help on finding Dylan rarities, see below.

4.    Sorry, but I can't help you contact Bob Dylan!

You can't do it through me! This is a fan site with no connection to Bob or his office. I used to have a postal address for Bob's business office in New York that I thought was correct, but I have now been informed by someone who wrote to that address that their mail was returned. I have never had an email address. I can only suggest you contact Bob's publisher Simon & Schuster or use the contact address at . However, it is almost certain you will be disappointed. Bob is a very private man who keeps a wide distance between himself and his fans or the general public, so he is very unlikely to respond to any request you may have. This includes requests for autographs - Bob hardly ever gives autographs, so items with his signature offered for sale are phenomenally expensive!

Finding Gems: Getting Hold Of Dylan Rarities and Obscurities

There's no easy answer to the question of how you can get hold of these rarities, but even today you must be prepared to spend more time looking in the "real world" than online! People like me spend more time (and money) than we should in used record stores and at record fairs looking for anything by Bob Dylan that might turn up. However, there are now more and more web-based dealers in rare records, vinyl, etc. If you are a dealer in Dylan rarities and you would like your email or web-page details included on my Trading page, which I would like to expand. Please let me know also if you run regular record fairs. If you're a collector and have items to trade, I'll also put your contact details here. Because this is not a commercial site there's no charge or commission expected for having a trader entry added there. The on-line auction house eBay is a huge source of Dylan rarities, although my experience is that you have to be prepared to pay a lot to win an auction and to be very careful of fakes.

Many of the rarities in my collection that I didn't buy at the time have been bought at Esprit International ( . Esprit are very expensive, but their stock is in good condition and they go way over the top with their packaging to make sure it reaches you as it left them. They also have buyers in the UK and the USA who will make you an offer for your rarity. Try here . Alternatively, look at eBay to see the prices similar items fetch and try to sell your rarity there.

For general Dylan queries, Bill Pagel's Bob Links site , John Howell's Bringing It All Back Homepage and Karl Erik Andersen's Expecting Rain site will almost certainly have, or have links to, the information you're looking for.

[Home] [The Official Rarities Yearly Lists] [Traveling Wilburys] [Online Performances] [Interviews with Bob] [VHS & DVD] [International Mono Releases] [International Promotional Releases] [International Stereo Releases] [Released Rarities] [Questionable Releases]

[News] [Updates] [Red Herrings] [Trading] [Other Pages]

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