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Tony Glover archives, including rare Bob Dylan recordings, going up for auction

A Bob Dylan tape from Tony Glover's archives. (RR Auctions)
A Bob Dylan tape from Tony Glover's archives. (RR Auctions)

by Jay Gabler

October 21, 2020

The widow of Tony Glover, the late Minneapolis folk-blues icon known as one of Bob Dylan's most intimate early musical associates, is auctioning Glover's archives in an online sale taking place Nov. 12-19. It's a collection of extraordinary historical significance, particularly for anyone interested in Dylan's Dinkytown period and his lifelong Minnesota connections.

The items being sold, in individual lots, include handwritten letters and lyrics; recordings of interviews and phone calls with Dylan (including a series of interviews for an unpublished Esquire profile, with transcripts edited by Dylan); and Glover's personal copies of Dylan releases ranging from a galley of Dylan's book Tarantula to an iPod Nano loaded with episodes of Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour.

There are also recordings Glover made of Dylan honing his folksinger persona at private performances in 1960 and 1961. Some of this material has been bootlegged or officially released, but Glover's personal copies of the tapes are irreplaceable. There are also copies of material from Dylan's legendary "Basement Tapes," sent to Glover by Dylan himself years before the material was officially released.

The Glover archive extends beyond Dylan, demonstrating the depth of the artist's experience, interest, and connections among his peers. Items going up for sale include correspondence from Donovan, Greil Marcus, Pete Seeger, Jim Morrison, and Joan Baez - whose handwriting was easily the most elegant of the lot.

While famed for his association with Dylan and other luminaries, Glover was an accomplished and influential musician in his own right; the 1963 album Blues, Rags and Hollers by the trio he formed with Spider John Koerner and Dave Ray was widely revered by rock and blues artists around the world. Among the auction lots is a collection of Glover's 53 Hohner harmonicas, some of them stored in a box labeled, CAUTION: RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL.

Rolling Stone was able to review the documents, and notes the revelatory nature of the interviews, which were much more open and trusting than those Dylan has often had with journalists. (Glover wrote for Rolling Stone among other publications, so interviewing was part of his skill set.) Dylan ends one 1962 letter by telling his friend, "Say hello to that Mississippi River for me."

Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment
This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.