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Kangas, Ric

HIBBING - Pondering Bob Dylan's beginnings isn't out of the ordinary
for dedicated fans. 

People flock to Hibbing just to see the house he grew up in, meet the
people he knew and admired, and walk on the stage where the young
Robert Zimmerman first performed. 

Ric Kangas, a high school buddy of Dylan's, witnessed that music too
while sitting in the bedroom of his childhood home playing along on
the guitar with Dylan back in 1959. Today Kangas still has a recording
with four songs where Dylan is heard either on guitar or vocal. 

Kangas is now selling the tape through Heritage Auction Galleries in
Dallas, Texas. During an auction on Oct. 6 and 7, the tape will go up
for bid along with some 20 other Dylan items and music and movie
memorabilia from stars like Elvis Presley and James Dean. 

The tape is estimated to come in at around $25,000, according to the
auction Web site. 

Kangas said the recording came about when he and Dylan became friends
and started playing music and recording their songs. Kangas said they
liked the same kinds of music and would sometimes exchange records.
They liked Hank Williams and early rock 'n' roll. Dylan turned him
onto the blues, artists like Jimmy Reed and The Coasters. 

The recording came about when the two started messing around with
Kangas' reel-to-reel recorder, into which they plugged a relatively
high-end Shure microphone. 

Dylan sang a song called "I got troubles," and backed up Kangas for
one of his tunes called "I Wish I Knew." Dylan also sings "I Got a New
Girl" and one Kangas calls, "The Frog Song" because he says that is
how Dylan's voice sounded at the time. 

Kangas said he would drive Dylan around town, that is, when his car
would run. One time he even dropped Dylan off at the local radio
station where the disc jockey agreed to play some of Dylan's songs for
the first time on the radio. 

"He started to get confidence in himself as a songwriter, singer and
performer," said Kangas. "One thing about Bob was he was always
excited about things, particularly music. It was fun to be around
someone so upbeat about the things that he loved." 

Meanwhile the recorded tape stayed in Kangas' suitcase along with
other recorded music he made and treasured over the years. 

Kangas has moved all over the United States - from Minnesota to New
York and on to California, Hawaii and Tennessee. Over the years, he
never became famous like his friend, but has worked in 250 productions
including films, television shows and commercials. He worked as a
stuntman, a musician and even an Elvis impersonator. 

Over the years, "the suitcase tape," as Kangas refers to it, remained
with him, but he didn't think of the tape of Dylan nor could he play
it without the original recorder. 

While perusing a garage sale in San Fernando Valley, Calif., he found
a tape recorder that would play his old tapes. The tape with Dylan on
it happened to be shorter than the others, so Kangas played it to hear
the childhood voices he hadn't heard in years. 

Kangas didn't realize the importance of his "suitcase tape" until he
told a colleague, who had a side career as a musician, about it. The
colleague knew Jeff Rosen, Dylan's business manager. When Rosen found
out, Kangas said at first he didn't believe that Kangas was a friend
of Dylan. However, he eventually decided to visit Kangas and hear the

After hearing it, Rosen grew intrigued. He asked Kangas if he would be
interested in being filmed for the documentary called, "No Direction
Home," that featured previously unreleased material from Dylan's
former years to his 1966 world tour. 

Rosen ended up using the songs recorded on Kangasā tape to play in the
background for sections of the documentary. Since the documentary's
release in September 2005, Kangas and his tape have grown more

"A lot of people saw the documentary and started asking about it,"
said Kangas referring to the tape. "I had no idea it was this
important. It turns out these songs are some of the earliest songs Bob
had recorded on tape." 

Kangas said he put some feelers out to try to sell the tape. For a
while it was marketed on eBay where Kangas asked for a minimum of $1.5
million. He said he had no intention to sell the tape at that point,
but rather wanted to create a buzz. 

Now that the buzz is out, Kangas said he doesn't have a problem
parting with the tape. Besides, before the tape was put up for
auction, he made a copy. 

"I am not parting with the music - just the physical tape," he said. 

Considering all the other music recordings he did at the time, he said
he hasn't listened to all his tapes and Dylan might be on another. 

Online bidding for the tape can be done at

Early tape recording of Dylan up for auction bid
Kjerstin lang
The Daily Tribune
Monday, September 25th, 2006 08:51:29 AM

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