16 Acetate Discs of Bob Dylan

An acetate disc, also known as a lacquer (a technically correct term preferred by engineers in the recording industry), transcription disc (a special recording intended for, or made from, a radio broadcast) or instantaneous disc (because it can be played immediately after recording without any further processing), is a type of gramophone record, a mechanical sound storage medium, widely used from the 1930s to the late 1950s for recording and broadcast purposes and still in limited use today.

Unlike ordinary vinyl records, which are quickly formed from lumps of plastic by a mass-production molding process, a so called acetate disc is created by using a recording lathe to cut a sound-modulated groove into the surface of a special lacquer-coated blank disc, a real-time operation requiring expensive, delicate equipment and expert skill for good results. They are made for special purposes, almost never for sale to the general public. They can be played on any normal phonograph but will be degraded by wear much more quickly than vinyl. Some acetates are highly prized for their rarity, especially when they contain unpublished material.



Rolin’ Along (EP) acetate



“Talkin’ John Birch Paranoia Blues [Talkin’ John Birch Society Blues]” – 10″ stereo acetate, Columbia 70090-2 (USA), 1963.



Columbia 70090-2 (USA) – “audiodiscs” sleeve



Ballad Of A Thin Man / Like A Rolling Stone – 12″ mono acetate, I.B.C. Sound Recording Studios (UK), May 1966.


Columbia US acetate 77110 (mono) – Side 2 label with sticker


Columbia US acetate 77110 (mono) – Side 2

“Bob Dylan In Concert” – Columbia acetates 77110 (mono) and 77182 (stereo), cancelled LPs: Columbia CL-2302 (USA – mono)/Columbia CS-9102 (USA – stereo), 1964:
This live album was cancelled by Columbia at the last moment because the material was considered “out of date”.


1970 (Self Portrait) 

Bob Johnston’s handwritten sequence on sleeve, this turned out to be the released sequence of Side One.


1970 (Self Portrait)

Side Two.

970 (Self Portrait) 

Early sequence for Side Three.

1970 (Self Portrait) 

Bob Dylan makes changes to Bob Johnston’s sequence and writes BLUE MOON.



970 (Self Portrait) 

1730 Columbia Studio A Nashville, Tennessee 3 May 1969
3rd Self Portrait session, produced by Bob Johnston.

1. Take A Message To Mary (Felice Bryant/Boudleaux Bryant)
2. Blue Moon (Lorenz Hart/Richard Rogers)
3. Ring Of Fire (June Carter/Merle Kilgore)
4. Folsom Prison Blues (Johnny Cash)

Bob Dylan (vocal, guitar & piano), Bob Wilson (piano), Norman Blake (guitar), Charlie Daniels (guitar), Fred F. Carter (guitar), Charlie McCoy (bass), Peter Drake (steel guitar), Doug Kershaw (violin), Kenneth Buttrey (drums).
Recorded 4:00-7:00 pm and 7:00-10:00 pm.
NCO99083 Take A Message To Mary
NCO99084 Blue Moon
NCO99085 Ring Of Fire
NCO99086 Folsom Prison Blues
1, 2 released in overdubbed version on SELF PORTRAIT, Columbia C2X 30050, 8 June 1970, Columbia (CD), C2K 30050, 5 September 1989.
1, 2 released in overdubbed version on the remastered version of SELF PORTRAIT, included on Disc 4 of the Deluxe Edition of ANOTHER SELF PORTRAIT – The Bootleg Series Vol. 10 (1969-1971), Columbia CKD 373488, 26 August 2013.
1, 2 released in overdubbed and remastered versions on SELF PORTRAIT, Columbia 88691924312-11 as part of the CD box THE COMPLETE ALBUM COLLECTION, VOL. ONE, 5 November 2013,
Stereo studio recordings.


1970 (New Morning) 

Side Two. 

Bob Dylan doodles and makes notes about changes to songs for New Morning.

1970 (New Morning)

The Man In Me B-1

Early to mid ’70’s Warner Brothers publishing acetate/dubplate

“The acetate came from a subbasement vault on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood! There were only two copies in the box so few were made. An Early to Mid 1970’s publishing acetate. Plays with no skips! Voice and guitar come through wonderfully, but the disc is “acetate noisy”. There are a few tiny marks, possibly paint, on the playing surface that had been wiped or blotted off before it could harden so it doesn’t effect playability… and none of the metal plate is showing through. A couple of paint spots and light water marks on the label as you can see. Again, only a few were made and only a few made it from WB Music!”

Speed: 45RPM 
Sleeve Grading: plain white 45 paper sleeve
Record Size: 7″ 
Special Attributes: Acetate/Dubplate, White Label
Duration: edited 3:50 minute version 
Record Label: Warner Brothers Music
Record Grading: Good (G) 
Country/Region of Manufacture: United States

In 1928 the Warner Brothers studio acquired several smaller music publishing firms including M. Witmark & Sons.


Bob Neuwirth and Bob Dylan listening to the acetate test pressing of Blonde on Blonde often captioned Sydney 1966. No, this must be Scandinavia? 

Photograph courtesy of Jan Perrson.

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