A test pressing of Bob Dylan‘s Blood on the Tracks – one of rock’s rarest records with only five known existing copies – is now available thanks to Amoeba Music. The West Coast record chain recently acquired the test pressing of the classic LP, dubbed the “New York” version, as part of a lot of 4,000 vinyl records that Amoeba acquired from the personal collection of “an iconic industry family.” The asking price on one of the most in-demand vinyl records among Dylanphiles: $12,000.
The “New York” version of Blood on the Tracks is unique in that it features alternate versions of five tracks: “Tangled Up in Blue,” “You’re a Big Girl,” “Idiot Wind,” “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts” and “If You See Her, Say Hello.” All of those Blood songs were originally recorded in New York, but as legend has it, after Dylan played one of the test pressings for his brother David Zimmerman, he was encouraged to re-record those five songs in Minnesota with local musicians in order to brighten up the stark album.
The released copy of the landmark album features 10 songs split evenly between the New York and Minnesota sessions, but that rare test pressing features all 10 original recordings from New York’s A&R Recording. While the “New York” versions of most of those Minnesota-recorded tracks were eventually bootlegged or distributed via Dylan’s archival releases (albeit as alternate takes and not the originally planned Blood on the Tracks versions), the mere scarcity of the test pressing makes it a vaunted item. The test pressing was made at a Columbia Records plant in Santa Maria, California and is one of only reportedly five copies.
Check out a more somber “New York” take on the opening “Tangled Up in Blue”: