Great White Wonder

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Great White Wonder
Bob Dylan - Great White Wonder.png
Compilation album (bootleg)by
ReleasedJuly 1969 (1969-07)
Recorded1961–1969, Various locales
Genre Folk, folk rock, rock, blues
Label Trademark of Quality

Great White Wonder, or GWW, is the first notable rock bootleg album, released in July 1969, and containing unofficially released recordings by Bob Dylan. It is also the first release of the famous bootleg record label Trademark of Quality (or TMOQ). Several of the tracks presented here were recorded with The Band in the summer of 1967 in West Saugerties, New York, during the informal sessions that were later released in a more complete form in Dylan's 1975 album The Basement Tapes . Much of the other material consists of a recording made in December 1961 in a Minnesota hotel room (referred to as the "Minnesota hotel tape"), studio outtakes from several of Dylan's albums, and a live performance on The Johnny Cash Show . It was the first time that these previously unreleased recordings came to the market; many more would be released in similar formats over the coming years, though most were single albums, not double albums like this record.


The album was nicknamed the "great white wonder" due to the original pressing's plain white gatefold cover; newer pressings contain the name stamped on. This name—or variations, such as "white wonder", [1] "little white wonder"—would surface in later bootleg releases or in the initials "G.W.W." that were printed on record labels or covers.


Released by the infant Trademark of Quality label, created by two Los Angeles-based men, Ken and Dub, Great White Wonder was compiled from multiple sources. Sides one and three of Great White Wonder were entirely given over to songs from an informal ninety-minute tape that Dylan recorded in the apartment of Bonnie Beecher in Minneapolis in December 1961. Side two was a miscellany of studio outtakes. However, it was the seven "basement-tape" cuts that filled up the end of side two and all of side four that aroused the greatest interest.

Radio broadcasts

"The west coast radio stations were first to pick up on Great White Wonder. Five radio stations—KCSB-FM in Santa Barbara, KNAC in Long Beach, KRLA in Pasadena [1] and KMET-FM and KPPC-FM in Los Angeles—immediately began playing the album. KRLA was the first. Unconcerned with legal niceties, these LA radio stations were quite willing to fuel demand for both Great White Wonder and the spate of bootlegs that soon followed its metal-stamped heels." [2]

Said Dub, quoted in Clinton Heylin's Bootleg: The Secret History of the Other Recording Industry, "Great White Wonder was just this phenomenon. All of a sudden we just started having fistfuls of money. We didn't realize what we had gotten into." The success of this first bootleg may have prompted others to create illicit albums as well, including The Beatles' Kum Back , released later in 1969, and copies of the original album, released by different labels. However, each time the content was copied, there was a reduction in sound quality. [3]

Cover and label

Originally, the cover was a simple white sleeve, until the nickname "Great White Wonder" began to take effect. Later 1970s pressings included a poorly hand-stamped title, or a picture of Dylan playing at the Isle of Wight Festival. Others gave the false artist name "Dupre and his Miracle Sound" (cf. genuine group Simon Dupree and the Big Sound), along with false track titles. [3]

Hoax follow-up

The Great White Wonder sparked a fake bootleg recording that began as a gag by editors at Rolling Stone magazine. The album, The Masked Marauders , was supposedly recorded during a jam session between Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney. [4] A review of the non-existent album ran in Rolling Stone on October 18, 1969. [5] The write-up sparked enough inquiries from readers that a band was hired to record first some singles, then a full album. [6] Released in November 1969 by a Warner Bros. subsidiary created for the stunt, The Masked Marauders topped 100,000 in sales. The album and singles were later re-issued by Rhino Records as a limited edition CD, The Masked Marauders – The Complete Deity Recordings. [7]

Track listing

All tracks written by Bob Dylan, except when noted.

Side one
  1. "Candy Man"
  2. "(As I Go) Ramblin' 'Round" (Woody Guthrie)
  3. "Black Cross" (Joseph S. Newman / Lord Buckley)
  4. "I Ain't Got No Home" (Woody Guthrie)
  5. "The Death of Emmett Till"
  6. "Poor Lazarus" (Traditional)
Side two
  1. "Bob Dylan's New Orleans Rag"
  2. "If You Gotta Go, Go Now (Or Else You Got to Stay All Night)"
  3. "Only a Hobo"
  4. "Sitting On a Barbed Wire Fence"
  5. "Mighty Quinn" [1] (take 1)
  6. "This Wheel's on Fire" (Bob Dylan and Rick Danko)
Side three
  1. "Baby Please Don't Go" (Big Joe Williams)
  2. Interview by Pete Seeger
  3. "Dink's Song" (Traditional)
  4. "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" (Blind Lemon Jefferson)
  5. "East Orange New Jersey"
  6. "Man of Constant Sorrow" (Traditional)
Side four
  1. "I Shall Be Released"
  2. "Open the Door, Homer" (take 1)
  3. "Too Much of Nothing" (take 2)
  4. "Nothing Was Delivered" [1] (take 1)
  5. "Tears of Rage" (take 2)
  6. "Living the Blues" (Live, The Johnny Cash Show )

Great White Wonder II

In 1970, TMQ released another version of Great White Wonder, entitled Great White Wonder II. Many of the tracks were lifted from the Stealin' and John Birch Society Blues bootlegs, as well as tracks from the "Basement Tapes". However, each track was pressed from a unique source tape, not copied directly from the original LP. This resulted in a rather high-quality release, in terms of sound. [8]

All songs written by Bob Dylan, except when noted.

Side one
  1. "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window"
  2. "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry"
  3. "Love Minus Zero/No Limit"
  4. "She Belongs to Me"
  5. "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue"
  6. "That's All Right (Mama)" (Arthur Crudup)
  7. "Hard Times In New York Town"
  8. "Stealin'" (Traditional, arranged Memphis Jug Band)
Side two
  1. "I Was Young When I Left Home" (Traditional)
  2. "Percy's Song" (take 2)
  3. "Corrina, Corrina" (Traditional)
  4. "In the Evening"
  5. "Long John" (Traditional)
  6. "Crash on the Levee (Down in the Flood)"
Side three
  1. "Wade in the Water" (Traditional)
  2. "Cocaine Blues" (Traditional, arranged Reverend Gary Davis)
  3. "I'll Keep It With Mine"
  4. "Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues"
  5. "Who Killed Davey Moore?"
  6. "Eternal Circle"
  7. "Rambling, Gambling Willie"
Side four
  1. "Million Dollar Bash"
  2. "Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread"
  3. "Please, Mrs. Henry"
  4. "Lo and Behold"
  5. "Tiny Montgomery"
  6. "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere"
  7. "Mixed-Up Confusion"
  8. "East Laredo Blues"

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