Wanted Man is the name of the "organisation" that published The Telegraph. We had another name in the early days, The Bob Dylan Information Office, but Wanted Man sounded good: it was a little bit outlaw; it reflected, to some extent, the need all of us had for stuff about Bob Dylan; and it was the name of a rare song - a song that Dylan had reportedly originally written for The Everly Brothers (its working title was The Fugitive) and that eventually turned up on Johnny Cash's Live At San Quentin album.
So Wanted Man became our business name. But somehow, alas, it became associated with all manner of nefarious activity. How embarrassing was it, for instance, when, in the spring of 1986, Bob Fass asked Bob Dylan about Wanted Man on the WBAI tribute show:
Fass: How do you feel about this avid thirst that people have to hear what you've got to say lately about practically anything?
Dylan: Well, I mean, you say it's true. I mean, I don't know it is.
Fass: Well, you know, I hear from people who circulate your tapes. I hear people have circulated your tapes through a kind of underground network called Wanted Man. Have you ever heard about that?
Fass: Wanted Man.
Fass: Have you ever heard about that?
Dylan: Oh yeah . . . Is that . . . I don't think I ever recorded that, actually.
Fass: No, Wanted Man is a group of people who collect your, uh . . your, uh, um, occult recordings.
Dylan: Oh, is that right?
Fass: And they exchange them. They don't sell them.
Fass: And, uh, I don't know, I know you get pretty angry about some of that and, uh, I know maybe we shouldn't talk about what's been stolen from you, especially on your birthday, uh . . .
Dylan: No. Let's not talk about theft.
Oh dear. Anyway, imagine how it felt when a grudgesome bootlegger went and named his bootleg CD label Wanted Man, and went on to put out dozens of titles on the Wanted Man label! Oh the shame, the embarrassment, the ignominy . . . Well, in fact, by this time, we'd proved that we were good guys, that we did things right, that we were not about to blow the reputation of The Telegraph for the love of a lousy buck. But this Wanted Man most surely had nothing at all to do with that Wanted Man, and that's a fact.
So that's it. Except that Dylan was wrong about never having recorded Wanted Man. It was tried out at the session with Johnny Cash, February 18, 1969, one incomplete take. How much of it did Dylan get to warble. We'll all of us just have to wait until the tape comes around, won't we? And how do I know about the recording? The information was included in an article in Telegraph 53.
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