The lyric sheets of two unrecorded Bob Dylan songs, typed out with handwritten annotations by Dylan himself, will hit the auction block at Christie’s on December 4th. The folk legend’s original four-page manuscript for “Talkin Folklore Center,” published by Dylan in March 1962, is projected to sell for between $40,000 and $60,000, while the two-page “Go Away You Bomb” from 1963 expects to draw bids of $30,000 to $50,000, the auction house estimates.
According to the New York Times, Dylan gifted both sets of lyrics to Izzy Young, the founder of the Folklore Center on Macdougal Street and an influential presence as Dylan climbed the ranks in the Greenwich Village folk scene; it was Young that secured Dylan’s first “important concert uptown” at New York’s Carnegie Chapter Hall on November 4th, 1961.
“At first Dylan seemed like anybody else that came into the store,” Young said. “But I noticed after a while there was something different about him. He would take every goddamn record I had in the store and listen to them. He was the only one that read all those scholarly communist books, as well as all the folk magazines. Anything I had in the store, he would read.”
Dylan wrote the 43-line “Talkin Folklore Center” after being asked by Young to pen a song about the Folklore Center. While the song was never performed or recorded as is, some lyrics found their way into early performances of Dylan’s “Talkin’ New York,” the New York Times reports. Young, who relocated to Sweden in 1972, plans to use the proceeds of the lyric sheet sales to help support his current venture, the Folklore Centrum in Stockholm.
“Go Away You Bomb” was written after Young mentioned to Dylan he was compiling a book of lyrics for anti-nuclear songs. The next day, according to Young, Dylan walked into the Folklore Center with “Go Away You Bomb” in hand. However, the book of lyrics was never published. The song was written around the same time Dylan was at work on his second album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, an LP that shares similar anxieties about the state of world affairs at the time.
“Go Away You Bomb” was previously up for sale at a 2013 rock memorabilia auction in London, but it failed to sell. A representative from Christie’s tells the New York Times that the venue was likely the cause for the lack of interest, and that a manuscript auction in New York is a proper setting. The December 4th sale marks the first time “Talkin Folklore Center” has been on the auction block.