IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Childhood friend to auction ’50s tape of Dylan

Ric Kangas' recording of a young Bobby Zimmerman playing guitar and singing will go on the auction block in October and the rare recording is expected to fetch $100,000.
/ Source: The Associated Press

As teenagers in northern Minnesota in the late 1950s, Ric Kangas and Bobby Zimmerman would spend hours playing guitar and singing. During one of those sessions, Zimmerman asked his friend to record it.

Kangas had no idea he was recording the man who would soon become Bob Dylan. Years later, he came across the tape, which features Dylan singing three songs and playing guitar on another.

In early October, Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas will offer the tape at auction. Kangas said one Dylan expert appraised the tape at about $100,000, but Kangas has no idea if it will fetch that much.

A publicist said Wednesday that Dylan, 65, had no comment.

Kangas said Dylan, who was two years behind him at Hibbing High School, was impressed by Kangas' performance at a school talent show.

"Not long after that we met on the street. He said, ‘Hey, I understand you write songs,'" Kangas recalled. For the next few months, he said, they often sang and played songs for each other.

Within a few years, Dylan was off — first to Minneapolis, then to New York City, then to international stardom and acclaim.

Kangas, who now lives in Santa Barbara, Calif., bounced around the country for many years, working as a photographer, actor and Elvis impersonator. He saw Dylan a few more times; the last time was backstage after a show in Memphis, Tenn., in 1974.

He came across the tape a few years ago, Kangas said, but couldn't play it until he found the right kind of old tape recorder at a garage sale.

Kangas said Dylan sings three songs, two of them in a much more melodic voice than what would later become his trademark. The third, Kangas said, gives a better hint of the later Dylan style: "He kind of sings like a frog."

A floor auction for the tape will be held in Dallas on Oct 6-7. Online bidding ends a day earlier, and those bids would compete with the floor auction.