DylanBase - a review

Date:    Sun, 1 Oct 1995 14:27:29 GMT
From:    Ben Taylor (bptaylor@LAGUNA.DEMON.CO.UK)
Subject: DylanBase - a review


Searchable database of Bob Dylan recording details, from the John Bucklen
1958 home tape through to Dublin 11 April 1995. Completeness maintained
through updates sent out on disk. The next disk mailout is imminent and will
bring the database up to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame performance.
Programming by Keith Charles Marsh, data collated by Chris Cooper.

IBM PC compatible running DOS, 5 Mb filespace.

(See end of review).



To give you a feel for the program, I'll take you through the various
options. Please note, I have shortened some of the quoted lines to ensure
they are readable on any terminal you may be accessing the internet with.

Upon loading DylanBase, you are presented with these choices:

> 1.  Setlists
> 2.  Songs
> 3.  Venues
> 4.  Venues By Date
> 5.  Locations
> 6.  Locations By Date
> 7.  Song Count
> 8.  Update Recordings
> 9.  Exit
> 10. Menu2

The most important of these is (1). Choose this option and you are then
asked to enter in a date:

> Date   :  0/ 0/ 0

If you have a specific date you want to look up just enter it. If you aren't
too sure but you know roughly what it is then enter the nearest date. If you
enter one for which no recording is known then you will be taken to the
nearest recording. You can then scroll backwards or forwards chronologically
through the recordings until you find the one you want. This is also a nice
way of browsing through the database of setlists as if turning the pages of
a book.

So, let's enter the date of one of my favourite shows, Brixton 30 March

> Date   : 30/03/95

This instantly calls up the following setlist screen:

> MARCH 30, 1995                         THE ACADEMY
> Length :102:00     CONCERT             LONDON
> European Tour                          ENGLAND
>  1  Crash On The Levee (Down In The Flood)                            4:52
>  2  If You See Her, Say Hello                                         6:26
>  3  All Along The Watchtower                                          5:33
>  4  Jokerman                                                          7:25
>  5  Every Grain Of Sand                                               7:52
>  6  Positively 4th Street                                             6:14
>  7  Mr. Tambourine Man                                       Acoustic 6:13
>  8  Masters Of War                                           Acoustic 5:01
>  9  Love Minus Zero/No Limit                                 Acoustic 6:05
> 10  God Knows                                                         5:51
> 11  Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again               9:28
> 12  I Believe In You                                                  6:54
>               *
>     Like A Rolling Stone                                              7:06
> 14  The Times They Are A-Changin'                            Acoustic 6:15
> 15  I Shall Be Released                                               6:09
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> F8 = Recordings         F6 = Videos       F9 = Print To File   F10 = Print
> F3 = Exit     F4 = Dylan Comments  (C) Copyright Keith Charles Marsh, 1994

In cataloguing such a huge volume of work I would have expected the bare
minimum of details. As it turns out, a great deal of attention has been paid
to this. The amount of time spent on this program and the data entry (two
years in the making) has paid off. Individual track timings? To do this for
just one show is a pain in itself. For *every single* Dylan recording in
existence? The mind boggles. This should prove useful for identifying
sources for anonymous recordings you've been sent or to work out how many
sides of a tape a show will take up.

For tracks which are not circulating, no track timing is provided. Since all
circulating and rumoured recordings are included in the database, this is a
useful way to identify which is which.

Typing F6 brings up the video screen, detailing all those known to

> MARCH 30, 1995                         THE ACADEMY
> Length :102:00     CONCERT             LONDON
> European Tour                          ENGLAND
> Source St/Mono    Qual.   Comments
>   AU      M         7     (79:00)[1-13]
>   AU      M         8     (101:00)[ALL]
>   AU      M         8     (26:20)[1-4]
>   AU      S         8     (95:00)[ALL]

I know virtually nothing about Dylan audience videos but if someone wanted
me to point them to an expert in the field I'd certainly say Chris Cooper.

Going back to the setlist screen, we were given the option of typing F4:

> F3 = Exit     F4 = Dylan Comments  (C) Copyright Keith Charles Marsh, 1994

When it says "Dylan Comments", it means ALL Dylan's comments, be they the
odd "Thank you" at Brixton ...

>  1  Crash On The Levee (Down In The Flood)                            4:52
> "Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Would you please welcome Columbia
> recording artist, Bob Dylan."
>  2  If You See Her, Say Hello                                         6:26
> Thank you.
>  3  All Along The Watchtower                                          5:33
>  4  Jokerman                                                          7:25
> Thank you, all right.

(Note: comments are shown in a different colour to the track names)

... or a chatty intro ...

> APRIL 20, 1980                         MASSEY HALL
> Length : 100:00                        TORONTO, ONTARIO
> Second American Tour                   CANADA
>     Let Me Ride (McCoy/Dennis)                                        7:47
>     (You've Got To) Hold On  ( ? )                                    2:12
>     It's Gonna Rain Again (C Johnson)                                 4:04
>     Look Up ( ? )                                                     3:48
>     Show Me The Way Lord ( ? )                                        4:58
>     Freedom At The Wall ( ? )                                         4:08
>     This Train Is Bound For Glory (This Train)(Bill Broonzy)          4:17
>  1  Gotta Serve Somebody                                              6:22
>  2  I Believe In You                                                  4:23
>  3  When He Returns                                                   5:11
> Well I'm very happy to say we have Ronnie Hawkins here tonight. Yeah. I
> don't know where he is I just know he's here somewhere. Ronnie and I go
> back a long ways in fact Ronnie's, I hear he's gonna be doing movies now.
> What is it, a movie a year ? Is that right Ronnie. Well remember, well
> actually I gave Ronnie his first part in the movies. That's right. Ronnie
> was in a little movie that we made called, Renaldo and Clara. About ahh,
> a few years back. Anyway Ronnie played the part of Bob Dylan. Interesting
> movie anyway I guess there's no place to go but up now hey Ron ?

You'll find all the gospel speeches here, as well as the complete
Folksingers Choice transcript (!). What aren't included are Dylan
interviews, although there is apparently talk of including them with a
future update.

As we've seen fairly recently on rec.music.dylan, these comments can help
significantly in identifying tapes you have. Again, the amount of work
which must have gone into transcribing all of this simply astounds me.

As shown by the 20 April 1980 setlist reproduced in part above, the
non-Dylan performances are listed. Only tracks with a Dylan contribution are
numbered, which avoids any confusion.

Other options whilst viewing a setlist include:

> F9 = Print To File

for viewing and manipulating with a separate text editor

> F10 = Print
> F3 = Exit

for ... ah, you know.

> F8 = Recordings

via another menu you can enter in all your own tape collection details,
using tape numbers for referencing. Typing F8 whilst viewing a setlist
calls up the "recordings" screen. If you have the show and have entered
this fact, the program will tell you you have the show, and reproduce any
comments you have made on your recording. This is a part of the program
I haven't yet had time to explore. The details you can enter are as follows
(taken from the Help file):

> Tape Number : 6 characters (Alphanumeric).
> Audio/Video : One character "A" or "V".
> Source      : Two characters. The followings codes only are accepted :
>               PA - Line recording
>               RD - Radio broadcast
>               TV - Televiosion broadcast
>               ST - Studio recording
>               AU - Audience recording
>               CF - Cinema film
> Stereo/Mono : One character, "S" or "M".
> Quality     : Two digits "1 - 10".
> Comments    : Thirty characters. Anything you like.

(Future updates may also include software upgrades, and one apparently in
the works is an automatic trades listing generator. I await that with great

Going back to the main screen, the remaining options, although providing
different information, all work in roughly the same way.

> 2.  Songs
> 3.  Venues
> 4.  Venues By Date
> 5.  Locations
> 6.  Locations By Date
> 7.  Song Count

Taking the last one first ... typing "7" brings up the Song Count screen.
Songs are listed in alphabetical order and here is a sample:

> Song                                                          Times Played
>                                                                 By Dylan
> All Along The Watchtower                                         822
> All American Boy                                                   1
> All I Have To Do Is Dream ( ? )                                    4
> All I Really Want To Do                                          115
> All My Tomorrows (Sammy Cahn/Jimmy Van Heusen)                     2
> All Over You                                                       3
> All The Day Long ( ?)                                              0
> All The Tired Horses                                               1
> All The Way (Instrumental)                                         1
> All The Way Down ( ? )                                             1
> Almost ( ? )                                                       0
> Almost Done                                                        6
> Almost Persuaded (Instrumental)                                    1
> Along The Royal Canal (The Old Triangle) ( ? )                     1
> Always On My Mind (James/Christopher/Carson)                       2

The list includes songs in the database as recorded by other artists. Since
we are only interested in Dylan performances, these non-Dylan recordings
are not included in the count. This explains why "All The Day Long ( ?)",
for example, has a count of zero.

The options available on the screen are

> F7 = Venues   F8 = Locations   F9 = Print To File  F10 = Print To Printer
> F3 = Exit                          (C) Copyright Keith Charles Marsh, 1994

Pressing F7 or F8 will list all of the known performances of the song you
have highlighted (by venue or location respectively). For example, scrolling
down to:

> All Over You                                                       3

And pressing F8 for locations brings up a new screen:

> Song :   ALL OVER YOU
> Number of Occurrences :    3
> NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK                   USA             JULY 1962
> NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK                   USA             FEBRUARY 8, 1963
> NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK                   USA             APRIL 12, 1963

And you can now scroll down this list (all 822 of them if you had selected
"All Along The Watchtower"!) and, by pressing F7, 'jump' to the full setlist
of the source recording. Then of course you can perform all of the functions
as before (F4 for Dylan Comments, etc.).

If for the same song you had chosen F7 for venues:

> Song :   ALL OVER YOU
> Number of Occurrences :    3
> WHITMARK AND SONS DEMOS                   USA             JULY 1962
> GIL TURNER'S HOME                         USA             FEBRUARY 8, 1963
> TOWN HALL                                 USA             APRIL 12, 1963

This search is useful for distinguishing between studio and live recordings.
Both are useful when trying to find the first known studio and/or live

The main screen option:

> 2.  Songs

serves exactly the same purpose but without the individual song count.

The remaining main screen options are:

> 3.  Venues
> 4.  Venues By Date
> 5.  Locations
> 6.  Locations By Date

Option (4) Venues By Date provides the following details:

> BOB DYLAN'S BEDROOM, 2425 SEVENTH AVENUE   USA              1958
> HOME OF MRS. MOYNIHAN                      USA              MAY 1960
> THE PURPLE ONION OR BASTILLE               USA              JUNE 1960
> BOB DYLAN'S HOME                           USA              OCTOBER 1960
> BONNIE BEECHER'S APARTMENT                 USA              MAY 1961

... and so on. (6) Locations By Date works in the same way. The other two
options show the same information but in a different way, for example option
(3) Venues presents the following:

> A.S.U. ACTIVITIES CENTER                USA              NOVEMBER 18, 1978
> A.S.U. ACTIVITIES CENTER                USA              NOVEMBER 18, 1978
> ABC CINEMA                              NORTHERN IRELAND MAY 6, 1966
> ABC THEATRE                             SCOTLAND         MAY 20, 1966
> ACADEMY OF MUSIC                        USA              DECEMBER 31, 1971
> ACADEMY OF MUSIC                        USA              MARCH 11, 1987
> ACADEMY OF MUSIC                        USA              FEBRUARY 24, 1966
> ACADEMY OF MUSIC                        USA              FEBRUARY 25, 1966


A computer database of Dylan recording information has all sorts of
exciting possibilities. Now that the data has been entered, how it is
manipulated is something which can always evolve. If you think of a way to
improve the user interface, a useful option you think should be provided,
simply write to the programmer (K.C. Marsh) and suggest it.

If you discover an error in the data just send Chris Cooper a note and it
will corrected in the next update. The same is true of any new tape
information which emerges (this will happen with Krogsgaard's new
session details, for example) and new tour setlists of course. You have a
constantly updated and accurate database. Prompted by a recent
rec.music.dylan discussion, I checked the 24 February 1978 Osaka Japan
listing and found that, as is the case with Krogsgaard and Dundas, "To
Ramona" is mistakenly omitted. I've made a note and will pass it on.

One improvement currently being worked on is the inclusion of musician
details for every performance. Naturally this is essential information for a
Dylan sessionography. Another improvement is the entry of official release
information so you will be able to look at an album and be told from where
the tracks were sourced. Or, from a different angle, look at a session and
see which have been released.

This is clearly a program produced by fans and with a unprecedented focus on
accuracy and completeness. Hell, even the fake Holy Modal Rounders session
is included!

Unreservedly recommended.

Ben Taylor
Leeds, England



Within EEC:  40 Pounds Sterling (postage and packaging included).

Outside EEC: To allow for bank charges for non-EEC currencies, make sure
             the amount you are sending is the equivalent of 50 Pounds

             Alternatively, you can arrange for payment via someone within
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Cheques payable to Keith Charles Marsh. Enquiries and orders to be sent to:

  Keith Charles Marsh
  17 Stanley Road,
  NN8 1DY

In response to queries I received via email I chased up a couple of answers: (Note: this information correct as at 7 January 1996) -- Q: Will DylanBase run on a Mac? A: No :-( -- Q: What is the best way to send money from the USA? A: 1. Paying in USDollars: - Amount: send 50 UKpound's worth to allow for (very high!) bank charges. - Methods: - USDollars in cash. This is VERY risky and NOT recommended! - A cheque for USDollars, payable to Keith Marsh 2. Paying in UKpounds - Amount: 43 UKpounds (assuming Keith Marsh will incur NO bank charges when paying the money into the bank). I was told the amount should be 40 pounds plus two or three pounds for increased air mail postage as compared to UK and Europe. I interpreted this to be 43. - Methods: - 43 UKpounds in cash (again, NOT recommended!) - a money order (aka. Sterling Draft?) for 43 UKpounds. This way you incur all the bank charges at your end. You can then be sure that what you send is what is received by Keith Marsh. No need to worry about exchange rate fluctuations, and extortion by British high street banks. To clarify things: I am not connected with DylanBase or its authors. I am simply a very satisfied customer. I am posting this information for interested readers of rec.music.dylan who want to order the software but then find they can't work out how to send payment. Ben Taylor -- Leeds, England bptaylor@laguna.demon.co.uk