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Se muestran los artículos pertenecientes al tema BOB DYLAN.

Keith Venturoni i‎n EDLIS Café

After his last post on Bob, Lefsetz proves he's at least impartial. MusiCares-Bob Dylan

And if my thought dreams could be seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine

“It’s Alright, Ma, (I’m Only Bleeding)”

What kind of crazy fucked up world do we live in where Bob Dylan comes back from the dead and delivers the paramount rock and roll experience of the twenty first century?

That’s right, MusiCares is a clusterfuck nonpareil. The number one networking dinner of the year. Not only is it peopled by wannabes and no-name Recording Academy members, the movers and shakers all show up, the conversation is scintillating and informative, and then you retire to the ballroom where household names go through the motions, singing songs via Teleprompter.

Now the best stuff I saw in the auction room were the photos donated by Richard Lewis. That’s right, the comedian. He had one from the A.R.M.S. concert with every legend known to man, from Jeff Beck to Joe Cocker to Jimmy Page to Eric Clapton to Ronnie Lane, the inspiration for the show. Even more fascinating was the picture of Tim Hardin, before he was grizzled by heroin addiction, it was almost a completely different man.

And during the speeches I conversed with my table neighbors, nothing relevant or interesting was being said.

And then came the performances.

Now first I have to mention the crack band. Using all their chops and rehearsal to operate on a level so high, I don’t think it can be topped. Don Was the bandmaster. And Kenny Aronoff pounded the skins. Heartbreaker extraordinaire, Benmont Tench, tickled the keys. The legend only insiders know, Buddy Miller, picked the strings. And Greg Leisz was on pedal steel, this guy deserves to be more well-known.

Anyway, all the stars were good, but I can’t say there were many memorable performances. The song choices were confounding. A track from “Saved”? Another from “Oh Mercy”? Even the most dedicated Dylanologist would not only be disappointed, but would struggle to know the lyrics of these obscurities.

I figured John Mellencamp was gonna amp it up with a ripping version of “Highway 61,” but he turned it into a dirge.

And Tom Jones was fluid, but he never put the pedal to the metal, he usually blows us away, here he just barely brought the kettle to a boil.

Beck was all one note, there were no dynamics.

Jackson Browne was really good on an endless number from the early catalog that evidenced magic, but didn’t grab you by the gut and twist you.

Unlike Bonnie Raitt.

Bonnie Raitt, the Grammy darling, came back over the hill to reclaim her title as the sassiest mama with the best interpretive skills, all the while being a soulful slide player who can hold her own with the boys. She took the tertiary track “Standing In The Doorway” and not only made it her own, far eclipsing Dylan’s original, but delivered the best musical performance of the night. It was like being jetted back to 1992. Or 1972. As if no time had passed. There were a few lines in her face, but Bonnie was every bit as good. Really, if you’re a music lover, you would have smiled and then jumped to your feet, as we all did.

The second best performance, by a hair? Willie Nelson’s rendition of “Senor.”

Talk about a professional… Willie couldn’t read the Teleprompter at the back of the room. And the one on stage wasn’t working. So he and the band vamped endlessly until the glitch was rectified. Minutes. Talk about draining energy from the performance… But then Willie sang so beautifully, so soulfully, picked so amazingly, that he converted everyone on the fence into a fan. This guy is a deserved legend. He’s heads above everybody else. He wrung meaning out of that song that we didn’t know was there.

Jack White earned his place in the movie “It Might Get Loud.” He wailed.

And the Boss did a solid rendition of “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” and whipped out some leads to demonstrate that he’s not about to hang up his rock and roll shoes.

And then came Mr. Z.

Well, first we had Neil Portnow’s monotonic introduction. What a juxtaposition, a legend and an administrator.

But credit Mr. Portnow for knowing it was not his night, that he was not up to the task, for he relinquished the mic to Jimmy Carter.

That’s right, our 90 year old ex-President who was put into office by the Allman Brothers. And I didn’t believe half of what he said, but then he got truthful, you could feel the connection, and out came Zimmy.

Now this is usually the lamest moment of the show. When the winner holds the trophy, thanks the usual suspects and says nothing meaningful.

But not the poet laureate from Hibbing.

Bob talked in that insane voice he’s developed, like his skin is a different color and he was brought up in the holler. And he made some perfunctory remarks. And then he told us he was gonna read.

Oh god, he’s afraid of making a mistake, he can’t do it off the cuff, get ready to be bored.

And all night we were wondering if Bob would perform. Most people do, but when Neil Young was honored he did not. And really, I don’t want to see Bob mangle his old material, but maybe on this occasion he’ll hearken back to the originals.

It was better than that. Bob didn’t play a note, but he delivered a speech that dropped jaws and had you tingling, not believing you were there in attendance.

You remember that experience, don’t you? When the gigs weren’t productions matched to clicks and if you didn’t go to the show you didn’t know, there was no MTV, never mind YouTube? When you went because you never knew what would happen?

Well, something happened last night.

And what happened was that Bob Dylan revealed he’s been listening all the while, he knows what we’ve been saying about him, he’s got an opinion about it, and unlike everybody else in this sold-out business he’s not afraid to step on toes, he’s not afraid to offend.

It had a somewhat historical structure. These were not notes, Bob had written an essay, nearly a book, it took him half an hour to deliver it, turning the printed pages all the while. And he didn’t go all the way back to Minnesota, then again, there was a reference to Highway 61, but he did start with John Hammond, giving the man props for signing him, alluding to the luck he was the beneficiary of that no one likes to talk about.

It’s more than luck, it’s personality and drive and cunning and making opportunities others cannot see, never mind take advantage of. But there’s always luck.

And from there to his initial publisher Lou Levy, and Joan Baez, who he praised to high heaven, all the way to Jimi Hendrix on up to today.

Lou said Bob was ahead of the game, and if he was lucky the audience would catch up with him in three to five years.

Bob didn’t want to write novelty tracks like Leiber and Stoller, whom he excoriated. Bob was only interested in the truth, which he got from folk songs, which he knew by heart and played incessantly.

Yes, Bob told us where his songs came from. Made the connection from the past to the present. It was positively mind-blowing, the guy who obfuscates for a living is giving us the god’s honest truth in a way no one ever does. It’s like the fathers of our country telling us what’s behind the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, the only difference being Dylan is still alive.

You see Dylan impacted the culture, we’re just pawns in his game. The big story this week was the “Billboard 100,” the executives who run this enterprise. That’s how far we’ve come, we lionize the rip-off businessmen who’ll soon be forgotten. Even David Geffen’s almost been forgotten.

But Bob Dylan won’t be. Great artists cobble together something new from the past and inspire those who come after. Bob Dylan is a great artist.

And what a perspective!

He talked about his voice and the criticism of it. Wondered why he was singled out and Leonard Cohen was not. Why everybody else can do a covers album and get away with it but the critics put him through the wringer.

The truth is Bob Dylan is different from the rest. We hold him to a higher standard. Because he’s at the pinnacle, and we need to believe in him.

But Dylan’s an elusive sort. Bobbing and weaving like a boxer. Confounding expectations.

That was a highlight, when Dylan said this was not a job description, this is not what he does, he’s just following his own muse in search of the truth.

And I could recite more verbiage but if you’re interested in the details you can read excerpts online.

But ultimately it was more than the content. It was the fact that Bob Dylan trail blazed again. That he did confound our expectations. That he pushed an envelope we could not even see.

And we were there. When he went on not worrying what we thought, not worrying about losing us, because that’s what great artists do, follow their own path and not worry about pandering to the masses.

But now pandering rules the business. And those who are unique don’t realize that Bob Dylan could get away with his unique voice because he was the best lyricist of all time. Are you? I don’t think so.

And Bob Dylan is still demanding our attention. Who else can we say that of?

And I won’t say everything he does is good. But you’ve got to respect the man for trying, for continually being born instead of dying.

So there you have it. This is what got us to go to the shows way back when. Because a friend went and couldn’t stop testifying about what he’d experienced.

Last night I experienced the best speech by a rock musician ever.

And the honor is bogus, but all awards are. That was another of Dylan’s targets, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. An empty institution where the second-rate are members and the genuine article is excluded. That’s right, Billy Lee Riley might have only had one hit, “Red Hot,” but that track got inside Dylan in such a way as to not only inspire, but never be forgotten.

You remember inspiration, don’t you?

You remember the indelible experience, don’t you?

Or are you just about the money, and if someone’s got it they’re above criticism?

If so, I feel sorry for you. Because you wouldn’t have gotten Bob Dylan’s speech last night, you wouldn’t have understood where he was coming from, and you wouldn’t have been made to believe that the future is still in front of us as opposed to being in the rearview mirror, and you wouldn’t know that art trumps money every minute of the day, every hour of the week, and that without Bob Dylan our lives would be so much emptier.

So you can pledge fealty to false idols.

But the empty icons won’t keep you warm at night.

Grammy weekend is already over. Bob Dylan took home all the trophies, made the entire ceremony look small and he never sang a note.

That’s an artist.

Your move.

10/02/2015 00:00. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Grammys 2015: Transcript of Bob Dylan's MusiCares Person of Year speech

Bob Dylan was honored by MusiCares, the charity organization that aids musicians in need, at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Friday night. After performances by artists including Tom Jones, Sheryl Crow, Neil Young, Beck, Jackson Browne and others, Dylan himself took a rare opportunity in the spotlight to deliver a 30-plus-minute acceptance speech.

Expansive, funny and insightful, Dylan didn't pull any punches, calling out songwriters who had criticized his work while indicting Nashville and commercial country music.

He was introduced by former President Jimmy Carter, and walked out to a standing ovation. After thanking the organizers, Dylan referred to his notes and began by saying, "I'm going to read some of this." 

Because of moments of applause, and some echoey acoustics, a few of Dylan's words were inaudible on the recording I've consulted, and I've noted as such. Though it upsets him to hear it (see below), Dylan does sometimes mumble and slur his words. 

Bob Dylan's MusiCares person of the year acceptance speech:


I'm glad for my songs to be honored like this. But you know, they didn't get here by themselves. It's been a long road and it's taken a lot of doing. These songs of mine, they're like mystery stories, the kind that Shakespeare saw when he was growing up. I think you could trace what I do back that far. They were on the fringes then, and I think they're on the fringes now. And they sound like they've been on the hard ground. 

I should mention a few people along the way who brought this about. I know I should mention John Hammond, great talent scout for Columbia Records. He signed me to that label when I was nobody. It took a lot of faith to do that, and he took a lot of ridicule, but he was his own man and he was courageous. And for that, I'm eternally grateful. The last person he discovered before me was Aretha Franklin, and before that Count Basie, Billie Holiday and a whole lot of other artists. All noncommercial artists. 

Trends did not interest John, and I was very noncommercial but he stayed with me. He believed in my talent and that's all that mattered. I can't thank him enough for that.

Lou Levy runs Leeds Music, and they published my earliest songs, but I didn't stay there too long. Levy himself, he went back a long ways. He signed me to that company and recorded my songs and I sang them into a tape recorder. He told me outright, there was no precedent for what I was doing, that I was either before my time or behind it. And if I brought him a song like "Stardust," he'd turn it down because it would be too late. 


He told me that if I was before my time -- and he didn't really know that for sure -- but if it was happening and if it was true, the public would usually take three to five years to catch up -- so be prepared. And that did happen. The trouble was, when the public did catch up I was already three to five years beyond that, so it kind of complicated it. But he was encouraging, and he didn't judge me, and I'll always remember him for that. 

Artie Mogull at Witmark Music signed me next to his company, and he told me to just keep writing songs no matter what, that I might be on to something. Well, he too stood behind me, and he could never wait to see what I'd give him next. I didn't even think of myself as a songwriter before then. I'll always be grateful for him also for that attitude. 

I also have to mention some of the early artists who recorded my songs very, very early, without having to be asked. Just something they felt about them that was right for them. I've got to say thank you to Peter, Paul and Mary, who I knew all separately before they ever became a group. I didn't even think of myself as writing songs for others to sing but it was starting to happen and it couldn't have happened to, or with, a better group. 

They took a song of mine that had been recorded before that was buried on one of my records and turned it into a hit song. Not the way I would have done it -- they straightened it out. But since then hundreds of people have recorded it and I don't think that would have happened if it wasn't for them. They definitely started something for me. 



The Byrds, the Turtles, Sonny & Cher -- they made some of my songs Top 10 hits but I wasn't a pop songwriter and I really didn't want to be that, but it was good that it happened. Their versions of songs were like commercials, but I didn't really mind that because 50 years later my songs were being used in the commercials. So that was good too. I was glad it happened, and I was glad they'd done it. 

Pervis Staples and the Staple Singers -- long before they were on Stax they were on Epic and they were one of my favorite groups of all time. I met them all in '62 or '63. They heard my songs live and Pervis wanted to record three or four of them and he did with the Staples Singers. They were the type of artists that I wanted recording my songs. 

Nina Simone. I used to cross paths with her in New York City in the Village Gate nightclub. These were the artists I looked up to. She recorded some of my songs that she [inaudible] to me. She was an overwhelming artist, piano player and singer. Very strong woman, very outspoken. That she was recording my songs validated everything that I was about.

Oh, and can't forget Jimi Hendrix. I actually saw Jimi Hendrix perform when he was in a band called Jimmy James and the Blue Flames -- something like that. And Jimi didn't even sing. He was just the guitar player. He took some small songs of mine that nobody paid any attention to and pumped them up into the outer limits of the stratosphere and turned them all into classics. I have to thank Jimi, too. I wish he was here. 

Johnny Cash recorded some of my songs early on, too, up in about '63, when he was all skin and bones. He traveled long, he traveled hard, but he was a hero of mine. I heard many of his songs growing up. I knew them better than I knew my own. "Big River," "I Walk the Line." 

"How high's the water, Mama?" I wrote "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" with that song reverberating inside my head. I still ask, "How high is the water, mama?" Johnny was an intense character. And he saw that people were putting me down playing electric music, and he posted letters to magazines scolding people, telling them to shut up and let him sing. 



In Johnny Cash's world -- hardcore Southern drama -- that kind of thing didn't exist. Nobody told anybody what to sing or what not to sing. They just didn't do that kind of thing. I'm always going to thank him for that. Johnny Cash was a giant of a man, the man in black. And I'll always cherish the friendship we had until the day there is no more days. 

Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Joan Baez. She was the queen of folk music then and now. She took a liking to my songs and brought me with her to play concerts, where she had crowds of thousands of people enthralled with her beauty and voice. 

People would say, "What are you doing with that ragtag scrubby little waif?" And she'd tell everybody in no uncertain terms, "Now you better be quiet and listen to the songs." We even played a few of them together. Joan Baez is as tough-minded as they come. Love. And she's a free, independent spirit. Nobody can tell her what to do if she doesn't want to do it. I learned a lot of things from her. A woman with devastating honesty. And for her kind of love and devotion, I could never pay that back. 


These songs didn't come out of thin air. I didn't just make them up out of whole cloth. Contrary to what Lou Levy said, there was a precedent. It all came out of traditional music: traditional folk music, traditional rock 'n' roll and traditional big-band swing orchestra music. 

I learned lyrics and how to write them from listening to folk songs. And I played them, and I met other people that played them back when nobody was doing it. Sang nothing but these folk songs, and they gave me the code for everything that's fair game, that everything belongs to everyone.

For three or four years all I listened to were folk standards. I went to sleep singing folk songs. I sang them everywhere, clubs, parties, bars, coffeehouses, fields, festivals. And I met other singers along the way who did the same thing and we just learned songs from each other. I could learn one  song and sing it next in an hour if I'd heard it just once.

If you sang "John Henry" as many times as me -- "John Henry was a steel-driving man / Died with a hammer in his hand / John Henry said a man ain't nothin' but a man / Before I let that steam drill drive me down / I'll die with that hammer in my hand." 

If you had sung that song as many times as I did, you'd have written "How many roads must a man walk down?" too. 

Big Bill Broonzy had a song called "Key to the Highway." "I've got a key to the highway / I'm booked and I'm bound to go / Gonna leave here runnin' because walking is most too slow." I sang that a lot. If you sing that a lot, you just might write, 

Georgia Sam he had a bloody nose

Welfare Department they wouldn’t give him no clothes

He asked poor Howard where can I go

Howard said there’s only one place I know

Sam said tell me quick man I got to run

Howard just pointed with his gun

And said that way down on Highway 61



You'd have written that too if you'd sang "Key to the Highway" as much as me. 

"Ain't no use sit 'n cry / You'll be an angel by and by / Sail away, ladies, sail away." "I'm sailing away my own true love." "Boots of Spanish Leather" -- Sheryl Crow just sung that.

"Roll the cotton down, aw, yeah, roll the cotton down / Ten dollars a day is a white man's pay / A dollar a day is the black man's pay / Roll the cotton down." If you sang that song as many times as me, you'd be writing "I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more," too.

I sang a lot of "come all you" songs. There's plenty of them. There's way too  many to be counted. "Come along boys and listen to my tale / Tell you of my trouble on the old Chisholm Trail." Or, "Come all ye good people, listen while I tell / the fate of Floyd Collins a lad we all know well / The fate of Floyd Collins, a lad we all know well." 

"Come all ye fair and tender ladies / Take warning how you court your men / They're like a star on a summer morning / They first appear and then they're gone again." "If you'll gather 'round, people / A story I will tell /  'Bout Pretty Boy Floyd, an outlaw / Oklahoma knew him well."

If you sung all these "come all ye" songs all the time, you'd be writing, "Come gather 'round people where ever you roam, admit that the waters around you have grown / Accept that soon you'll be drenched to the bone / If your time to you is worth saving / And you better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone / The times they are a-changing."

You'd have written them too. There's nothing secret about it. You just do it subliminally and unconsciously, because that's all enough, and that's all I sang. That was all that was dear to me. They were the only kinds of songs that made sense. 

"When you go down to Deep Ellum keep your money in your socks / Women in Deep Ellum put you on the rocks." Sing that song for a while and you just might come up with, "When you're lost in the rain in Juarez and it's Easter time too / And your gravity fails and negativity don't pull you through / Don’t put on any airs / When you’re down on Rue Morgue Avenue / They got some hungry women there / And they really make a mess outta you."

All these songs are connected. Don't be fooled. I just opened up a different door in a different kind of way. It's just different, saying the same thing. I didn't think it was anything out of the ordinary. 


Well you know, I just thought I was doing something natural, but right from the start, my songs were divisive for some reason. They divided people. I never knew why. Some got angered, others loved them. Didn't know why my songs had detractors and supporters. A strange environment to have to throw your songs into, but I did it anyway. 

Last thing I thought of was who cared about what song I was writing. I was just writing them. I didn't think I was doing anything different. I thought I was just extending the line. Maybe a little bit unruly, but I was just elaborating on situations. Maybe hard to pin down, but so what? A lot of people are hard to pin down. You've just got to bear it. I didn't really care what Lieber and Stoller thought of my songs. 

They didn't like 'em, but Doc Pomus did. That was all right that they didn't like 'em, because I never liked their songs either. "Yakety yak, don't talk back." "Charlie Brown is a clown," "Baby I'm a hog for you." Novelty songs. They weren't saying anything serious. Doc's songs, they were better. "This Magic Moment." "Lonely Avenue." Save the Last Dance for Me. 

Those songs broke my heart. I figured I'd rather have his blessings any day than theirs. 

Ahmet Ertegun didn't think much of my songs, but Sam Phillips did. Ahmet founded Atlantic Records. He produced some great records: Ray Charles, Ray Brown, just to name a few. 

There were some great records in there, no question about it. But Sam Phillips, he recorded Elvis and Jerry Lee, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash. Radical eyes that shook the very essence of humanity. Revolution in style and scope. Heavy shape and color. Radical to the bone. Songs that cut you to the bone. Renegades in all degrees, doing songs that would never decay, and still resound to this day. Oh, yeah, I'd rather have Sam Phillips' blessing any day. 


Bob Dylan, the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year, speaks of his life and music to the crowd. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Merle Haggard didn't even think much of my songs. I know he didn't. He didn't say that to me, but I know [inaudible]. Buck Owens did, and he recorded some of my early songs. Merle Haggard -- "Mama Tried," "The Bottle Let Me Down," "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive." I can't imagine Waylon Jennings singing "The Bottle Let Me Down." 

"Together Again"? That's Buck Owens, and that trumps anything coming out of Bakersfield. Buck Owens and Merle Haggard? If you have to have somebody's blessing -- you figure it out. 

Oh, yeah. Critics have been giving me a hard time since Day One. Critics say I can't sing. I croak. Sound like a frog. Why don't critics say that same thing about Tom Waits? Critics say my voice is shot. That I have no voice. What don't they say those things about Leonard Cohen? Why do I get special treatment? Critics say I can't carry a tune and I talk my way through a song. Really? I've never heard that said about Lou Reed. Why does he get to go scot-free? 


What have I done to deserve this special attention? No vocal range? When's the last time you heard Dr. John? Why don't you say that about him? Slur my words, got no diction. Have you people ever listened to Charley Patton or Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters. Talk about slurred words and no diction. [Inaudible] doesn't even matter.

"Why me, Lord?" I would say that to myself.

Critics say I mangle my melodies, render my songs unrecognizable. Oh, really? Let me tell you something. I was at a boxing match a few years ago seeing Floyd Mayweather fight a Puerto Rican guy. And the Puerto Rican national anthem, somebody sang it and it was beautiful. It was heartfelt and it was moving. 

After that it was time for our national anthem. And a very popular soul-singing sister was chosen to sing. She sang every note -- that exists, and some that don't exist. Talk about mangling a melody. You take a one-syllable word and make it last for 15 minutes? She was doing vocal gymnastics like she was on a trapeze act. But to me it was not funny. 

Where were the critics? Mangling lyrics? Mangling a melody? Mangling a treasured song? No, I get the blame. But I don't really think I do that. I just think critics say I do. 

Sam Cooke said this when told he had a beautiful voice: He said, "Well that's very kind of you, but voices ought not to be measured by how pretty they are. Instead they matter only if they convince you that they are telling the truth." Think about that the next time you [inaudible].

Times always change. They really do. And you have to always be ready for something that's coming along and you never expected it. Way back when, I was in Nashville making some records and I read this article, a Tom T. Hall interview. Tom T. Hall, he was bitching about some kind of new song, and he couldn't understand what these new kinds of songs that were coming in were about. 

Now Tom, he was one of the most preeminent songwriters of the time in Nashville. A lot of people were recording his songs and he himself even did it. But he was all in a fuss about James Taylor, a song James had called "Country Road." Tom was going off in this  interview -- "But James don't say nothing about a country road. He's just says how you can feel it on the country road. I don't understand that."

Now some might say Tom is a great songwriter. I'm not going to doubt that. At the time he was doing this interview I was actually listening to a song of his on the radio.

It was called "I Love." I was listening to it in a recording studio, and he was talking about all the things he loves, an everyman kind of song, trying to connect with people. Trying to make you think that he's just like you and you're just like him. We all love the same things, and we're all in this together. Tom loves little baby ducks, slow-moving trains and rain. He loves old pickup trucks and little country streams. Sleeping without dreams. Bourbon in a glass. Coffee in a cup. Tomatoes on the vine, and onions.

Now listen, I'm not ever going to disparage another songwriter. I'm not going to do that. I'm not saying it's a bad song. I'm just saying it might be a little overcooked. But, you know, it was in the top 10 anyway. Tom and a few other writers had the whole Nashville scene sewed up in a box. If you wanted to record a song and get it in the top 10 you had to go to them, and Tom was one of the top guys. They were all very comfortable, doing their thing.

This was about the time that Willie Nelson picked up and moved to Texas. About the same time. He's still in Texas. Everything was very copacetic. Everything was all right until -- until -- Kristofferson came to town. Oh, they ain't seen anybody like him. He came into town like a wildcat, flew his helicopter into Johnny Cash's backyard like a typical songwriter. And he went for the throat. "Sunday Morning Coming Down."  

Well, I woke up Sunday morning

With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt.

And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad

So I had one more for dessert

Then I fumbled through my closet 

Found my cleanest dirty shirt

Then I washed my face and combed my hair

And stumbled down the stairs to meet the day.

You can look at Nashville pre-Kris and post-Kris, because he changed everything. That one song ruined Tom T. Hall's poker parties. It might have sent him to the crazy house. God forbid he ever heard any of my songs. 

You walk into the room

With your pencil in your hand

You see somebody naked

You say, “Who is that man?”

You try so hard

But you don’t understand

Just what you're gonna say

When you get home

You know something is happening here

But you don’t know what it is

Do you, Mister Jones?

If "Sunday Morning Coming Down" rattled Tom's cage, sent him into the looney bin, my song surely would have made him blow his brains out, right there in the minivan. Hopefully he didn't hear it. 

I just released an album of standards, all the songs usually done by Michael Buble, Harry Connick Jr., maybe Brian Wilson's done a couple, Linda Ronstadt done 'em. But the reviews of their records are different than the reviews of my record. 

In their reviews no one says anything. In my reviews, [inaudible] they've got to look under every stone when it comes to me. They've got to mention all the songwriters' names. Well that's OK with me. After all, they're great songwriters and these are standards. I've seen the reviews come in, and they'll mention all the songwriters in half the review, as if everybody knows them. Nobody's heard of them, not in this time, anyway. Buddy Kaye, Cy Coleman, Carolyn Leigh, to name a few. 


But, you know, I'm glad they mention their names, and you know what? I'm glad they got their names in the press. It might have taken some time to do it, but they're finally there. I can only wonder why it took so long. My only regret is that they're not here to see it. 

Traditional rock 'n' roll, we're talking about that. It's all about rhythm. Johnny Cash said it best: "Get rhythm. Get rhythm when you get the blues." Very few rock 'n' roll bands today play with rhythm. They don't know what it is. Rock 'n' roll is a combination of blues, and it's a strange thing made up of two parts. A lot of people don't know this, but the blues, which is an American music, is not what you think it is. It's a combination of Arabic violins and Strauss waltzes working it out. But it's true. 

The other half of rock 'n' roll has got to be hillbilly. And that's a derogatory term, but it ought not to be. That's a term that includes the Delmore Bros., Stanley Bros., Roscoe Holcomb, Clarence Ashley ... groups like that. Moonshiners gone berserk. Fast cars on dirt roads. That's the kind of combination that makes up rock 'n' roll, and it can't be cooked up in a science laboratory or a studio. 

You have to have the right kind of rhythm to play this kind of music. If you can't hardly play the blues, how do you [inaudible] those other two kinds of music in there? You can fake it, but you can't really do it. 

Critics have made a career out of accusing me of having a career of confounding expectations. Really? Because that's all I do. That's how I think about it. Confounding expectations. 

"What do you do for a living, man?"

"Oh, I confound expectations."

You're going to get a job, the man says, "What do you do?" "Oh, confound expectations.: And the man says, "Well, we already have that spot filled. Call us back. Or don't call us, we'll call you." Confounding expectations. What does that mean? 'Why me, Lord? I'd confound them, but I don't know how to do it.' 

The Blackwood Bros. have been talking to me about making a record together. That might confound expectations, but it shouldn't. Of course it would be a gospel album. I don't think it would be anything out of the ordinary for me. Not a bit. One of the songs I'm thinking about singing is "Stand By Me" by the Blackwood Brothers. Not "Stand By Me" the pop song. No. The real "Stand By Me." 

 The real one goes like this:

When the storm of life is raging / Stand by me / When the storm of life is raging / Stand by me / When the world is tossing me / Like a ship upon the sea / Thou who rulest wind and water / Stand by me

 In the midst of tribulation / Stand by me / In the midst of tribulation / Stand by me / When the hosts of hell assail / And my strength begins to fail / Thou who never lost a battle / Stand by me

In the midst of faults and failures / Stand by me / In the midst of faults and failures / Stand by me / When I do the best I can / And my friends don't understand / Thou who knowest all about  me / Stand by me

That's the song. I like it better than the pop song. If I record one by that name, that's going to be the one. I'm also thinking of recording a song, not on that album, though: "Oh Lord, Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood." 

Anyway, why me, Lord. What did I do? 

Anyway, I'm proud to be here tonight for MusiCares. I'm honored to have all these artists singing my songs. There's nothing like that. Great artists. [applause, inaudible]. They're all singing the truth, and you can hear it in their voices.

I'm proud to be here tonight for MusiCares. I think a lot of this organization. They've helped many people. Many musicians who have contributed a lot to our culture. I'd like to personally thank them for what they did for a friend of mine, Billy Lee Riley. A friend of mine who they helped for six years when he was down and couldn't work. Billy was a son of rock 'n' roll, obviously.

He was a true original. He did it all: He played, he sang, he wrote. He would have been a bigger star but Jerry Lee came along. And you know what happens when someone like that comes along. You just don't stand a chance.


So Billy became what is known in the industry -- a condescending term, by the way -- as a one-hit wonder. But sometimes, just sometimes, once in a while, a one-hit wonder can make a more powerful impact than a recording star who's got 20 or 30 hits behind him. And Billy's hit song was called "Red Hot," and it was red hot. It could blast you out of your skull and make you feel happy about it. Change your life. 

He did it with style and grace. You won't find him in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He's not there. Metallica is. Abba is. Mamas and the Papas -- I know they're in there. Jefferson Airplane, Alice Cooper, Steely Dan -- I've got nothing against them. Soft rock, hard rock, psychedelic pop. I got nothing against any of that stuff, but after all, it is called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Billy Lee Riley is not there. Yet. 

I'd see him a couple times a year and we'd always spent time together and he was on a rockabilly festival nostalgia circuit, and we'd cross paths now and again. We'd always spend time together. He was a hero of mine. I'd heard "Red Hot." I must have been only 15 or 16 when I did and it's impressed me to this day.


I never grow tired of listening to it. Never got tired of watching Billy Lee perform, either. We spent time together just talking and playing into the night. He was a deep, truthful man. He wasn't bitter or nostalgic. He just accepted it. He knew where he had come from and he was content with who he was. 

And then one day he got sick. And like my friend John Mellencamp would sing -- because John sang some truth today -- one day you get sick and you don't get better. That's from a song of his called "Life is Short Even on Its Longest Days." It's one of the better songs of the last few years, actually. I ain't lying. 

And I ain't lying when I tell you that MusiCares paid for my friend's doctor bills, and helped him to get spending money. They were able to at least make his life comfortable, tolerable to the end. That is something that can't be repaid. Any organization that would do that would have to have my blessing

I'm going to get out of here now. I'm going to put an egg in my shoe and beat it. I probably left out a lot of people and said too much about some. But that's OK. Like the spiritual song, 'I'm still just crossing over Jordan too.' Let's hope we meet again. Sometime. And we will, if, like Hank Williams said, "the good Lord willing and the creek don't rise."


09/02/2015 18:36. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Bob Dylan - Shadows in the Night by Matt Powell

If a Dylan-does-Sinatra record sounds like a bad idea that's because it probably is. But whatever Shadows in the Night is, it isn’t that. Not in the obvious way at least.

The first thing you notice upon listen is something I've long suspected: far from ravaged, Dylan currently possesses a voice capable of subtle, sweet pitch control and nuance. Soft and whispery, sure, but neither weak nor degraded. From the opening “I’m a Fool to Want You” he assures us it will serve a strong and steady guide through the forthcoming enveloping terrain, navigating the complex harmonic changes and modulations of the Great American Songbook with effortless awareness. There is nary a buried phrase, not one interval soured by failed attempt. Dylan does not mask his voice with bouncy brass riffs or allow it to lazily piggyback on propelling swing; he lays it bare on top of a floating bed of steel guitar, rising and falling with the dynamics of the strings, tensile and exposed. Understanding, like Sinatra, that when working with songs of this caliber - contrary to the approach of the great jazz instrumentalists, or even Dylan himself - every performance is in service to the song, not the other way around. What a thing it is to think of Bob Dylan at 73 with not only something new to say, but a new way of saying it, like a secret he's grown too guilt ridden to conceal from the world any longer.

Dylan’s vocals are only made more impressive when considering the method of recording Shadows. Just as Sinatra would record his vocals live with the orchestra playing along in one big room, Dylan huddled with his band in a small circle inside Capitol Records Studio B and recorded each song live, no overdubs, no punching in. They didn’t just record the album live, but also in sequence.

Donny Herron’s pedal steel guitar is the other star of this record. While Tony Garnier’s bowed bass and Charlie Sexton’s and Stu Kimball’s tasty guitar phrases swim in and out periodically, the steel guitar is practically the only audible instrument for much of the record. Like Bucky Baxter’s sinister steel guitar parts that elevated Time Out of Mind, or Al Kooper’s mid-60’s organ, Herron serves as the perfect compliment for this particular Dylan performance.

More than that, Herron is essential. His warm and fluid, draping steel serves as the string section, a one-man Nelson Riddle chart. Part of Sinatra’s secret was to surround himself with the best: the best songs, the best players and, especially, the best arrangers. Different arrangers suited Sinatra’s different needs at different stages, but there was an incomparable magic between Sinatra and Riddle. Just as Riddle’s string arrangements on albums like In the Wee Small Hours or Close to You seem to ebb and flow with Sinatra’s voice, swelling and retreating as if in conversation, or courtship, so here do Herron’s steel and Dylan’s voice dance, complementing each other, dependent upon each other. There is no one without the other and there is seemingly nothing else. Herron’s work here lies among the landmarks of sidemen achievement.  

Sinatra was capable of getting inside a song with the commitment of a method actor, yet with an effortless, conversational delivery that suspends us in his world. This is his genius. When Sinatra sings “I dim all the lights and I sink in my chair / the smoke from my cigarette climbs through the air,” for example, from “Deep in a Dream” on In the Wee Small Hours, you can see the shape of the wisps of smoke filtered through the shadows of the street light intruding on his dark room. You can see the smoke climb as it circles in the warmer, higher air dissipating above the singer’s head. Sinatra gets inside a song like no one ever has. So it is here.

“Autumn Leaves,” for example, is a song that has been recorded so many times I thought I never needed to hear it again. After Dylan’s opening line breaks Herron’s haunting intro, I wondered how I lived this long without this version. When Dylan sings, “the autumn leaves drift by the window,” letting his voice linger on the word “window,” as if trailing off through the cold pane and out into the crisp chilly wind, shaping the hard, barren landscape, you don’t merely see the leaves and see him standing there at the window; you are there, riding his lonesome voice as it fogs the frozen glass. You are there as the dead leaves in all their reds and golds fall away like the love of which he sings; death - the mother of beauty, dripping from each phrase. He sings the song one full time through and out; there is nothing more to say, it is a complete thought.

Frank Sinatra invented, and perfected, the concept album. For Sinatra, a concept album was not just a collection of songs about the same subject, although that is true for some, such as Moonlight Sinatra. Nor was it necessarily linked thematically lyrically, although most of them were. For Sinatra, the concept was in the atmosphere and vibe of the record itself, right down to the cover art. It is in its consistent mood and volume - in the music and lyric equally, but especially in the music, the arrangement - its amorphous expanding of vast, dark holes of sound into which the listener is drawn. The vocals, and thus the lyrics, become just one more part of the overall whole. There is so much space in those Sinatra records it is easy to fall in and remain there until politely excused at its conclusion, as if coming out of hypnoses. The great melancholy, string-laden Sinatra concept records are meditative; they are almost prayers. That specific vision and consistent execution is Sinatra’s true artistry and that is what Bob Dylan has achieved here.

The real star of the album isn’t Dylan’s voice or Herron’s steel guitar – it is the sound of space. This is Dylan’s great gift to us in modern times. Here and now, in 2015, Bob Dylan has returned to us the artistry of the best of Frank Sinatra without resulting to imitation, nostalgia or caricature. None of the 10 tracks on Shadows are what one thinks of when one thinks of “Frank Sinatra songs.” Yet Dylan has captured the very essence of Sinatra more than the obvious, cartoonish attempts from the likes of Manilow, Bolton or Buble. How insignificant every pale attempt at recreating Sinatra magic seems after experiencing the very marrow of the man that drips here from each weeping steel guitar passage, that collects in the dark space between each audible breath. It is the gift of craft. The craft of singing; not merely emoting a series of notes and words in sequence, but of singing the song from the inside and, by example, the craft of songwriting itself. It is the craft of recording, of capturing the sound of empty space.

Whenever confronted with one who professes not to like Frank Sinatra, I assume the machismo swing of “Luck Be a Lady” or “Fly Me to the Moon” does not resonate somehow with such a person, or that the sweaters and bowties remind them of their parents’ or grandparents’ tastes. I usually ask if they have heard the albums: Close to You, In the Wee Small Hours, Where Are You?, Only the Lonely. Invariably, no one who has ever confessed to me that they did not like Frank Sinatra has ever heard a Frank Sinatra album. And despite the infinite brilliant singles that have permeated the fabric of our collective esthetic, Frank Sinatra is absolutely an album artist, and it is in his albums where he is best understood. 

The true essence of Sinatra is not in the irresistible hepcat swing and swagger, the “coo coo witchcraft,” the “groovy wind in her hair,” the “doo-be-doo-be-doo.” All that is wonderful and delicious and the world is a better place for it. But Sinatra’s great achievement is his ability to create sophisticated music, polished and consummate yet resonating with emotion, affecting all who listen, as deeply as they choose, dependent not on demographics or eras or ages.   

Shadows in the Night has nothing to do with Frank Sinatra; yet it has everything to do with Frank Sinatra. It is Bob Dylan in a context in which we have never heard him, yet it is a context in which we feel we’ve always heard him – vulnerable, reflective, yet orchestrating with the cunning of the Magus; a poet with malice aforethought (once you think you’ve finally figured out what Dylan has achieved with this record, flip it over and ponder the back cover). From the opening steel guitar phrase through the concluding, fading final lyric, Frank Sinatra does not enter the listener’s mind once. In fact, it is difficult to note what - if anything - does, for the listener is that entrenched, that entranced, that consumed in the space between the shadows and the very central expression of life.


07/02/2015 23:06. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Bob Dylan Shadows in the Night - By Peter Stone Brown

Shadows of Dylan Standard Time


Last week, an old friend who is a musician emailed me when news broke that Bob Dylan’s new album Shadows In The Night is not original songs, but an album of standards that all happened to be recorded by Frank Sinatra. My friend wanted to know what my take was on Dylan performing material from what some refer to as “The Great American Songbook.”

Those who have closely followed Dylan’s 50 plus year career should not be surprised in the least by this development. Dylan has been toying around with standards since he recorded “Blue Moon” for Self Portrait in 1969. In 1985, at the first Farm Aid concert, Dylan sang “Lucky Old Sun” (which closes this album) and performed it several times the following year and occasionally after that. In 1987, Dylan performed a solo acoustic version of Gershwin’s “Soon” at a tribute concert in Brooklyn. Dylan has occasionally tried his hand at other standards and Sinatra songs in the studio. Some have surfaced on bootlegs, some haven’t. The song “Tomorrow Night” recorded on his album Good As I Been To You and recorded by numerous performers from blues singer Lonnie Johnson to Elvis Presley surely qualifies as a standard, and in 2,000, Dylan rearranged his song “Trying To Get To Heaven” in a jazz flavored manner that was approaching standards territory as did various songs on the albums of original material he’s released in this century. More to the point is the simple fact that during his career Dylan has tried his hand at virtually every type of American music, and this album is part of that musical expedition.

In an interview currently running not in Rolling Stone but in AARP magazine, Dylan says if he had to do it all over again, he would like to be a teacher. Sometimes Dylan can be a knucklehead and especially in this case because he already is one. One couldn’t possibly estimate how many people decided to find out who Woody Guthrie was because of him or the Stanley Brothers when he sang their songs at concert after concert in the ’90s or any of the other musicians he’s covered, referenced in his lyrics or mentioned in interviews.

In choosing to do this material, Dylan followed a route similar to that of Willie Nelson on his Stardust album by using his own band occasionally augmented by a small subtle horn section. The songs were recorded live in the studio apparently in the order they appear on the album. There were no overdubs. The only microphone Dylan wanted to see was the one he was using to sing into. The arrangements are all based on Sinatra recordings, though some are a little shorter or less extravagant. It is the first Dylan album where he doesn’t play an instrument and as such, given that this is an album of standards, there is no piano on the album. The use of percussion is minimal. dylanDeserving of a huge amount of credit is pedal steel guitarist Donnie Herron whose brilliant playing provides much of the ambiance and feel of the album, along with the bowed bass of Tony Garnier. The guitars of Charlie Sexton and Stu Kimball are often in the background, but some forward at just the right time on songs like “Some Enchanted Evening” and “Full Moon And Empty Arms.” Overall this is ensemble playing and not about solos.

Once Dylan starts singing, all talk of tribute albums or standards vanishes in the wind and it becomes a Bob Dylan album, and a fairly dark one at that. There are no fast songs, and all the songs, many of them from Sinatra’s 1957 album, Where Are You are torch songs. Loss, heartbreak and loneliness are the dominant themes.

From the first track, “I’m A Fool To Want You,” it becomes clear that this is some of the most committed singing Dylan has put on a recording in some time. It is Dylan without a mask. His voice is quiet, yet vulnerable and he never tries to phrase like Sinatra, emphasizing the words he cares about. The track is close to chilling in its intensity, leaving the listener no doubt Dylan has lived what he’s singing about. And that feeling extends to every song on the album.

The album gets slightly upbeat with “The Night We Called It A Day,” which is followed by “Stay With Me (Main Theme From The Cardinal)” the surprise highlight of Dylan’s recent US tour.

By recording live without overdubs or earphones for that matter, Dylan is clearly going for emotion over musical perfection and yes there are times when he almost makes the note or his voice cracks, but all of that adds to the feel of the album and works to enhance tracks like “Autumn Leaves.” His rendition is downright spooky, you can practically feel the leaves falling in the early twilight, as the singer gazes out the window from a house where the emptiness rules everything.

Dylan sings “Why Try To Change Me Now” like it was written solely for him, with lines like “I’ve got some habits even I can’t explain” or “Why Can’t I Be More Conventional?” Even though the song is one of inherent sadness, Dylan’s voice suggests a sly smile behind the lyrics and as such it’s a standout.

While “Some Enchanted Evening” is sung by other singers, with a tone of optimism, Dylan sings it as if it’s a dream that couldn’t possibly come true. The way he sings the last line, “Once you have found her, never let her go,” would not have been out of place on Blood On The Tracks.

“Full Moon And Empty Arms” was released on the internet on Dylan’s official site last spring and remains the perfect example of what Dylan is attempting and achieving – a feeling of dreamy mystery that pervades the entire album.

“Where Are You” and “What’ll I Do” though very different in mood and feel both add to the impression that this is also a concept album about a man looking back at his life and wondering how he screwed up so many relationships.

Dylan concludes the album with “Lucky Old Sun,” which will stand with the best vocals he’s ever put on record. I can’t listen to it without playing it again. It’s the track where you suddenly realize who the person is who’s been singing for the past half hour and every incarnation, every voice of a half-century suddenly flashes by. The track is simply magnificent.

While Shadows In The Night will no doubt have its detractors, in terms of feel, cohesiveness and intensity, it’s one of the best albums he’s released this century. Acutely aware that he was one of the contributors to knocking these songs off the charts, there is no doubt that he put a lot of thought into both the presentation and the performance and cares about this music deeply. Dylan has always been about music tradition, even when people thought he was breaking with it. In making this music sound vital, not like a relic, without the slightest hint of camp, he is clearly saying this too is part of the tradition. And while he’s aiming this towards his older fans, he’ll probably end up teaching some kids about Frank Sinatra, popular music and musical arrangements along the way.

Peter Stone Brown is a freelance writer and singer-songwriter.  His site and blog can be found here: http://www.peterstonebrown.com/


05/02/2015 18:51. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Interview: T Bone Burnett, the Coen Brothers’ Music Guru


T Bone Burnett has become American music’s premier Playlist Maker, the man who makes transcendent soundtracks for filmmakers like the Coen Brothers. He talks to Andrew Romano and dives deep into the folk revival scene that produced Bob Dylan. The Showtime special Another Day/Another Time: Celebrating the Music of ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ will air Friday night.

Once upon a time, T Bone Burnett was known solely as a great musician: singer, songwriter, former guitarist in Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue. But in recent years Burnett has become something more. He’s now America’s premier Playlist Maker—our country’s first Curator-in-Chief.

These days, if a movie or television show has a transcendent soundtrack, chances are Burnett had a hand in it. The Hunger Games. Jeff Bridges’ Oscar-winning Crazy Heart. ABC’s Nashville. The Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, with Joaquin Phoenix. And, of course, the immortal films of Joel and Ethan Coen, from The Big Lebowski to O Brother, Where Art Thou?—the latter of which sold eight million copies and won four Grammys, including Album of the Year.

Burnett’s latest Coen Brothers collaboration, Inside Llewyn Davis, features some of his finest work yet. The movie tells the story of a Greenwich Village folksinger struggling to survive the harsh winter of 1961. Off stage, Davis can be a selfish jerk. But when he sings “Hang Me, Oh Hang Me” or “The Death of Queen Jane,” his arrogance suddenly seems justified. Without Burnett’s expert song selection and immaculate arrangements, the illusion would be shattered. The movie simply wouldn’t work.

To find out how Burnett pulled it off, we recently gave him a call. The conversation began with Llewyn Davis but soon veered into headier territory: the secrets of arranging, the silliness of Auto-Tune, the necessity of curators, the end of rock stardom—and what makes a great song great.


To me, Inside Llewyn Davis is a movie about the pain of being a nearly great artist. Llewyn is very good—but he’s not good enough. In real life, that’s a common story, but it’s rarely captured on screen.

It is true. Most of the stories that we like to tell ourselves run toward some sort of happy ending. They trend toward some sort of victory at the end. But the Coens aren’t interested in that kind of story.

At the end of the film, we get a glimpse of Bob Dylan—one of the greatest ever. What separates these two species—the great artist and the nearly great artist—and what do you think the movie is saying about the gap between them?

There are so many things that play into this idea we have of success. I guess Dylan’s greatest success is that he always played the game in his court. Llewyn Davis is trying to play it in his court, but events are rolling over him constantly.

As an artist, you have to have strong boundaries. There’s a great story about Michelangelo. He was painting the Sistine Chapel, and he was angry at one of the bishops or cardinals, so he painted him in with donkey ears. The cardinal went to the Pope and said, “You have to make him take them out!” And the Pope said, “That doesn’t look like you at all.” [Laughs] The Pope didn’t want to go to Michelangelo and say, “Take those donkey ears off that guy.” The Pope was afraid of Michelangelo.

Those are the kind of boundaries that Dylan set for himself. And it’s the rare person who has the courage to do that, or even the idea that it can be done. That’s a significant difference between what Bob Dylan is doing at that moment, in 1961, and what Llewyn Davis is doing at that moment.

You recently said, “The film, truly and seriously, is the story of my life. I’ve lived that arc at least three times.” Sounds like fun.

Yeah, at least three times. Maybe 20 times. And actors can live it 20 times a day: they get excited about a role and get auditioned and get rejected. Just rejection after rejection. That’s, like, “Welcome to the club.”

Were you attracted to the film because it reflected your own experience?

I think every member of the cast has said the same thing, in one way or another. But yes, it has a deep personal resonance for me. And more so because I plied the same trade as Llewyn Davis for a while. I played those dives.

You and the Coen Brothers spent six months creating a history and a post-history for Llewyn Davis. So what happens to him next? Does he wind up producing soundtracks for a pair of darkly comic Jewish-American filmmaker brothers?

[Laughs] Yeah. He can do that. I first said the film was the story of my life lightheartedly, at a screening in Telluride. And I also said, “I’m telling you this because I want you to know that it has a happy ending.”


Exclusive Video: Marcus Mumford performs "I Was Young When I Left Home" in "Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of ’Inside Llewyn Davis’"

Hang Me, Oh Hang Me” is kind of Llewyn’s theme—we hear it at both the beginning and the end of the film. Tell me about the history of the song and why it was chosen for such a prominent role.

The inspiration for the story started with Dave Van Ronk, and I think “Hang Me” was one of his key songs.

But the theme of the song underscores the whole movie—the theme of whatever that is. Is it suicide? Is he just giving up? Is he a guy who’s been caught for killing somebody and now they’re going to hang him? It’s an elusive song. And the story of the movie is elusive, and the reality that Llewyn Davis is seeking is elusive.

He can create it, and he does. The first thing you see, when Llewyn is singing “Hang Me” at the start of the film, is him creating reality for three minutes, so you get to know him before this other thing called reality intrudes.

Llewyn’s rendition of “Hang Me” is very true to Van Ronk’s.

The way Marcus [Mumford, who portrays Llewyn’s dead folksinger partner] played the song, it was more like a folk song. So there were these two versions, and by the time we first see Llewyn Davis, he’s reinventing the song to get it away from the way he did it with Marcus’s character.

I’m interested in why some songs were rearranged and others weren’t. "The Death of Queen Jane" seems very different from the versions I know.

It was Llewyn’s audition moment, so it was the one that we spent the most time on. It was the most complex mood. When the character goes for his audition at the Gate of Horn—you know, “where the truth can enter”—he’s going to go for the most truthful moment he can find, right out of his life, existentially. So finding that, and finding the arrangement that was forward and backward at once, was difficult.

“The Death of Queen Jane” became “Queen Jane Approximately,” and then it became “Sweet Jane.” Jane kept showing up for the next 40 or 50 years through songs. [Laughs] So we added some of those songs in there. Llewyn’s version could have been a predecessor to both of them.

When you say that you added in a little Dylan and Lou Reed, what do you mean?

Some of the approaches that Dylan took to guitar, some of the approaches that Lou Reed took to chord changes … Some of it came out of the way that Dylan played “Girl from the North Country”: the positions he played. Oscar [Isaac] came up with a lot of the arrangement.

But mostly it was just, How do you play a folk song individually? If you listen to a lot of the early blues records, or a lot of the early folk records, they weren’t just people strumming and singing along. Things were carefully arranged. Willie Dixon very carefully arranged all those Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf records. None of them are jam blues. Everybody was playing arrangements.

“Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan was on the radio this morning. An early version of it. And I was surprised the changes were so different than the changes I remembered. It was a beautiful, complex guitar part.

Things can kind of get averaged out over time, but we wanted to add the kind of detail that people would have been adding back in 1961.

It’s such a beautiful arrangement. I really love it.

I do too. Thank you. Oh, and one of the other things we did with “Queen Jane,” just so we could find how we wanted Llewyn’s performance to be arranged, was a 1965 version of it—a folk rock version, with 12-string guitars and all that.


Yeah. It’s beautiful. Personally, I just wanted Bud Grossman [the folk impresario who tells Llewyn he isn’t commercial enough] to know that there is some money there. [Laughs] But I understand why he didn’t see it that way.

I’m dying to hear it.

It’ll come out eventually. Soon, I hope. We’ll be rolling out some new stuff over the next couple of months.

Let’s go back to the beginning. What the first great song or sound that you can remember hearing?

The first song I remember thinking “that is incredible” about was a song called “Begin the Beguine.” You know that song?

Cole Porter.

Yeah. My parents had some beautiful shelves of 78s down in the lower room. I used to go down there and spend a lot of time with them. That’s one from when I was a kid—maybe 4 or 5. I remember putting that on and I left the room I was in completely. I was transported into this place where the Beguine was happening, whatever that was.

Oscar Isaac as tortured singer/songwriter Llewyn Davis. (Inside Llewyn Davis/Facebook)

I still don’t know what it is.

[Laughs] Nope. Don’t know and don’t care. And I’m sure the song wouldn’t have anything like that effect on me now. I haven’t heard it for 50 years. But at the time it was heady. That’s when I started realizing you can create place with music. Music is a place. Music is atmosphere and environment. That’s something that’s been very important to me. Everything I do I try to do with a sense of place.

A lot of people pick up a guitar or play some piano, but they don’t have that sixth sense for what actually makes music work, beyond the notes on the page. Nor do they have much interest in it. Was there a time when you realized that you were different? So much of your career comes back to that sense of place and atmosphere, whether it’s in your own music or in the production and curation work that you’ve done.

It’s always been this way for me. I don’t know anything else. And I don’t know that everybody else doesn’t have it, either. Maybe people just get too busy.  [Laughs] Maybe I just have a lot of idle time.

But there is some kind of feel or something. Because I’ve seen it over and over: one person can sit down at a piano and play three notes and it just sounds like somebody playing three notes. But somebody else can sit down and it sounds like a song. Same piano, same three notes. Why is that? I don’t know.

I don’t believe in technology.

Unlike a lot of young musicians, you never wanted to be the shredding lead guitarist type. You didn’t go for technical expertise. You seemed to care about what you could make out of sound as opposed to how much sound you could make or how fast or expertly you could make it.

I always went for the groove. I love two things: the sense of place and the groove. And I love a real tribal, communal style of making music, too.

People compose in tone now. There was a sense in classical music in the 1930s that everything had been done. Then Stockhausen and these composers started going off in different directors. John Cage started composing not in melody and pitch anymore, really, but in tone. So you started getting all those beautiful tone compositions: Bartok and Debussy…

The same thing happened in folk music, which turned in rock ‘n’ roll, which then turned into rock, which then just sat there like a rock for awhile. [Laughs]

But you can play rock ‘n’ roll on anything. You can play it on a lot of drums. Because it’s just a feeling. To me, it’s a description of transcending, of getting beyond, of getting out of the schedule into some timeless place. 

I know it’s an impossible question, but I’m going to ask it anyway, because you’ve helped create a lot of them and I’m interested to hear how you’ll answer: What makes a great song great?

That is an impossible question. But certainly it is something that everybody knows about. A great song, every single person knows—somewhere deep down. A song like “You Are My Sunshine”… every word of that title. “You” is the other. “Are” is existence. “My” is personhood. And “Sunshine” is light. You can’t deal with any bigger subject than that. There are these huge, huge subjects that you’re dealing with in a way that everybody can talk about. That makes a great song.

So it’s not just as simple as a great melody.

I think melody exists in speech. Melody exists in life. There’s a drone that’s going on around us all the time, and we’re all speaking and blending with it. But I think the reason that melody doesn’t get old is that tone is the essential reality of melody. Pitch is a way to refer to a melody, but the tone is what really forms the note. In their tones, people have hundreds of different pitches at all times.

It’s more primal than a sequence of notes.

That’s right. It’s this other thing. Compare the Auto-Tune way of singing today with the way Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops sang. He’s not even trying to sing in tune. Or Otis Redding. It’s irrelevant. They’re just trying to sing the song. And yeah, their pitch is great. I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that’s not what they’re doing. They’re telling a story.

It’s such a strange aesthetic: to desire absolute perfection of pitch and create a technology to achieve it. Why do we even think that’s necessary? It’s not like we were all wishing that people were singing more on key in, say, 1975.

Exactly. That’s part of what happened once we went through the digital looking glass. [Laughs]

I was thinking this morning: one of the dumb things the hippies did was that we ended up mechanizing celebrity. This whole idea that everybody is a star. So now we have Facebook. It’s sad.

I’ve heard you refer to the last century as “the century of the self,” but it seems like there’s a lot of “self” in this century, too.

I think the century of the self has provided us with this: the mechanization of celebrity, the artist as a public collage. There’s no authorship. Everything is written by everybody.

This sounds grandiose, but you’ve come to play a role in American culture. How do you define that role?

I see my role as a curator. I’ve always seen it as that.

When you say curator, what do you mean?

There’s an impulse in life to say, “I went to this place at this time and I saw this and it was really good.” And if you do that honestly and well, then you’ll gain people’s trust, I think.

In this undifferentiated YouTube universe where millions of videos are being posted a day, it’s impossible for anybody to curate all of that, so there’s this notion of the hive mind—that the world will be curated through what’s trending, and that the internet will mediate society.

But you see, I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe in technology. I would like it to be true, but I’ve been watching it and technology is very often destructive. I’m in favor of good technology that helps people, but I don’t believe in technology as a deity or a savior.


Go inside the music industry to see the facts and figures behind ’Inside Llewyn Davis.’

Don’t you think that an individual like you—a great curator—has an even more important role to play in our “undifferentiated YouTube universe” than he did before? The most popular thing isn’t always the best thing.

I seek that out. I don’t look at what’s trending. I never have. I believe in the individual. I still am in the stream of thought that started in this country with Emerson and Thoreau and Whitman. I trust people. I don’t trust the machines.

I was just reading about your new Basement Tapes project with Bob Dylan. Basically, Dylan’s publishing company recently discovered lyrics that Dylan wrote in 1967 for the Basement Tapes sessions, and now you’re going assemble a group of contemporary artists at Capitol Studios to complete the songs. How did the project begin? Did Dylan call you up and say "Here are some old lyrics, do what you want with them"?

Yeah. Jeff Rosen [Dylan’s manager] did. He found some old lyrics, showed them to Bob, they talked about what to do with them, and they decided to just give them to me. [Laughs] To play with. And I thought, “What fun!”

So how are you playing with them?

I don’t think I should announce anything yet because we have to do all this stuff in order, and I haven’t been given my orders yet. [Laughs] But when it’s time, let’s talk about it.

Could a kid starting out today do what you have done? Could he or she build a career like yours?

I don’t look at what I’ve done as a career, because I’ve always taken care of the thing right under my nose. I’m not climbing a ladder. I’m just surviving. [Laughs] But I think a kid starting out today, a musician, has to look at every form of media. That’s what I did. From my earliest days of getting involved in music, I was also involved in film and art and other things. We were putting image and music together back then, and people are certainly going to have to do that. Transmedia, multiplatform—that’s the future of storytelling. Because technology is shifting so fast.

It still seems like a bleak time for someone who wants to write and sing songs for a living. Sort of like the winter of 1961 for Llewyn Davis.

It certainly is. It’s going back to a much more non-professional time. But I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing. Musicians brought a lot of scorn down on themselves with ridiculous behavior. Rock stardom and all of that. And now a lot of tech people mock rock stars by posing in the surf with models and their yacht in the background—“we’re the new rock stars.”

Rock star is an odious distinction for a musician in the first place. I’m sorry that ever happened. That excess and all that. I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time.

So at least there’s a upside to the implosion of the music industry: the end of ridiculous rock stars.

I will say this. I think music is in very good hands. The young musicians are incredible. And I believe art is always subversive, so the musicians will find their way.

15/12/2013 23:49. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Final paragraph of Dylan's eulogy for Johnny Cash.

"Truly he is what the land and country is all about, the heart and soul of it personified and what it means to be here; and he said it all in plain English. I think we can have recollections of him, but we can’t define him any more than we can define a fountain of truth, light and beauty. If we want to know what it means to be mortal, we need look no further than the Man in Black. Blessed with a profound imagination, he used the gift to express all the various lost causes of the human soul. This is a miraculous and humbling thing. Listen to him, and he always brings you to your senses. He rises high above all, and he’ll never die or be forgotten, even by persons not born yet -- especially those persons -- and that is forever."

Final paragraph of Dylan’s eulogy for Johnny Cash.


Johnny Cash tribute, 1999

Bob Dylan's Statement on Johnny Cash (2003)

I was asked to give a statement on Johnny's passing and thought about writing a piece instead called "Cash Is King," because that is the way I really feel. In plain terms, Johnny was and is the North Star; you could guide your ship by him -- the greatest of the greats then and now. I first met him in '62 or '63 and saw him a lot in those years. Not so much recently, but in some kind of way he was with me more than people I see every day.

There wasn't much music media in the early Sixties, and Sing Out! was the magazine covering all things folk in character. The editors had published a letter chastising me for the direction my music was going. Johnny wrote the magazine back an open letter telling the editors to shut up and let me sing, that I knew what I was doing. This was before I had ever met him, and the letter meant the world to me. I've kept the magazine to this day.

Of course, I knew of him before he ever heard of me. In '55 or '56, "I Walk the Line" played all summer on the radio, and it was different than anything else you had ever heard. The record sounded like a voice from the middle of the earth. It was so powerful and moving. It was profound, and so was the tone of it, every line; deep and rich, awesome and mysterious all at once. "I Walk the Line" had a monumental presence and a certain type of majesty that was humbling. Even a simple line like "I find it very, very easy to be true" can take your measure. We can remember that and see how far we fall short of it.

Johnny wrote thousands of lines like that. Truly he is what the land and country is all about, the heart and soul of it personified and what it means to be here; and he said it all in plain English. I think we can have recollections of him, but we can't define him any more than we can define a fountain of truth, light and beauty. If we want to know what it means to be mortal, we need look no further than the Man in Black. Blessed with a profound imagination, he used the gift to express all the various lost causes of the human soul. This is a miraculous and humbling thing. Listen to him, and he always brings you to your senses. He rises high above all, and he'll never die or be forgotten, even by persons not born yet -- especially those persons -- and that is forever.

To be continued . . .

24/09/2013 20:38. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.



Early-January of 1964, at which point his third studio album was soon-to-be released, 22-year-old Bob Dylan wrote the following letter to Sis Cunningham and Gordon Friesen — both founding editors of Broadside, a highly influential underground magazine of the period — and spoke of, amongst other things, his recent rise to fame, the money and guilt that came with it, and his love for Suze Rotolo. The letter was published in the magazine’s next issue.



for sis and gordon an all broads of good sizes

let me begin by not beginnin
let me start not by startin but by continuin
it sometimes gets so hard for me --
I am now famous
I am now famous by the rules of public famiousity
it snuck up on me
an pulverized me...
I never knew what was happenin
it is hard for me t walk down the same streets
I did before the same way because now
I truly dont know
who is waitin for my autograph...
I dont know if I like givin my autograph
oh yes sometimes I do...
but other times the back of my mind tells me
it is not honest... for I am just fulfillin
a myth t somebody who’d actually treasure my
handwritin more’n his own handwritin...
this gets very complicated for me
an proves t me that I am livin in a contradiction...
t quote mr froyd
I get quite paranoyd
an I know this isn’t right
it is not a useful healthy attitude for one t have
but I truly believe that everybody has their fears
everybody yes everybody...
I do not think it good anymore t overlook them
I think they ought t be admitted...
an I think that all fellings should be admitted...
people ask why do I write the way I do
how foolish
how monsterish
a question like that hits me...
it makes me think that I’m doin nothin
it makes me think that I’m not being heard
yes above all the mumble jumble an rave praises
an all the records I’ve sold... thru all the packed
houses I play... thru all the communication systems
an rants an bellows an yellin an clappin comes
a statement like "why do you do what you do"
what is this?
some kind of constipated idiot world?
some kind of horseshoe game we’re all playin
responding only when a ringer clangs
no no no
not my world
everybody plays in my world
aint nobody first second third or fourth
everybody shoots at the same time
an ringers dont count
an everybody wins
an nobody loses
cause everybody lives an breathes
an takes up space
an cant be overlooked
an I am a people too
I cannot pretend I’m not
an I feel guilty
god how can I help not feel guilty
I walk down on the bowery and give money away
an still I feel guilty for I know I do not
have enuff money t give away...
an people say "think a yourself, dylan, you’re
gonna need it someday" and I say yeah yeah
an I think maybe about it for a split second
but then the floods of vomit guilt swoop my
drunken head an I spread forth more gut torn
bloody money from the depths of my forsaken
pockets... an I whisper "ah it’s so useless"
man so many people need so many things
an what am I anyway? some kind a messiah walkin
hell no I’m not
an I ask why dont other people with things give
some of it away
an I know the answer without lookin
security security security...
everybody wants security
they want t be secure
they want t be protected
an I say protected?
protected aginst what?
protected against starvin I guess
an power too
an protected against the forces that they know will
get them if they lose their money.
an why does it have t be like that?
man why are these walls built?
who is this god that is so feared?
certainly not in my life this isnt
yes I have my fears but mine are the fears of
the mind. the fears of the head
a lonely person with money is still a lonely person
I have never had much money before
an so it is easy for me I guess t spend it
an overlook it
but I’m sure that many other people could overlook
some of theirs too
I’m not speakin now of the century ridin millionares
but rather of "get theirs and get out" people
I dont understand them
I dont understand them at all
there’s many things I admit I dont understand
I dont understand the blacklist
I dont understand how people aginst it go along
with it
I’m talkin about the full thing
not just a few of us refusin t be on the show
I’m talkin about the poeple that stand up
against it violently an then in some way have something t do with it...
not just the singers mind you
but the managers an agents an buyers an sellers...
they are the dishonest ones
for they are never seen
they play both sides against each other
an expect t be repected by everybody

the heroes of this battle are not me an Joan
an the Kingston Trio nor Peter Paul an Mary
for none of us need t go on that show
none of us really need that kind of dumbness
but there’s some that could use it
for they could use the money
I mean people like Tom Paxton, Barbara Dane,
an Johnny Herald... they are the heroes if
such a word has t be used here
they are the ones that lose materialistically
ah yes but in their own minds they dont
an that is much more important
it means much more
we need more kind a people like that
poeple that cant go against their conscience
no matter what they might gain
an I’ve come to think that that might be the most
important thing in the whole wide world...
not going against your conscience
nor your own natural senses
for I think that that is all the truth there
is... an no more
thru all the gossip, lies, religions, cults
myths, gods, history books, social books,
all books, politics, decrees, rules, laws,
boundarie lines, bibles, legends, an bathroom
writings, there is no guidance at all except
from ones own natural senses
from being born
an it can only be exchanged
it cant be preached
nor sold
nor even understood...

my mind sometimes runs like a roll of toilet paper
an I hate like hell t see it unravel an unwind
at my empty walls
I’m movin out a here soon
yes the landlord has beaten me it hurts t tell you.
this place I am typin in is so filthy
my clothes cover the floor an once in a while
I pick up somethin an use it for a blanket...
the damn heat goes off at ten
an dont come on til ten...
that’s mornin wise
gushes of warm smelly heat always wake me up
when I sleep here
the plaster falls constantly
an the floor is tiltin an rottin
but somehow there is a beauty to it
columbia records gave me a record player
of the goodness of some keeps on amazin me
an sometimes I play it.
gettin back t the landlord tho
he is really too much
he owns I guess three buildings
I pay him way too high
an I’m gettin screwed an I know it
an he knows it
but I just dont have the time t go down t the
rent control board. I been told they’d get after
him but I’m so lazy. when sue was here he was
gonna jack up the price cause he said I never told
him I had a wife. you really got t see this place
t believe it. I ought a’ve jacked him up a long
time ago an used him for heat. last year he put
in a new window (there was a god damn hole in the
other one) man it was like I asked ’m for his blood relation
or something. (which he’d probably give away)
anyway the record player’s on now
an I’m listenin t Pete sing Guantanamera for
the billionth time. I dont have many folk music
records (I dont have many records really) but
I do have that one of Pete’s.
god it’s like I go in a trance
he is so human I could cry
he tells me so much
he makes me feel so good
it’s as tho of all the things that’re sold t make
one feel better, aint none of it worth while.
all the cars, an clothes, an trinkets an foods,
an jewels an diamonds an lollypops an gifts of
glad tidings, just dont do nothin for the soul.
I believe I’d rather listen t Pete sing Guantanamera than t
own everything there is t own...
(that’s my own private selfishness shinin thru there)
yes for me he is truly a saint
an I love him
perhaps more than I could show
(as always is the case ha)

I think of love in weird terms.
sometimes I even feel guilty about it
because I know I love sue
but I should love everybody like I love sue
an in all honesty I dont
I just love her that way
an I say what way?
an a voice says "that way"
an I get quite up tite
an I know I have a long way t go
when the day comes when I can love everything
that breathes the way I love sue then
I will truly be a Jesus Christ ha ha
(but I dont wanna be a Jesus Christ ha ha)
an so I am again contradictin myself
away away be gone all you demons
an just let me be me
human me
ruthless me
wild me
gentle me
all kinds of me

saw the last issue of broadside
an especially flipped out over
"talkin Merry Christmas"
I have never met Paul Wolfe but I’d like to
he has an uncanny sense of touch
as for Phil, I just cant keep up with him
an he’s gettin better an better an better
(spoke with someone who was with him in Hazzard
named Hamish Sinclair.. an englishman
of high virtues an common tongue)
I want t get over an see Phil’s baby
I’m told the girl came out yellin about
the bomb. good girl

my novel is going noplace
absolutely noplace
like it dont even tell a story
it’s about a million scenes long
an takes place on a billion scraps
of paper... certainly I cant make nothin out of
(oh I forgot.
hallelullah t you for puttin Brecht in your
same last issue. he should be as widely known as
Woody an should be as widely read as Mickey Spalline
an as widely listened to as Eisenhower.)

anyway I’m writin a play out of this here so called
novel (navel would be better I guess)
an I’m up to my belly button in it.
quite involved yes
I’ve discovered what the power of playwriting means
as opposed t song writing means
altho both are equal, I’m wrapped in playwriting
for the minute, my songs tell only about me an how
I feel but in the play all the characters tell how
they feel. I realize that his might be more confusin
for some but in the total reality of things it might
be much better for some too. I think at best you could
say that the characters will tell in an hour
what would take me, alone, two weeks t sing about

I shall get up t see you one of these days
just cause I haven’t in a while please dont think
I’m not with you. I am with you more’n ever.
yours perhaps is the only paper that I am on the
side of every single song you print
an I am with with with you

my nite is closin again now
an I shall drift off in dreams
an climb velvet carpets up t the stars
with newsweek magazines burnin an disappointin
people smoulderin and disgustin tongues blazin
an jealous mongrel dogs walkin on hot coals
before my smilin unharmful eyes
(oh such nitemares)

an I shall wake in the mornin an try t start
lovin again

I got a letter from Pete an he closed by sayin
"take it easy but take it" I thought about that
for an hour or more when I reached my conclusion
of what it really meant I either cried or laughed
(I cant remember which) I will repeat the same an
add "give it easy but give it" an I’ll think about
that for an hour an at the end either cry or laugh
(I’ll write you another letter an tell you which
one it is)

all right then
shaloom an vamoose
I’m off agian
off t the hazzards an lost angels an minneapoilcemen
an boss towns an burnin hams an everything else
combined an combustioned for me...
tryin t remain sane at all times

love t agnes
she is one of the true talents of the universe
I’ve always thought that an would like t see her
again some time

love t everybody in your house

see yuh

softly an sleepy
but ready an waitin

Bob Dylan 

05/08/2013 01:03. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Bob Dylan on Eric Von Schmidt


"Of course we had heard about Eric Von Schmidt for many years. The name itself had become a password. Eventually, after standing in line to meet him, there it was -- his doorstep, a rainy day, and he greeted his visitors, inviting them in. He was told how much they liked Grizzly Bear and he then invited the whole bunch to the club, where he was about to perform the thing live. "C'mon down to the club" he said -- "I'm about to perform it live."
We accepted the invitation. And that is what his record is. An invitation. An invitation to the glad, mad, sad, biting, exciting, frightening, crabby, happy, enlightening, hugging, chugging world of Eric Von Schmidt. For here is a man who can sing the bird off the wire and the rubber off the tire. He can separate the men from the boys and the note from the noises. The bridle from the saddle and the cow from the cattle. He can play the tune of the moon. The why of the sky and the commotion from the ocean. Yes he can."

18/06/2013 00:29. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.



 “I’m trying to explain something that can’t be explained,” says Bob Dylan. “Help me out.” It’s a midsummer day, an hour or so before evening, and we are seated at a table on a shaded patio, at the rear of a Santa Monica restaurant. Dylan is dressed warmer than the Southern California weather invited, in a buttoned black leather jacket over a thick white T-shirt. He also wears a ski cap — black around its lower half, white at its dome — pulled down over his ears and low on his forehead. A fringe of moptop-style reddish-blond hair, clearly a wig, curls slightly out from the front of the cap, above his eyebrows. He has a glass of cold water in front of him. ✽ In the 15 years since his 1997 album, Time Out of Mind, Dylan — who is now 71 — has enjoyed the most sustained period of creativity of his lifetime. His new album, Tempest, tells tales of mortal ends, moral faithlessness and hard-earned (if arbitrary) grace, culminating in a swirling, 14-minute epic about the Titanic, which mixes fact and fantasy, followed by a loving, mystical song about his late friend and peer John Lennon. It’s unlikely, though, that Dylan will ever eclipse the renown of his explosion of music and style in the 1960s, which transformed him into a definitive mythic force of those times. But Dylan wasn’t always comfortable with the effects of that reputation. In 1966, following a series of mind-blazing and controversial electric performances, the young hero removed himself from his own moment after he was laid low by a motorcycle accident, in Woodstock. The music that he returned with, in the late 1960s — John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline — sounded as if Dylan had become a different man. In truth, he now says, that’s what he was — or rather, what he was becoming. What Bob Dylan believes really happened to him after he survived his radical pinnacle is much more transformational than he has fully revealed before. This was an incident he’d alluded to briefly in his 2004 autobiography, Chronicles: Volume One, but in this interview the matter took on deeper implications.

At moments, I pushed in on some questions, and Dylan pushed back. We continued the conversation over the next many days, on the phone and by way of some written responses. Dylan didn’t hedge or attempt to guard himself as we went along. Just the opposite: He opened up unflinchingly, with no apologies. This is Bob Dylan as you’ve never known him before.

Do you see Tempest as an eventful album, like Time Out of Mind or Love and Theft?

Tempest was like all the rest of them: The songs just fall together. It’s not the album I wanted to make, though. I had another one in mind. I wanted to make something more religious. That takes a lot more concentration — to pull that off 10 times with the same thread — than it does with a record like I ended up with, where anything goes and you just gotta believe it will make sense.

Nonetheless, this seems among your bigger works, like Time Out of Mind, though more outward, less inward.

Well . . . the Time Out of Mind record, that was the beginning of me making records for an audience that I was playing to night after night. They were different people from different walks of life, different environments and ages. There was no reason for these new people to hear songs I’d written 30 years earlier for different purposes. If I was going to continue on, what I needed were new songs, and I had to write them, not necessarily to make records, but to play for the public.

The songs on Time Out of Mind weren’t meant for somebody to listen to at home. Most of the songs work, whereas before, there might have been better records, but the songs don’t work. So I’ll stick with what I was doing after Time Out of Mind, rather than what I was doing in the Seventies and Eighties, where the songs just don’t work.

That album was plainly received as a turning point. It began a sustained winning streak. Everything since then is a body of work that can stand on its own.

I hope it can. It should connect with people. The thing about it is that there is the old and the new, and you have to connect with them both. The old goes out and the new comes in, but there is no sharp borderline. The old is still happening while the new enters the scene, sometimes unnoticed. The new is overlapping at the same time the old is weakening its hold. It goes on and on like that. Forever through the centuries. Sooner or later, before you know it, everything is new, and what happened to the old? It’s like a magician trick, but you have to keep connecting with it.

It’s just like when talking about the Sixties. If you were here around that time, you would know that the early Sixties, up to maybe ’64, ’65, was really the Fifties, the late Fifties. They were still the Fifties, still the same culture, in America anyway. And it was still going strong but fading away. By ’66, the new Sixties probably started coming in somewhere along that time and had taken over by the end of the decade. Then, by the time of Woodstock, there was no more Fifties. I really wasn’t so much a part of what they call “the Sixties.” 




Even though you’re so identified with it?

Evidently I was, and maybe even still am. I was there during that time, but I really couldn’t identify with what was happening. It didn’t mean that much to me. I had my own family by then. You know, for instance, [Timothy] Leary and others like him, they wouldn’t have lasted a second in earlier days. Of course, the Vietnam War didn’t help any.

Do you ever worry that people interpreted your work in misguided ways? For example, some people still see “Rainy Day Women” as coded about getting high.

It doesn’t surprise me that some people would see it that way. But these are people that aren’t familiar with the Book of Acts.

Sometimes you seem to have a distaste for the 1960s.

The Fifties were a simpler time, at least for me and the situation I was in. I didn’t really experience what a lot of the other people my age experienced, from the more mainstream towns and cities. Where I grew up was as far from the cultural center as you could get. It was way out of the beaten path. You had the whole town to roam around in, though, and there didn’t seem to be any sadness or fear or insecurity. It was just woods and sky and rivers and streams, winter and summer, spring, autumn. The changing of the seasons. The culture was mainly circuses and carnivals, preachers and barnstorming pilots, hillbilly shows and comedians, big bands and whatnot. Powerful radio shows and powerful radio music. This was before supermarkets and malls and multiplexes and Home Depot and all the rest. You know, it was a lot simpler. And when you grow up that way, it stays in you. Then I left, which was, I guess, toward the end of the Fifties, but I saw and felt a lot of things in the Fifties, which generates me to this day. It’s sort of who I am.

I guess the Fifties would have ended in about ’65. I don’t really have a warm feeling for that period of time. Why would I? Those days were cruel.

Why is that? Was it just too much upheaval, being at the white-hot center of it?

Yeah, that and a whole lot of other stuff. Things were beginning to get corporatized. That wouldn’t have mattered to me, but it was happening to the music, too. And I truly loved the music. I saw the death of what I love and a certain way of life that I’d come to take for granted.

Yet people thought your music spoke to and reflected the 1960s. Do you feel that’s also the case with your music since 1997?

Sure, my music is always speaking to times that are recent. But let’s not forget human nature isn’t bound to any specific time in history. And it always starts with that. My songs are personal music; they’re not communal. I wouldn’t want people singing along with me. It would sound funny. I’m not playing campfire meetings. I don’t remember anyone singing along with Elvis, or Carl Perkins, or Little Richard. The thing you have to do is make people feel their own emotions. A performer, if he’s doing what he’s supposed to do, doesn’t feel any emotion at all. It’s a certain kind of alchemy that a performer has.

Don’t you think you’re a particularly American voice – for how your songs reference our history, or have commented on it?

They’re historical. But they’re also biographical and geographical. They represent a particular state of mind. A particular territory. What others think about me, or feel about me, that’s so irrelevant. Any more than it is for me, when I go see a movie, say, Wuthering Heights or something, and have to wonder what’s Laurence Olivier really like. When I see an actor on the stage or something, I don’t think about what they’re like. I’m there because I want to forget about myself, forget about what I care or do not care about. Entertaining is a type of sport.

[Dylan suddenly seems excited.]

Let me show you something. I want to show you something. You might be interested in this. You might take this someplace. You might want to rephrase your questions, or think of new ones [laughs]. Let me show you this. [Gets up and walks to another table.]

You want me to come with you?

No, no, no, I got it right here. I thought this might interest you. [Brings a weathered paperback to the table.] See this book? Ever heard of this guy? [Shows me “Hell’s Angel: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club,by Sonny Barger.]

Yeah, sure.

He’s a Hells Angel.

He was “the” Hells Angel.

Look who wrote this book. [Points at coauthors’ names, Keith Zimmerman and Kent Zimmerman.] Do those names ring a bell? Do they look familiar? Do they? You wonder, “What’s that got to do with me?” But they do look familiar, don’t they? And there’s two of them there. Aren’t there two? One’s not enough? Right? [Dylan’s now seated, smiling.] I’m going to refer to this place here. [Opens the book to a dog-eared page.] Read it out loud here. Just read it out loud into your tape recorder.


 “One of the early presidents of the Berdoo Hells Angels was Bobby Zimmerman. On our way home from the 1964 Bass Lake Run, Bobby was riding in his customary spot — front left — when his muffler fell off his bike. Thinking he could go back and retrieve it, Bobby whipped a quick U-turn from the front of the pack. At that same moment, a Richmond Hells Angel named Jack Egan was hauling ass from the back of the pack toward the front. Egan was on the wrong side of the road, passing a long line of speeding bikes, just as Bobby whipped his U-turn. Jack broadsided poor Bobby and instantly killed him. We dragged Bobby’s lifeless body to the side of the road. There was nothing we could do but to send somebody on to town for help.” Poor Bobby.

 Yeah, poor Bobby. You know what this is called? It’s called transfiguration. Have you ever heard of it?


Well, you’re looking at somebody.

That . . . has been transfigured?

Yeah, absolutely. I’m not like you, am I? I’m not like him, either. I’m not like too many others. I’m only like another person who’s been transfigured. How many people like that or like me do you know?

By transfiguration, you mean it in the sense of being transformed? Or do you mean transmigration, when a soul passes into a different body?

Transmigration is not what we are talking about. This is something else. I had a motorcycle accident in 1966. I already explained to you about new and old. Right? Now, you can put this together any way you want. You can work on it any way you want. Transfiguration: You can go and learn about it from the Catholic Church, you can learn about it in some old mystical books, but it’s a real concept. It’s happened throughout the ages. Nobody knows who it’s happened to, or why. But you get real proof of it here and there. It’s not like something you can dream up and think. It’s not like conjuring up a reality or like reincarnation — or like when you might think you’re somebody from the past but have no proof. It’s not anything to do with the past or the future. So when you ask some of your questions, you’re asking them to a person who’s long dead. You’re asking them to a person that doesn’t exist. But people make that mistake about me all the time. I’ve lived through a lot. Have you ever heard of a book called No Man Knows My History? It’s about Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet. The title could refer to me. Transfiguration is what allows you to crawl out from under the chaos and fly above it. That’s how I can still do what I do and write the songs I sing and just keep on moving.

When you say I’m talking to a person that’s dead, do you mean the motorcyclist Bobby Zimmerman, or do you mean Bob Dylan?

Bob Dylan’s here! You’re talking to him.

Then your transfiguration is . . .

It is whatever it is. I couldn’t go back and find Bobby in a million years. Neither could you or anybody else on the face of the Earth. He’s gone. If I could, I would go back. I’d like to go back. At this point in time, I would love to go back and find him, put out my hand. And tell him he’s got a friend. But I can’t. He’s gone. He doesn’t exist.

 OK, so when you speak of transfiguration . . .

I only know what I told you. You’ll have to go and do the work yourself to find out what it’s about.

I’m trying to determine whom you’ve been transfigured from, or as.

I just showed you. Go read the book.

That’s who you have in mind? What could the connection to that Bobby Zimmerman be other than the name?

I don’t have it in mind. I didn’t write that book. I didn’t make it up. I didn’t dream that. I’m not telling you I had a dream last night. Remember the song “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream”? I didn’t write that, either. I’m showing you a book that’s been written and published. I mean, look at all the connecting things: motorcycles, Bobby Zimmerman, Keith and Kent Zimmerman, 1964, 1966. And there’s more to it than even that. If you went to find this guy’s family, you’d find a whole bunch more that connected. I’m just explaining it to you. Go to the grave site.

When did you come across this book?

Uh, you know. . . . When did I come across that book? Somebody put it in my hand years ago. I’d met Sonny Barger in the Sixties, but didn’t know him very well. He was friends with Jerry Garcia. Maybe I saw it on a bookshelf out there and the bookseller slipped it into my hand. But I began to read it, and I thought I was reading about Sonny, but then I got to that part and realized it wasn’t about him at all. I didn’t even really check the authors’ names until later and that blew my mind, too.

About a year later, I went to a library in Rome and I found a book about transfiguration, because it’s nothing you really hear about every day, and it’s in that mystical realm, and I found out only enough to know that, uh, OK, I’m not an authority on it, but it kind of sets you straight on what sets you apart.

I’d always been different than other people, but this book told me why. Like certain people are set apart. You know, it’s just like the phrase, “peers” – I mean, I see this, “Well, your peers this, your peers that.” And I’ve always wondered, who are my peers? When I received the Medal of Freedom I started thinking more about it. Like, who are they? But then it became clear. My peers are Aretha Franklin, Duke Ellington, B.B. King, John Glenn, Madeleine Albright, Pat Summitt, Toni Morrison, Jasper Johns, Martha Graham, Sidney Poitier. People like that, and they are set apart, too. And I’m proud to be counted among them.

You don’t write the kind of songs I write just being a conventional type of songwriter. And I don’t think anybody will write them like this again, any more than anybody will ever write a Hank Williams or Irving Berlin song. That’s pretty much for sure. I just think I’ve taken things to a new level because I’ve had to. Because I’ve been forced to. You have to constantly reshape things because everything keeps expanding on you. Life has a way of spreading out.

Why do you have that need to constantly reshape things?

Because that’s the nature of existence. Nothing stays where it is for very long. Trees grow tall, leaves fall, rivers dry up and flowers die. New people are born every day. Life doesn’t stop.

Is that part of what touring is about for you?

Touring is about anything you want it to be about. Is there something strange about touring? About playing live shows? If there is, tell me what it is. Willie [Nelson]’s been playing them for years, and nobody ever asks him why he still tours. Look, you travel to different places and you encounter things that you might not encounter every day if you stayed home. And you get to play music for the people – all of the people, every nationality and in every country. Ask any performer or entertainer that does this, they’ll all tell you the same thing. That they like doing it and that it means a lot to people. It’s just like any other line of work, only different.

Yet for a long time, from 1966 to 1974, you left touring behind. Did you always expect to return to live performance, as part of doing what it is that you do?

I know I left it behind, but then I picked it up again. Things change. Also, there are performers that don’t go on the road. They might go to Vegas and just stay there. You could do it that way — who knows, I may do that too, someday. There are a lot of worse ways to end up. It’s always been this way for everybody who’s ever done it, going back to those ancient days. The carnival came to town, the carnival left and you ran off with them. It’s just what you did. You don’t travel to the end of the line until someone gives you a gold watch and a pat on the back. That’s not the way the game works. People really don’t retire. They fade away. They run out of steam. People aren’t interested in them anymore.

What do you think of Bruce Springsteen? U2?

I love Bruce like a brother. He’s a powerful performer — unlike anybody. I care about him deeply. U2’s a force to be reckoned with. Bono’s energy has far-reaching effects, and in some ways, he’s his own tempest.

Miles Davis had this idea that music was best heard in the moments in which it was performed — that that’s where music is truly alive. Is your view similar?

Yeah, it’s exactly the same as Miles’ is. We used to talk about that. Songs don’t come alive in a recording studio. You try your best, but there’s always something missing. What’s missing is a live audience. Sinatra used to make records like that — used to bring people into the studio as an audience. It helped him get into the songs better.

 So live performance is a purpose you find fulfilling?

If you’re not fulfilled in other ways, performing can never make you happy. Performing is something you have to learn how to do. You do it, you get better at it and you keep going. And if you don’t get better at it, you have to give it up. Is it a fulfilling way of life? Well, what kind of way of life is fulfilling? No kind of life is fulfilling if your soul hasn’t been redeemed.

You’ve described what you do not as a career but as a calling.

Everybody has a calling, don’t they? Some have a high calling, some have a low calling. Everybody is called but few are chosen. There’s a lot of distraction for people, so you might not never find the real you. A lot of people don’t.

 How would you describe your calling?

Mine? Not any different than anybody else’s. Some people are called to be a good sailor. Some people have a calling to be a good tiller of the land. Some people are called to be a good friend. You have to be the best at whatever you are called at. Whatever you do. You ought to be the best at it — highly skilled. It’s about confi dence, not arrogance. You have to know that you’re the best whether anybody else tells you that or not. And that you’ll be around, in one way or another, longer than anybody else. Somewhere inside of you, you have to believe that.

Some of us have seen your calling as somebody who has done his best to pay witness to the world, and the history that made that world.

History’s a funny thing, isn’t it? History can be changed. The past can be changed and distorted and used for propaganda purposes. Things we’ve been told happened might not have happened at all. And things that we were told that didn’t happen actually might have happened. Newspapers do it all the time; history books do it all the time. Everybody changes the past in their own way. It’s habitual, you know? We always see things the way they really weren’t, or we see them the way we want to see them. We can’t change the present or the future. We can only change the past, and we do it all the time.

There’s that old wisdom “History is written by the victors.”

Absolutely. And then there’s Henry Ford. He didn’t have much use for history at all.

But you have a use for it. In Chronicles, you wrote about your interest in Civil War history. You said that the spirit of division in that time made a template for what you’ve written about in your music. You wrote about reading the accounts from that time Reading, say, Grant’s remembrances is different than reading Shelby Foote’s History of the Civil War.

The reports are hardly the same. Shelby Foote is looking down from a high mountain, and Grant is actually down there in it. Shelby Foote wasn’t there. Neither were any of those guys who fight Civil War re-enactments. Grant was there, but he was off leading his army. He only wrote about it all once it was over. If you want to know what it was about, read the daily newspapers from that time from both the North and South. You’ll see things that you won’t believe. There is just too much to go into here, but it’s nothing like what you read in the history books. It’s way more deadly and hateful. There doesn’t seem to be anything heroic or honorable about it at all. It was suicidal. Four years of looting and plunder and murder done the American way. It’s amazing what you see in those newspaper articles. Places like the Pittsburgh Gazette, where they were warning workers that if the Southern states have their way, they are going to overthrow our factories and use slave labor in place of our workers and put an end to our way of life. There’s all kinds of stuff like that, and that’s even before the first shot was fired.

But there were also claims and rumors from the South about the North. . . .

There’s a lot of that, too, about states’ rights and loyalty to our state. But that didn’t make any sense. The Southern states already had rights. Sometimes more than the Northern states. The North just wanted them to stop slavery, not even put an end to it — just stop exporting it. They weren’t trying to take the slaves away. They just wanted to keep slavery from spreading. That’s the only right that was being contested. Slavery didn’t provide a working wage for people. If that economic system was allowed to spread, then people in the North were going to take up arms. There was a lot of fear about slavery spreading.

 Do you see any parallels between the 1860s and present-day America?

Mmm, I don’t know how to put it. It’s like . . . the United States burned and destroyed itself for the sake of slavery. The USA wouldn’t give it up. It had to be grinded out. The whole system had to be ripped out with force. A lot of killing. What, like, 500,000 people? A lot of destruction to end slavery. And that’s what it really was all about. This country is just too fucked up about color. It’s a distraction. People at each other’s throats just because they are of a different color. It’s the height of insanity, and it will hold any nation back — or any neighborhood back. Or any anything back. Blacks know that some whites didn’t want to give up slavery — that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can’t pretend they don’t know that. If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day.

Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood. It’s doubtful that America’s ever going to get rid of that stigmatization. It’s a country founded on the backs of slaves. You know what I mean? Because it goes way back. It’s the root cause. If slavery had been given up in a more peaceful way,America would be far ahead today. Whoever invented the idea “lost cause. . . . ” There’s nothing heroic about any lost cause. No such thing, though there are people who still believe it.



Did you hope or imagine that the election of President Obama would signal a shift, or that it was in fact a sea change?

I don’t have any opinion on that. You have to change your heart if you want to change.

Since his election, there’s been a great reaction by some against him.

They did the same to Bush, didn’t they? They did the same thing to Clinton, too, and Jimmy Carter before that. Look what they did to Kennedy. Anybody who’s going to take that job is going to be in for a rough time.

Don’t you think some of the reaction has stemmed from that kind of racial resonance you were talking about?

I don’t know. I don’t know, but I don’t think that’s the same thing. I have no idea what they are saying for or against him. I really don’t. I don’t know how deep it goes or how shallow it is.

You are aware that he’s been branded as un-American or a socialist

You can’t pay any attention to that kind of stuff, as if you’ve never heard those kind of words before. Eisenhower was accused of being un-American. And wasn’t Nixon a socialist? Look what he did in China. They’ll say bad things about the next guy, too.

So you don’t think some of the reaction against Obama has been in reaction to the event that a black man has become president of the United States?

Do you want me to repeat what I just said, word for word? What are you talking about? People loved the guy when he was elected. So what are we talking about? People changing their minds? Well, who are these people that changed their minds? Talk to them. What are they changing their minds for? What’d they vote for him for? They should’ve voted for somebody else if they didn’t think they were going to like him.

The point I’m making is that perhaps lingering American resentments about race are resonant in the opposition to President Obama, which has not been a quiet opposition.

You mean in the press? I don’t know anybody personally that’s saying this stuff that you’re just saying. The press says all kinds of stuff. I don’t know what they would be saying. Or why they would be saying it. You can’t believe what you read in the press anyway.

Do you vote?

Uh . . .

Should we do that? Should we vote?

Yeah, why not vote? I respect the voting process. Everybody ought to have the right to vote. We live in a democracy. What do you want me to say? Voting is a good thing.

I was curious if you vote.

[Smiling] Huh?

What’s your estimation of President Obama been when you’ve met him?

What do I think of him? I like him. But you’re asking the wrong person. You know who you should be asking that to? You should be asking his wife what she thinks of him. She’s the only one that matters. Look, I only met him a few times. I mean, what do you want me to say? He loves music. He’s personable. He dresses good. What the fuck do you want me to say?

You live in these times, you have reactions to various national ups and downs. Are you, for example, disappointed by the resistance the president has met with? Would you like to see him re-elected?

I’ve lived through a lot of presidents! And you have too! Some are re-elected and some aren’t. Being re-elected isn’t the mark of a great president. Sometimes the guy you get rid of is the guy you wish you had back.

I’ve brought up the subject partly because of something you said the night he was elected: “It looks like things are gonna change now.” Do you feel that the change you anticipated has been borne out?

You want to repeat that again? I have no idea what I said.

It was Election Night 2008. Onstage at the University of Minnesota, introducing your band’s members, you indicated your bassist and said, “Tony Garnier, wearing the Obama button. Tony likes to think it’s a brand-new time right now. An age of light. Me, I was born in 1941 – that’s the year they bombed Pearl Harbor. Well, I been living in a world of darkness ever since. But it looks like things are gonna change now.”

I don’t know what I said or didn’t say. As far as Tony goes, yeah, maybe he was wearing an Obama button and maybe I said some stuff because right there in the moment it all made sense. Maybe I said things looked like they could change. And maybe they did change. I don’t think I could have predicted how they would change, but whatever was said, it was said for people in that hall for that night. You know what I’m saying? It wasn’t said to be played on a record forever. Or did I go down to the middle of town and give a speech?

It was onstage.

It was on the streets?

Stage. Stage.

OK. It was on the stage. I don’t know what I could have meant by that. You say things sometimes, you don’t know what the hell you mean. But you’re sincere when you say it. I would hope that things have changed. That’s all I can say, for whatever it is that I said. I’m not going to deny what I said, but I would have hoped that things would’ve changed. I certainly hope they have.

I get the impression when we talk that you’re reluctant to say much about the president or how he’s been criticized.

Well, you know, I told you what I could.

In that case, let’s return to Tempest. Can you talk a little about your songwriting method these days?

I can write a song in a crowded room. Inspiration can hit you anywhere. It’s magical. It’s really beyond me.

What about your role as a producer? How would you describe the sound that you were trying to achieve here?

The sound goes with the song. But that’s funny. Somebody was telling me that Justin Bieber couldn’t sing any of these songs. I said I couldn’t sing any of his songs either. And that person said, “Baby, I’m so grateful for that.”

There’s a fair amount of mortality, certainly in the last three songs – “Tin Angel,” “Tempest” and “Roll On John.” People come to hard endings.

The people in “Frankie and Johnny,” “Stagger Lee” and “El Paso” have come to hard endings, too, and definitely it’s that way in one of my favorite songs, “Delia.” I can name you a hundred songs where everything ends in tragedy. It’s called tradition, and that’s what I deal in. Traditional, with a capital T. Maybe people have to have a simplistic way of identifying something, if they can’t grasp it properly – use some term that they think they can understand, like mortality. Oh, like, “These songs must be about mortality. I mean, Dylan, isn’t he an old guy? He must be thinking about that.” You know what I say to that horseshit? I say these idiots don’t know what they’re talking about. Go find somebody else to pick on.

There’s plenty of death songs. You may well know, in folk music every other song deals with death. Everybody sings them. Death is a part of life. The sooner you know that, the better off you’ll be. That’s the only way to look at it. As far as agreeing with what the common consensus is of what my songs mean or don’t mean, it’s just foolish. I can’t really verify or not verify what other people say my songs are about.

It was interesting that in the aftermath of the Titanic sinking there were many folk and blues and country songs on the subject. Why do you think that was?

Folk musicians, blues musicians did write a lot of songs about the Titanic. That’s what I feel that I’m best at, being a folk musician or a blues musician, so in my mind it’s there to be done. If you’re a folk singer, blues singer, rock & roll singer, whatever, in that realm, you oughta write a song about the Titanic, because that’s the bar you have to pass.

Today we have so much media that before something happens, you see it. You know about it or you think you do. No one can tell you a thing. You don’t need a song about the fire that happened in China town last night because it was all over the news. In songs, you have to tell people about something they didn’t see and weren’t there for, and you have to do it as if you were. Nobody can contradict you on a song about the Titanic any more than they can contradict you on a song about Billy the Kid.

Those folk musicians, though, were people who never would’ve been let aboard the Titanic, or would’ve been in steerage.

No, but all the old country singers, country blues, hillbilly singers, rock & roll singers, what they all had in common was a powerful imagination. And I have that, too. It’s not that unusual for me to write a song about the Titanic tragedy any more than it was for Leadbelly. It might be unusual to write such a long ballad about it, but not necessarily about the disaster itself.

In some Titanic songs, there were those who saw the event as a judgment on modern times, on mankind for assuming that it could be unsinkable. Is there some of that in your song?

No, no, I try to stay away from all that stuff. I don’t imply any of it. I’m not interested in it. I’m just interested in showing you what happened, on the level that it happened on. That’s all. The meaning of it is beyond me. 


You also have a song about John Lennon, “Roll On John,” on this album. What moved you to record this now?

I can’t remember — I just felt like doing it, and now would be as good a time as any. I wasn’t even sure that song fit on this record. I just took a chance and stuck it on there. I think I might’ve finished it to include it. It’s not like it was just written yesterday. I started practicing it late last year on some stages.

Lennon said that he was inspired by you, but also felt competitive with you. You and Lennon were cultural lions in the 1960s and 1970s. Did that ever make for unease or for a sense of competition in each other’s company?

I think we covered peers a while back, did we not? John came from the northern regions of Britain. The hinterlands. Just like I did in America, so we had some kind of environmental things in common. Both places were pretty isolated. Though mine was more landlocked than his. But everything is stacked against you when you come from that. You have to have the talent to overcome everything. That was something I had in common with him. We were all about the same age and heard the same exact things growing up. Our paths crossed at a certain time, and we both had faced a lot of adversity. We even had that in common. I wish that he was still here because we could talk about a lot of things now.

You went to visit Liverpool, where Lennon grew up. How long ago was that?

A couple years ago? Strawberry Field is right in back of his house. Didn’t know that. Evidently, he grew up with his aunt. He’d be out there in the Strawberry Field, a park behind his house that was fenced off. Being in Britain, there’s all this hanging history, chopping off heads. I mean, you grow up with that, if you’re a Brit. I didn’t quite understand the line about getting hung — “Nothing to get hung about” — well, time had moved on, it was like “hung up,” nothing to be hung up about. But he was speaking literally: “What are you doing out there, John?” “Don’t worry, Mum, nothing they’re going to hang me about, nothing to get hung about.” I found that kind of interesting.

In “Roll On John,” there’s a sense that Lennon was trapped in America, far away from home. Did you feel empathy for those experiences?

How could you not? There’s so much you can say about any person’s life. It’s endless, really. I just picked out stuff that I thought that I was close enough to, to understand.

I hear various sources and tributes in Tempest and your other recent music, including the sounds of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, the spirit of Charley Patton. Do you think of yourself as a bluesman?

Bluesmen lead lives of great hardship. And I’ve got too much rock & roll in my blood to call myself a blues singer. Country blues, folk music and rock & roll make up the kind of music that I play.

I also hear echoes of Bing Crosby, going all the way back to “Nashville Skyline.” Does he bear influence for you?

A lot of people would like to sing like Bing Crosby, but very few could match his phrasing or depth of tone. He’s influenced every real singer whether they know it or not. I used to hear Bing Crosby as a kid and not really pay attention to him. But he got inside me nevertheless. Him and Nat King Cole were my father’s favorite singers, and those records played in our house.

You said that you originally wanted to make a more religious album this time — can you tell me more about that?

The songs on Tempest were worked out in rehearsals on stages during soundchecks before live shows. The religious songs maybe I felt were too similar to each other to release as an album. Someplace along the line, I had to go with one or the other, and Tempest is what I went with. I’m still not sure it was the right decision.

When you say religious songs . . .

Newly written songs, but ones that are traditionally motivated.

More like “Slow Train Coming”?

No. No. Not at all. They’re more like “Just a Closer Walk With Thee.”

From the 1980s on, there’s been a lot of dark territory in your songs. Has any of this been a reflection of an ongoing religious struggle for you?

Nah, I don’t have any of those religious struggles. I just showed you that book. Transfiguration eliminates all that stuff. You don’t have those kinds of struggles. You never did, and you never will. No. You have to amplify your faith. Those are struggles for other people. Other people that you don’t know and never will. Everybody’s facing some kind of struggle for sure.

Has your sense of your faith changed?

Certainly it has, o ye of little faith. Who’s to say that I even have any faith or what kind? I see God’s hand in everything. Every person, place and thing, every situation. I mean, we can have faith in just about anything. Can’t we? You might have faith in that bloody mary you’re drinking. It might quiet your nerves.

[Laughs] It’s water — not a bloody mary.

Well [laughs], it looks like a bloody mary to me. I’m gonna say that it is. I’ll rewrite your history for you.

You’ve been willing to talk about these matters before.

Yeah, but that was before and this is now. I have enough faith for me to be faithful to myself. Faith is good – it could move mountains. Not that bloody-mary faith that you have, but the kind of faith that people like me have. You can tell whether other people have faith or no faith by the way they behave, by the shit that comes out of their mouths. A little faith can go a long ways. It’s the right thing for people to have. When we have little else, that will do. But it takes a while to acquire it. You just got to keep looking.

Sometimes people have acquired it, then feel like they lose faith.

Yeah, absolutely. You get hit hard in life. People get hit with everything. We all do. We all get hit upside the head. And some of us get hit harder than others. Some of us get no chance at all. Some of us get more than one chance. No two are alike. You have to push on. Make the best of it. Just like the Woody Guthrie song “Hard Travelin’. ”

Clearly, the language of the Bible still provides imagery in your songs.

Of course, what else could there be? I believe in the Book of Revelation. I believe in disclosure, you know? There’s truth in all books. In some kind of way. Confucius, Sun Tzu, Marcus Aurelius, the Koran, the Torah, the New Testament, the Buddhist sutras, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and many thousands more. You can’t go through life without reading some kind of book. 


Time Out of Mind started with this image of somebody walking through streets that are dead.

A lot of walking in that record, right? I’ve heard that.

When that narrator talks about walking this or that road, do you have pictures of those roads in your mind?

Yeah, but not in a specific kind of way. You can feel it, without being able to see it. It’s an old-time thing: the walking blues.

The walking could be what somebody witnesses. It could be the road to death; it could be the road to illumination.

Sure, all those roads. How many roads must a man walk down? Not run down, drive down or crawl down? I’ve been raised on that. The walking blues. “Walking to New Orleans,” “Cadillac Walk,” “Hand Me Down My Walkin’ Cane.” It’s the only way I know. It comes natural.

The person who’s walking in these songs, is he walking alone?

Sometimes, but then again, sometimes not. Sometimes you got to get into your own space for a while. It never really dawns on me, though, whether I’m walking alone or not. Seems like I’m always walking with somebody.

In “Sugar Baby,” on “Love and Theft,” you sang, “Every moment of existence seems like some dirty trick.” Did these words convey a significant change from how you may have felt before?

No, there’s been no change whatsoever. I used to think most people felt that way about existence, and I still think that.

I want to know more about the matter of transfiguration. Is there a specific moment in which you became aware of it?

Yeah, I can refer you to the book [the Sonny Barger biography]. It happens gradually. I’d say that that accident, however, if you want to call it that, I think that was about ’64? [Referring to the death of Bobby Zimmerman, which, in fact, took place in 1961.] As I said earlier, I had a motorcycle accident myself, in ’66, so we’re talking maybe about two years — a gradual kind of slipping away, and, uh, some kind of something else appearing out of nowhere.

And it makes perfect sense, because in the truth world, nothing does begin or end. You know, it’s like things begin while something else is ending. There’s never any sharp borderline or dividing line. We’ve talked about this. You know how we have dividing lines between countries. We have boundaries. Well, boundaries in the cosmological world don’t really exist, any more than they do between night and day.

After your motorcycle accident, you were in some ways a different person?

I’m trying to explain something that can’t be explained. Help me out. Read the pages of the book. Some people never really develop into who they’re supposed to be. They get cut off. They go off another way. It happens a lot. We all see people that that’s happened to. We see them on the street. It’s like they have a sign hanging on them.

Did you have an inkling of this before you read the Barger book?

I didn’t know who I was before I read the Barger book.

Here’s one way of looking at this: In the 1960s, people saw you as a revolutionary fireball up until the motorcycle accident. Afterward, with the music made in Woodstock with the Band, and with “John Wesley Harding” and “Nashville Skyline,” some were bewildered by your transformation. You came back from that hiatus looking different, sounding different, in voice, music and words.

Why is it that when people talk about me they have to go crazy? What the fuck is the matter with them? Sure, I had a motorcycle accident. Sure, I played with the Band. Yeah, I made a record called John Wesley Harding. And sure, I sounded different. So fucking what? They want to know what can’t be known. They are searching — they are seekers. Like in the Pete Townshend song where he’s trying to find his way to 50 million fables. For what? Why are they doing this? They don’t really know. It’s sad. It really is. May the Lord have mercy on them. They are lost souls. They really don’t know. It’s sad – it really is. It’s sad for me, and it’s sad for them.

Why do you think that is the case?

I don’t have a clue. If you ever find out, come and tell me.

Are you saying that you can’t really be known?

Nobody knows nothing. Who knows who’s been transfigured and who has not? Who knows? Maybe Aristotle? Maybe he was transfigured? I can’t say. Maybe Julius Caesar was transfigured. I have no idea. Maybe Shakespeare. Maybe Dante. Maybe Napoleon. Maybe Churchill. You just never know, because it doesn’t figure into the history books. That’s all I’m saying.

Sometimes we can deepen ourselves or give aid to other people by trying to know them.

If we’re responsible to ourselves, then we can be responsible for other people, too. But we have to know ourselves first. People listen to my songs and they must think I’m a certain type of way, and maybe I am. But there’s more to it than that. I think they can listen to my songs and figure out who they are, too.

When you say that those who conjecture about you don’t really know what they’re talking about, does that mean that you feel misunderstood?

It doesn’t mean that at all! [Laughs] I mean, what’s there, like, to understand? I mean – no, no. Just the opposite. Who’s supposed to understand? My in-laws? Am I supposed to be some misunderstood artist living in an attic? You tell me. What’s there to understand? Please, can we stop now? 

With this sort of question? Just one more: In the past 10 years, you’ve written an autobiography; there was a fictional film biography, I’m Not There; and there was Martin Scorsese’s documentary, No Direction Home – three big attempts to come to terms with your history, the biggest being your book, Chronicles. Wasn’t that, in a way, an attempt to explain certain things about your life?

If you read Chronicles, you know it doesn’t attempt to be any more than what it is. You’re not going to find the meaning of life in it. Mine or anyone else’s. And if you’ve seen No Direction Home, you might have noticed that it ended in ’66. And I’m Not There — I don’t know anything about that movie. All I know is they licensed about 30 of my songs for it.

Did you like I’m Not There?

Yeah, I thought it was all right. Do you think that the director was worried that people would understand it or not? I don’t think he cared one bit. I just think he wanted to make a good movie. I thought it looked good, and those actors were incredible.

I think the movie grew from a long-stated perception of you as somebody with a lot of phases and identities.

I don’t see myself that way. But what does it matter? It’s only a movie.

In Chronicles, you wrote about declining to write songs for a 1971 play by Archibald MacLeish because you thought the play, Scratch, “spelled death for society with humanity lying facedown in its own blood.” Wouldn’t that same vision apply to the 2003 film you co-wrote, Masked and Anonymous?

Uh, yeah. You could look at it that way.

Were you happy with Masked and Anonymous?

No. Whatever vision I had for that movie, that never could’ve carried to the screen. When you want to make a film and you’re using outside money, there’s just too many people you have to listen to.

I love that film.

I’m glad some people like it. I know people who do. There’s some performances in there. John Goodman. Isn’t he great? And Jessica Lange. Everybody was really good in it. Everybody except me. Ha-ha! I had no business being in it, to tell you the truth. What’s her name, Cate Blanchett [among the actors who played Dylan in I’m Not There], should’ve played the character that I played. It probably would’ve been a hit movie.

Will there be a Chronicles 2?

Oh, let’s hope so. I’m always working on parts of it. But the last Chronicles I did all by myself. I’m not even really so sure I had a proper editor for that. I don’t want really to say too much about that. But it’s a lot of work. I don’t mind writing it, but it’s the rereading it and the time it takes to reread it – that for me is difficult.

You’ve said before there are certain things you just don’t remember. I came away from Chronicles thinking that you remember almost everything. Why didn’t you ever talk before about that life of the mind you’ve gone through?

It’s not like I have a great memory. I remember what I want to remember. And what I want to forget, I forget. When you’re writing like that, it’s just kind of like one thing leads to another and another, you just keep opening doors and sliding in and finding a way out. It’s like links in a chain – you make connections as you go along.

In recent years, you’ve received numerous high honors, including one recently at the White House, where you were presented with a Medal of Freedom. You weren’t always comfortable with this sort of event. What makes you more accepting now of these laurels?

I turn down far more of those medals and honors than I pick up. They come in from all over the place – all parts of the world. Most of them will get turned down because I can’t physically be there to get them all. But every once in a while, there’s something that is important, an incredibly high honor that I would never have dreamed to be receiving, like the Medal of Freedom. There’s no way I would turn that down.

Do you accept the awards in part for your family, for your posterity?

I accept them for myself and myself only. And I don’t think about it any other way, and I don’t waste a lot of time overthinking it. It’s an incredible honor.

Receiving the Medal of Freedom had to be a bit of a thrill.

Oh, of course it’s a thrill! I mean, who wouldn’t want to get a letter from the White House? And the kind of people they were putting me in the category with was just amazing. People like John Glenn and Madeleine Albright, Toni Morrison and Pat Summitt, John Doer, William Foege and some others, too. These people who have done incredible things and have outstanding achievements. Pat Summitt alone has won more basketball games with her teams than any NCAA coach. John Glenn, we all know what he did. And Toni Morrison is as good as it gets. I loved spending time with them. What’s the alternative? Hanging around with hedge-fund hucksters or Hollywood gigolos? You know what I mean?

The Medal of Freedom, it’s an encircled star on a ribbon that hangs around your neck?

Yeah, I guess so. You should’ve told me you wanted to see it. I’d’ve brought it by and you could look at it, if you wanted.

Maybe next time.

Yeah. Sure, next time.

In July 2009, the police picked you up in Long Branch, New Jersey, while you were on a walk, supposedly looking for Bruce Springsteen’s old home. What happened on that occasion?

We were staying at a hotel. The bus was pulling out; I just decided I’d go for a walk. It was raining, and I guess that in that neck of the woods, they’re not used to seeing people walking in the rain. I was the only one on the street. Somebody saw me out of a window and reported me. Next thing I know, a cop car pulled up and asked me for ID. Well, I didn’t have any [laughs]. I wear so many changes of clothes all the time. The woman who was the police officer, she didn’t know me. Because most people don’t. They’ve heard the name. I might be in a place, nobody knows me. Right? All of a sudden, somebody will walk in who knows me, and I’ll have to tell e verybody in the p lace, and then . . . it gets uncomfortable.

That’s the side of people I see. People like to betray people. There’s something in people that they just want to betray somebody. “That’s him over there.” They want to deliver you up. Like they delivered Jesus. They want to be the one to do it. There’s something in people that’s just like that. I’ve experienced that. A lot. 

Before we end the conversation, I want to ask about the controversy over your quotations in your songs from the works of other writers, such as Japanese author Junichi Saga’s Confessions of a Yakuza, and the Civil War poetry of Henry Timrod. Some critics say that you didn’t cite your sources clearly. Yet in folk and jazz, quotation is a rich and enriching tradition. What’s your response to those kinds of charges?

Oh, yeah, in folk and jazz, quotation is a rich and enriching tradition. That certainly is true. It’s true for everybody, but me. I mean, everyone else can do it but not me. There are different rules for me. And as far as Henry Timrod is concerned, have you even heard of him? Who’s been reading him lately? And who’s pushed him to the forefront? Who’s been making you read him? And ask his descendants what they think of the hoopla. And if you think it’s so easy to quote him and it can help your work, do it yourself and see how far you can get. Wussies and pussies complain about that stuff. It’s an old thing – it’s part of the tradition. It goes way back. These are the same people that tried to pin the name Judas on me. Judas, the most hated name in human history! If you think you’ve been called a bad name, try to work your way out from under that. Yeah, and for what? For playing an electric guitar? As if that is in some kind of way equitable to betraying our Lord and delivering him up to be crucified. All those evil motherfuckers can rot in hell.


I’m working within my art form. It’s that simple. I work within the rules and limitations of it. There are authoritarian figures that can explain that kind of art form better to you than I can. It’s called songwriting. It has to do with melody and rhythm, and then after that, anything goes. You make everything yours. We all do it.

When those lines make their way into a song, you’re conscious of it happening?

Well, not really. But even if you are, you let it go. I’m not going to limit what I can say. I have to be true to the song. It’s a particular art form that has its own rules. It’s a different type of thing. All my stuff comes out of the folk tradition – it’s not necessarily akin to the pop world.

Do you find that sort of criticism irrelevant, or silly?

I try to get past all that. I have to. When you ask me if I find criticism of my work irrelevant or silly, no, not if it’s constructive. If someone could point out here or there where my work could be improved upon, I guess I’d be willing to listen. The people who are obsessed with criticism – it’s not honest criticism. They are not the people who I play to anyway.

But surely you’ve heard about this particular controversy?

People have tried to stop me every inch of the way. They’ve always had bad stuff to say about me. Newsweek magazine l it the fuse way back when. Newsweek printed that some kid from New Jersey wrote “Blowin’ in the Wind” and it wasn’t me at all. And when that didn’t fly, people accused me of stealing the melody from a 16th-century Protestant hymn. And when that didn’t work, they said they made a mistake and it was really an old Negro spiritual. So what’s so different? It’s gone on for so long I might not be able to live without it now. Fuck ’em. I’ll see them all in their graves. Everything people say about you or me, they are saying about themselves. They’re telling about themselves. Ever notice that? In my case, there’s a whole world of scholars, professors and Dylanologists, and everything I do affects them in some way. And, you know, in some ways, I’ve given them life. They’d be nowhere without me.

And inspiration.

No, they’re not good for that.

The flip side of people being critical . . .

Yeah, to hold someone in high admiration. [laughs].

The flip side is, there’s also the audience that really loves you.

Of course. They think they do. They love the music and songs I play, not me.

Why do you say that?

Because that’s the way people are. People say they love a lot of things, but they really don’t. It’s just a word that’s been overused. When you put your life on the line for somebody, that’s love. But you’ll never know it until you’re in the moment. When someone will die for you, that’s love, too. 


07/06/2013 16:19. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

The Minnesota Profile: Forever Bob Dylan


Bob Dylan perches on the corner of a brown piano bench like a little kid on a too-big couch. His left leg dangles off to the side, right foot extending under the black baby grand.

The guitarist who went electric at the Newport Folk Festival and harnessed a harmonica rack around his neck has now become a piano man.

He doesn't play with the pounding bravado of Billy Joel, the flowing finesse of Elton John or the genre-blending beauty of Ray Charles.

With posture that would upset a piano teacher, his fingers flat on the keys, Dylan vamps on chords before 8,000 fans at Chicago's United Center during a recent concert swing through the Midwest. He finds a groove only in the blues or when he gets transported to boogie-woogie land.


It is the latest incarnation of this god of American popular music, a shy Minnesota Iron Ranger of few words whose music speaks to millions.

After half a century, the drawing power of his lyrics defiantly transcends age and time. He is 71 years old. Yet front rows at his concerts are packed with young millennials, some with parents in tow reminiscing about first hearing the raspy troubadour express their deepest thoughts on love, war and politics back in the 1960s.

Erin Quigley, 19, remained thoroughly hooked six weeks after a concert in Madison. "Now I listen to Bob Dylan daily," said the University of Wisconsin social work major. His lyrics "really speak to me. His message to people my age really sticks out."

Dylan's generation-spanning cultural impact moved President Obama to award him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in May, the nation's highest civilian honor. "There is not a bigger giant in the history of American music," Obama said that day.

Though he has written many a memorable melody and potent guitar lick, it is Dylan's evocative lyrics that led to a Pulitzer Prize in 2008. His mastery over words is why London bookies make odds on him right before the Nobel Prize in Literature is announced each year and why his 2012 "Tempest" album was greeted with wide acclaim.

But the words are mostly confined to his songs. Dylan seldom speaks in public, projecting a studied image of inscrutability. Part sour-faced curmudgeon, part misunderstood recluse.

The public Dylan

I wear dark glasses to cover my eyes

There are secrets in them I can’t disguise

— “Long and Wasted Years,” 2012

He has been the subject of more than 1,800 books and countless college courses. Yet, to all but his family and closest friends, Bob Dylan remains something of an enigma.

The wordsmith rarely grants interviews, and requests to speak to him for this story were refused. When he does consent, the responses are often vague, mystical or testy.

To promote "Tempest," the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer gave Rolling Stone magazine an interview in September. He was evasive and prickly, like a prizefighter never letting his opponent get a clean shot. Even his own 2004 memoir, "Chronicles -- Volume 1," was rather cryptic, leaving one fan to conclude: "That book reveals everything and it reveals nothing."

The elusive Dylan doesn't attend openings of his own art shows, such as the 30 paintings titled "Revisionist Art" mounted at New York's Gagosian Gallery in November. He doesn't always show up to collect awards.

As for music-making, Dylan "prefers to do it rather than to talk about it," said guitarist Steve Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band.

Van Zandt experienced the uncommunicative superstar in the studio when he played guitar on the 1985 track "When the Night Comes Falling from the Sky." They remained friendly and, at a concert in Europe years later, Dylan invited him onstage for the encore. That's where Van Zandt glimpsed the other side of Dylan.

"I come onstage and the audience stands up, very excited," Van Zandt remembered. "And he starts having a conversation with me. He says: 'Man, I've seen your new TV show. It's weird. You're wearing a wig.' He starts going on about 'The Sopranos.' I'm like: 'Bob, can we talk about this later? Twenty thousand people are screaming right now. I need to plug [the guitar] in and do something.' He said: 'Well, I don't see you that often.' He's so comfortable onstage from being on the road so much, it's like being in his living room."

But what the public usually sees is a more stoic Dylan, even on that day last May in the East Room of the White House when he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Dylan wore sunglasses, a bow tie and a stone face.

Obama admitted to being a big Dylan fan, lavishing praise on the person who invented the job of singer-songwriter. As the president draped the medal around Dylan's neck, the singer raised his eyebrows Groucho Marx style, shook Obama's hand and walked off without a word.

It was Dylan déjà vu for the president. Two years earlier, the rock poet had been equally laconic with his No. 1 fan at a White House civil rights program. Obama relived the encounter for Rolling Stone. Dylan had just performed a new arrangement of "The Times They Are A-Changin'."

"Finishes the song," Obama said, "steps off the stage -- I'm sitting right in the front row -- comes up, shakes my hand, sort of tips his head, gives me just a little grin and then leaves. That was our only interaction with him. And I thought: That's how you want Bob Dylan, right? You don't want him to be all cheesin' and grinnin' with you. You want him to be a little skeptical about the whole enterprise."

It's the same onstage, where he offers not so much as a "thank you" to fans at the end of a show. He breaks his silence only to introduce the band.

But out of the spotlight, with friends and family, a different man sometimes emerges from behind his shades.

They insist he is transformed: Funny, sharp and kind.

The private Dylan

People see me all the time and they just can’t remember how to act.

Their minds are filled with big ideas, images and distorted facts.

Even you, yesterday you had to ask me where it was at.

I couldn’t believe after all these years, you didn’t know me better than that

— “Idiot Wind,” 1974

A vintage Cadillac glides up to a modest white house on a quiet St. Louis Park street.

A casually dressed man, his hoodie failing to conceal his famous brown curls, saunters up to the door. Did Dylan call in advance or just show up unannounced again to see former girlfriend Marilyn Percansky? He has known her since college, visiting on and off for decades. She lives in the house with her son, Marc Percansky, 46, a concert promoter with a head of Dylan-evoking curls, who described those visits.

"He's a fun, interesting guy," Percansky said. "He's interested in the ways the world sees him. He's very eccentric, a little moody sometimes. He's got a lot of weight on his shoulders, people asking him for this or that. He handles it well. He's a survivor."

Percansky has shown Dylan online videos fans made about him. Dylan isn't big on computers, but sometimes posts notes on his website, such as remembrances upon the deaths of Johnny Cash, George Harrison and the Band's Levon Helm.

He's adept at backgammon and chess, Percansky said. Though a "restless type, always on the go," he still takes time to dispense wise advice like a cherished, out-of-town uncle. "One thing he always said: 'Stick with what you do best,'" said Percansky, a former magician. "When I was doing magic, he said: 'Play the county fairs, play anywhere you can play.' He does the same thing himself."

To meet Dylan is to encounter a scrawny, 5-foot-7 man with long fingernails on his guitar-strumming right hand. He gives a dead-fish handshake -- at least to guys. If he is shaking a woman's hand, it's a warmer, two-handed grasp.

Those close to him say three qualities stand out: His memory, loyalty and sense of humor.

Minneapolis teacher's aide Bob Pratt worked as a gofer for Dylan in the late 1970s when the superstar and his brother owned the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Minneapolis. Dylan sometimes stopped by to see a Broadway musical or a concert. He went backstage in 1978 to visit Tom Waits, who was signing autographs for fans. Waits introduced them to "my friend Bob Dylan."

"They didn't believe it was Bob," Pratt said. "So Bob turned to me and said: 'Eric Clapton was right -- nobody knows you when you're down and out.' "

Childhood friend Dick Cohn, now a St. Paul businessman, reconnected with Dylan in the 1980s, occasionally traveling on tour until 2001. There were rules when keeping company with the bard. No photos of him or even his bus. No talking to him unless he talks to you. It could be a week, Cohn said, before Dylan talked with him right as he was leaving.

"He doesn't do what you ever expect him to do," Cohn said. He might walk around a neighborhood or box with a punching bag. He may detour the bus to visit Neil Young's childhood home in Winnipeg or James Dean's grave in Fairmount, Ind.

Cohn and Dylan met at a summer camp for Jewish kids in Webster, Wis. Another Herzl Camp pal, Larry Kegan, joined them on tour. Kegan was a quadriplegic from a high school diving mishap, so he and Cohn traveled in a special van. Dylan was generous with his buddies -- Celebritynetworth.com puts his worth at million.

"We'd go to a hotel, and Larry would get Bob's room -- the best room, the suite -- and Bob would take a little dinky room like I would get," said Cohn. "He paid thousands of dollars for me and Larry to stay with him."

Cohn recalled Dylan gently pushing Kegan's wheelchair. "Larry was really his only true friend that I could see. And there were some very close moments with him."

With six children from two marriages, there is no shortage of close relationships in Dylan's life. Like him, his relatives share little family lore.

When Dylan shows up at family functions, he tries not to upstage events. The day his daughter Maria -- the oldest of his five children with his first wife, Sara Dylan -- graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul in 1983, he stood off in the shadows, under a tree, during the ceremony.

His second marriage -- to backup singer Carolyn Dennis from 1986 to 1992 -- and the existence of their daughter weren't revealed until a 2001 biography by Howard Sounes.

Dylan has maintained a home in the exurban Twin Cities since 1974, a 100-acre farm where his brother, David Zimmerman, also lives. It's a good 40 minutes from downtown Minneapolis on the Crow River, far from crowds but near an airport where a private jet can land. He's seldom there since his mother, who had remarried and lived in St. Paul, died in 2000.

While his ties to Minnesota have grown thinner over the years, his roots still run deep, a rich tide of memories that flow through his songs.

Incubating creativity

’Cross that Minnesota border, keep ’em scrambling

Through the clear country lakes and the lumberjack lands

— “Dusty Old Fairgrounds,” 1973

Abe Zimmerman passed out cigars to the men he supervised at the Standard Oil stockroom in Duluth after his wife, Beatty, gave birth to their first child on May 24, 1941. They named him Robert Allen Zimmerman.

Six years and another baby boy later, Abe was diagnosed with polio. They moved to Beatty's hometown of Hibbing on the Iron Range, where Abe ran an appliance store with his brothers, and Beatty worked at Feldman's department store.

At night, Bobby was glued to the radio, listening to blues, R&B, country and later rock 'n' roll from faraway stations in Little Rock, Ark., and Shreveport, La.

In junior high, he stocked shelves with aspirin and toothpaste at Lenz Drugstore and swept the floors. "He didn't seem like a normal kid," recalled Minneapolis antiques dealer Dorthea Calabrese, who was a cosmetics clerk there. "He was nice enough, but he was very quiet and eccentric .... You never knew what was going through his mind. Even the pharmacist commented how strange he was. He seemed to have a lot going on in his head."

At Herzl Camp, "he was friendly, very popular," Cohn said. "He played guitar and piano. It was a big deal. Bob was like the head camp-song guy."

He was in rock bands at Hibbing High School, gigging at the armory and social clubs. When his group tried to play rock 'n' roll at a school talent show -- with Bob doing a raucous Jerry Lee Lewis impression and breaking a piano pedal -- teachers covered their ears and the principal closed the curtain and pulled the plug. That didn't deter Bob. Under his senior yearbook photo in 1959 were the words "Robert Zimmerman: to join Little Richard."

He headed to the University of Minnesota and lived in Dinkytown, first at a Jewish frat house, later above Gray's Campus Drug (now the site of Loring Pasta Bar). But he was more interested in the blues and folk music scene than academics. He fell in with John Koerner, Dave Ray and Tony Glover, performing songs by Cisco Houston and Lead Belly in beatnik coffeehouses like the 10 O'Clock Scholar under the name Bob Dylan.

"You're born, the wrong names, wrong parents. I mean, that happens. You call yourself what you want to call yourself," he told "60 Minutes" in 2004. "This is the land of the free."

Smitten with Woody Guthrie's music, Dylan set off for New York in January 1961 to meet Guthrie, who was institutionalized with Huntington's disease. Weeks later, the skinny kid from Minnesota was singing in Greenwich Village folk clubs.

That September, Robert Shelton wrote a review of Dylan in the New York Times: "But if not for every taste, his music-making has the mark of originality and inspiration, all the more noteworthy for his youth. Mr. Dylan is vague about his antecedents and birthplace, but it matters less where he has been than where he is going, and that would seem to be straight up."

The next month, he signed with Columbia Records. For his biography on his debut album in 1962, Dylan fabricated that he was an orphan from New Mexico who never knew his parents and hopped a boxcar to New York City.

The Bob Dylan mystique was in full motion.

Enduring genius

But me, I’m still on the road

Headin’ for another joint

— “Tangled Up in Blue,” 1974

Fifty-two years after Dylan left Minneapolis to be discovered by the rest of the world, he stands among the most revered figures in popular music.

The pace of the Never Ending Tour, a 2,500-concert Dylan juggernaut that started in 1988, is unrivaled by any other Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. Last November, Dylan's bus rolled through St. Paul, Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago during a 36-city national tour. In 2012, he performed 86 concerts on three continents.

In Chicago, he played crowd favorites like "Tangled Up in Blue" and "All Along the Watchtower" but barely spoke to the audience. He didn't talk much to his musicians either. They were left to follow him via subtle nonverbal clues.

Pedal steel guitarist Donnie Herron's eyes were glued on Dylan's fingers. Seated to the right of the piano, he was the only musician who could see the leader's hands to get a clue about notes, keys or tempo. He watched Dylan's mitts more than he glanced at his own fingers flitting along the neck of his guitar.

The other four musicians also kept their eyes locked on Dylan. All they could see was a sliver of face between a broad-brimmed beige Zorro hat and the open piano lid. Dylan led with a nod or the blink of an eye. At most, there was a quick whisper to Herron as he swanned by to grab a harmonica and move to center stage.

His main concession to showbiz is to don a natty outfit each night, a hybrid of a hip marching-band uniform and a rhinestone cowboy's sequined shirt. If he's in a good mood, he might break into a little soft-shoe onstage, equal parts parody and tribute to the song-and-dance men of vaudeville.

Dylan doesn't carry on like a rock star. There are none of the video cameras most big names use for close-ups. Mr. Bashful never gets closer than 10 feet from the lip of the stage. The lighting is as dim as candles in a living room.

Only with binoculars is it possible to see his Vincent Price mustache and pencil-thin goatee. At the end of a key line like "How does it feel?" in "Like a Rolling Stone," his mouth cracks a smile that looks more like pain than pleasure. His baby blues are squinty and get even squintier when he sucks and blows on a harmonica.

His voice has grown croakier with age -- like a cross between a bullfroggy early Tom Waits and a gravelly middle-period Dylan -- more guttural than nasal, in desperate need of a cup of tea and honey.

But with Dylan, it's not really about his voice. It's simply about the words and songs, words that are speaking to a whole new generation of fans

Fresh faces in the crowd

A million faces at my feet

But all I see are dark eyes.

— “Dark Eyes,” 1985

The Kansas couple in the front row at Madison's Alliant Energy Center have been following Dylan for 27 years. They have sat in Row 1 more than 50 times.

A 50-something Illinois woman dripping in turquoise jewelry boasts she smoked pot with Dylan backstage in 1991.

Minneapolis IT specialist Deb Skolos, 42, arranges vacations around his schedule, jetting off to Chicago, New York and even Paris to get a Bob fix. Last fall in San Francisco, after some reconnaissance, she waited by his bus after a show. As he walked by, she waved her hands like a silly fangirl and proclaimed, "Hi, Bob. I'm from Minnesota, too!" "He looked at me and smiled at me," she beamed. "That was enough for me."

These are Bobcats, as Dylan's disciples are known. They are in an obsessive league of their own.

"Dylan fans will analyze things more than any other fan," says Pete Reed, 51, of Greensboro, N.C., a lapsed Grateful Deadhead who has seen more than 400 Dylan shows.

Increasingly, the faces looking back from the audience aren't just baby boomers, but a new generation hooked on Dylan.

A sandy-haired young man in a crisp blue dress shirt and dark slacks stands out like an accountant (which he is) at a heavy-metal concert. Dan Klute, 29, has seen 72 Dylan concerts since 2005. Madison is the first of six the Chicagoan will see in the next week and a half.

"Once isn't enough," Klute said. "There's variety, so much history. You don't know what he'll play and how he'll play it. He pulled out 'Delia' the other night in Las Vegas for the first time since 2000. He did a Gordon Lightfoot cover in Canada last month. Last night during 'Things Have Changed' he sang 'The next 60 seconds could be like an eternity,' and then said to the side, 'That's a mighty long time.'"

Every once in a while, the spokesman of his generation -- a sobriquet he's never liked -- does speak. In Madison, on the eve of the presidential election, he stopped in the midst of a "Blowin' in the Wind" encore and uttered seven sentences.

"Thank you, everybody. We tried to play good tonight, after the president was here today. You know, we just had to do something after that. It's hard to follow that. I think he's still the president, I think he's still gonna be the president. Yeah, we know. You know the media's not fooling anybody, it's probably gonna be a landslide."

Moments later, longtime fan Tom Krill, 66, could hardly contain himself. "That's the most political show I've ever seen from Dylan," he barked into his cellphone. The retired systems analyst from Wauwatosa, Wis., has witnessed 26 Dylan shows since 1974. "He's not a spokesman for our generation but for all generations," said Krill, who attended with his adult son. "He knows what to say, when to say it and how to say it. And it's timeless."

Not every fan remains unrelentingly gaga. Canadian journalist Stephen Pate, 64, has been observing Dylan since 1963 and has posted 500 items on his Dylan blog since 2005. He sees the effects of age on the singer, who seldom plays guitar anymore in concert. Some say that's because of arthritis.

"I still have a great deal of respect for him," Pate said. "I listen to Dylan every day. He's my life's study." But he bluntly blogged in October: "Enough is enough. He has lost his voice and apparently now his sense of pitch and musical timing."

At age 39, David Yaffe is one of the younger Dylan scholars. The Syracuse University English professor wrote the 2011 book "Bob Dylan: Like a Complete Unknown" and reviewed "Tempest" admiringly for the Daily Beast website.

"People will look back on 'Tempest' as being important because he just had so much to say," Yaffe said.

He thinks people both hold Dylan to a higher standard and cut him some slack because of his age and tortured voice. "It's pretty rough," Yaffe admitted. "You've got to be very devoted to Dylan -- and people are -- to make it past that. For somebody who's not really into Dylan, I think it's a hard sell."

But fans still go to great lengths to see this musical icon. Ronald Lindblom, 46, a Northeast Iowa Community College biology professor, drove 3 1/2 hours to the Madison concert with his two teenage daughters. They grew up on Dylan's music -- though they've seen Justin Bieber in concert, too.

Dylan, their dad said, helped him become a more expressive teacher, more descriptive and attentive to his delivery:

"He taught me how to investigate life -- from spiritual to political to the everyday situations we find ourselves in. My work in biology asks the same question: 'What the heck is going on here?' Dylan just does it from another angle."

The exit

When you’re standing at the crossroads 

That you cannot comprehend

Just remember that death is not the end.

— “Death Is Not the End,” 1988

The fans are on their feet cheering at Milwaukee's BMO Harris Bradley Center. Flanked by his musicians at center stage, Dylan just stares at the crowd. There are no bows -- he just nods and walks off stage. The concertgoers get louder, hoping for another encore.

The object of their affection has a black leather jacket draped over his shoulders. He's already outside, walking with his band toward the buses. Guitarist Charlie Sexton is patting Dylan on his back, yakking into his ear. Dylan suddenly turns to the right and hops on his tour bus. Sexton and the others keep walking and climb onto their own bus.

The crowd is still clapping, even as the buses pull out.

Dylan is rolling on.


Article by: JON BREAM , Star Tribune

23/04/2013 13:02. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

the sun is shining.. if you’re
gonna put your good foot forward
and stop being influenced by fools

the sun’s not yellow it’s chicken

the red Republican Romney/Ryan ticket might be delighted to jump all over that semi-retirement idea-

impose a 75-100-arena-sized-shows-a-year definition of semi-retirement ?

give each Social-Security-hopin’ voter a voucher for 1 free pair of Spanish leather bootstraps,

and host a coast to coast singalong tea party.. hum along now-

.. Hopin’ to find one circumstance
Of gratitude..
Sometimes I wonder what it’s gonna take
To find gratitude

because I’ve given up on dignity

call me precocious? only 5 Dylan-listening years old and I decide to try sarcasm, here, for the first time.
the nerve of me
that’s a foregone conclusion

but really ? ?! really? are any of us doing our profession’s equivalent of ONE, Madison Square Garden sized-show-a-year, even in our prime? much less, at 70+ years old, with enough fame, money, professional respect in our pockets to satisfy, what-- a dozen lifetimes’ stellar work ?

there is no reason Dylan needs to get up on that stage-

no reason.. but for -I imagine- that tiny, undiscussed detail that he cannot live without it. that he lives for it.

.. and maybe, maybe, but for those who want to hear- see- him at work.
yes, even if it’s just to watch the eyes, guitar neck, hands, direct the next key change, tempo change, signal the final 4-8 measures of a song--

Dylan, on stage, is a living songbook

every cell in his onstage body a lived map of great- goose-bump great, bewitchment great, spellbinding great- performances. think about that. that’s experiential, visceral, muscle memory. if that does not inspire awe in a music lover, nothing will.
a ’bad’ Dylan night can teach you more than most performers’ best.

if the man wakes up one day, with so little ravaged voice left that he can no longer speak-
I still can’t think of another musician who has more right to command whatever the heck stage he wants to command-

sure, the insults, bullying, derision on this site are unpleasant- bla bla bla

but what infuriates is the notion that someone- anyone- believes their discernment ? musical acumen ? points to profundities (heavy handed, arrogant sounding word) that Dylan isn’t aware of-
that Dylan needs to be enlightened about his own abilities- ’called out’ ?

do you really believe the man who penned "when you think that you lost everything/ you find out you can always lose a little more.." needs your "insight" into the status of his voice ? his setlists ? his commitment (as if any of us know what that is-)

that the man who said "I did it once, and I can do other things now. But, I can’t do that.."; who sang, at 24 frighteningly-young years old "he not busy born is busy dying"; who warns "don’t look back".. and..

that this man hasn’t known, anticipated- for decades.. that he would have this road to hoe ? performing within/under his own, unbeatable shadow ? and doing it anyways ?

the guy, basically, flew to the sun between 1941-1966, musically speaking (my nonsense. I think of it as the Icarus tour.)

any of you ever contemplated what you’d do with the rest of your life if you got back, alive, from a trip like that? that’s if we could get off the ground at all- learn to fly ?

it’s laughable to hear Dylan called ’TIRED’.

beyond laughable

there’s nothing I can think of more heroic, more UN-tired, for a performer to do than get up on stage, DESPITE others’ insistence your dazzling best is behind you.

so you’re not Mr Tambourine Man anymore, you’re Workingman-
Blues ’an all

but by doing the work, ’keeping the bargain with the chief’.. whoever you serve,
another, "different kind of penetrating magic" happens. alchemy.

and Mr Tambourine Man, or the younger Bob Dylan(s), if you will, still are up there- onstage- within him.

only because the work stays most important.
the music.
continuing to get busy being born.

that’s what, if anything, he’s always ever preached

I realize there are hundreds of Watchtower members who may not share the "I’m perceptive/cool/right/statistics quoting/a "real" fan because I don’t admire his current work and you’re an idiot/loon/pathetic/can’t hear if you do" opinion-

but the few who do feel this way are loud and repetitive

consider your thundering on,
a mountain of repetition

and some are tired of your song

Posted October 31, 2012   by Blue-eyed on the Watchtower Dylan forum


04/11/2012 22:28. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Marching to the city -Tell Tale Signs III

Marching to the city


Well I'm sitting in church
In an old wooden chair
I knew nobody
Would look for me there
Sorrow and pity
Rule the earth and the skies
Looking for nothing in
Anyone's eyes

Once I had pretty girls
Did me wrong
Now I'm marching to the city
And the road ain't long

Snowflakes are falling
Around my head
Lord have mercy
It feel heavy like lead
I been hit too hard
Seen too much
Nothing can heal me now
But your touch

Once I had a pretty girl
She done me wrong
Now I'm marching to the city
And the road ain't long

Got a mind of its own
The more people around
The more you feel alone
I'm chained to the earth
Like a silent slave
Trying to break free
Out of death's dark cave

Once I had a pretty girl
Done me wrong
Now I'm marching to the city
And the road ain't long

Boys in the street
Beginning to play
Girls like birds
Flying away
I'm carrying the roses
That were given to me
And I'm thinking about paradise
Wondering what it might be

Once I had a pretty girl
She done me wrong
Now I'm marching to the city
And the road ain't long

Go over to London
Maybe gay Paree
Follow the river
You get to the sea
I was hoping we could drink from
Life's clear streams
I was hoping we could dream
Life's pleasant dreams

Once I had a pretty girl
But she done me wrong
Now I'm marching to the city
And the road ain't long

Well the weak get weaker
And the strong stay strong
The train keeps rolling
All night long
She looked at me
With an irresistable glance
With a smile
That could make all the planets dance

Once I had a pretty girl
She did me wrong
Now I'm marching to the city
And the road ain't long

My house is on fire
Burning to the skies
I thought the rain clouds
But the clouds passed by
When I'm gone
You'll remember my name
I'm gonna win my way
To wealth and fame

Once I had a pretty girl
But she did me wrong
Now I'm marching to the city
And the road ain't long


11/06/2011 08:56. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Tell Tale Signs III


 Mary and the Soldier (Unreleased, World Gone Wrong) - Bob Dylan 


Come all you lads of high renown that will hear of a fair young maiden
And she roved out on a summer’s day for to view the soldier’s parading

They march so bold and they look so gay
The colours fine and the bands did play
And it caused young Mary for to say
"I’ll wed you me gallant soldier"

She viewed the soldiers on parade and as they stood at their leisure
And Mary to herself did say: "At last I find my treasure

But oh how cruel my parents must be
To banish my true love away from me
Well I’ll leave them all and I’ll go with thee
Me bold and undaunted soldier"

"Oh Mary dear, your parents’ love I pray don’t be unruly
For when you’re in a foreign land, believe you rue it surely

Perhaps in battle I might fall
From a shot from an angry cannonball
And you’re so far from your daddy’s hall
Be advised by a gallant soldier."

"Oh I have fifty guineas in right gold, likewise a hearth that’s burning
And I’d leave them all and I’d go with you me bold undaunted soldier

So don’t say no but let me go
And I will face the daring foe
And we’ll march together to and fro
And I’ll wed you, my gallant soldier"

And when he saw her loyalty and Mary so true-hearted
He said: "Me darling, married we’ll be and nothing but death will part us

And when we’re in a foreign land
I’ll guard you, darling, with my right hand
And hopes that God might stand a friend
With Mary and her gallant soldier"


08/06/2011 00:13. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Taipei, Taiwan Taipei Arena April 3, 2011




Taipei, Taiwan
Taipei Arena

April 3, 2011

1. Gotta Serve Somebody (Bob on keyboard)
2. It Ain't Me, Babe (Bob on guitar)
3. Things Have Changed (Bob on guitar)
4. Sugar Baby (Bob center stage on harp)
5. Cold Irons Bound (Bob center stage on harp)
6. Simple Twist Of Fate (Bob on guitar)
7. Honest With Me (Bob on keyboard)
8. Desolation Row (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin)
9. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum (Bob on keyboard, then center stage on harp)
10. Forgetful Heart (Bob center stage on harp, Donnie on violin)
11. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
12. Tryin' To Get To Heaven (Bob on keyboard)
13. Jolene (Bob on keyboard)
14. Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob center stage on harp)

15. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)
16. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard, then center stage on harp)



Voice in (relatively) great shape. Far less croaky than a year ago in Japan with some attempts at higher and sustained notes. Really very nice. Friends who aren't major fans all said they were pleasantly surprised and had been expecting worse.

- No up-singing or staccato delivery except for Desolation Row which had some at the beginning but smoothed out later.

- I managed to get to the front rail and it appeared that Bob was without his bling (the diamond rings) but as usual was regularly adjusting his pants and touching his hair on both sides. The hat came off a couple of times, between songs.

- Bob seemed almost reluctant to be at the organ smiling smiley

- No special effects - just the usual background lighting but none of the projections or visuals from the last tour.

- No "Why thank you friends" and band intro. COULD THIS BE A FIRST?! Maybe he was jetlagged and forgot. Early on a woman shouted out "Bob, sign my hat" and Bob turned to the mic and quietly said "Yeah...". That was it for Taiwan!

- Charlie didn't kneel down once. Has he been told? In any case, his guitar was excellent and with much less organ going on, he seemed freer somehow.

- Some discussion before "Blowin'" - perhaps it wasn't the planned closer.

- All the cheap seats high at the back taken. All the VIP seats at the front also full. But much of the mid-priced section empty. Probably no more than 2/3 of the 15K seats taken. Would have been better in a smaller venue.

- Highlights:

Gotta Serve Somebody (great opener and part of the pleasure was realizing how (relatively) tuneful his voice was)

Cold Irons Bound
Honest With Me
Forgetful Heart - Very tender

And I can't believe I'm saying this but the two songs I would usually prefer weren't there were very good - Tweedle and Jolene. Jolene in particular had people at the front jumping around almost as much as LARS.

- Lowlights:

The group of drunk Americans embarrassing themselves at the front, nearly getting thrown out (how we wished you were). The talking was probably loud enough for the band to hear and be distracted. Also, the guy who shouted "Bob, I need the toilet" just as one of the quiet songs started. Seriously, stay home or just go to US ballpark shows - in Asia audiences show more respect to the performer and audience.

But rather than end on that note, I should say that this was a really enjoyable show with the band on good form. As one guy shouted out "Bob, the whole world loves you"!

04/04/2011 20:06. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Bob Dylan Conference at UMSL, March 19 -- All Along the Ivory Tower

On Saturday, March 19, about 30 people - a mix of middle-aged-and-older Dylanheads, Hellenic Studies and Classics scholars, and a couple of students - gathered at the University of Missouri-St. Louis for a conference exploring connections between Bob Dylan and ancient Greece. Titled "Bob Dylan at 70: Immigrants, Wanderers, Exiles and Hard Travelers in the Poems, Songs and Culture of Ancient Greece and Modern America," the all-day event featured five guest speakers -- four scholars and one poet, Stephen Scobie -- and emphasized Dylan's as the poetry of the human search for home.

Barry Powell of the University of Wisconsin-Madison was introduced by Michael Cosmopoulos as having written the gold-standard textbook on classical mythology. Wearing a brown leather vest, Powell began by calling Dylan the "greatest lyric poet that's written in any language," then launched into his presentation, "Freewheelin' with Bob Dylan" - less a lecture than a free-flow stream-of-consciousness, during which he read Dylan's lyrics aloud with colorful interjections. Some of the interjections provided historical context, such as when he debunked the strictly black-and-white stance Dylan took in "The Hurricane" by providing details of the Rubin Carter case. Like Dylan, Powell is 70-years-old, so he threw in personal perspective: on "Subterranean Homesick Blues," he mentioned being "roughed up by cops for having long curly locks." Other times, he pondered aloud line-by-line, questions crescendoing to the same conclusion of so many late-night, substance- and music-stoked discussions: "It doesn't matter, because man, what a song!"

Next up was "Must Be the Jack of Hearts in the Great North Woods," by Richard Thomas of Harvard University. In this cohesive and engaging talk, Thomas discussed "exile" via Ovid and Odysseus, and demonstrated similar themes of "romantic and spiritual abandonment" and the "trickster" persona in Dylan's work, as well as "the genius of Dylan's plagiarism." A lovely moment occurred when Thomas played "Boots of Spanish Leather" (a 1963 composition widely believed to be written for Suze Rotolo, who passed away February 25, 2011), to illustrate Dylan's use of the traditional lovers' song format, with "verses alternating between voices of persuasion and resistance."

During his concise presentation, "In Search of Penelope: Dylan as Wanderer," John Miles Foley of the University of Missouri-Columbia fleshed out an analogy between character-types used in Dylan's lyrics and Indo-European "return epics" like the Odyssey: the traveler and the sought-after lover. Foley used songs like "Sara" and "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" to illustrate how the woman - a stand-in for the goal and home - and her fidelity ultimately determine the outcome of these stories.

The more formal talks concluded with Thomas Palaima's "Songs of the 'Hard Traveler': from Odysseus to the Never-Ending Tourist." Cosmopoulos credited the formation of the conference to his conversations with avid Dylanologist Palaima, a University of Texas-Austin professor and MacArthur fellowship winner. Palaima put forth the idea that humanity's general condition is one of loneliness, that we are born and die alone; then discussed what it meant to be away from home for Greek society, where polis pride was so integral to identity. He then tied this to Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" and its famous refrain: "How does it feel/To be on your own/With no direction home/Like a complete unknown/Like a rolling stone?"

23/03/2011 13:48. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Bob Dylan in America; Sean Wilentz


Penetrating Aether: The Beat Generation and Allen Ginsberg’s America

by Sean Wilentz

Aaron Copland’s first important musical project after Billy the Kid was to write the score, in 1939, for a film by the innovative director Lewis Milestone, made from John Steinbeck’s novella about hard-luck migrant workers in California, Of Mice and Men. Copland had been trying to break into film work since 1937 but was still known in Hollywood as a composer of modernist art music and hence was considered too difficult for American moviegoers. Thanks in part to his good friend Harold Clurman of the Group Theatre, who had relocated to Hollywood, and inspired in part by Virgil Thomson’s film work, Copland finally got his foot in the door, received the Steinbeck assignment, and produced a score in his new style of “imposed simplicity” (although without the obvious borrowing from folk music or cowboy songs). The film won immediate critical praise, as did Copland’s accessible adaptation of modernist techniques—including, daringly for the time, dissonance—to his score’s wide-open, pastoral evocations. The following year, Copland’s music for Of Mice and Men earned him two Academy Award nominations and the National Board of Review Award.

Late one night in 1940, Jack Kerouac, not yet out of high school, saw Milestone’s film—possibly in his hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts, but most likely in Manhattan’s Times Square—and left the theater envisaging phantoms flitting out of sight beneath the streetlamps. The movie, as well as the ghostly aftermath, stuck with him, particularly its rackety opening scene, carried along by Copland’s dramatic music. Fifteen years later, Kerouac described it in the “54th Chorus” of his large clutch of poems Mexico City Blues:

Once I went to a movie
midnight, 1940, Mice
And Men, the name of it,
The Red Block Boxcars
Rolling by (on the Screen)

Twenty years after Kerouac wrote those lines, on a crisp scarlet-ocher November afternoon at Edson Cemetery in Lowell, Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg visited Kerouac’s grave, trailed by a reporter, a photographer, a film crew, and various others (including the young playwright Sam Shepard). Dylan had performed the night before at the University of Lowell, on a tour of New England with a thrown-together troupe of new friends and old, including Ginsberg, which called itself the Rolling Thunder Revue. Ginsberg, who became excited when the tour buses reached the city, met up with some of Kerouac’s relatives and drinking buddies and tried to immerse Dylan’s entourage in Kerouacian lore. Shepard, who had joined the troupe ostensibly to write the screenplay for a movie Dylan planned to make of the tour, duly recorded in his travel log the names of real-life Lowell sites described in the Duluoz Legend—Kerouac’s collective, Faulknerian name for the autobiographical novels, revolving around his fictional alter ego Jack Duluoz, that constituted the main body of his work. But at Edson Cemetery, Ginsberg recited not from Kerouac’s prose but from poetry out of Mexico City Blues, including “54th Chorus”— invoking specters, fatigue, mortality, Mexico, and John Steinbeck’s boxcar America, while he and Dylan contemplated Kerouac’s headstone. And when Dylan included footage of the event in the film he made in and about the Rolling Thunder tour, yet another complicated cultural circuit closed, linking Kerouac listening to Copland and watching Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men in 1940 with the scene at Kerouac’s grave in Renaldo and Clara in 1977.

Dylan knew the poems, Ginsberg later claimed. “Someone handed me Mexico City Blues in St. Paul in 1959,” Dylan told him. “It blew my mind.” It was the first poetry he’d read that spoke his own American language, Dylan said—or so Ginsberg said he said. Maybe, maybe not. Without question, though, Dylan read Mexico City Blues and was deeply interested in Beat writing before he left Minneapolis for New York. (Like other Beats and hipsters, his friend Tony Glover ordered a paperback copy of William Burroughs’s Naked Lunch from France, where it had been published by Olympia Press in Paris in 1959 as The Naked Lunch— uncertain whether the book, deemed obscene by American authorities, would clear customs. The book indeed arrived, and Glover lent it to Dylan, who returned it after a couple of weeks.) And Dylan’s involvement with the writings of Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs, and the rest of the Beat generation is nearly as essential to Dylan’s biography as his immersion in rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and then Woody Guthrie. “I came out of the wilderness and just naturally fell in with the Beat scene, the bohemian, Be Bop crowd, it was all pretty much connected,” Dylan said in 1985. “It was Jack Kerouac, Ginsberg, Corso, Ferlinghetti … I got in at the tail end of that and it was magic … it had just as big an impact on me as Elvis Presley.”

Dylan’s connection to Kerouac was mainly artistic. After he arrived in New York, he now says, he quickly outgrew the raw, aimless, “hungry for kicks” hipsterism personified by Neal Cassady’s character, Dean Moriarty, in On the Road. Aimlessness would never suit Dylan. And by the time Dylan had begun making a name for himself, Kerouac had begun his descent into the alcoholism and paranoia that would kill him in 1969, at the age of forty-seven. Dylan never met him. But he still loved what he called Kerouac’s “breathless, dynamic bop phrases,” and always would. He could relate to Kerouac as a young man from a small declining industrial town who had come to New York as a cultural outsider more than twenty years earlier—an unknown bursting with ideas and whom the insiders proceeded either to lionize or to condemn, and, in any case, badly misconstrue. Now and then, over the years to come, recognizable lines and images of Kerouac’s would surface in Dylan’s lyrics, most conspicuously in the song “Desolation Row.”

Dylan’s continuing link to the Beat generation, though, came chiefly through his friend and sometime mentor Allen Ginsberg. Dylan’s link with Ginsberg dated back to the end of 1963, a pivotal moment in the lives and careers of both men. Thereafter, in the mid-1960s, the two would complete important artistic transitions, each touched and supported by the other. On and off, their rapport lasted for decades. And in 1997, in New Brunswick, Canada, Dylan would dedicate a concert performance of “Desolation Row” to Ginsberg, his longtime comrade, telling the audience it was Allen’s favorite of his songs, on the evening after Ginsberg died.

As with Dylan’s connection to New York’s Popular Front folk-music world, his connection with the Beats had a complicated backstory. The origins of the Beat impulse, like those of the folk revival, dated back much further than the 1950s, let alone the 1960s, to the days of Dylan’s childhood in Duluth and Hibbing. For all the obvious differences between the Beats and the folk-music crowd—the Beats’ affinities were with the arts of Arthur Rimbaud, William Blake, and Charlie Parker, and not Anglo-American backwoods balladry—the Beat writers found themselves, early, locked in conflict with some of the same liberal critical circles around Partisan Review that decried, for different reasons, the folksy leftism of the Popular Front, including its high-or middlebrow version in Aaron Copland’s music. Out of that conflict emerged Beat artistic ideas that Dylan admired, remembered, and later seized upon when he moved beyond the folk revival. Even though Dylan invented himself within one current of musical populism that came out of the 1930s and 1940s, he escaped that current in the 1960s—without ever completely rejecting it—by embracing anew some of the spirit and imagery of the Beat generation’s entirely different rebellious disaffiliation and poetic transcendence. Dylan in turn would make an enormous difference to the surviving, transformed Beats, especially Ginsberg, each influencing the other while their admirers forged the counterculture that profoundly affected American life at the end of the twentieth century.


Although they were distinct and in many ways antagonistic, the folk revival and the Beat scene shared certain ancestral connections in the Depression-era Left, and this may help explain why the liberal critics thought the Beats were so contemptible. Jack Kerouac’s feel for some of the texture of lower-class life and for what he called “the warp of wood of old America”—his appreciation of “the switching moves of boxcars” in Steinbeck, Milestone, and Copland’s Of Mice and Men—provided one set of similarities. Along with several others in the Beat orbit, including Ginsberg, Kerouac joined the left-wing National Maritime Union in order to ship out with the merchant marine. (Working at the NMU’s headquarters on Sixteenth Street was Ginsberg’s troubled mother, Naomi.) On the West Coast, Gary Snyder brought some of the traditions of Pacific north-woods radicalism into his Zen poesy. But the most powerful link was through Ginsberg, who would always be the most political of the Beat writers. In his poem “America,” which he wrote in 1956, soon after the McCarthy Red Scare, Ginsberg confessed that he had sentimental feelings for the Wobblies, described being brought as a boy to Communist-cell meetings, and chanted in praise of the anarchist martyrs of the 1920s Sacco and Vanzetti. The allusions were not merely historical.

Ginsberg’s readers know about his mother, Naomi, the loyal Communist who took him to those cell meetings, as immortalized in his poem “Kaddish.” But Naomi’s was not the only left-wing political influence inside the Ginsberg household. Ginsberg’s father, Louis, taught high school in Paterson, New Jersey, and was an accomplished mainstream lyric poet whose verses appeared in the New York Times and other respectable places. In his youth, though, the elder Ginsberg, then a Eugene V. Debs socialist, published poetry in Max Eastman’s Masses and its successor, the Liberator. He then gravitated, in the late 1920s, to a loosely organized association called the Rebel Poets, co-founded by the “proletarian” novelist Jack Conroy (who wrote The Disinherited and was an influence on, among others, John Steinbeck and Richard Wright). Louis did not join his wife in the Communist Party, which added to his air of moderation. Yet, like his fellow New Jersey poet William Carlos Williams and other non-Communists, he published work in the Communist-leaning monthly New Masses. And he shared in the widespread outrage that led him to contribute a poem, “To Sacco and Vanzetti,” to a commemorative volume published in 1928, shortly after the two convicted anarchists were executed.

Hints of the Beats’ left-wing genealogy lasted through the 1960s and beyond—thanks, again, chiefly to Allen Ginsberg—and it made some difference to Dylan, who, whatever his thoughts about politics and political organizations, never lost his attraction to rebels and outlaws. The day after the Rolling Thunder Revue left Lowell, Ginsberg wrote a letter to his father:

Beautiful day with Dylan, beginning early afternoon visiting Kerouac’s grave plot & reading the stone … —We stood in the November sun brown leaves flying in wind & read poems from Mexico City Blues… Dylan wants to do some scene related to Sacco & Vanzetti when we get to Boston.

Boston’s symbolic significance needed no explication between son and father: Sacco and Vanzetti had been executed there in 1927, for the murder they allegedly committed in nearby South Braintree seven years earlier. It is plausible that Dylan kindled to the idea of performing “some scene” about them—a reprise, perhaps, of one of Woody Guthrie’s song tributes on his album Ballads of Sacco and Vanzetti, composed and recorded in 1946-47 at the prompting of Moe Asch, though not issued until 1960. But nothing came of the idea. By the time the Rolling Thunder Revue reached Boston, Joan Baez, one of the troupe’s stars, had even ceased singing the Alfred Hayes-Earl Robinson anthem, “Joe Hill,” about the Wobbly organizer and songwriter executed in 1915—a song she had featured at earlier stops during her allotted solo portion of the show. Baez and Dylan did share the vocal on “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine,” Dylan’s rewrite of “Joe Hill.” Traces of the old radical America persisted, long after Dylan had moved beyond writing topical songs. But Dylan had transformed those traces completely, as he transformed everything.

Dylan had hardly come to the Beats in search of a new political cause; rather, he was taken (as he had been before he left Minnesota) with their play of language as well as their spiritual estrangement that transcended conventional politics of any kind. In this sense, Ginsberg, Kerouac, and the others served Dylan a bit as rock and roll did—as something he had picked up in Minnesota, returned to, and absorbed anew after he had passed through the confining left-wing earnestness and orthodoxy of the folk revival. Ginsberg sensed Dylan’s disquiet about politics when the two men first met, and it was one reason why he found Dylan so compelling. “He had declared his independence of politics,” Ginsberg later recalled, “because he didn’t want to be a political puppet or feel obligated to take a stand all the time. He was above and beyond politics in an interesting way.” Although he could not help himself, at first, from regarding Dylan, as he later put it, as “just a folksinger,” Ginsberg had heard some of Dylan’s songs and understood them as something much grander than imitative folk art or political storytelling, “an answering call or response to the kind of American prophecy that Kerouac had continued from Walt Whitman.”

Dylan, for his part, could not yet have known—few if any of the Beats’ young admirers did—how the original core members of the Beat generation had been hard at work for years before they established their reputations in the late 1950s. The Beat generation and its aesthetic had their own long foreground; the major Beat writers began to forge their friendships and find their literary voices in the same 1940s America that produced the Almanac Singers and Appalachian Spring. And the conflicts of the 1950s and early 1960s between the Beats and the liberal intellectuals— the most poignant, ambivalent, fateful, and intellectually interesting of the conflicts—began in the spring of 1944, nearly a decade before anyone had even heard the phrase “Beat generation,” when the Columbia College freshman Allen Ginsberg signed up to take a Great Books course with the eminent literary critic and Partisan Review intellectual Lionel Trilling.


Ginsberg arrived at Columbia in 1943, having taken a solemn vow that he would dedicate his life to serving the working class, but he would soon change course. He fell in with another student, Lucien Carr, who introduced him to his older friend (and fellow St. Louis native) William S. Burroughs and to a Columbia dropout, Jack Kerouac, who was living on Morningside Heights with his girlfriend, having been honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy on psychological grounds. In conversation with Ginsberg, Carr formulated the aesthetics of what he called, borrowing from William Butler Yeats, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and, above all, Arthur Rimbaud, the “New Vision”—a Left Bank bohemian transcendentalism, at once Edenic and decadent, based on shameless self-expression, an unhinging of the senses, and renunciation of conventional morality.

Carr would, before long, become caught up in a bizarre honor murder that landed him in prison for two years, and he would never become a full-fledged author. But out of the New Vision, his friends built ideas about spontaneous renderings of direct experience that became the foundations of Beat writing. And through Ginsberg (whose run-ins with Columbia authorities over relatively minor incidents would lead to a year’s suspension and delay his graduation until 1948), those ideas came into direct contact and conflict with Trilling’s more measured conceptions of literature.

“In the early years, I tried to be open with him,” Ginsberg later told his friend the journalist Al Aronowitz about Trilling, “and laid on him my understanding of Burroughs and Jack—stories about them, hoping he would be interested or see some freshness or light, but all he or the others at Columbia could see was me searching for a father or pushing myself or bucking for an instructorship, or whatever they had been conditioned to think in terms of.” In fact, Ginsberg and Trilling actually shared some important ground, over and against important currents in American culture, which had the effect of making their disagreements all the more rancorous. Both were estranged from the cult of scientific reason and the consumerist materialism that seemed to be swamping the country during the years just after World War II. Both had rejected the submission of art to any strict ideology or party line; despite Ginsberg’s sentimental gestures (and an abiding sense of himself as a radical, no longer Marxist, but Blakean) neither teacher nor student had any use for Communist/Popular Front left doctrine. Both recoiled from the regnant academicism of the so-called New Critics, including John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, and Cleanth Brooks, who called for the formalist “close reading” of literature, to the exclusion of history, morality, biography, or any other contextual considerations—thereby turning literary analysis, according to Trilling, into “a kind of intellectual calisthenic ritual.”

Yet if Ginsberg and Trilling both saw in literature an escape route from tyranny and torpor, they differed sharply over literature’s spiritual dimensions and possibilities. In his repudiation of literary as well as political fellow traveling, the anti-Stalinist Trilling looked to poetry and fiction to affirm a skeptical liberalism, founded on what he called “the value of individual existence in all its variousness, complexity and difficulty.” He was especially drawn to probing the ironies and ambiguities in the works of Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Henry James, E. M. Forster, George Orwell, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and other practitioners of what he called “moral realism”—defined not as merely “the awareness of morality itself but of the contradictions, paradoxes and dangers of living the moral life.” Trilling’s work took readers outside the traditional insight of literary criticism into essentially philosophical considerations of good and evil, nature and civilization, commitment and evasion.

These difficult proving grounds of the liberal imagination afforded little room for the kind of transcendent “freshness” and “light” that the young Ginsberg and his bohemian friends were proclaiming. In 1945, Ginsberg touted Rimbaud to Trilling as a prophet, “unaffected by moral compunction, by allegiance to the confused standards of a declining age.” Trilling duly read up on Rimbaud and reported that he found in the poet’s rejection of conventional social values “an absolutism which is foreign to my nature, and which I combat.” The idea that artistic genius arose out of derangement of the senses was, to Trilling, a dismal legacy of what he called the Romantic movement’s solipsistic, hedonist conceit that mental disturbance and aberration were sources of spiritual health and illumination “if only because they controvert the ways of respectable society.”

Trilling’s idea of transcending mundane reality through what he called great literature’s sense of “largeness and cogency” and of the “infinite complication” of modern life struck Ginsberg as, finally, a dodge, a retreat into conformism masked by intellectual ambiguity—a “cheap trick,” he told a friend years later, that Trilling performed to hide his own “inside irrational Life & Poetry & reduce everything to the intellectual standard of a Time magazine report on the present happiness and proper role of the American Egghead who’s getting paid now & has a nice job & fits in with the whole silly system.” In direct contrast, Ginsberg and the Beats developed an aesthetic that renounced intellectual abstractions and poeticized individual lived experience—what Ginsberg described in 1948, in a letter to Trilling, as “the shadowy and heterogeneous experience of life through the conscious mind.”

By the time the teenage Bob Dylan first encountered Beat writing a decade later, these literary skirmishes on Morningside Heights had turned into battles between archetypes that helped lead, in turn, to the culture wars of the 1960s and after. Beat and liberal intellectual became locked in an antagonism that established each as the opposite of the other in their own minds. Dylan, in Dinkytown, had no trouble deciding which side he was on, and in Dinkytown, far from the political trench wars of Manhattan, there was an easy overlapping between Beat bohemianism and the scruffy authenticity of the folk clubs. But when he arrived in New York, his head full of Woody Guthrie, he would discover that although the two worlds intersected, Manhattan’s cultural alignments were more convoluted.


In 1958, a resourceful entrepreneur, master carpenter, bohemian, and lover of poetry, John Mitchell, opened a coffee shop at 116 MacDougal Street, near Bleecker, in what was once a coal cellar and which more recently had sheltered a subterranean gay hangout, the MacDougal Street Bar. According to Al Aronowitz, Mitchell, a native of Brooklyn, had settled in Greenwich Village in the early 1950s, where he befriended and, for a time, roomed with the celebrated crumbling old Village bohemian poète maudit Maxwell Bodenheim, shortly before Bodenheim’s shocking murder in 1954. Emerging as something of a neighborhood celebrity himself, Mitchell opened a Parisian-style coffeehouse, Le Figaro, on the corner of MacDougal and Bleecker, saw it become an instant hit with the locals as well as curious tourists, then sold it at a handsome profit.

Mitchell soon had his eye on the space at 116 MacDougal, which was dank and cramped but perfectly located for another coffee shop. Unable to raise the ceiling, he lowered the floor and opened for business, featuring sweet drinks and dessert items as well as coffee. (Having a boozeless menu reduced costs and avoided the hassles with the police and the Mob that went with securing a liquor license—and it catered well to those bohemians whose drug of choice was marijuana, not alcohol. In any case, drinking customers could sneak in bottles stuffed in brown paper bags, or repair to the Kettle of Fish.) Mitchell invited the growing legion of Village poets who broadly identified with the Beat movement to recite their material and entertain his customers, in exchange for the proceeds collected in a basket handed around the audience. He called his new coffee shop the Village Gaslight, and among the poets who would read there was Allen Ginsberg.

Ginsberg’s breakthrough had come in San Francisco in October 1955, when a poetry reading in a converted old auto repair shop on Fillmore Street featured his first stunning recital of “Howl.” The poem’s publication, in Howl and Other Poems, by the local bookseller and poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti in 1956, followed by Ferlinghetti’s failed prosecution on obscenity charges, brought Ginsberg wide public attention and acclaim. The Beats and their West Coast friends and kindred spirits— who included the young poets Michael McClure, Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, and Philip Lamantia, as well as the older, surrealist-influenced Kenneth Patchen—launched an enthusiasm for Beat and Beat-style poetry that sympathetic critics labeled the San Francisco Renaissance.

Ginsberg, who had spent 1957 in Morocco and, later, Paris, returned in June 1958 to the United States, where Manhattan would remain his main base of operations for most of the rest of his life. The New York Beat scene of bars and coffeehouses flourished in the 1950s along the main thoroughfares of Greenwich Village west of University Place. (Neighborhood rents climbed so high as a result that artists and poets, Ginsberg included, took up residence across town, east of Cooper Square.) A New York circle was closed, uptown, in February 1959, when Ginsberg returned to Columbia for a highly publicized public reading with Gregory Corso and Peter Orlovsky and recited “The Lion for Real,” in honor, he said ironically, of Lionel Trilling. “It’s my old school I was kicked out of,” Ginsberg wrote to Ferlinghetti a week later, “so I suppose I’m hung up on making it there and breaking its reactionary back.”

All the while, a few blocks up MacDougal Street from where John Mitchell opened his Village Gaslight, the folksingers had been gathering in Washington Square. At some point either just before or just after the end of World War II, the story goes, a man named George Margolin began turning up on Sunday afternoons with his guitar in the square, to play union ballads and familiar folk songs (including “Old Paint,” one of the songs Aaron Copland had borrowed). By the early 1950s, Sundays in Washington Square had become the focus for folk-music enthusiasts from around the city. Pete Seeger and his wife, Toshi, obtained the necessary police permit for playing music in public, and in time flocks of folk instrumentalists and singers of every variety crowded the dry fountain at the center of the square. Alongside Woody Guthrie’s first great acolyte, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, there jostled the young Dave Van Ronk, and alongside him, the even younger Mary Travers, alongside whom were numerous others who, in the early 1960s, would lead the folk revival. Despite the blacklisting of Seeger and the Weavers, a New York folk scene had persisted with roots in the Popular Front cultural radicalism of the 1930s and 1940s—although it was also to prove more eclectic than its forerunner.

The continuing presence of Earl Robinson, Alan Lomax, and Seeger, among others, guaranteed folk music’s enduring connection to the 1940s Popular Front Communist worldview. (The Weavers proved resilient enough to enjoy a reunion concert at Carnegie Hall, under the professional hand of their former manager, Harold Leventhal, late in 1955.) A few key institutions—above all Sing Out! magazine, cofounded in 1950 and edited by the politically orthodox Irwin Silber—carried on the Popular Front outlook. And the New York folk-song scene would always have a strong leftist bent, which deepened when the southern civil-rights movement began making headway in the late 1950s. But at almost every level, a growing portion of the folk-song community had no strict or formal political connections and demanded none of its artists and performers.

Moe Asch, the founder of Folkways Records, was the son of the important Yiddish writer Sholem Asch and came to the United States when he was still a boy. A leftist radical who was involved with the People’s Songs folk revivalists, Asch also kept his distance from Communist ideology—he once called himself a “goddamn anarchist”—and was happy to record strong music regardless of the performers’ politics or the contents of the songs. (It was Asch who, in 1952, released the influential six-LP collection Anthology of American Folk Music, compiled by the eccentric filmmaker and occultist Harry Smith from previously recorded material.) Although best known for his folk recordings, Asch also worked closely with jazz musicians, including the pioneer of the stride-piano style James P. Johnson.

Then there was Israel “Izzy” Young. An aspiring bookseller and square-dance enthusiast from the Bronx, born in 1928, Young had developed a passion for folk music and had struck up friendships with some of the more talented and creative Washington Square regulars. (Among them were John Cohen and Tom Paley, who, with Pete Seeger’s half brother, Mike, became the New Lost City Ramblers, and who recorded four albums of old-timey folk music, songs from the Great Depression, and children’s songs by the end of the 1950s.) In time, Young decided to rent a storefront on MacDougal Street for selling folk-music records and books. (In order to cover the lease, he cashed in a thousand-dollar insurance policy.) He called the place the Folklore Center and opened for business in March 1957.

Fiercely independent in his leftish politics, Young prized music over ideology. His store—located a few doors down from the cellar where John Mitchell would soon be showcasing the Beat poets—became a clearinghouse for musicians, record company men, scholars, and enthusiasts. Young was also something of a concert promoter. One of the founders of the Friends of Old Time Music, he helped arrange, in 1959, a regular concert series at Gerde’s bar on Fourth Street west of Broadway, which he called “The Fifth Peg at Gerde’s.” The bar’s owner, Mike Porco, undertook the venture as a lark, but when the music began attracting steady crowds, Young got squeezed out of the operation. Gerde’s Folk City was born.

Soon after, John Mitchell, having also noticed the trend, switched from using folksingers for turning the house between recitations by Beat poets to hiring folksingers regularly. By the time Bob Dylan arrived in January 1961, the Gaslight was the premier showcase for folksingers on MacDougal Street, and Dylan considered himself fortunate to break into the Gaslight lineup. In April, he secured his first important extended New York engagement, as an opening act for the blues great John Lee Hooker, at Gerde’s. But it was still a long way from the Village clubs to musical stardom. A little more than six months after Dylan premiered at Gerde’s, Young would lose money when he sponsored Dylan’s first theatrical concert, at Carnegie Chapter Hall, and only fifty-three ticket buyers showed up. Dylan’s big break only came months later, in September, when the New York Times critic Robert Shelton reviewed a show at Gerde’s, dealt quickly with the headline act, the Greenbriar Boys, and devoted his own headline and the bulk of his story to celebrating Dylan as the prodigious new talent on the folk scene. After playing backup harmonica on a recording session for the folksinger Carolyn Hester the day after Shelton’s article appeared, Dylan signed a five-year recording contract with Columbia Records, where the legendary John Hammond, who had worked with Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday, and Big Joe Turner, would be his producer.

Relations between the folkies and the Beats in New York were not necessarily close or even harmonious. The Beats’ preferred music was, and always had been, jazz, from bebop to the free jazz experiments being undertaken by Ornette Coleman and others at the Five Spot on Cooper Square. On the West Coast, Kenneth Patchen had pioneered in reading what he called his “picture poems” to the accompaniment of the Charles Mingus combo. Kerouac appeared with a jazz group at the Village Vanguard on Seventh Avenue in 1958 and recorded readings of his prose and poetry with the saxophonists Al Cohn and Zoot Sims; he also collaborated with David Amram on the jazzy soundtrack, part spoken, part musical, for Robert Frank’s Beat movie Pull My Daisy. The folksingers shared the Beats’ disdain for consumerist materialism and conventional 1950s dress and mores, as symbolized by clean-cut, collegiate folk groups like the Kingston Trio, who had built on the earlier success of the Weavers. But the Beats had their own hip style that clashed with what the Afro-surrealist Beat Ted Joans (who for a time had shared a cold-water West Village flat with Charlie Parker) called, in 1959, the “silly milly” folksingers, “the squarest of squares,” with “their boney banjo-shaped asses.”

Still, as Moe Asch’s recordings showed, the Beat jazz scene and the folk revival sometimes overlapped. Folkies and Beats could not help interacting as poetry cafés and music clubs proliferated cheek by jowl on and around MacDougal Street—the Café Bizarre (located in what had been Aaron Burr’s livery stable), the Commons (which would later become the Fat Black Pussycat), the Bitter End, and many others. Dylan writes in his memoirs of seeing Thelonious Monk in one club, off-hours, sitting alone at the piano, and when Dylan informed him he was playing folk music up the street, Monk replied, “We all play folk music.” Among the jazz musicians who played at the Fat Black Pussycat were the pianist Sonny Clark and the tenor saxophonist Lin Halliday.

The folkies were hardly uninterested in the jazz they heard all around them, on records as well as in the clubs. Van Ronk started in New York as a self-described “jazz snob,” more interested in the jazz pioneers of the 1920s still to be found in the Village than in the earnest folk types. Dylan reports in Chronicles of listening at friends’ houses to all sorts of jazz and bebop records, by artists ranging from Benny Goodman and Dizzy Gillespie to Gil Evans, who, he notes, recorded a version of Leadbelly’s song “Ella Speed.” (“I tried to discern melodies and structures,” he recalls. “There were a lot of similarities between some kinds of jazz and folk music.”) And at least some of the Beats listened to black rhythm and blues as well as jazz, just as the younger folkies like Dylan did. (Allen Ginsberg began his great poem about his mother, “Kaddish,” describing a midwinter Manhattan scene in 1959, in which, after a sleepless night, he reads the Kaddish aloud “listening to Ray Charles blues shout blind on the phonograph.”) All were influenced, in their sense of stagecraft and spontaneity, by the burgeoning Village Off-Broadway and experimental theater, ranging from Julian Beck and Judith Malina’s Living Theatre and the avant-garde productions at the venerable Cherry Lane Theatre on tiny Commerce Street, to the first of the impromptu “happenings” in private apartments and lofts.

By 1961, the Beats and folkies also shared MacDougal and Bleecker streets with herds of tourists who would come to town to see the weirdos perform and get a whiff of bohemian danger. As recorded by the Village Voice photographer Fred McDarrah in his collection of pictures and articles Kerouac and Friends, a more serious Beat scene persisted, in readings at the Living Theatre, in nighttime conviviality at the Jazz Club, the Cedar Street Tavern, and Riker’s Diner, and in book signings and parties at the 8th Street Bookshop, co-owned by my father and uncle, Eli and Ted Wilentz. But the Beats did not entirely disappear from MacDougal, even as the tourist trade burgeoned. (At the Folklore Center, Israel Young, an utterly indifferent businessman, would bolt the door when MacDougal got too crowded, to permit the folksingers to chat and to perform their songs for each other in peace.) Some of the poets turned into showmen, giving the customers all of the espresso and all the black-bereted soulful and titillating verse they could want. Some of the MacDougal and Bleecker cafés turned into vaudeville-like tourist traps, where cracked raconteurs and musical jabberwocks would appear on a rapidly changing bill with genuinely talented performers.

It was in one of those hole-in-the-wall MacDougal Street cabarets, the Café Wha?, that Bob Dylan performed on the same day he hit New York City in January 1961. The writings of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg were already in his brain, though his search for Woody Guthrie was foremost on his mind. And, although it might have seemed different in some of the other clubs, there were signs that, just as the folksingers were getting popular, the Beat phenomenon was running out of steam.


On January 26, 1961—the same day, just after Dylan’s arrival in Manhattan, that Aaron Copland was narrating The Second Hurricane in midtown—a group of writers gathered at the apartment of the Belgian theater director Robert Cordier, on Christopher Street, to discuss (and, for some, to celebrate) the death of the Beat generation. Cordier’s friend James Baldwin—who especially disliked Kerouac’s work, considering it patronizing and ignorant in its projections about American blacks—was there. So were Norman Mailer, Susan Sontag, William Styron, and the Beats Ted Joans, Tuli Kupferberg (later of the rock band the Fugs), and the Village Voice journalist Seymour Krim. A few of the non-Beats, particularly Mailer, found the Beats very interesting. But most of the writers had gathered to bury what was left of a movement that they believed had been thoroughly co-opted by the commercial mainstream. What had begun as an iconoclastic literary style (whether one approved of it or not) had become, the detractors said, just another fad, a subject fit for television comedies. (The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, a popular TV sitcom that featured a comedic “beatnik” character, Maynard G. Krebs, had debuted in September 1959.)

The major Beat writers, meanwhile, were going their own ways. Two months after the meeting at Cordier’s, Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky set sail for Paris, in part to locate William Burroughs and in part to escape the malign publicity directed at them and their friends from critics high and low. Over the next two years, Ginsberg and Orlovsky would circumnavigate the globe, visiting Tangier (where they would finally find Burroughs), Greece, Israel, and East Africa, before reaching India, where they spent fifteen months in holy seeking before they ended their travels in Japan and headed home. The somewhat younger poet Gregory Corso, who had joined the Beats’ inner circle in 1950 and whose City Lights volume of poems Gasoline, published in 1958, had greatly impressed Dylan in Minneapolis, had been sidelined by an addiction to heroin and alcohol. With Kerouac devoting most of his time during these years to drinking, writing, and living with his mother in Northport, Long Island, and Orlando, Florida, the Beat generation would never be the same.

Bob Dylan, who has said he “got in at the tail end,” had read the Beats in Minneapolis, but apart from preparing him for the open road that he found in Woody Guthrie’s Bound for Glory, the literary effects on his early lyrics are difficult to discern. The Beats’ performance style was something else again, or so Dylan has recalled. “There used to be a folk music scene and jazz clubs just about every place,” he remembered a quarter century later. “The two scenes were very much connected, where the poets would read to a small combo, so I was close up to that for a while. My songs were influenced not so much by poetry on the page but by poetry being recited by the poets who recited poems with jazz bands.” The poetry on the page that mattered, he has said, were “the French guys, Rimbaud and François Villon,” to whom he turned after reading Ginsberg and the others.

As the Beat presence in the Village faded, MacDougal Street became, more than ever, a showcase for the folk revival. Not that Dylan forgot the Beats, or failed to connect with the Beat writers and artists who remained in town. He still adored Allen Ginsberg’s work and had a special kinship with the oft-incarcerated jazz poet Ray Bremser (whose “jail songs” he cited, along with Ginsberg’s love poems, in the last of the “11 Outlined Epitaphs,” free verse he substituted for liner notes on his third album). What he later called the “street ideologies” of Ginsberg, Kerouac, Corso, and the others still signaled to him the possibility of a new form of human existence. At some point in 1963, he met Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and the two discussed possibly publishing a book of Dylan’s writing, alongside Ginsberg’s and Corso’s volumes, in the City Lights Pocket Poets Series. Still, Dylan’s literary breakthroughs, taking him outside the idiom of traditional Anglo-American balladry, would come from other sources and experiences, not least from hearing Micki Grant sing Marc Blitzstein’s translation of “Pirate Jenny.” The Beat influence would rekindle only after Dylan had established himself as a rising star—the greatest young folk songwriter in the Village and, for that matter, in the country—when he met up with Allen Ginsberg.


In December 1963, Ginsberg and Orlovsky, having at last returned to New York from their travels, took up temporary residence in Ted Wilentz’s family apartment above the 8th Street Bookshop, while they looked for an apartment of their own. It was, coincidentally, a moment of national trauma. The inauguration of President John F. Kennedy (less than a week before Dylan’s arrival in New York and the writers’ gathering in the Village to bury the Beat generation) had elevated new hopes for a great cultural as well as political change. It seemed as if the nation had suddenly decided, as Norman Mailer put it, “to enlist the romantic dream of itself” and to “vote for the image in the mirror of its unconscious.” But now Ginsberg and Orlovsky came back to the Village less than a month after President Kennedy’s assassination.

Although he would later deny it, Kennedy’s murder hit Dylan as hard as it did everyone else, and maybe more than most. Three weeks later, receiving an award from the established left-wing Emergency Civil Liberties Committee, Dylan expressed his deep discomfort with the well-dressed, older audience—well-intentioned people, he perceived, who were on the sidelines and who wanted to change the world but at a safe distance. He identified more, he said, with James Forman and the young activists of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, who were putting their bodies as well as their goodwill on the line in the southern freedom struggle. Anyway, he declared, switching course, he did not see things in terms of black and white, left and right anymore—”there’s only up and down,” he said. Then he shocked everybody by confessing that, speaking as a young man, he could imagine seeing something of himself in the president’s young assassin. Gasps, then boos and hisses followed, and Dylan stepped down. Unable to articulate his feelings any better than that—some reports say he had drunk a good deal of wine to fortify himself before the speech—Dylan seemed to be at loose ends.

While Dylan brooded and stumbled, Ginsberg and Orlovsky tried to pay Kerouac a visit in Northport—but Kerouac’s formidable French-Canadian mother, Gabrielle, who despised Kerouac’s Beat friends for what she thought they had done to her Ti Jean, turned them away. A transfiguration of the Beat generation would, though, commence at month’s end, without Kerouac. Al Aronowitz, who had written extensively about the Beats for the New York Post, was now writing about Dylan—more or less, he admitted, in order to become part of his inner circle. Aronowitz got word of a welcome-home party for Ginsberg and Orlovsky, to be held at Ted Wilentz’s Eighth Street apartment on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, when the bookshop’s distracting holiday season was done. Aronowitz thought it would be interesting to bring Dylan along to meet the author of “Howl.” (As it happened, Dylan preferred “Kaddish,” which Ferlinghetti had published as part of his Pocket Poets Series soon after Ginsberg and Orlovsky had left for Paris, in 1961.)

Weeks earlier, at a party in Bolinas, California, Ginsberg, on his way back to New York from India, had heard Dylan on The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan singing “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”—and, he later said, wept with illuminated joy at what he sensed was a passing of the bohemian tradition to a younger generation. At Wilentz’s apartment, Ginsberg and Dylan discussed poetry, and, according to Aronowitz, Ginsberg came on sexually to Dylan. (“Allen was really a flaming queer,” Aronowitz later said.) Dylan, unfazed, invited Ginsberg to join him on a flight to Chicago, where he was scheduled to play at the august Orchestra Hall the following night. Ginsberg declined, worrying, he recalled, that “I might become his slave or something, his mascot.”

Dylan had already been experimenting with writing free verse, without intending that it would serve him as lyrics. Not long before he met Ginsberg, he poured out a poem about the day of Kennedy’s murder, which concluded:

the colors of friday were dull
as cathedral bells were gently burnin
strikin for the gentle
strikin for the kind
strikin for the crippled ones
an strikin for the blind.

Pulled together, the lines would form part of what Dylan called the “chain of flashing images” that soon went into “Chimes of Freedom”—marking both Dylan’s reconnection to Beat aesthetics and the transformation of those aesthetics into song. And in 1964 and 1965, Ginsberg and Dylan influenced each other as both of them recast their public images and their art.


D. A. Pennebaker’s cinema verité film about Dylan’s concert tour of En gland in 1965, Dont Look Back, includes several scenes of Dylan and his entourage in his suite at London’s Savoy Hotel. In one of them, Dylan squats on the floor amid a gaggle of English folkies and hangers-on, and slurring his words, he converses with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott’s old recording mate Derroll Adams, who had relocated to England and who suggests that they get together “and I’ll turn you on to some things.”

“Okay. Are there any poets like Allen Ginsberg around, man?” Dylan asks.

“No, no, nothing like that,” Adams replies. He pauses for a split second. “Dominic Behan.”

“Hey, yeah, yeah, you know, you know,” Dylan says, then the name sinks in and he sounds repulsed. “No, I don’t wanna hear nobody like Dominic Behan, man.”

Dylan mutters the name again, contemptuously, “Dominic Be-un.” A sodden English voice, off camera, spits out: “Dominic Behan is a friend of mine…”

“Hey, that’s fine, man,” Dylan says, evenly enough, “I just don’t wanta hear anybody like that though.”

It’s no wonder that Dylan was annoyed. A couple of years earlier, he had lifted the melody of Behan’s song “The Patriot Game” for his own “With God on Our Side,” and the word was going around that Dylan had plagiarized him—even though Behan himself had based his song on a traditional Irish tune, “The Merry Month of May.” But Behan, the brother of the playwright and novelist Brendan Behan, was also part of the Irish working-class equivalent of the folk revival in the United States. Dylan, having gone as far as he was going to go with the folkies, had been turning elsewhere, to his own variations on rock and roll (as the musical world would soon discover) and to American bop prosody as it was sliding into late-1960s hippie ecstasy. (Later in the scene, he would badly outmatch the latest British folk sensation, Donovan, laying down “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” as a kind of response to Donovan’s impromptu performance of his ditty “To Sing for You.”) Intensely restless in the spring of 1965—still performing his old material, solo, on acoustic guitar and rack harmonica, but with his mind roaming—Dylan was on the cusp of something new, and he wanted to hear Ginsberg’s poesy.

As it happened, unknown to Dylan (and as Dont Look Back does not reveal), Allen Ginsberg had just flown to London from Prague, suddenly ejected by Czech authorities as a corrupter of youth—he was now a year shy of forty—a week after a massing of a hundred thousand students, with rock bands blaring, had proclaimed him the King of May, as part of the revival of an annual festival that the Communists had suppressed for twenty years.

In the movie’s next scene (shot, according to the transcript of the film, the following day), all is calm in the hotel room—and there, out of the blue, though only fleetingly on camera, is Ginsberg, seated and chatting softly with Dylan. The sequence is utterly fortuitous, spooky in its timing given what has just happened onscreen: Dylan asked for Ginsberg, and all of a sudden there he was, seemingly conjured up out of the vapors but in fact thanks to the apoplectic commissars of Prague. (Pennebaker confirms that nobody had any idea that Ginsberg was coming the night that Dylan brought up his name with Derroll Adams.) An important moment in Beat lore merged with an iconic moment in Dylan’s career—although explaining all of that in the film would have taken the focus off Dylan and, in any case, would have taken too long. Instead, the camera records the hippest of 1960s friendships—and makes possible a clever piece of image making, joining the singer as poet in the same documentary frame with the poet as cultural hero.

Over the two years since Dylan and Ginsberg had met, their connection had become a public fact as well as an artistic and personal alliance. It started off quietly enough. During part of the summer of 1964, Dylan stayed at the country retreat of his manager, Albert Grossman, on Striebel Road in Bearsville, New York, just west of Woodstock. Ginsberg, breaking away from various engagements in New York (including a campaign to legalize marijuana), spent some time with Orlovsky at Grossman’s, where Dylan taught him how to play a harmonium that Orlovsky had lugged back from India. In September, Ginsberg, Orlovsky, and one of Ginsberg’s rare girlfriends, the young filmmaker Barbara Rubin, were part of Dylan’s entourage at a concert in Princeton, New Jersey.

The following February, Dylan appeared on Les Crane’s nationally broadcast, late-night TV talk show, dressed not in his customary suede and denim but in a modish suit and performing with an accompanist, Bruce Langhorne, who played an acoustic guitar with an electronic pickup. Between songs, Dylan bantered with Crane about a collaboration he had undertaken with Ginsberg—”sort of a horror cowboy movie,” Dylan deadpanned, that Ginsberg was writing and he was rewriting, and that would take place on the New York State Thruway. “Yeah?” asked Crane, who seemed to get the put-on but was willing to play it straight. “Are you gonna star in it?”

Dylan: Yeah, yeah, I’m a hero.
Crane: You’re the hero? You play the horrible cowboy?
Dylan: I play my mother (audience laughter).
Crane: You play your mother? In the movie?
Dylan: In the movie. You gotta see the movie (audience laughter).

Three months later, Ginsberg appeared in the movie that Pennebaker was making about Dylan. By then, Columbia had released Bringing It All Back Home, its back cover illustrated with photographs taken by Daniel Kramer in Princeton, including one of Ginsberg wearing Dylan’s trademark top hat and another of Rubin massaging a weary Dylan’s scalp. To top it off, and seal the symbolism, a small photo showed Dylan smiling impishly, wearing the same top hat Ginsberg was wearing in the first picture. The two shared an odd 1960s bohemian crown, with intimations of Lewis Carroll’s Mad Hatter in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. And just in case the message wasn’t clear enough, Dylan wrote in the album’s liner notes:

i have
given up at making any attempt at perfection
the fact that the white house is filled with
leaders that’ve never been t’ the apollo
theater amazes me. why allen ginsberg was
not chosen t’ read poetry at the inauguration
boggles my mind / if someone thinks
mailer is more important than hank williams
that’s fine.

In early December, in San Francisco, Dylan stopped by Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s bookstore, City Lights, where Ferlinghetti was staging what came to be called the Last Gathering of Beat poets and artists (five years after the “funeral” at Robert Cordier’s apartment). A dozen or so Beat writers turned up, including Ginsberg, Orlovsky, and Michael McClure. Dylan, who had by now released “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and “Like a Rolling Stone,” and was touring with his backup musicians, would play that evening at the Masonic Auditorium, having performed the previous two nights at the Berkeley Community Theater. He had had fun the day before at a press conference where Ginsberg asked a hipster question: “Do you think there will ever be a time when you’ll be hung as a thief?” (Dylan, taken aback momentarily, smiled and replied, “You weren’t supposed to say that.”) Now he would mingle with Ginsberg and Ginsberg’s friends at one of the Beat scene’s literary headquarters, accompanied by his band’s lead guitarist, Robbie Robertson. The two musicians headed straight for the store’s basement in order to avoid the crush of fans and not to intrude on what Dylan thought ought to be entirely the Beats’ occasion. When the hubbub subsided, Dylan posed for some pictures in the alley that adjoined the store, alongside McClure, Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Robertson, and Orlovsky’s brother, Julius.

Dylan had thought that some photographs of him with the poets might look good on the cover of the album he had just begun recording, which would become Blonde on Blonde. Even though the pictures, some of them made by the young photographer Larry Keenan, did not appear on the album, they would be widely reproduced in books as well as future Dylan record releases, affirming Dylan’s place among the poets and theirs with him.

The Beats’ gathering over, and the concert done, Dylan headed south with Ginsberg, Orlovsky, and McClure, riding in Ginsberg’s Volkswagen van (bought with the proceeds from a Guggenheim Fellowship) to San Jose, to meet up with the band for another concert before finishing off the tour with concerts in Pasadena and Santa Monica. Dylan had given Ginsberg a gift of six hundred dollars, enough to purchase a state-of-the-art, portable Uher tape recorder. (Ginsberg, in gratitude, taped one of Dylan’s concerts in Berkeley, as well as approving members of the audience, to show Dylan that the hostility his new electric music had received from reviewers was undeserved. Rebutting charges that Dylan had sold out his fans, Ginsberg later remarked: “Dylan has sold out to God. That is to say, his command was to spread his beauty as widely as possible. It was an artistic challenge to see if great art can be done on a jukebox.”) Dylan also presented McClure with an Autoharp, on which the poet would soon be composing in what was, for him, an entirely new kind of sung verse.

Then Dylan flew back to New York to resume work on his new album and prepare for a grueling tour of the continental United States, Hawaii, Australia, Europe, and Britain, which would culminate in his historic concerts at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester and at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Ginsberg, after a brief trip to Big Sur, returned to Los Angeles (where he met the Byrds and the record producer Phil Spector), then took off in the van headed east. Orlovsky drove; Ginsberg dictated poetry into the Uher recorder, which he had called, musician-style, his “new ax for composition.” As the Volkswagen gyrated between Lincoln, Nebraska, and Wichita, Kansas, Ginsberg compressed radio announcements, highway advertising signs, pop lyrics of the Beatles, the Kinks, and Dylan, always Dylan, and the bleak farming landscape into verse, and composed, as taped spoken stanzas, the lengthy “Wichita Vortex Sutra”— one of his greatest poems and, along with Norman Mailer’s Armies of the Night, the most powerful literary response to America’s mounting military intrusion in Vietnam.


Dylan and Ginsberg’s friendship was close and respectful but also complicated, as the New York poet Anne Waldman has explained. Fifteen years Dylan’s senior, Ginsberg was hardly old enough to be a father figure, but Dylan sometimes cast him that way, as the patriarch of the entire hip cultural family. (In the film he made from the Rolling Thunder Revue in 1975, Dylan actually had Ginsberg play a role named Father.) Yet Dylan garnered by far a larger audience with his music than Ginsberg did with his poems, and Ginsberg became such a devotee of Dylan’s that, during the Rolling Thunder tour, Waldman recalls, members of the troupe “joked that Ginsberg was Dylan’s most dedicated groupie.” Ginsberg’s homosexuality and obvious desire for Dylan added an additional layer of tension and even curiosity. Certainly, by the 1970s, Dylan had eclipsed Ginsberg as a cultural, and countercultural, star; at times, especially during the Rolling Thunder Revue, Ginsberg seemed practically to be nipping at Dylan’s heels, wanting but never quite reaching the aura of rock-and-roll adulation and glory. At these moments, Dylan, and not Ginsberg, seemed to be the more powerful man in the friendship, the older brother if not the father. On Dylan’s part, Waldman writes, there was “a bit of taunt and tease in the relationship whose intimacy I notice[d] Ginsberg deeply enjoy[ed].” And, one might add, there was a bit of pathos on Ginsberg’s part.

Still, in their odd tandem, Dylan and Ginsberg helped each other complete transitions into new phases of their careers after 1963. Part of the transitions had to do with image. Masters of self-protection and media presentation, Dylan and Ginsberg entered into, if only tacitly, a mutual-reinforcement pact. By the time they met, Dylan was already on the move artistically, yet that move had its risks. Trading in the soulful, Steinbeckian leftishness depicted in his portrait by Barry Feinstein on the cover of The Times They Are A-Changin’ was bound to confuse and even offend a portion of Dylan’s young pro-civil-rights, ban-the-bomb folkie base, as well as the folk-revival old leftists. The falloff became obvious when Dylan’s second album of 1964, Another Side of Bob Dylan—which included the completed “Chimes of Freedom”—did not crack the Top 40 on the sales charts. (By contrast, The Times They Are A-Changin’ had broken in at number twenty on the charts.)

Having Ginsberg as his visible ally helped Dylan negotiate the shift, as well as his return to rock and roll on the three albums that followed Another Side in 1965 and 1966. To be sure, Ginsberg and the Beats, with their mysticism, sexual frankness, and individualism, were politically unreliable as far as the Popular Front veterans were concerned. And some of the Beats (though not Ginsberg) shared a resentful view that the folk musicians, Dylan included, had shoved them aside at the very beginning of the 1960s. But Ginsberg was enough of a leftist to satisfy the younger folkies. (Joan Baez—Dylan’s lover through part of this period, and disconcerted at Dylan’s growing detachment from politics—asked Ginsberg and McClure late in 1965 to act as Dylan’s conscience.) As a cultural revolutionary, antibourgeois seer, and antagonist of the academy, Ginsberg commanded respect on the left. Above all, Ginsberg stood for literary seriousness, on a level far above what even the most talented folkie lyricist, let alone rock and roller, could hope to attain.

Dylan, meanwhile, helped Ginsberg make his transition from Beat generation prophet to a kind of older avatar of the late-1960s counterculture—for the poet, a new kind of fame. If Dylan did not open the doors to the widest pop markets, he beckoned to audiences that no poet of the traditional sort could hope to reach—baby boomers, fully twenty years younger than the Beats, who listened to Top 40 radio and crammed into places like Orchestra Hall in Chicago and Carnegie Hall in New York to hear their hero Dylan perform. Apart from Andy Warhol, no artist on the New York scene in 1964 and 1965 was as shrewd a molder of his pop public image as Dylan—and for Ginsberg, himself a great self-publicist and promoter of his poet friends, the association with Dylan was one of the catalysts that transformed him into a celebrity emblem, young America’s wild-haired poet.

None of this means that the connection between the two men was merely or even mainly about cultural marketing. Ginsberg wrote only a few brief verses in 1964 (complaining, in one of them, about the distracting telephone, “ringing at dawn ringing all afternoon ringing up midnight,” and callers hoping to cash in on his celebrity), but in his poem of Prague in 1965, “Kral Majales,” written during the unexpected flight to London where he immediately linked up with Dylan, he sprang to life as one of the Just Men who denounced lying Communists and lying capitalists, and who was chosen King of May “which is the power of sexual youth.” Later, Ginsberg talked seriously with Dylan about future joint projects, possibly including a record album of Ginsberg’s mantras.

In one of the culminations of “Wichita Vortex Sutra,” Ginsberg, having already declared the Vietnam War over but still hearing the blab of the airwaves about death tolls and new military operations, wrote of how, at last, the radio bade new promise:

        Angelic Dylan singing across the nation
                ”When all your children start to resent you
                Won’t you come see me Queen Jane?”
His youthful voice making glad
                  the brown endless meadows
His tenderness penetrating aether,
  soft prayer on the airwaves.

Five years later, Ginsberg would finally record with Dylan, performing mantras, William Blake songs that he had put to music, and at least one song that Dylan and Ginsberg wrote together. Ginsberg would, for the rest of his life, see Dylan’s work (and not the Beat generation jazz experiments he linked to Patchen and Kenneth Rexroth) as aligned with his own practice of vocalizing poetry, in a vernacular, idiomatic, self-expressive form.

Dylan, for his part, was determined to make his own artistic break from the topical, folkie Left when he recorded Another Side in a single afternoon and evening on June 9, 1964, telling the journalist Nat Hentoff, “There aren’t any finger pointing songs in here … From now on, I want to write from inside me … for it to come out the way I walk or talk.” Combined with a renewed attachment to Rimbaud, which he had affirmed to his friends months earlier, Dylan’s dedication to writing from within—to capturing what Ginsberg had called, nearly twenty years earlier, “the shadowy and heterogeneous experience of life through the conscious mind”—placed him within the orbit of the Beats’ spontaneous bop prosody even before he returned to playing with a band on electric guitar.

Dylan’s transition, although rapid, was not flawless. Another Side— written amid a coast-to-coast concert tour, riding with friends and exploring the country in a station wagon; followed by his final breakup with Suze Rotolo; followed then by his first concert tour of Britain and a trip through Europe that ended in a village outside Athens—contains the occasional poetic clinker. (From “Ballad in Plain D”: “With unseen consciousness, I possessed in my grip / A magnificent mantelpiece, though its heart being chipped.”) The album is not uniformly successful in its experiments with what Ginsberg described as “join[ing] images as they are joined in the mind”—efforts influenced by sources as diverse as Japanese haiku and what T. S. Eliot called the “telescoping of images.” “Howl” had evoked “horrors of Third Avenue iron dreams” and “the crack of doom on the hydrogen jukebox”; Dylan’s “My Back Pages”—a strong, expressionist song about looking back and moving on—offers apprentice images of “corpse evangelists” and “confusion boats.”

Still, Another Side was, by any measure, an artistic breakthrough. Typing and scribbling on notepad paper from London’s Mayfair hotel, Dylan composed lyrics in bursts of wordplay, including little narratives and collage-like experiments. Writing on the other side of what would eventually become the lyrics for “To Ramona,” he tried out little riffs, some of which would turn up in “I Shall Be Free No. 10,” and some of which would be discarded. (The latter included a pair of couplets set off in alternating lines, one on the left about getting his monkey to do the dog atop a lumberjack log, the other on the right, about joining Ingmar Bergman in singing “Blowing in the Wind,” written out as if each couplet was coming in from a different side of a set of earphones.) In their finished form, the album’s simpler songs of love and anti-love—sung to the cracked-lipped Ramona, to the gypsy fortune-teller of Spanish Harlem, and about the unnamed watery-mouthed lover who turns him into a one-night stand—show an inventiveness in language, narration, and characters far more sophisticated than anything on Freewheelin’. Whatever its slips, “My Back Pages” contains interesting turns about “half-wracked prejudice” and ideas as maps, along with its unforgettable chorus about being younger than before.

Above all, there is “Chimes of Freedom”—an expansion of the free verse lines that Dylan had written about the day President Kennedy died, but reworked into a pealing of thunder and lightning for all the world’s confused and abused, one dazzling image following another: “majestic bells of bolts” supplanting clinging church bells in “the wild cathedral evening,” flashing, tolling, striking, tolling, as “the sky cracked its poems in naked wonder.” Making music out of nature’s sights and sounds had attracted Dylan before, in his mystical song “Lay Down Your Weary Tune” (just as Jack Kerouac tried to render the ocean’s roar as poetry in his book Big Sur, published in 1962). But in “Chimes of Freedom,” strong metaphors replace similes; sight and sound uncannily merge in the flashing chimes; and a simple story of a couple crouching in a doorway turns into a hail-ripped carillon—and a song of tender empathy as well, far outside the old politics of left and right, black and white.

A year later, Dylan divulged his indebtedness to the Beats. In March 1965, the same month that Columbia Records released Bringing It All Back Home, with its encomiums to Ginsberg, Kerouac published Desolation Angels, his last great novel of his experiences inside the Beat generation circle. Part of the Duluoz cycle, the book covered events and developments in 1956 and 1957: Ginsberg’s unveiling of “Howl,” the San Francisco Renaissance, Kerouac’s growing disillusionment with his Beat friends, his bringing his mother out to California from Lowell and then his plunge into the weirdness and mystery of impoverished Mexico, only to have his Beat friends, the Desolation Angels, catch up with him. In early August, Dylan recorded “Desolation Row” for his sixth album, Highway 61 Revisited, and the correspondences with Kerouac, beginning with the title, were too exact to be coincidental.

Various readers have plucked out lines in the novel—Kerouac’s descriptions of the poet David D’Angeli (Philip Lamantia) as “the perfect image of a priest” or of all the authorities who condemn hot-blooded embracers of life as sinners, when, in fact, “they sin by lifelessness!”—that turn up verbatim or nearly so in Dylan’s song. The ambience of “Desolation Row” is reminiscent of Kerouac’s Mexico, a mixture of cheap food and fun (and ladies for hire) but with “a certain drear, even sad darkness.” After the recording of the song was done, Dylan suddenly decided to add a swirling, Tex-Mex acoustic guitar run, played by the visiting Nashville sideman Charlie McCoy, which dominates the track’s sound. Later, asked at a press conference to name Desolation Row’s location, Dylan replied, “Oh, that’s someplace in Mexico.” Decades after that, when he returned to play the Newport Folk Festival in 2002, Dylan and his band performed “Desolation Row” in the style of a Mexican border song.

“Desolation Row” presents a kind of carnival (the critic Christopher Ricks calls it a “masque”) of fragments, shards of a civilization that has gone to pieces, in a modernist tradition that runs from Eliot’s Waste Land to Ginsberg’s “Howl.” Curious listeners have had a field day claiming particular references in every line, beginning with the very first, “They’re selling postcards of the hanging.” Clearly, some would have it, this alludes to the Hanged Man tarot card that turns up in the opening section of The Waste Land; not at all, others retort, it’s about a notorious lynching that occurred in Dylan’s birthplace, Duluth, in 1920, when his father was just a boy, and when, indeed, postcards of the two hanged blacks were made and sold as souvenirs. Who knows? With its repeated images of drowning and the sea—in references to the Titanic, Shakespeare’s Ophelia, Nero’s Neptune, Noah’s ark and the great rainbow—the song almost certainly echoes The Waste Land’s repeated invocations of death by water. But no matter. Here on “Desolation Row” (conceivably a Beat-influenced updating of Steinbeck’s Cannery Row) it is enough to see the characters from the Bible, Shakespeare, folktales, the circus, and Victor Hugo, most of them doomed, as well as Albert Einstein disguised as a noble outlaw, sniffing drainpipes and reciting the alphabet—strange sights and sounds, but all too real, everything a symbol of itself, viewed by the singer and his Lady looking out on it all, detached, from inside Desolation Row.

In all of its strangeness, the song mocks orthodoxies and confining loyalties of every kind—loyalties to religion, sex, science, romance, politics, medicine, money—which the singer has rejected. The least mysterious verse (although it is mysterious enough) comes next to last. Crammed aboard the damned Titanic, the people are oblivious to what is happening; instead, they shout an old reliable left-wing folkie tune (made popular by the Weavers), “Which Side Are You On?” T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, respectively the author and the editor of The Waste Land, struggle for command of the ship; but it is all a laugh to the calypso singers; and down beneath the dreamlike sea where lovely mermaids flow, and where (simple) fishermen hold (simple) flowers, thoughts of Desolation Row are unnecessary. Neither strait-minded politics nor modernist high art will save the ship from crashing and going down.


In 1985, a review of mine for the Village Voice of Kerouac and Friends, Fred McDarrah’s collection of photographs and articles related to the Beats, mentioned how writers and critics have differed over when and why the Beat generation disappeared. Soon after the piece was published, Al Aronowitz, whom I’d never met and never would, phoned to inform me that the Beat generation died the minute that he introduced Ginsberg to Dylan in my uncle’s apartment. Self-dramatizing though he was, Aronowitz had a point—for by the time Dylan recorded “Desolation Row,” he had found his way out of the limitations of the folk revival, having reawakened to Beat literary practice and sensibilities and absorbed them into his electrified music. He had thereby completed (according to Ginsberg himself) a merger of poetry and song that Ezra Pound had foreseen as modernism’s future. Thereafter, it would be Ginsberg who sought artistic enlightenment from Dylan, turning his long-line verse into musical lyrics, and at times even becoming—as he did during the Rolling Thunder Revue tour of 1975—the willing mascot he had initially feared he might become. At the beginning of the 1970s, Ginsberg persuaded Dylan to collaborate on some studio recordings, the best of which, “September on Jessore Road,” would not be released until 1994, a few years before Ginsberg’s death. Finally, Ginsberg would partially fulfill what one punk rock musician from the 1980s called his firm desire “to be a rock star,” by working with, among others, Joe Strummer of the Clash and Paul McCartney.

The changing of the guard, though, had occurred between when Aronowitz said it did in late December 1963 and the recording of “Desolation Row” a little more than eighteen months later. On the day he made Another Side in June 1964, Dylan recorded a version of a new song, “Mr. Tambourine Man,” but he wisely decided it was too important to include on an album completed in a one-off session. He played the song twice at the Newport Folk Festival in late July, to rapturous applause and cheers. And by the middle of autumn, he had written two more compositions that sang of bread-crumb sins and of walking upside down inside handcuffs, which completed the transition. He tried out the new songs on the road in Philadelphia, Princeton, Detroit, and Boston. Then, on Halloween night in New York City at Philharmonic Hall, he sprang them on an audience that included Allen Ginsberg (who had brought along with him Gregory Corso)—and, coincidentally, this author.


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17/08/2010 15:13. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Carribean Wind (alternate lyrics)

She was well rehearsed, fair, brown and blonde
She had friends who was busboys and friends in the Pentagon
Playing a show in Miami, in the theater of divine comedy.
Talked in the shadows, where they talked in the rain
I could tell she was still... feeling the pain
Pain of rejection, pain of infidelity.

Was she a child or a woman? I can't say which.
One to another she could easily switch
Couples were dancing and I lost track of the hours
He was well prepared, I knew he was
Paying attention like a rattlesnake does
When he's hearing footsteps trampling over his flowers.

And that Caribbean wind still blows from Nassau to Mexico,
From the circle of ice to the furnace of desire.
And them distant ships of liberty on them iron waves so bold and free,
Bringing everything that's near to me nearer to the fire.

She looked into my soul through the clothes that I wore
She said "we got a mutual friend standing at the door
Yeah, you know he's got our best interest in mind"
He was well connected, but her heart was a snare
And she had left him to die in there,
Eighty payments due and he was a little behind.

Well, I slip in a hotel where flies buzz my head
Ceiling fan was broken, there was heat in my bed
Street band playin' "Nearer My God To Thee"
We met in secret where we drank from a spring
She said "I know what you're thinking, but there ain't a thing
We can do about it, so we might as well let it be"

And that Caribbean wind still blow from Nassau to Mexico,
From the circle of ice to the furnace of desire.
And them distant ships of liberty on them iron waves so bold and free,
Bringing everything that's near to me nearer to the fire.

Atlantic City, two years to the day,
I hear her voice cryin' "Daddy" and I look that way,
But it's only the silence in the buttermilk hills that call,
Every new messenger bringing evil reports
'Bout rioting armies and time that is short,
And earthquakes and train wrecks and hate-words scribbled on the wall.

Would I have married her? I don't know I suppose,
She had bells in her braids and they hung to her toes.
But I heard my name and destiny say to be movin' on
And I felt it come over me, some kind of glow,
For to say "Come on with me girl, I got plenty of room"
But I knew I'd be lyin', and besides she had already gone.

And that Caribbean wind still blows from Nassau to Mexico,
Circle of ice to the furnace of desire.
And them distant ships of liberty on them iron waves so bold and free,
Bringing everything that's near to me nearer to the fire.

26/07/2010 13:42. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Prague, Czech Republic June 11, 2010

The real highlight of the night was Ballad of a thin man. I guess i have
seen Bob doing that song maybe 20-30 times since 1978, but I have never seen it
as good as tonight. All my friends agreed on that.

Steinar Daler

1. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (Bob on keyboard then guitar)
2. Lay, Lady, Lay (Bob center stage on guitar)
3. Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues (Bob center stage on guitar)
4. Just Like A Woman (Bob on keyboard then center stage on harp)
5. Beyond Here Lies Nothin’ (Bob center stage on guitar, Donnie on trumpet)
6. Shelter From The Storm (Bob on keyboard)
7. Honest With Me (Bob on keyboard)
8. Mr. Tambourine Man (Bob on keyboard then center stage on guitar)
9. Cold Irons Bound (Bob center stage on harp)
10. Workingman’s Blues #2 (Bob on keyboard then center stage on harp)
11. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
12. I Feel A Change Comin’ On (Bob on keyboard)
13. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
14. Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob center stage on harp)
15. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)
16. Jolene (Bob on keyboard)
17. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
12/06/2010 21:09. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Springfield, Missouri October 25, 2009

1. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (Bob on keyboard)
2. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (Bob on guitar)
3. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)
(Bob on keyboard and harp)
4. My Wife's Home Town (Bob on guitar)
5. Rollin' And Tumblin' (Bob on keyboard)
6. Beyond The Horizon (Bob center stage on harp)
7. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum (Bob on keyboard)
8. Tryin' To Get To Heaven (Bob on keyboard)
9. Cold Irons Bound (Bob center stage on harp)
10. Not Dark Yet (Bob on keyboard then center stage on harp)
11. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
12. Nettie Moore (Bob on keyboard)
13. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
14. Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob center stage on harp)

15. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)
16. Jolene (Bob on keyboard)
17. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)

27/10/2009 15:32. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Bob Dylan’s album of Christmas

News of Bob Dylan’s album of Christmas songs shocked fans. But his official historian-in-residence, Sean Wilentz, detects not a single ironic or parodic note in Christmas in the Heart—just a sincere homage to American Christmases past.

When word spread last summer about the contents of Bob Dylan’s second album of the year, Christmas in the Heart, there were almost audible gasps of astonishment on the Dylan fan blogs and Web sites. It mattered little that Dylan was about the only major popular American singer or musician of modern times who had as yet failed to make a Christmas album. Bing Crosby made several, springing in part from the all-time popularity of his “White Christmas,” but the list has run the gamut from Frank Sinatra to Joan Baez, the Ronettes (as part of a compilation album produced by Phil Spector) to the Ventures. Even Jewish singers, including Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond, released Christmas albums. In 1934, Eddie Cantor (born Edward Israel Iskowitz) had a huge hit with a brand new song that other major singers had turned down as too childish: “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” One of the most beloved holiday standards, “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire),” was co-written by the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants whose name, before they changed it, was Torma—Mel Tormé.

One of my favorites of all the Christmas records—recorded by Elvis Presley, titled simply Christmas Album, and released in 1957—includes old standbys such as “White Christmas” and Gene Autry’s “Here Comes Santa Claus” on one side, and carols and black gospel songs on the other. (The latter include Presley and his backup singers, the Jordanaires, performing Thomas A. Dorsey’s “Peace in the Valley,” which was still a daring thing for an up-and-coming white Southern singer to do in 1957; and the performance, for purely spiritual reasons, moves me more with each passing year.)

The album is a sincere, raspy-voiced homage to a particular vintage of popular American Christmas music, as well as testimony to Dylan’s abiding spiritual faith.

But no matter how many singers had come before, to fans who still remember Dylan as the rebellious voice of the counterculture, or even those who have appreciated the older, sophisticated re-assembler of American music and literature, the thought of him recording anything as sentimental as a Christmas album has seemed odd. Is Dylan up to his old tricks, changing his style dramatically just when listeners and critics thought they had him pegged? Is it all just a high-spirited spoof?

In fact, making this record is a generous act that is fully in keeping with Dylan’s past and with his ever-developing art. The crass reason for artists to release special albums of Christmas songs had always been to cash in on the lucrative Christmas sales market. Dylan understands as much—but in the Christian spirit of caritas, he has donated all of his royalties from the album ahead of time, and in perpetuity, to buy meals for millions of needy persons through the organizations Feeding America, Crisis (in Great Britain), and the United Nations’ World Food Program. The artistic reason for cutting special Christmas collections had always been that there are so many wonderful Christmas songs, old and new—not least those in the American songbook of the past century and a half—and ambitious musical artists have been tempted to take them on. This is Dylan’s motivation as well. Some listeners who heard bits and pieces of Christmas in the Heart in advance pronounced it, with knowing irony, a parody of 1950s white-bread music. But the album contains not a single ironic or parodic note. It is a sincere, raspy-voiced homage to a particular vintage of popular American Christmas music, as well as testimony to Dylan’s abiding spiritual faith; hence, its title.

Like Elvis’ Christmas Album, but in a more jumbled way, Christmas in the Heart mixes traditional carols (roughly one-quarter of the album) with Tin Pan Alley holiday songs, one seasonal hit that has become attached to Christmas (“Winter Wonderland”), and a novelty song or two. The album could have appeared as a large chunk of an episode titled “Christmas” on Dylan’s Sirius-XM Radio show, Theme Time Radio Hour, but this time with Dylan performing all of the songs instead of acting as DJ.

But the most salient thing about Christmas in the Heart is how much of it consists of hits written and originally recorded in the 1940s and early 1950s—the years of Dylan’s boyhood when these songs formed a perennial American December soundscape, even for a Jewish kid. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” first appeared in the film Meet Me in St. Louis in 1944, as sung by Judy Garland. Other standards on the album come from the same era: “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” (1944) later made famous by Nat King Cole; the Andrews Sisters’ “Christmas Island” (1946); Autry’s and, later, Presley’s “Here Comes Santa Claus” (1947); and Dean Martin’s “The Christmas Blues” (1953).

It is also striking that, much as Charley Patton’s shade presides over Dylan’s superb album of 2001, Love and Theft, the benign spirit of Bing Crosby haunts Christmas in the Heart. This is not entirely surprising: After Crosby recorded “White Christmas” in 1942, he practically owned the franchise on making popular recordings of Christmas music. Still, it cannot be coincidental that, of all the Christmas material available to him, Dylan has included three of the songs most closely identified with Crosby—“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” (1943), “Silver Bells” (1952), and “Do You Hear What I Hear?” (1962)—as well as other songs that were successful for Crosby, including “Here Comes Santa Claus” (written in 1947, recorded by Crosby with the Andrews Sisters in 1949), “The Christmas Song” (recorded by Crosby in 1947), and “Winter Wonderland” (written in 1934 and recorded by Crosby in 1962). In all, 13 of the 15 songs on Christmas in the Heart, including all of the carols, were also recorded by Crosby.


And so the album takes us back to the mid- to late 1940s, when Bobby Zimmerman was just growing up. This, above all, is at the heart of Christmas in the Heart—Dylan re-creating, in his own way, the sounds of his childhood, complete with hokey backup singers, though also cut with his own style. And the effort is no joke. If there has been an American folk music in the commercial recording era since the 1930s, surely it has been Christmas music, known by virtually everyone, regardless of race, region, or religious faith—whether they have wanted to know it or not. And Christmas music had particularly powerful meanings for Americans in the 1940s. Before 1945, during World War II, it bound together the families of armed servicemen and women—with each other but also with their loved ones who would not be home for the holidays, and who might never come home alive. For all of these people, the great majority of the nation, Christmas music became a musical bond of remembrance of better times past and of hope for better times to come. (“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is the prime example on Christmas in the Heart.) After 1945, Christmas music became a kind of totem of normality for tens of millions of Americans whose lives had been disrupted for more than a decade of Depression and war, and for whom the new and better times could not come fast enough.

Yet if Christmas in the Heart takes us back to the 1940s, it also takes us back to 1985, when Dylan touted Crosby to an interviewer as a great master of phrasing, one whose songs he hoped soon to record. Dylan’s fans could not have taken the remarks as serious, but they were. And the album takes us back two years before that, to the Power Station recording studio in New York in late April 1983, when Dylan was recording his album Infidels. The 11th recording session in as many days began with repeated efforts to complete “Foot of Pride,” but nine takes yielded nothing usable. To unwind, the band members jumped into a reggae jam—and then Dylan led them into “The Christmas Song,” followed by Louis Jordan’s jump blues hit from 1946, “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie,” then “Silent Night,” and then the contemporary Australian Pentecostal songwriter Darlene Zschech’s “Glory of the King.” If a seed was planted in the era of World War II and just after, it matured in Dylan’s mind for at least a quarter century before he recorded Christmas in the Heart.

There are no traditional blues, country, or rock ‘n’ roll songs on the album, which may surprise Dylan’s most loyal fans but may simply indicate how none of these genres has contributed much of interest to secular Christmas music. In blues and country music, the dividing line from sacred song is pretty sharp: Although Blind Willie McTell and the Carter Family might have sung religious and non-religious material, they didn’t confuse the two.

Dylan cannot, of course, keep from importing his own style and preferences and melding it with the 1940s sound. (The results are best heard on “Winter Wonderland,” complete with Donnie Herron on pedal steel guitar.) His careful phrasing and arrangements cannot always erase the ragged effects of his badly worn and cracked vocal cords, which are not up to a tune as complicated as “The Christmas Song.” But the season’s warm and exuberant joys come alive on several tracks, not least my favorite, “Must Be Santa”—a dance-hall rendition (complete with David Hidalgo’s accordion and George Receli’s crash cymbal) that, although beholden to Brave Combo, revives the polka rave-ups of “Whoopee” John Wilfahrt and all the Midwestern polka band kings of Dylan’s youth. And even though Dylan’s voice actually falters for a moment on “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” and an interlude by a female chorale starts off sounding dippy, the chorale’s line suddenly pauses, slows, and turns lovely; and Dylan joins in with "joyful, all ye nations rise/ join the triumph of the skies,” and the season’s apotheosis comes to the ear, and to the heart.

For more than half a century, Bob Dylan has been absorbing, transmuting, and renewing and improving American art forms long thought to be trapped in formal conventions. He not only “put folk into bed with rock,” as his stage manager Al Santos still announces before each concert, he took traditional folk music, the blues, rock ‘n’ roll, country and western, black gospel, Tin Pan Alley, Tex-Mex borderlands music, and more, and bent them to his own poetic muse. At the start of the 1960s, influenced by the songs and milieu of the Popular Front-inspired folk revival, he turned them into something else, much as the Popular Front composer Aaron Copland turned folk songs into orchestral music. His imagination and his voice blasted open by beat aesthetics, Dylan then pushed his own reinventions of folk music into realms that were every bit as mysterious and mythic as the old traditional music, but in a pop sensibility of his own time that shocked the folk purists. And then he turned away again, moving to Blakean and biblical parable, time-fractured songs of love and heartbreak, hell-fire preaching, and onward, through his recovered and revised modern minstrelsy of the 1990s and after.

Open to artistic inspiration anywhere he found it, Dylan acted not so much as a sponge (although he has always absorbed prodigious amounts) as an alchemist, taking common materials and creating new art. Nothing that came within his field of vision escaped him: 1930s French films, 1850s minstrel songs, the works of Shakespeare, Dolly Parton, St. John of Patmos, Muddy Waters—anything of beauty, no matter how terrible, became something to seize on and make his own. And yet, as he ended his seventh decade, Dylan also in some ways spiritually resembled Blind Willie McTell, traveling endlessly, performing endlessly, sharp to the wiles of the world, taking things from everywhere but fixing them up his own way, composing new songs and performing old ones that were sometimes sacred and sometimes secular, but neither black or white, up or down—and that had reference to everybody.

Now, all of a sudden, Dylan has offered a red-ribboned gift to the world, not so much slipping back and forth through time as evoking his own past and America’s, while providing Christmas dinner to families on relief—acting like a grander version of the Pretty Boy Floyd of his last proclaimed hero, Woody Guthrie, but as an artist, not a bank robber. Or perhaps Christmas in the Heart is not just a gift but another album of cover versions that, as in the past, has marked an interlude before Dylan undertook yet another new phase of his career. With the masked, shape-changing American alchemist, it is impossible to know too much for sure.


Sean Wilentz is a history professor at Princeton University whose books include The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln and The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008

16/10/2009 13:03. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Portland, Oregon October 7, 2009

Portland, Oregon
Memorial Coliseum
October 7, 2009

1. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (Bob on keyboard)
2. Lay, Lady, Lay (Bob on guitar)
3. Things Have Changed (Bob on guitar)
4. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum (Bob on keyboard)
5. Sugar Baby (Bob center stage on harp)
6. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine) (Bob on keyboard)
7. My Wife's Hometown (Bob on guitar)
8 Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
9. Cold Irons Bound (Bob on guitar)
10. Workingman's Blues #2 (Bob on keyboard)
11. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
12. Ain't Talkin' (Bob on keyboard)
13. Thunder On The Mountain
14. Ballad Of A Thin Man

15. Like A Rolling Stone
16. Jolene
17. All Along The Watchtower

08/10/2009 12:10. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Sauget, Illinois July 2, 2009

Sauget, Illinois
GCS Ballpark
July 2, 2009

1. Watching The River Flow (Bob on guitar)
2. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (Bob on guitar)
3. The Levee's Gonna Break (Bob on keyboard)
4. Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
5. Things Have Changed (Bob on keyboard)
6. Just Like A Woman (Bob on keyboard)
7. Honest With Me (Bob on keyboard)
8. Forgetful Heart (Bob on harp center stage - no keyboard)
9. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
10. This Dream Of You (Bob on guitar)
11. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
12. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)


13. Jolene (Bob on keyboard)
14. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)

04/07/2009 17:03. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin July 1, 2009

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Marcus Amphitheater
July 1, 2009

1. Cat's In The Well (Bob on guitar)
2. It Ain't Me, Babe (Bob on guitar)
3. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (Bob on guitar)
4. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
(Bob on keyboard)
5. Blind Willie McTell (Bob on keyboard)
6. Desolation Row (Bob on keyboard)
7. Honest With Me (Bob on keyboard)
8. Po' Boy (Bob on keyboard and harp)
9. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
10. Forgetful Heart (Bob on harp center stage - no keyboard)
11. I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)
(Bob on keyboard)
12. Love Sick (Bob on keyboard)
13. Summer Days (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on trumpet)
14. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)


15. Jolene (Bob on keyboard)
16. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)

02/07/2009 11:57. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

In India, A Fan's Annual Tribute To Bob Dylan


May 27, 2009 - Thirty-seven years have elapsed since musician Lou Majaw first decided to honor the birthday of his icon, Bob Dylan, with an annual celebration in the remote, pine-crested hills of northeastern India.

Empires and ideologies have risen and fallen, but the 62-year-old Majaw has held to his word.

Every year since then, he has staged a celebration of music and poetry on Dylan’s birthday in India, even though sometimes no one came, and it sometimes poured rain.

"It’s because of the respect I have for Dylan," said Majaw, as he prepared to mark Dylan’s birthday in the town of Shillong, on Sunday. "I respect him as a lyricist, as a writer of songs and poetry."

Dylan turned 68 this year. This time, Majaw had workers erect a stage on a local weed-choked basketball arena.

As he prepared to perform, Majaw seemed blissfully undeterred by the dark clouds swirling menacingly overhead.

He even seemed cheerful, energetically darting around the stage in skimpy sawn-off denim shorts, a shiny blue necklace and bright white sneakers to the sound of Dylan songs.

Left Speechless At The Power Of Dylan

Majaw first heard Dylan in 1966. He has yet to forget the impact it made. "I just could not say anything — and then later on I said, ’Hey this is it.’ It had so much power!"

"If people really, really listen, if they really see the meaning of what Dylan’s writings are — I am sure that we shouldn’t have had any war; everything would be so peaceful."

Eight out of 10 Indians are Hindus. But in Shillong most people are Christians, a byproduct of the British colonialists and the Western missionaries who appeared during their rule.

The missionaries brought in music, and the English language. This seems to have fused with a strong local tribal tradition of music-making to create a community that is unusually receptive to Western music, including rock ’n’ roll.

A Strong Musical Tradition

"Here in the hills everyone loves music," said Banteilang Rumnong, head of a cultural organization representing the Khasi tribal population, which dominates in this corner of India and has a strong musical tradition of its own. "Khasi always says that you should always learn to laugh. When a Khasi celebrates, then he celebrates it with music. It sets the soul free."

His words seem to hold true on the streets.

The people of Shillong may not know Bob Dylan too well. But every other resident appears to play an instrument, learned by ear.

Few are as musical as Majaw himself, especially when he is singing Dylan.

Several hundred people braved the rain to hear him and his fellow musicians perform on Dylan’s birthday.

No one seemed disappointed.

29/05/2009 09:10. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Someone said this, I agree to it

Bob will get you through times of no dope better than dope will get you through times of no Bob.

27/05/2009 16:25. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Dylan feels a change comin' on but doesn't like what he sees

BOB DYLAN has delivered his verdicts on the greatest names in popular music over the past half century. Dylan, who turned 68 on Sunday, uses an interview with Rolling Stone magazine to list Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry and the Beatles as among those he most admires.

He reveals the existence of long-lost recordings he did with Cash, hints at a possible collaboration with Paul McCartney, and expresses relief that he never met Elvis, his teenage inspiration.

Dylan had several invitations to Graceland in the 1960s, but had no desire to meet a hero who was past his best and along the way to drug addiction.

"I wanted to see the powerful, mystical Elvis that had crash-landed like a burning star on to American soil," Dylan told the magazine. "The Elvis that was bursting with life. That's the Elvis that inspired us to all the possibilities of life. And that Elvis was gone, had left the building."

Dylan's interview with the US author and historian Douglas Brinkley comes a month after the release of his album Together Through Life, his 33rd release in a career spanning 46 years.

Dylan reveals an acute awareness of his status as a survivor of pop's early hall of fame. The only other contemporary he considers senior to himself is guitarist Chuck Berry, 82. "As long as Chuck Berry's around, everything's as it should be."

Dylan describes the late country singer Johnny Cash, with whom he collaborated occasionally, as a man who had his bad patches. Cash, who died in 2003, did some "notorious low-grade stuff" in his later years, he says. "I do miss him. But I started missing him about 10 years before he kicked the bucket."

He reveals that while on tour in the 1960s, he and Cash spent time in London hotels singing into a tape recorder. Another singer he would like to collaborate with is McCartney. "I'd like one day to sit down and work with Paul."

Originally a folk singer, Dylan was famously branded a "Judas" by his early fan base after swapping his acoustic guitar for electric and embracing modern rock'n'roll.

Yet 40 years on, he is less enthusiastic about innovations such as YouTube, iPods and video games. "It robs [youth] of their self-identity," he says. "It's a shame to see them so tuned out to real life."

27/05/2009 16:19. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

NOT THAT "TOGETHER": Bob Dylan uneven on new album

You might have missed some content in your review:


Talk about me babe, if you must
Throw on the dirt, pile on the dust
I’d do the same thing if I could
You know what they say
They say it’s all good
All good, it’s all good

"Talk about me babe, if you must" talk spread rumors; gossip:

’If you do that, people will talk’ this refers to the Singout

Magazine article by CPUSA member Irwin Silber accusing Bob Dylan

of selling out "Throw" put me suddenly or forcefully into a

given condition, position "on the dirt" in my grave "pile on the

dust" slang, ’Pile the shit on thick’ invent a pile of shit

about me! Restless Farewell "If the arrow is straight and the

point is slick it can piece through dust no matter how thick"

"I’d do the same thing if I could" if I were in your position I

would have done the same to you as I never believed a word you

said you goddamn commie! "You know what they say / They say it’s

all good" sarcastic: Communism sucks.

Big politicians telling lies
Restaurant kitchen, all full of flies
Don’t make a bit of difference
Don’t see why it should
But it’s all right
cos’ it’s all good, it’s all good, it’s all good

"Big politicians" communist politicians with grandiose ideas

"telling lies" lying to the public about the true nature of

Communism "Restaurant kitchens" commercial recording studios,

kitchen, as place where something is prepared "all full of

flies" full of Communist performers "Don’t make a bit of

difference" sarcastic, Dylan would not be bringing this up if he

was indifferent to it "Don’t see why it should" more sarcasm

"But it’s all right cos’ it’s all good."

"Kitchen" as recording studio; Liner Notes to the Freewheeling

Bob Dylan "After that I thumbed my way to Galveston, in four

days tryin’ to find an ol’ friend whose ma met me at the screen

door and said he’s in the Army. By the time the kitchen door

closed I was passin’ California" In Chronicles Dylan wrote that

he hitchhiked to Texas to hook up with a friend who had a band

but was rejected, screened out, and never made it to the

recording studio.

"Flies" as Communist performers, Some Other Kinds of Songs;

"johnny (little johnny)" Senator Joseph McCarthy "with his

father’s hammer" with Congressional legislation "nailed five

flies t’ the kitchen window�" caught five communist party

members who had recording contracts� "named all the girls" named

other Communists "that did it" who were in the Party "he did /

an’ never knew a / one that didn’t."

"Hammer" as legislation; Eleven Outlined Epitaphs "where state

lines" the borders of the Soviet State "don’t stand" are not

respected "an’ knowledge don’t count" and leftwing propaganda is

dismissed "when feelings are hurt" when people are oppressed

"an’ I am on the side a them hurt feelings / plunged on" cast

suddenly, violently, or deeply into a given state or situation

"by unsensitive hammers" by foreign (unsensitive) heartless

legislation "an’ made t’ bleed by rusty nails" and made to

suffer by antiquated laws. Hard Rain, "I saw a black branch with

blood that kept drippin’" I saw a black branch of humanity

suffering "I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-

bleedin’" I saw a Congress with legislation that was trimmed

off, "bleed" the part of the page that is trimmed off.

Wives are leaving their husbands, they’re beginning to roam
They leave the party, and they never get home
I wouldn’t change it, even if I could
You know what they say man
It’s all good, it’s all good, all good

"Wives are leaving their husbands" Communist Party members are

no longer wed to the strict party line "they’re beginning to

roam" they are becoming deviationists; Marxist term for someone

who does not follow the Party line "roam" as in drift, a gradual

deviation from an original course, model, method, or intention

"They leave the party" they quit the Communist Party "and they

never go home" and they never fully realize what sort of regime

they supported "home" a place of origin or headquarters: the

Kremlin, the Soviet Union "I wouldn’t change it, even if I

could" I would have liked to have forced them to have witnessed

the totalitarian society that they supported but "You know what

they say man / It’s all good, it’s all good, all good"

Brick by brick they tear you down
A teacup of water is enough to drown
You oughta know if they could they would
Whatever going down
It’s all good
All good, it’s all good

"Brick by brick" one by one the reliable sources "the good old

bricks" that you depend on for the information that you based

your worldview on "they tear you down" are denigrated, replaced

my Marxist thinkers "A teacup of water" the smallest amount of

sorrow for others "is enough to drown" is enough to make you

want to drown in sorrow and join the Left instead of thinking

about yourself "You oughta know if they could they would" but if

they had any individual value they would not have to hide behind

collectivism, they are doing so because they are inferior!

"Whatever going down" even if it’s a world class fraud being

perpetrated on Americans "It’s all good All good, it’s all good

People in the country, people on the land
Some of ’em so sick, they can hardly stand
Everybody would move away, if they could
It’s hard to believe, but it’s all good

"People in the country" dissidents deported to gulags "people on

the land" people in the motherland of the Soviet Union "Some of

’em so sick, they can hardly stand" some of the worked to death

by their Communist slave masters in Siberia that they are almost

dead "Everybody would move away, if they could" everyone would

leave that worker’s paradise, that shithole called the USSR if

they could get an exit visa, which they cannot "It’s hard to

believe" it is hard to believe that a country can keep so many

people virtual prisoners, "but it’s all good
Yeaaaa!" but that’s cool, hey it must be fun to be in a Soviet

political prison or mental hospital to which dissidents, many

who were Jewish, were committed.

The widows cry, the orphans bleed
Everywhere you look there’s more misery
Come away with me babe, I wish you would
You know what I’m saying
It’s all good, all good

"The widows cry" those whose loved ones have been killed by the

Communists; Liner Notes to John Wesley Harding wherein Dylan

describes the CPUSA, "They scorn the widow and abuse the child

but I am afraid that they shall not prevail over the young man’s

destiny, not even them!" "the orphans bleed" the anti-Castro

exile fighters incur casualties, Baby Blue "Yonder stands your

orphan with his gun / Crying like a fire in the sun" "Everywhere

you look there’s more misery" all the Communists do is increase

the amount of misery in the world, not ameliorate it or

eradicate it "Come away with me babe, I wish you would" move in

my direction, move to the right "You know what I’m saying" you

must know this from what I have just said, "It’s all good, all

good, I said it’s all good, all good" Communism stinks and gee

wilikers, not only is it 90 miles from Key West, it has struck

my home!

There’s a cold blooded killer stalking the town
Cop cars blinkin’, something bad going down
Buildings are crumbling in the neighborhood
but it’s nothing to worry about, cause it’s all good
It’s all good

"There’s a cold blooded killer" killer slang: having an

impressive or effective power or impact; a formidable enemy, a

Maoist "stalking" following or observing a person persistently,

especially out of obsession or derangement "the town" New York

City as in New York Town "Cop cars blinkin’, police are wavering

or backing down, as in a contest of wills "something bad going

down" Dylan’s 30th Birthday Party Sunday May 24, 1972 "Buildings

are crumbling in the neighborhood" Dylan townhouse is falling

into decay or ruin, and he has to move; Idiot Wind "The priest

wore black on the seventh Day and sat stone faced while the

building burned" I "burned down his crib" drug slang; made it

useless by bringing the heat or the rips around "but it’s

nothing to worry about, cause it’s all good!

I’m gonna pluck off your beard and blow it in your face
This time tomorrow I’ll be roaming in your place
I wouldn’t change a thing, even if I could
You know what they say
They say it’s all good, it’s all good
O yeah

"I’m gonna pluck off your beard" after he beat me up, as a coup

de gras, Dylan plucked off my FREE BOB DYLAN button from my work

shirt and threw it to the ground. I had been court marshaled,

demoted in rank, and my medals were stripped from my uniform, I

was disgraced "beard" something that serves to divert suspicion

or attention from another thing such as the fact that I was not

as militant as I pretended to be "blow it in your face" throw it

in your face in numerous poems, Idiot Wind "I waited for you on

the running board" Journey Through Dark Heat "the laughter down

on Elizabeth Street" "This time tomorrow" When the Night Comes

Falling From the Sky, "This time tomorrow I’ll know you better /

When my memory is not so short" "I’ll be roaming" wandering

about in search of something; Idiot Wind "in your place" a

business establishment or office, in this case a safe house from

which pot was sold. As stated Lord Oliver Foot was a mutual

friend who often visited the office "I wouldn’t change a thing,

even if I could" I wouldn’t get you busted, even though I could

have "You know what they say / They say it’s all good, it’s all

good / O yeah"

03/05/2009 19:12. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Liverpool, England May 1, 2009

Liverpool, England
Echo Arena
May 1, 2009

1. Watching The River Flow (Bob on keyboard)
2. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (Bob on keyboard)
3. Things Have Changed (Bob on keyboard)
4. Boots Of Spanish Leather (Bob on guitar)
5. The Levee's Gonna Break (Bob on keyboard)
6. Sugar Baby (Bob on keyboard)
7. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum (Bob on keyboard)
8. Po' Boy (Bob on keyboard)
9. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (Bob on keyboard)
10. Just Like A Woman (Bob on keyboard)
11. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
12. Something (Bob on keyboard)
13. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
14. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)


15. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
16. Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
17. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard)

02/05/2009 00:29. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Birmingham, England April 29, 2009

Birmingham, England
National Indoor Arena (NIA)
April 29, 2009

1. The Wicked Messenger (Bob on keyboard)
2. It Ain't Me, Babe (Bob on guitar)
3. High Water (For Charley Patton) (Bob on keyboard)
4. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
(Bob on keyboard)
5. Man In The Long Black Coat (Bob on keyboard)
6. Desolation Row (Bob on keyboard)
7. Honest With Me (Bob on keyboard)
8. Workingman's Blues #2 (Bob on keyboard)
9. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
10. Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob on keyboard)
11. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine) (Bob on keyboard)
12. Ain't Talkin' (Bob on keyboard)
13. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
14. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)


15. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
16. Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
17. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard)

30/04/2009 12:21. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

London, England April 25, 2009

London, England
O2 Arena

April 25, 2009


1.Maggie's Farm (Bob on keyboard)
2.The Times They Are A-Changin' (Bob on keyboard)
3.Things Have Changed (Bob on keyboard)
4.Chimes Of Freedom (Bob on keyboard)
5.Rollin' And Tumblin' (Bob on keyboard)
6.The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll (Bob on keyboard)
7.'Til I Fell In Love With You (Bob center stage)
8.Workingman's Blues #2 (Bob on keyboard)
9.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
10.Ballad Of Hollis Brown (Bob on keyboard)
11.Po' Boy (Bob on keyboard)
12.Honest With Me (Bob on keyboard)
13.When The Deal Goes Down (Bob on keyboard)
14.Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
15.Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)
16.All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
17.Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
18.Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard)
27/04/2009 00:04. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

The Big Question: Why does Bob Dylan keep touring and is he still the best?


Why are we asking this now?

Because, like God, Dylan is everywhere. His ubiquity is extraordinary. His 33rd studio album Together Through Life will shortly be released, the fourth in an extraordinary late flowering of bluesy songs that kicked off with the brilliant Time Out of Mind in 1997. His Theme Time Radio Hour, available here on BBC6, has logged 100 hours of quirkily eclectic music from a slew of genres, even if it may be coming to a close (his most recent song "theme" was "Goodbye"). His recent exhibition of paintings, the Drawn Blank Series, in London's Mayfair may be followed by a travelling sculpture exhibition in Europe next year. This Sunday's one-off concert at the Roundhouse is a stroll in the park for a man who routinely performs 150 concerts a year. And if anyone ever mentions the world's most prestigious writing award, the Nobel Prize for Literature, somebody will tap his nose and sagely assure you that Bob Dylan has been "on the shortlist" for the last four years. Oh and Barack Obama brags about having Dylan's songs on his iPod. Like I say, ubiquitous.

Remind me: who is Bob Dylan?

Born Robert Zimmerman in May 1941. Family descended from Russian and Lithuanian Jews. Raised in Duluth and Hibbing, Minnesota, where formed bands in high school. Dropped out of University of Minnesota, determined to infuse US folk music with new seriousness. Went to New York, discovered art and books, sat at hospital bedside of his hero, Woody Guthrie. Began to perform songs in Greenwich Village. First album of cover versions from Columbia, 1962. Made reputation with second and third albums, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan and The Times They Are A-Changin', as musical seer and prophet of social breakdown and political apocalypse in songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind", "Hard Rain's Gonna Fall", "Masters of War", "Chimes of Freedom", etc. His sandpaper rasp and unmelodious whine put off some listeners, but cover versions by Joan Baez, The Byrds and others showcased the melodies. His love songs and sardonic "talking blues" also impressed.

So he was the voice of the Sixties?

By 1964 he was considered the leading light of protest movement - but he soon rejected political rhetoric in favour of impressionistic, beautiful, image-driven songs of existential and cultural confusion: "Mr Tambourine Man", "Desolation Row", "Visions of Joanna", "Like a Rolling Stone". They introduced the concept of the long, thoughtful, poetic rock lyric and influenced everyone from The Beatles to Bruce Springsteen. But he irritated many folk fans by embracing electric blues and rock'n'roll in 1965.

Enough of the Sixties. That was ages ago. What happened in the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties and Nineties?

Dylan's finest period was 1963-66, three years of crazy fertility. In the Seventies, he hit a second stride with Blood on the Tracks and Desire, the first charting the end of his marriage, the latter returning to his early embrace of public political controversy with "Hurricane," about a wrongly -accused black boxer. The listening world sat up and took notice again. Dylan appealed to the stoned gypsy rover in his fans' hearts by embarking on the Rolling Thunder Revue with a dozen Greenwich Village folkies, commemorated in the documentary Reynaldo and Clara. He became a born-again Christian in the late 1970s and his output (Slow Train Coming, Saved) suffered.

The 1980s were a glum time: many albums flopped, his collaboration (eg with the Grateful Dead), charity singing (eg Live Aid 1985) and movies (eg the disastrous Hearts of Fire) were badly received. But he played new tricks. He revealed that he'd kept certain key recordings of the decade (like the epic "Blind Willie McTell") off his albums; they were later released as The Bootleg Series. He formed a casual, intensely melodic, folkie super-group called The Travelling Wilburys with George Harrison, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne, to great acclaim. He also began the gruelling night-after-night gig schedule that became known as The NeverEnding Tour, which is still going strong.

In the 1990s, after another critical mauling, Dylan stopped making studios for seven years. He returned to his folk roots and made an album of classic blues and folk numbers. He needed a break. In spring 1997, he nearly died of a heart infection called pericarditis, but he bounced back to produce Time out of Mind later that year, his best-received work in years, which ushered in the current remarkable renaissance.

So the secret of his longevity is...?

Several things. 1) His transformation of rock'n' roll in the mid-1960s casts a long shadow: anything new that he does is greeted with respect. 2) His shifting of genres (folk, rock, country, jazz, western swing, rockabilly, lounge ballads, even rap – he invented the rap song with "Subterranean Homesick Blues") means he remains musically unpin-down-able. 3) The air of mystery and aggressively-defended privacy he projects, about his early days in Minnesota to his motorbike crash to his marital status, are red rags to critical bulls. 4) The lexicon of literary, Biblical and filmic hints with which his songs are studded have delighted successive generations of fans and academics, eg former Oxford Professor of Poetry, Christopher Ricks. 5) Lately, he has delighted hard-core fans by suddenly embracing the truth. His first volume of autobiography, Chronicles Vol 1 was a miracle of clarity and warmth about his early musical and literary education; Martin Scorcese's documentary about his life, No Direction Home, saw him giving straight answers to straight questions on-camera – something unheard of 20 years ago.

Isn't he just a prolix singer-songwriter who takes himself too seriously?

Actually, no. He is a modern version of the baffling, shape-changing riddler or trickster archetype from world mythology. He has played games with listeners, fans, cultists, academics, biographers and thousands of journalists over the years. As for his seriousness – whimsy has come to play a big part in his appeal. Kenneth Tynan used to say he was sure God the Father would be just like Ralph Richardson – a puckish, unpredictable, whimsical grandee. Dylan's the same. Listen to him name-checking young women singers on his last album ("I was thinking 'bout Alicia Keyes... I was wonderin' where Alicia Keyes could be,") watch his hat-and-cane soft-shoe shuffle in the video to his Oscar-winning "Things Have Changed," marvel at the way he lent his endorsement to the Victoria's Secret lingerie company, or recorded a Pepsi commercial with the rapper Will I.am broadcast at this year's Superbowl, and allowed the Co-Op to edit the lyrics to "Blowin' in the Wind" for a TV commercial, and you're aware of a man laughing at his own past and his reputation. He's one of the few undisputed musical geniuses of the 1960s explosion, but has always seemed able to laugh at his status as "voice of a generation."

Is Dylan worth all the fuss?


* He's a living legend, who connects us with the very beginnings of rock and youth protest

* He has a bigger back catalogue of fine songs (600) than the Beatles, Stones and Beach Boys combined

* He can still be the conscience of America; he knows Barak Obama wouldn't want to let him down


* Not any more. Listen to the backing of his new songs and you can tell he's lost interest in melody

* Have you heard him in concert mangling his old classics? It's a desecration

* He's only revered because he'll be the first 1960s rock star to hit 70...

25/04/2009 21:30. plotino #. BOB DYLAN Hay 1 comentario.

Geneva, Switzerland April 20, 2009

Geneva, Switzerland
Geneva Arena
April 20, 2009

1. Watching The River Flow (Bob on keyboard)
2. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (Bob on keyboard)
3. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues (Bob on guitar)
4. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
(Bob on keyboard)
5. Million Miles (Bob on keyboard)
6. Tough Mama (Bob on keyboard)
7. Tryin' To Get To Heaven (Bob on keyboard)
8. The Levee's Gonna Break (Bob on keyboard)
9. When The Deal Goes Down (Bob on keyboard)
10. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (Bob on keyboard)
11. Beyond The Horizon (Bob on keyboard)
12. Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob on keyboard)
13. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
14. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)


15. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
16. Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
17. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard)

21/04/2009 08:58. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Bob Dylan’s official historian-in-residence, Sean Wilentz

Bob Dylan’s official historian-in-residence, Sean Wilentz, gets an early listen of the bard’s new album. Protest anthems? Out. These are the songs of the consummate American musician.


Listening to the third track of Bob Dylan’s new album, Together Through Life, it hit me. The melody of the song, “My Wife’s Home Town,” is basically a note-for-note reprise of the Muddy Waters classic, “I Just Want to Make Love to You," written by the Chicago blues great Willie Dixon, first recorded by Waters in 1954, and later recorded by, among others, Etta James and the (early) Rolling Stones. The tempo is a little slower; and David Hidalgo’s accordion drifts in and out of lines played on the original by the pianist Otis Spann and the harmonica virtuoso Little Walter; but the melody’s the same, and the arrangement comes mighty close.

Dylan’s voice, with age, has mellowed (if that’s the word) into a blues rasp close to that of yet another Chicago blues great, Howlin’ Wolf.

I wondered if Dylan was paying homage to Waters or Dixon or James or Mick Jagger, or maybe all of them. But what hit me was something else: how Dylan’s voice, with age, has mellowed (if that’s the word) into a blues rasp close to that of yet another Chicago blues great, Howlin’ Wolf. And so, on an old song that Dylan has rewritten into a wicked number about an archetypical Evil Woman, strange revenants appear—ghosts from Chess Records sessions dating back more than half a century that suddenly take flesh as Dylan, Hidalgo, and the rest of the band that Dylan has assembled for Together Through Life. An album of songs about women and love (with all but one of the songs’ lyrics co-credited to Robert Hunter, the Grateful Dead writer who has written with Dylan before), it is also about music that Dylan has travelled with through his own life.

The new recording is in some ways very much of a piece with Dylan’s recent work dating back to Love and Theft, released in 2001. Sounds, melodies, country and pop-song lyrics (“the boulevard of broken dreams” becomes “the boulevard of broken cars”) and snatches of classical poetry (Ovid makes a brief appearance here, unnoted, as he did on Dylan’s last album of original songs, Modern Times) get permuted and recombined into something new that also sounds old. And as in Dylan’s other work of late (including his deeply underrated film, Masked & Anonymous), the simplest of the songs can contain layers that approach allusion, but only just. In her 1973 hit, “Jolene,” Dolly Parton pleads with a raving beauty, “with flaming locks of auburn hair” and “eyes of emerald green,” begging her not to steal her man. In Dylan’s version—a toss-off steady rocker with the same title and a nice guitar hook—Jolene’s eyes are brown and Dylan sings as the king to her queen, packing a Saturday night special and grabbing his dice. A plain enough sex song—but lurking in the lyrics and the music there are also hints of Robert Johnson’s “32-20 Blues,” as well as Victoria Spivey’s album recorded in early 1962, Three Kings and the Queen (on which a 20-year-old Bob Dylan, no king, played harmonica in back of Big Joe Williams).

Even when the songs tell of loss and longing, the album has a musically warm, at times almost sunny atmosphere, which comes largely from the Tex-Mex strains from Hildalgo’s squeeze box (best known from the recordings of Hidalgo’s regular band, Los Lobos), at times paired with Dylan’s current road band regular, Donnie Herron, playing a mariachi trumpet. And there is a good deal of throwback here, to Dylan’s own music as well as to that of others. Dylan has used Tex-Mex sounds effectively in his own work since at least 1965, when he added, at the last minute, brilliant guitar swirls, (reminiscent of Grady Martin’s on Marty Robbins’s ballad, “El Paso”) by the visiting Nashville sideman, Charlie McCoy, to the studio version of “Desolation Row.” At the very moment he broke with the more conventional forms of 1960s folk music, Dylan publicly acknowledged his admiration for the work of his friend, the San Antonio genius Doug Sahm, and Sahm’s Tex-Mex rock band with a British invasion name, The Sir Douglas Quintet.

The sound of much of Together Through Life fits well with the mythic Old West setting, which (along with the Civil War and the bluesmen’s land, from Mississippi to Chicago, circa 1938 to 1955) have repeatedly sparked Dylan’s imagination: matrices of American myth. Hildalgo is also the latest in a string of master keyboard players with whom Dylan has played and recorded over the decades, including Bobby Griffin, Al Kooper, and Augie Meyers, not to mention his own often overlooked piano and organ playing. Dylan’s fans and critics have made a great deal out of what he once called “that thin… that wild mercury sound” that he captured on Blonde on Blonde. Dylan built that sound out of a vortex of guitars, harmonica, and, above all, Kooper’s organ. Together Through Life bears no obvious resemblance to Blonde on Blonde, but the metallic glow Dylan was talking about reappears, sometimes shining softly, sometimes shimmering in a rollicking jump.

As the early press reports have revealed, the album grew out of a commission for a song to appear in a forthcoming film directed by Olivier Dahan. Nothing odd about that either: At Dylan’s live shows, he shows off, perched on one of the amps, the Oscar he won for “Things Have Changed” (and which makes him, along with the likes of Aaron Copland, one of the few artists ever to receive both a Pulitzer Prize and an Academy Award). That initial movie song, “If You Ever Go to Houston,” takes us back for a little while to the 1870s or so, in the voice of a veteran of the Mexican War, instructing the listener on how to walk in that city (the album has a thing about keeping your hands in your pockets), with some site check-offs for Texas cities (like the Magnolia Hotel in Dallas), but mainly with a lush soundscape of Tony Garnier’s bass, what sounds like Mike Campbell on a gut-stringed acoustic guitar, and Hidalgo, playing a repeating tune of descending note-pairings.


There are no Dylan epics like “Highlands” here, nor too much, really, to tax the brain, but there is plenty to dance to, shake to, even laugh to. Together Through Life is above all a musical album, which may disappoint the Bob Dylan wing of English departments throughout the land. The album’s look drives that home. The front cover, already spread around the Internet, is one of Bruce Davidson’s photographs of a Brooklyn gang taken in 1959, depicting a serious make-out session in the backseat of a speeding car: Love and Sex. But the album’s back cover is completely musical—a Josef Koudelka photograph, taken in the mid-1960s, of a band of Romanian gypsy musicians, with an accordionist right in the middle.


There is, yes, a protest song, but more humorous than accusatory, sending up the inane, omnipresent, motivational-speaker cliché, “It’s all good!” (Politically minded fans who might have expected a Dylan song entitled “Feel a Change Coming On,” to pick up where Sam Cooke or maybe Barack Obama left off will be surprised by its reflective later-in-the-day love lyric in which the singer announces his high-low taste in books and music, and which has a bridge that some will hear as Dylan himself truly speaking: “Dreams never worked for me, anyway/ Even when they did come true.” The song also includes a lovely, poignant lifting from Nehemiah 9:3 about “the fourth part of the day” —a time of confession and prayer in the Bible—being nearly gone.)

In 1965, the year that Dylan famously played electric at the Newport Folk Festival, the fetishists of authenticity (along with fans who just loved great American music) clung to the re-discovered black blues artists who were enjoying a last taste of celebrity singing the songs they had recorded in the 1920s and 1930s for the Vocalion and Okeh and Bluebird labels. There was Son House (who was 63 years old), and Mississippi John Hurt (in his early seventies), and Mance Lipscomb (exactly 70), as well as a younger cohort that included Willie Dixon and Memphis Slim, who were both 50. Now the untamed young musical expeditionary of 1965 is right up there with the old guys—he turns 68 in May—yet he’s not just reinventing and performing his old songs for college kids, but turning the old into the new and then back again, with fresh myth-laden music that achieves the amazing feat (which Dylan says has noticed in Obama’s writing, which he say he admires) of making you think and feel at the same time. This time out, though, maybe more than ever, he also rouses you to dance and dance, and then dance some more, before heading for the exits, and then, well… then seeing what more might develop.

Sean Wilentz is a history professor at Princeton University whose books include The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln and The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008. He is a contributing editor at The New Republic, and historian-in-residence at Bob Dylan’s officialWeb site.

18/04/2009 11:29. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Rome, Italy April 17, 2009

Rome, Italy
April 17, 2009

1. Cat's In The Well (Bob on keyboard)
2. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (Bob on keyboard)
3. Things Have Changed (Bob on guitar)
4. Boots Of Spanish Leather (Bob on guitar)
5. The Levee's Gonna Break (Bob on keyboard)
6. Sugar Baby (Bob on keyboard)
7. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
(Bob on center stage - no harp or keyboard)
8. Make You Feel My Love (Bob on keyboard)
9. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (Bob on keyboard)
10. Beyond The Horizon (Bob on keyboard)
11. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
12. Love Sick (Bob on keyboard)
13. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
14. Return To Me (Bob on keyboard)
15. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)


16. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
17. Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
18. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard)

18/04/2009 11:21. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Is Together Through Life co-written - yes, with Robert Hunter


In anticipation of the release of his 33rd album, Together Through Life, Bob Dylan sat down with rock critic and MTV producer Bill Flanagan for a rare and unusually candid conversation. The first three portions of their meeting can be read at bobdylan.com, and the fourth installment can be read here on the Huffington Post).

In the fifth installment, published below, Dylan reveals his favorite songwriters, discusses whether he's a cult figure, and gives his thoughts on trading on nostalgia and if he's a mainstream artist.

Bill Flanagan: Going back to that song you wrote for the movie that you mentioned earlier, "Life is Hard," has the formality of an old Rudy Vallee or Nelson Eddy ballad right down to the middle eight ("Ever since the day..."). Do you figure that if you start a song in that style, you stick with the rules right down the line?

Bob Dylan: Sure, I try to stick to the rules. Sometimes I might shift paradigms within the same song, but then that structure also has its own rules. And I combine them both, see what works and what doesn't. My range is limited. Some formulas are too complex and I don't want anything to do with them.

BF: "Forgetful Heart" - how do you decide to put an Appalachian banjo on a minor key blues? Is it something you think of ahead of time or does it come up in the session?

BD: I think it probably came up at the studio. A banjo wouldn't be out of character though. There is a minor key modality to "Forgetful Heart." It's like Little Maggie or Darling Cory, so there is no reason a banjo shouldn't fit or sound right.

BF: You wrote a lot of these songs with Robert Hunter. How does that process work?

BD: There isn't any process to speak of. You just do it. You drive the car. Sometimes you get out from behind the wheel and let someone else step on the gas.

BF: You must have known Hunter a long time. Do you remember where you first met?

BD: It was either back in '62 or '63 when I played in the Bay area. I might have met him in Palo Alto or Berkley or Oakland. I played all those places then and I could have met Hunter around that time. I know he was around.

BF: Didn't Hunter play in a bluegrass band with Jerry Garcia?

BD: Yeah, it was either that or a jug band.

BF: Have you ever thought about composing anything with those Nashville songwriters?

BD: I've never thought about that.

BF: Neil Diamond did an album years ago where he co-wrote with different Nashville songwriters.

BD: Yeah, that might have worked for him. I don't think it would work for me.

BF: You don't think it would work for you?

BD: No. I'm okay without it. I'm not exactly obsessed with writing songs. I go back a ways with Hunter. We're from the same old school so it makes it's own kind of sense.

BF: Do you listen to a lot of songs?

BD: Yeah - sometimes.

BF: Who are some of your favorite songwriters?

BD: Buffett I guess. Lightfoot. Warren Zevon. Randy. John Prine. Guy Clark. Those kinds of writers.

BF: What songs do you like of Buffett's?

BD: "Death of an Unpopular Poet." There's another one called "He Went to Paris."

BF: You and Lightfoot go way back.

BD: Oh yeah. Gordo's been around as long as me.

BF: What are your favorite songs of his?

BD: "Shadows," "Sundown," "If You Could Read My Mind." I can't think of any I don't like.

BF: Did you know Zevon?

BD: Not very well.

BF: What did you like about him?

BD: "Lawyers, Guns and Money." "Boom Boom Mancini." Down hard stuff. "Join me in L.A." sort of straddles the line between heartfelt and primeval. His musical patterns are all over the place, probably because he's classically trained. There might be three separate songs within a Zevon song, but they're all effortlessly connected. Zevon was a musician's musician, a tortured one. "Desperado Under the Eaves." It's all in there.

BF: Randy Newman?

BD: Yeah, Randy. What can you say? I like his early songs, "Sail Away," "Burn Down the Cornfield," "Louisiana," where he kept it simple. Bordello songs. I think of him as the Crown Prince, the heir apparent to Jelly Roll Morton. His style is deceiving. He's so laid back that you kind of forget he's saying important things. Randy's sort of tied to a different era like I am.

BF: How about John Prine?

BD: Prine's stuff is pure Proustian existentialism. Midwestern mindtrips to the nth degree. And he writes beautiful songs. I remember when Kris Kristofferson first brought him on the scene. All that stuff about "Sam Stone" the soldier junky daddy and "Donald and Lydia," where people make love from ten miles away. Nobody but Prine could write like that. If I had to pick one song of his, it might be "Lake Marie." I don't remember what album that's on.

BF: A lot of the acts from your generation seem to be trading on nostalgia. They play the same songs the same way for the last 30 years. Why haven't you ever done that?

BD: I couldn't if I tried. Those guys you are talking about all had conspicuous hits. They started out anti-establishment and now they are in charge of the world. Celebratory songs. Music for the grand dinner party. Mainstream stuff that played into the culture on a pervasive level. My stuff is different from those guys. It's more desperate. Daltrey, Townshend, McCartney, the Beach Boys, Elton, Billy Joel. They made perfect records, so they have to play them perfectly ... exactly the way people remember them. My records were never perfect. So there is no point in trying to duplicate them. Anyway, I'm no mainstream artist.

BF: Then what kind of artist are you?

BD: I'm not sure, Byronesque maybe. Look, when I started out, mainstream culture was Sinatra, Perry Como, Andy Williams, Sound of Music. There was no fitting into it then and of course, there's no fitting into it now. Some of my songs have crossed over but they were all done by other singers.

BF: Have you ever tried to fit in?

BD: Well, no, not really. I'm coming out of the folk music tradition and that's the vernacular and archetypal aesthetic that I've experienced. Those are the dynamics of it. I couldn't have written songs for the Brill Building if I tried. Whatever passes for pop music, I couldn't do it then and I can't do it now.

BF: Does that mean you create outsider art? Do you think of yourself as a cult figure?

BD: A cult figure, that's got religious connotations. It sounds cliquish and clannish. People have different emotional levels. Especially when you're young. Back then I guess most of my influences could be thought of as eccentric. Mass media had no overwhelming reach so I was drawn to the traveling performers passing through. The side show performers - bluegrass singers, the black cowboy with chaps and a lariat doing rope tricks. Miss Europe, Quasimodo, the Bearded Lady, the half-man half-woman, the deformed and the bent, Atlas the Dwarf, the fire-eaters, the teachers and preachers, the blues singers. I remember it like it was yesterday. I got close to some of these people. I learned about dignity from them. Freedom too. Civil rights, human rights. How to stay within yourself. Most others were into the rides like the tilt-a-whirl and the rollercoaster. To me that was the nightmare. All the giddiness. The artificiality of it. The sledge hammer of life. It didn't make sense or seem real. The stuff off the main road was where force of reality was. At least it struck me that way. When I left home those feelings didn't change.

BF: But you've sold over a hundred million records.

BD: Yeah I know. It's a mystery to me too.

16/04/2009 16:48. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Milan, Italy April 15, 2009

Milan, Italy
Assago DatchForum
April 15, 2009

1. The Wicked Messenger (Bob on keyboard)
2. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues (Bob on guitar)
3. Just Like A Woman (Bob on keyboard)
4. Rollin' And Tumblin' (Bob on keyboard)
5. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (Bob on keyboard)
6. High Water (For Charley Patton) (Bob on keyboard)
7. Sugar Baby (Bob on keyboard)
8. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
(Bob on keyboard)
9. Blind Willie McTell (Bob on keyboard)
10. Desolation Row (Bob on keyboard)
11. Honest With Me (Bob on keyboard)
12. Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob on keyboard)
13. When The Deal Goes Down (Bob on keyboard)
14. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
15. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)


16. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
17. Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
18. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard)

16/04/2009 09:04. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

On Bob Dylan’s new album ›Together Through Life

on Bob Dylan’s new album ›Together Through Life‹

Text: Max Dax, Alex Paulick

Alongside the American publications Rolling Stone and the New Yorker, the British magazines Mojo and Uncut, Spex is one of three German magazines to have been granted a listening session of the new album by Bob Dylan, entitled »Together Through Life«. Max Dax was able to listen to it twice altogether – so it is still too early for a comprehensive, well founded critique. But his notes – a rough protocol in illegible stenography – were sufficient for a song-by-song review as the first part of the big Spex Online special on Bob Dylan - with the explicit possibility of wrongly heard and therefore incorrectly quoted song lyrics.

    The album – by a long way the most nervously anticipated by fans and press so far this year – turns out to be a surprising and entirely well-rounded record, with a marked Mexican/Cajun influence. It sounds like a summer album, full of longing for the American South and a time that is lost forever. While on his previous records »Love & Theft« (2001) and »Modern Times« (2006) Dylan was still singing in bitter protest against those modern times and evoking old epochs, it seems that the meanwhile 67 year old singer has at last made peace with the fact that no one can alter the march of time. And In the face of this irrefutable knowledge, the only thing that helps is - an accordion!

Translated from German by Alex Paulick (Coloma)
Siehe auch: Dieser Artikel auf deutsch / This article in German

1. »Beyond Here Lies Nothin’«

We hear a trumpet, an accordion, a low-tuned acoustic guitar, a Hammond organ and a pumping electric bass - but the band is driven by the rumba-blues rhythm of the drums. Bob Dylan opens his new album with the lines: »Oh well I love you pretty baby / You’re the only love I’ve ever known / Just as long as you stay with me / The whole world is my throne / Beyond here lies nothing / Nothing we can call our own.« It is a love song of the raw, disillusioned kind, which holds its appeal by virtue of the band’s rough-hewn pleasure in playing.

    Surprising are the choice of rhythm and the disarming sound palette: a Latin feel is present, suggesting a "south-of-the-border" mood - an American expression referring to Mexican music and the way of life beyond the Rio Grande. The accordion as a rhythmic element and the trash-can blues trumpet are striking, and might otherwise suggest a similarity to Tom Waits – although Dylan sings much less theatrically and isn’t angling for an effect.

    »Beyond Here Lies Nothin’« is the perfect opener, manifesting an easiness which marks out the territory of the whole album. With the accordion, it seems as if Dylan is intentionally expanding the sound of his long-standing live band, using the new instrument as a kind of wild card. The western swing references, which for all intents and purposes were exhausted after »Love & Theft« and »Modern Times«, have been discarded. A surprising looseness is established, and seems to announce that the deck has been reshuffled! On accordion: David Hidalgo of Los Lobos from East L.A.

2. »Life Is Hard«

The instrumentation of this slow, sentimental ballad suggests the sound of the thirties or forties: steel guitar, mandolin, accordion, brushed drums, upright bass. Dylan sings with tender, onomatopoeic phrasing: »The sun is sinking low / I guess it’s time to go / I feel a chilly breeze / In place of memories / My dreams are locked and barred / Admitting life is hard / Without you near me.« The intriguing rhythmic interplay between the straight vocal line and swinging jazz drums leaves the tune floating in a state of ambiguity. Apparently, this song was the genesis of »Together Through Life«. It was originally written by Dylan as a contribution to »My Own Love Song«, a new film by Olivier Dahan, and was recorded in October of last year. During the work on this song, Dylan saw the beginnings of something bigger, which led him to extend the recording sessions, resulting in the ten new songs on this album.

3. »My Wife’s Home Town«

An ironic, at first seemingly threatening blues tune. This song probably most clearly demonstrates what Dylan means in a recent interview with Bill Flanagan on Bobdylan.com (PDF) when he talks about the influence of the sound of the Chicago blues label Chess Records. This track, slightly too slow to be roadhouse blues, very much resembles Muddy Waters classics like »Mannish Boy« or »I Just Wanna Make Love to You«. Yet the accordion plays unexpectedly bright major chords and Dylan foils the mood, grumbling with twinkle in his eye: »She can make you steal / Make you rob / Give you the hives / Make you lose your tongue / Can make things bad / She can make things worse / She got stuff more potent than a gypsy curse«. The lasting impression is of something like Muddy Waters singing a Lyle Lovett song: »There ain’t no way to put me down / I just wanna say that Hell’s my wife’s home town«. After adding a long »hoooooometown« to the last chorus, Dylan even laughs diabolically before the song fades out.

4. »If You Ever Go to Houston«

The musical atmosphere of this outstanding song evokes cinematic images. The sea breeze that blows across the Gulf of Mexico into Texas also blows through this song. It has a vague echo of some old Cajun standard, the title of which the singer has since forgotten. But the piece is a little too slow to be a Cajun tune - like most songs on »Together Through Life« seem ›too slow‹ for their referential genre in a strangely pleasant way. The pedal steel, organ and accordion block out the optimistic riff throughout the track, and the relaxed shuffle is driven by acoustic guitar and brushes.

    Dylan sings in the spaces which open up in between: »If you are ever down there / (…) / You better watch out for the man with the shining star / Better know where you are going / Or stay where you are«, or: »I know these streets / I’ve been here before / I nearly got killed here / During the Mexican War«. With these lyrics he makes unequivocally clear that the Texan-Mexican border town feeling is not only meant musically, but word for word - and not only in this piece, but throughout the entire record. Also worth mentioning is that Dylan is really singing here: he holds the notes, singing emphatically with a joyful passion. This is something we haven’t heard from him in years.

5. »Forgetful Heart«

The most unspectacular song on »Together Through Life«: organ pads, a sluggish beat, tambourine, a distorted steel guitar and the accordion meandering in the background. In its form, »Forgetful Heart« reminds of slower, late Dylan classics like »Nettie Moore« or »Ain’t Talkin’« or »Can’t Wait« – but lacks the observational clarity and literary precision of those songs. Perhaps it is due to the subject matter? Dylan sings: »Forgetful heart / Lost your power of recall / Every little detail / You don’t remember at all / The times we knew / Who would remember better than you?«

Bob Dylan Mailand
Bob Dylan in concert in Milan, November 2005. He will visit Germany and Switzerland in April 2009 as part of his European tour. Presented by Spex Magazine. Don’t you dare miss it!

(Photo: CC ISphoto / Flickr)

6. »Jolene«

Another song written in a roadhouse blues frame: in »Jolene« the shuffle driven by the electric guitar motif reminds of Little Richard's »Lucille«, but the song is maybe too slow for this musical comparison. The phrase »I am the king and you are the queen / Jolene« invites another comparison, to David Bowie's »Heroes«, and the lines: »I could be king and you could be queen«. Along with »Forgetful Heart« this is another song where format is more pronounced than originality. But all the songs on »Together Through Life«, including the less strong ones like »Jolene«, are driven by a simplicity which predestines them to be played live often and extensively.

    The overall sound of the album contributes to an assumption: This is a spontaneous recording. Again and again little flubs and bum notes are audible, which assumedly haven't been corrected or rerecorded for the sake of this impression. The songs are written more simply as well, as if Dylan didn't want to invest so much time as to burden the songs with excessive encryption, levels of interpretation and abstraction, but rather to capture a moment. In this respect, »Together Through Life« has something in common with the 19 year old album »Under the Red Sky«. But where that album suffers noticeably under the heavy handed Don Was production values of 1990, and the mixing desk was often more audible than the live room, Dylan's new record profits from a real-time naturalism which wasn't obviously or artificially manipulated through post-production.

7. »This Dream of You«

First impression: singer and band are back in Mexico. To be more precise, with this song Dylan conjures up the aesthetic and the romantic-melancholic mood of his own classic »Romance In Durango« from 1976. Accordion, upright bass and fiddle form the backbone of this slow rumba-ballad. One of the most beautiful lines, not only of this song, but of the entire album, says: »There is a moment where all things become new again / But that moment might have come and gone / All I have and all I know / Is this dream of you / That keeps me moving on«. Dylan doesn't cultivate the old notion of Mexico as an exotic place of longing only with this song - as early as 1963 he wrote the lines »I’ve heard tell of a town / Where I might as well be bound / It’s down around / The old Mexican plains« in the song »Farewell«. Although the outtake from the »The Times They Are A’Changing« sessions was never released, he returned to the subject in »Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues« from 1965 – »When you’re lost in the rain in Juarez / And it’s Eastertime too«. Not to mention that albums like »Desire« or »Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid« are choc full of such references.

8. »Shake Shake Mama«

An abrupt change of mood: in this rumbling barroom stomp Dylan shoots off a fireworks display of innuendos and sexual connotations: »Shake shake Mama / Shake like a ship going out to sea« (…) »I get the blues for you baby / When I look up at the sun / Come back here / We can have some real fun« (…) »Shake shake Mama / Shake until the break of day / I’m right here baby / I’m not that far away«. A song like this reemphasizes the previously mentioned comparison with »Under the Red Sky«, suggesting that »Shake Shake Mama« is the »Wiggle Wiggle« of this record, simply adding another song to a genre – and therefore absolutely legible as an artistic defensive reaction against the efforts to weigh each and every one of Dylan's syllables on a gold scale.

9. »I Feel a Change Comin’ On«

Alongside »If You Ever Go to Houston«, »My Wife’s Home Town« and »This Dream of You«, this is one of the outstanding songs on the new album. One of the two key verses says: »What’s the use in dreaming / You got better things to do / Dreams never did work for me anyway / Even when they are getting true«. The other: »Some people they tell me / I’ve got the blood of the land in my voice«. That might sound heavy and fatalistic, but it is countered by Dylan's crooning voice. It appears that an optimist is singing the sunny hook line: »I feel a change comin’ on« – an impression that is immediately tempered one line later with Dylan's cryptic statement: »And the fourth part of the day is already gone«.

    During an interview with the London newspaper The Times, given last year in Denmark, Dylan was atypically outspoken in his sympathy for the presidential candidate Barack Obama. This song sounds as if he would now like to say, after the election: »surely some things will change for the better, but it's too late anyway«. Although the song is sung happily, it speaks for the prophetic interpretation that throughout this album, Dylan is apparently quoting entire lines from Chaucer's »Canterbury Tales« – that quintessential tome of English literature from the 14th century, which among other topics includes the misuse of religion for political ends. But before we get caught up in over-interpretation, it should be mentioned that »I Feel a Change Comin’ On« is pretty darned similar to »Handy Dandy« in its lively and happy mood. That nursery-rhyme-like number is yet another song from the aforementioned »Under the Red Sky«. Of all songs –  and after nearly two decades –  Dylan played it live for the very first time last year, on the 28th of June in Vigo, Spain. Perhaps it occurred to him that it might be worth revisiting the simplicity of this song, or for that matter, the entire record.

10. »It’s All Good«

The last song of this remarkable album, »It’s All Good«, might still be a little to slow for a Zydeco tune, even despite the driving accordion and its Cajun shuffle rhythm. Here, Dylan displays his sarcastic side: similarly to in his song »Everything Is Broken« from 1989, he lists things that are going wrong, to finally comment with a dry »It’s all good«. Considering that this is the closing chapter of an album which is to be released in the dark days of a financial crisis, perhaps the biggest crisis in the history of capitalism, the song rattles on breathlessly like a freight train, and is beyond all seriousness.

    Dylan sings of »Wives leaving their husbands« and »Big politicians telling lies«, but: »It’s all good«. »Brick by brick they tear you down / A teacup of water is enough to drown / You oughta know if they could they would / Whatever goes down / It’s all good«. In the past it has been the case that ›easier‹ or ›more lively‹ Dylan records preceded an artistic fresh start for the singer. After »Street Legal« followed »Slow Train Coming«, after »Under the Red Sky« the album »Good As I Been to You«, after »Another Side …« came »Bringing It All Back Home«. So what does the future hold? Dylan alone at the piano? We are prepared for anything.


13/04/2009 17:37. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands April 11, 2009

Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Heineken Music Hall
April 11, 2009

1. Maggie's Farm (Bob on keyboard)
2. Mr. Tambourine Man (Bob on keyboard)
3. Man In The Long Black Coat (Bob on keyboard)
4. The Levee's Gonna Break (Bob on keyboard)
5. When The Deal Goes Down (Bob on keyboard)
6. Things Have Changed (Bob on keyboard)
7. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll (Bob on keyboard)
8. Tough Mama (Bob on keyboard)
9. Workingman's Blues #2 (Bob on keyboard)
10. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (Bob on keyboard)
11. Just Like A Woman (Bob on keyboard)
12. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
13. Nettie Moore (Bob on keyboard)
14. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
15. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)


16. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
17. Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
18. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard)

13/04/2009 09:37. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Paris, France April 8, 2009

Paris, France
Palais des Congrès de Paris
April 8, 2009

1. The Wicked Messenger (Bob on keyboard)
2. Lay, Lady, Lay (Bob on guitar)
3. Things Have Changed (Bob on keyboard)
4. When The Deal Goes Down (Bob on keyboard and harp)
5. 'Til I Fell In Love With You (Bob on keyboard and harp)
6. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
(Bob on keyboard and harp)
7. Sugar Baby (Bob on keyboard)
8. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (Bob on keyboard)
9. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll (Bob on keyboard)
10. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum (Bob on keyboard and harp)
11. Beyond The Horizon (Bob on keyboard)
12. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
13. The Times We've Known (Bob on keyboard) (song by Charles Aznavour)
14. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
15. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)


16. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
17. Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
18. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard)

09/04/2009 12:44. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Dylan on Mysticism, Obama the South

Exclusive Excerpt: Dylan on Mysticism, Obama the South


In an exclusive excerpt from a recent interview, Bob Dylan talks with author Bill Flanagan about Barack Obama, the ghosts of the Civil War and presidential autobiographies.

Bill Flanagan: You liked Barack Obama early on. Why was that?
Bob Dylan: I'd read his book and it intrigued me.

"Audacity of Hope"?
No, it was called "Dreams [From] My Father." 

What struck you about him?
Well, a number of things. He's got an interesting background. He's like a fictional character, but he's real. First off, his mother was a Kansas girl. Never lived in Kansas, though, but with deep roots. You know, like Kansas bloody Kansas. John Brown the insurrectionist. Jesse James and Quantrill. Bushwhackers, guerillas. Wizard of Oz Kansas. I think Barack has Jefferson Davis back there in his ancestry someplace. And then his father. An African intellectual. Bantu, Masai, Griot-type heritage--cattle raiders, lion killers. I mean, it's just so incongruous that these two people would meet and fall in love. You kind of get past that, though. And then you're into his story. Like an odyssey, except in reverse.

In what way?
First of all, Barack is born in Hawaii. Most of us think of Hawaii as paradise, so I guess you could say that he was born in paradise.

And he was thrown out of the garden.
Not exactly. His mom married some other guy named Lolo and then took Barack to Indonesia to live. Barack went to both a Muslim school and a Catholic school. His mom used to get up at 4 in the morning and teach him book lessons three hours before he even went to school. And then she would go to work. That tells you the type of woman she was. That's just in the beginning of the story.

What else did you find compelling about him?
Well, mainly his take on things. His writing style hits you on more than one level. It makes you feel and think at the same time, and that is hard to do. He says profoundly outrageous things. He's looking at a shrunken head inside of a glass case in some museum with a bunch of other people, and he's wondering if any of these people realize that they could be looking at one of their ancestors.

What in his book would make you think he'd be a good politician?
Well, nothing really. In some sense, you would think being in the business of politics would be the last thing that this man would want to do. I think he had a job as an investment banker on Wall Street for a second, selling German bonds. But he probably could've done anything. If you read his book, you'll know that the political world came to him. It was there to be had. 

Do you think he'll make a good president?
I have no idea. He'll be the best president he can be. Most of those guys come into office with the best of intentions and leave as beaten men. Johnson would be a good example of that … Nixon, Clinton in a way, Truman, all the rest of them going back. You know, it's like they all fly too close to the sun and get burned.

Did you ever read any other presidential autobiographies?
Yeah, I read Grant's.

What was he like? Any similarities?
The times were different, obviously. And Grant wrote his book after he'd left office.

What did you find interesting about him?
It's not like he's a great writer. He's analytical and cold, but he does have a sense of humor. Grant, besides being a military strategist, was a working man. Worked horses. Tended the horses, plowed and furrowed. Brought in all the crops--the corn and potatoes. Sawed wood and drove wagons since the time he was about 11. Got a crystal-clear memory of all the battles he’d been in.

Do you remember any particular battle that Grant fought?
There were a lot of battles, but the Shilo one is most interesting. He could've lost that. But he was determined to win it at any price, using all kinds of strategies, even faking retreat. You could read it for yourself.

When you think back to the Civil War, one thing you forget is that no battles except Gettysburg were fought in the North.
Yeah. That's what probably makes the Southern part of the country so different.

There is a certain sensibility, but I'm not sure how that connects.
It must be the Southern air. It's filled with rambling ghosts and disturbed spirits. They're all screaming and forlorning. It's like they are caught in some weird web--some purgatory between heaven and hell and they can't rest. They can't live, and they can't die. It's like they were cut off in their prime, wanting to tell somebody something. It's all over the place. There are war fields everywhere … a lot of times even in people's backyards.

Have you felt them?
Oh, sure. You'd be surprised. I was in Elvis's hometown, Tupelo. And I was trying to feel what Elvis would have felt back when he was growing up.

Did you feel all the music Elvis must have heard?
No, but I'll tell you what I did feel. I felt the ghosts from the bloody battle that Sherman fought against Forrest and drove him out. There's an eeriness to the town. A sadness that lingers. Elvis must have felt it too. 

Are you a mystical person?

Any thoughts about why?
I think it's the land. The streams, the forests, the vast emptiness. The land created me. I'm wild and lonesome. Even as I travel the cities, I'm more at home in the vacant lots. But I have a love for humankind, a love of truth, and a love of justice. I think I have a dualistic nature. I'm more of an adventurous type than a relationship type.

But the new album is all about love--love found, love lost, love remembered, love denied.
Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it.

07/04/2009 14:39. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Erfurt, Germany April 2, 2009

Erfurt, Germany

April 2, 2009


1.Cat's In The Well (Bob on keyboard)
2.Man In The Long Black Coat
(Bob picked up the guitar but there were technical problems and switched to keyboard)
3.I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (Bob on keyboard and harp)
4.Can't Wait (Bob on keyboard)
5.Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)
(Bob on keyboard and harp)
6.Beyond The Horizon (Bob on keyboard)
7.High Water (For Charley Patton) (Bob on keyboard)
8.Girl Of The North Country (Bob on keyboard and harp)
9.Honest With Me (Bob on keyboard)
10.A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (Bob on keyboard)
11.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
12.Ain't Talkin' (Bob on keyboard)
13.Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
14.Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)
15.All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
16.Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard and harp)
17.Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard)
06/04/2009 15:02. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Saarbrücken, Germany April 5, 2009

Saarbrücken, Germany

April 5, 2009


1.Gotta Serve Somebody (Bob on keyboard)
2.Lay, Lady, Lay (Bob on guitar)
3.The Levee's Gonna Break (Bob on keyboard)
4.Every Grain Of Sand (Bob on keyboard)
5.Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum (Bob on keyboard)
6.Beyond The Horizon (Bob on keyboard)
7.Honest With Me (Bob on keyboard)
8.Sugar Baby (Bob on keyboard)
9.Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
(Bob on keyboard)
10.Po' Boy (Bob on keyboard)
11.Summer Days (Bob on keyboard)
12.I Believe In You (Bob on keyboard)
13.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
14.Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)
15.All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
16.Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
17.Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard)
06/04/2009 15:00. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Berlin, Germany April 1, 2009

Berlin, Germany
Max Schmeling Halle

April 1, 2009


1.The Wicked Messenger (Bob on keyboard)
2.When I Paint My Masterpiece
(Bob center stage on harp - no keyboard or guitar)
3.You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (Bob on guitar)
4.The Levee's Gonna Break (Bob on keyboard and harp)
5.My Back Pages (Bob on keyboard and harp)
6.Things Have Changed (Bob on keyboard)
7.Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
(Bob center stage on harp - no keyboard or guitar)
8.Beyond The Horizon (Bob on keyboard and harp)
9.Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
(Bob on keyboard and harp)
10.Love Sick (Bob on keyboard)
11.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
12.Workingman's Blues #2 (Bob on keyboard)
13.Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
14.Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)
15.All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
16.Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard and harp)
17.Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard and harp)
02/04/2009 14:08. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Hannover, Germany March 31, 2009

Hannover, Germany

March 31, 2009

1. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
2. The Man In Me (Bob center stage with harp - no guitar)
3. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
4. Chimes Of Freedom
5. The Levee's Gonna Break
6. Sugar Baby
7. John Brown
8. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
9. Masters Of War
10. Shooting Star
11. Highway 61 Revisited
12. Nettie Moore
13. Summer Days
14. Like A Rolling Stone


15. All Along The Watchtower
16. Dignity
17. Thunder On The Mountain

01/04/2009 11:34. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Copenhagen, Denmark March 29, 2009

Copenhagen, Denmark
March 29, 2009

1. Gotta Serve Somebody (Bob on keyboard)
2. When I Paint My Masterpiece
3. Watching The River Flow (Bob on guitar)
4. Simple Twist Of Fate (Bob on keyboard)
5. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum (Bob on keyboard)
6. I Believe In You (Bob on keyboard)
7. 'Til I Fell In Love With You (Bob on keyboard)
8. Tryin' To Get To Heaven (Bob on keyboard)
9. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (Bob on keyboard)
10. Desolation Row (Bob on keyboard)
11. Honest With Me (Bob on keyboard)
12. When The Deal Goes Down (Bob on keyboard)
13. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
14. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)


15. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
16. Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
17. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard)

30/03/2009 00:30. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Oslo, Norway March 25, 2009

Oslo, Norway

March 25, 2009


1.Watching The River Flow (Bob on keyboard)
2.When I Paint My Masterpiece (Bob on harp center stage)
3.You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (Bob on keyboard and harp)
4.It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on banjo)
5.Just Like A Woman (Bob on keyboard)
6.Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
(Bob on keyboard and harp)
7.Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob on keyboard)
8.I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)
(Bob on guitar)
9.The Levee's Gonna Break (Bob on keyboard, Tony on standup bass)
10.When The Deal Goes Down (Bob on keyboard, Tony on standup bass)
11.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
12.A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (Bob on keyboard, Tony on standup bass)
13.Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
14.Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)
15.All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
16.Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
17.Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on violin)
26/03/2009 00:53. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Stockholm, Sweden March 23, 2009

1.Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (Bob on keyboard)
2.Lay, Lady, Lay (Bob on guitar)
3.Tangled Up In Blue (Bob on keyboard)
4.Chimes Of Freedom (Bob on keyboard)
5.High Water (For Charley Patton) (Bob on keyboard)
6.Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
(Bob on keyboard)
7.Love Sick (Bob on keyboard)
8.Desolation Row (Bob on keyboard)
9.Rollin' And Tumblin' (Bob on keyboard)
10.Make You Feel My Love (Bob on keyboard)
11.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
12.One More Cup Of Coffee (Valley Below) (Bob on guitar)
13.Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
14.Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)
15.All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
16.Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
17.Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard)
24/03/2009 00:44. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Stockholm, Sweden March 22, 2009

Stockholm, Sweden
Berns Salonger

March 22, 2009


1.Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine)
(Bob on keyboard)
2.Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power) (Bob on keyboard and harp)
3.I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight (Bob on keyboard and harp)
4.Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
(Bob on keyboard)
5.Tryin’ To Get To Heaven (Bob on keyboard and harp)
6.Things Have Changed (Bob on guitar center stage)
7.Watching The River Flow (Bob on keyboard)
8.Blind Willie McTell (Bob on keyboard)
9.I Don’t Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)
(Bob on keyboard and harp)
10.I Believe In You (Bob on keyboard and harp)
11.Honest With Me (Bob on keyboard)
12.Billy (Bob on keyboard and harp)
13.Summer Days (Bob on keyboard)
14.All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
15.Cry A While (Bob on keyboard and harp)
16.Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)
17.Forever Young (Bob on keyboard and harp)


Review by Steinar Daler

What a night! It is allways with a stange feeling in my stomach I go to a
Dylan concert, specially if it is the first of a tour. We had to que up
outside in snow and cold before we were let in to this beautyful venue. A
lot of us were hoping for David Hidalgo to turn up in Bob's band, but alas
it was only the familiar faces from last tour that took the stage together
with Bob. Danny, Stu and Tony in a row on the left side of the stage,
facing Bob on the right side. George and Donnie in normal positions. First
up was an ordinary You go your way, and then Senor. It seemed like the
audience were very happy to hear that one. Nice version, reminded me of
Dallas last spring. I'll be your baby tonight and Stuck inside of Mobile
followed and it felt like this was going to be an average night. Then we
got a really good Trying to get to heaven with some really nice harmonica
blowing from Bob. Back to normal again with Things have changed. As far as
I remember it and my notes is correct, Bob did not played guitar on this
song, as is mentioned elsewhere. But for Watching the river flow Bob
picked up a huge accoustic guitar and moved center stage. A really niice
version and a feeling that this could be a special night wwere spreading
among the audience. Blind Willie as the next one did not let us down, but
I have heard better versions. For the only time tonight it took a while
before I recognised the next sonhg. I could not hear the lyrics (the sound
was not very good in this hall) and the tune remined me of two songs he
had allready played; You go your way and Things have changed. It turned
out to be I don't believe you. I have heard it better, but on the other
hand I have not heard a better version of the next song; I believe in you,
for a long time. The audience loved it. Honest with me, usually a boring
song in my opinion, followed in a very good version. Blistering guitar
solo from Stu. When you are a Dylan fan sometimes you get a question like
this: "If you met Bob before a concert and he asked you what song do you
want to hear tonight, what song is your chice?" When I have been asked
this, I have had the same answer for years: BILLY. I have never expected
it to happen. Tonight he played it. Beautyful version, what more can I
say. Tears running on a lot of faces, first time for me since 2003 in
Hammersmith when he played Romance in Durango. Maybe a once in a lifetime
experience. Who knows? Good solid versions of Summerdays and Watchtower
ended the main set. The first encore; Cry awhile was a surprise. It was
nice too0 when Bob halfway through moved senter stage. LARS followed and
then another small surprise at the end; Forever young with great harmonica
playing from Bob. do you think I look foreward to the next show? YES, I DO!

23/03/2009 12:26. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

BOB DYLAN new album

Uncut Hears The New Bob Dylan Album

2009-03-17 17:15:33

We now know that the new Bob Dylan album, which unexpectedly will be with us on April 27, is called Together Through Life. We know also that it was written and recorded quickly.


Dylan had been asked by the French film director Olivier Dahan, who made the Edith Piaf biopic, La Vie En Rose, which Dylan had apparently liked, to write some songs for his new movie, My Own Love Song. Dylan duly came up with a ballad called “Life Is Hard”, and was so inspired the next thing anyone knew he’d written nine more new songs and not long after that – bingo! – here’s Together Through Life in all its rowdy glory.

What’s it sound like? Well, early reports have hinted at a mix of Dylan’s beloved Chicago blues and the loping border country feel of, say, “Girl From The Red River Shore”, the latter courtesy of Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo, whose accordion features on every track, alongside Dylan’s formidable current touring band and as yet unidentified guest musicians.

Both musical elements are indeed here, brazenly matched on nearly ever track, Hidalgo either providing lyrical lilting counterpoint to the band’s hard driving blues muscle or flinging himself headlong into the fray with pumping riffs, as on the jumping “If You Ever Go To Houston” (“keep your hands in your pockets and your gun-belts tied”).

The broad template for much of the album would appear to be, let’s say, “Thunder On the Mountain” and “Rollin’ And Tumblin’” from Modern Times, but in truth these tracks are, overall, much punchier, a raucous edge to everything in sight. Only the noble “Life Is Hard” is in the crooning style of something like “Beyond The Horizon” and even here there’s a ragged edge to things that wasn’t apparent on Modern Times, a rawness – emotional and musical – that separates it from that album and its immediate predecessors, “Love And Theft” and Time Out Of Mind.

Together In Life gets in your face immediately – with the wallop of the cheerfully-titled “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’”, which is driven by spectacular drumming and massed horns, a trumpet prominently featured – and over the course of its 10 tracks doesn’t back off, doesn’t appear to even think about doing so, Dylan’s voice throughout an unfettered roar, a splendid growl.

The album broadly is preoccupied with themes of mortality, lost love, grief, the passing of time, memory, waning days and lonely nights. The mood of these songs, however, couldn’t be more different to the mordant reflection of, for instance, “Not Dark Yet”. Together Through Life is a rowdy gut-bucket, by turns angry, funny, sassy, Dylan heading noisily in the direction of that last good night.

“My Wife’s Home Town”, “Shake Mama Shake” and the stingingly ironic “It’s All Good” – an hilariously-wrought litany of personal and national woe – are all eventfully robust, heartily defiant.

“Forgetful Heart”, meanwhile, is set to a measured stalking beat that recalls “Walkin’, Not Talkin’”, while the cantina drift of “This Dream Of You”, with accordion and fiddle taking lead instrumental spots, is fleetingly reminiscent of the first version of “Mississippi” on last year’s Tell-Tale Signs. Elsewhere, there may be things about “Feel A Change Coming On” that will remind you of “Workingman’s Blues”.

On first listen, then, a great album that when it comes out and goes on repeat will get better and better.

Allan Jones
18/03/2009 15:20. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

The Bob Dylan Show - Spring 2009 Tour

The Bob Dylan Show:

---- March 2009 ----
Mon 23 Stockholm
Wed 25 Oslo
Fri 27 Jönköping
Sat 28 Malmö
Sun 29 Köbenhavn
Tue 31 Hannover
---- April 2009 ----
Wed 1 Berlin
Thu 2 Erfurt
Sat 4 München
Sun 5 Saarbrücken
Tue 7 Paris
Wed 8 Paris
Fri 10 Amsterdam
Sat 11 Amsterdam
Sun 12 Amsterdam
Tue 14 Basel
Wed 15 Milano
Fri 17 Roma
Sat 18 Firenze
Mon 20 Geneve
Tue 21 Strasbourg
Wed 22 Brussel
Fri 24 Sheffield
Sat 25 London
Tue 28 Cardiff
Wed 29 Birmingham
---- May 2009 -----
Fri 1 Liverpool
Sat 2 Glasgow
Sun 3 Edinburgh
Tue 5 Dublin
Wed 6 Dublin
---- June 2009 ----

19/02/2009 23:17. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

A Documentary

Peter Bogdanovich documentary about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Running Down a Dream.

17/12/2008 16:18. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Encamp, Andorra June 22, 2008

1.All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on lap steel)
2.Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
(Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on lap steel, Stu on acoustic guitar, Tony on standup bass)
3.High Water (For Charlie Patton)
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on banjo, Tony on standup bass)
4.Tryin' To Get To Heaven (Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on pedal steel)
5.Rollin' And Tumblin' (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin,
Stu on acoustic guitar, Denny on electric slide guitar)
6.Visions Of Johanna
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin, Stu on acoustic guitar)
7.Million Miles (Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on lap steel)
8.Beyond The Horizon
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel, Tony on standup bass)
9.Tangled Up In Blue
(Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on pedal steel, Stu on acoustic guitar, Tony on standup bass)
10.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on lap steel)
11.Sugar Baby
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel, Stu on acoustic guitar, Tony on standup bass)
12.It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on banjo, Tony on standup bass)
13. Nettie Moore (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on viola)
14.Summer Days (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel, Tony on standup bass)
15.Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on lap steel)
16. Thunder On The Mountain
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on lap steel, Stu on acoutic guitar)
17. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on violin)
23/06/2008 15:58. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Toulouse, France June 20, 2008

1.Cat's In The Well (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on violin)
2.Lay, Lady, Lay (Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on pedal steel)
3.Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
(Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on lap steel)
4.Rollin' And Tumblin' (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin,
Denny on electric slide guitar, Stu on acoustic guitar)
5.Simple Twist Of Fate
(Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on pedal steel, Stu on acoustic guitar)
6.The Levee's Gonna Break
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin, Stu on acoustic guitar, Tony on standup bass)
7.Spirit On The Water
(Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on pedal steel, Tony on standup bass)
8.Things Have Changed (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on violin)
9.Desolation Row
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin, Stu on acoustic guitar, Tony on standup bass)
10.Honest With Me (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on lap steel)
11.Sugar Baby
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel, Stu on acoustic guitar, Tony on standup bass)
12.It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on banjo, Tony on standup bass)
13. Nettie Moore (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on viola)
14.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboar, Donnie on lap steel)
15.All Along The Watchtower
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on lap steel, Stu on acoustic guitar)
16. Thunder On The Mountain
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on lap steel, Stu on acoustic guitar)
17. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel)
23/06/2008 15:56. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Grenoble, France June 19, 2008

1.Watching The River Flow (Bob on keyboard and harp)
2.Girl Of The North Country (Bob on keyboard and harp)
3.Lonesome Day Blues (Bob on keyboard)
4.Love Sick (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin)
5.Tangled Up In Blue (Bob on keyboard and harp)
6.Rollin' And Tumblin' (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin)
7.Love Minus Zero/No Limit (Bob on keyboard)
8.High Water (For Charlie Patton) (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on banjo)
9.A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin)
10.I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (Bob on keyboard and harp)
11.Workingman's Blues #2 (Bob on keyboard)
12.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
13. Ain't Talkin' (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on viola)
14.Summer Days (Bob on keyboard)
15.All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
16. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
17. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on violin)
23/06/2008 15:54. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Bergamo, Italy June 16, 2008

1.Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (Bob on keyboard)
2.If You See Her, Say Hello (Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on violin)
3.Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues (Bob on keyboard and harp)
4.The Levee's Gonna Break (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin)
5.Moonlight (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin)
6.Things Have Changed (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on violin)
7.A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin)
8.High Water (For Charlie Patton) (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on banjo)
9.When The Deal Goes Down (Bob on keyboard)
10.Honest With Me (Bob on keyboard)
11.Just Like A Woman (Bob on keyboard and harp)
12.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
13. Beyond The Horizon (Bob on keyboard)
14.Summer Days (Bob on keyboard)
15.Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob on keyboard and harp)
16. Happy Birthday (insturmental) (Bob on keyboard and harp) (Happy Birthday John)
17. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
18. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)

18/06/2008 11:40. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Bo Diddley, Who Gave Rock His Beat, Dies at 79

June 3, 2008

Bo Diddley, Who Gave Rock His Beat, Dies at 79



Bo Diddley, a singer and guitarist who invented his own name, his own guitars, his own beat and, with a handful of other musical pioneers, rock ’n’ roll itself, died Monday at his home in Archer, Fla. He was 79.

The cause was heart failure, a spokeswoman, Susan Clary, said. Mr. Diddley had a heart attack last August, only months after suffering a stroke while touring in Iowa.

In the 1950s, as a founder of rock ’n’ roll, Mr. Diddley — along with Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and a few others — helped to reshape the sound of popular music worldwide, building on the templates of blues, Southern gospel, R&B and postwar black American vernacular culture.

His original style of rhythm and blues influenced generations of musicians. And his Bo Diddley syncopated beat — three strokes/rest/two strokes — became a stock rhythm of rock ’n’ roll.

It can be found in Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away,” Johnny Otis’s “Willie and the Hand Jive,” the Who’s “Magic Bus,” Bruce Springsteen’s “She’s the One” and U2’s “Desire,” among hundreds of other songs.

Yet the rhythm was only one element of his best records. In songs like “Bo Diddley,” “Who Do You Love,” “Mona,” “Crackin’ Up,” “Say, Man,” “Ride On Josephine” and “Road Runner,” his booming voice was loaded up with echo and his guitar work came with distortion and a novel bubbling tremolo. The songs were knowing, wisecracking and full of slang, mother wit and sexual cockiness. They were both playful and radical.

So were his live performances: trancelike ruckuses instigated by a large man with a strange-looking guitar. It was square and he designed it himself, long before custom guitar shapes became commonplace in rock.

Mr. Diddley was a wild performer: jumping, lurching, balancing on his toes and shaking his knees as he wrestled with his instrument, sometimes playing it above his head. Elvis Presley, it has long been supposed, borrowed from Mr. Diddley’s stage moves; Jimi Hendrix, too.

Still, for all his fame, Mr. Diddley felt that his standing as a father of rock ’n’ roll was never properly acknowledged. It frustrated him that he could never earn royalties from the songs of others who had borrowed his beat.

“I opened the door for a lot of people, and they just ran through and left me holding the knob,” he told The New York Times in 2003.

He was a hero to those who had learned from him, including the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. A generation later, he became a model of originality to punk or post-punk bands like the Clash and the Fall.

In 1979 Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon of the Clash asked that Mr. Diddley open for them on the band’s first American tour. “I can’t look at him without my mouth falling open,” Mr. Strummer, star-struck, said during the tour.

For his part Mr. Diddley had no misgivings about facing a skeptical audience. “You cannot say what people are gonna like or not gonna like,” he explained later to the biographer George R. White. “You have to stick it out there and find out! If they taste it, and they like the way it tastes, you can bet they’ll eat some of it!”

Mr. Diddley was born Otha Ellas Bates in McComb, Miss., a small city about 15 miles from the Louisiana border. He was reared primarily by Gussie McDaniel, the first cousin of his mother, Esther Wilson. After the death of her husband, Ms. McDaniel, who had three children of her own, took the family to Chicago, where young Otha’s name was changed to Ellas B. McDaniel. Gussie McDaniel became his legal guardian and sent him to school.

He was 6 when the family resettled on Chicago’s South Side. He described his youth as one of school, church, trouble with street toughs and playing the violin for both band and orchestra, under the tutelage of O. W. Frederick, a prominent music teacher at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Gussie McDaniel taught Sunday school. Ellas studied classical violin from 7 to 15 and started on guitar at 12, when a family member gave him an acoustic model.

He then enrolled at Foster Vocational School, where he built a guitar as well as a violin and an upright bass. But he dropped out before graduating. Instead, with guitar in hand, he began performing in a duo with his friend Roosevelt Jackson, who played the washtub bass. The group became a trio when they added another guitarist, Jody Williams, then a quartet when they added a harmonica player, Billy Boy Arnold.

The band, first called the Hipsters and then the Langley Avenue Jive Cats, started playing at the Maxwell Street open-air market. They were sometimes joined by another friend, Samuel Daniel, known as Sandman because of the shuffling rhythms he made with his feet on a wooden board sprinkled with sand.

Mr. Diddley could not make a living playing with the Jive Cats in the early days, so he found jobs where he could: at a grocery store, a picture-frame factory, a blacktop company. He worked as an elevator operator and a meat packer. He also started boxing, hoping to turn professional.

In 1954 Mr. Diddley made a demonstration recording with his band, which now included Jerome Green on maracas. Phil and Leonard Chess of Chess Records liked the demo, especially Mr. Diddley’s tremolo on the guitar, a sound that seemed to slosh around like water. They saw it as a promising novelty and encouraged the group to return.

By Billy Boy Arnold’s account, the next day, as the band and the men who were soon to be their producers were setting up for a rehearsal, they were idly casting about for a stage name for Ellas McDaniel when Mr. Arnold thought of Bo Diddley. The name described a “bow-legged guy, a comical-looking guy,” Mr. Arnold said, as quoted by Mr. White in his 1995 biography, “Bo Diddley: Living Legend.”

That may be all there is to tell about the name, except for the fact that a certain one-string guitar — native to the Mississippi Delta, often homemade, in which a length of wire is stretched between two nails in a board — is called a diddley bow. By his account, however, Mr. Diddley had never played one.

In any case, Otha Ellas McDaniel had a new name and the title of a new song, whose lyrics began, “Bo Diddley bought his babe a diamond ring.” “Bo Diddley” became the A side of his first single, in 1955, on the Checker label, a subsidiary of Chess. It reached No. 2 on the Billboard singles chart.

Mr. Diddley said he had first heard the “Bo Diddley beat” — three-stroke/rest/two-stroke, or bomp-ba-domp-ba-domp, ba-domp-domp — in a church in Chicago. But variations of it were in the air. The children’s game hambone used a similar rhythm, and so did the ditty that goes “shave and a haircut, two bits.”

The beat is also related to the Afro-Cuban clave, which had been popularized at the time by the New Orleans mambo carnival song “Jock-A-Mo,” recorded by Sugar Boy Crawford in 1953.

Whatever the source, Mr. Diddley felt the beat’s power. In early songs like “Bo Diddley” and “Pretty Thing,” he arranged the rhythm for tom-toms, guitar, maracas and voice, with no cymbals and no bass. (Also arranged in his signature rhythm was the eerie “Mona,” a song of praise he wrote for a 45-year-old exotic dancer who worked at the Flame Show Bar in Detroit; this song became the template for Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away.”)

Appearing on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1955, Mr. Diddley was asked to play “Sixteen Tons,” the song popularized by Tennessee Ernie Ford. Without telling Mr. Sullivan, he played “Bo Diddley” instead. Afterward, in an off-camera confrontation, Mr. Sullivan told him that he would never work in television again. Mr. Diddley did not play again on a network show for 10 years.

For decades Mr. Diddley was bitter about his relationship with the Chess family, whom he accused of withholding money owed to him. In her book “Spinning Blues Into Gold,” Nadine Cohodas quoted Marshall Chess, Leonard’s son, as saying, “What’s missing from Bo’s version of events is all the gimmes.” Mr. Diddley would borrow so heavily against projected royalties, Mr. Chess said, that not much was left over in the final accounting.

Mr. Diddley’s watery tremolo effect, from 1955 onward, came from one of the first effects boxes to be manufactured for guitars: the DeArmond Model 60 Tremolo Control. But Mr. Diddley contended that he had already built something similar himself, with automobile parts and an alarm-clock spring.

His first trademark guitar was also handmade: he took the neck and the circuitry off a Gretsch guitar and connected it to a square body he had built. In 1958 he asked Gretsch to make him a better one to the same specifications. Gretsch made it as a limited-edition guitar called “Big B.”

On songs like “Who Do You Love,” his guitar style — bright chicken-scratch rhythm patterns on a few strings at a time — was an extension of his early violin playing, he said.

“My technique comes from bowing the violin, that fast wrist action,” he told Mr. White, explaining that his fingers were too big to move around easily. Rather than fingering the fretboard, Mr. Diddley said, he tuned the guitar to an open E and moved a single finger up and down to create chords.

As his fame rose, his personal life grew complicated. His first marriage, at 18, to Louise Woolingham, lasted less than a year. His second marriage, in 1949, to Ethel Smith, unraveled in the late 1950s. He then moved from Chicago to Washington, settling in the Mount Pleasant district, where he built a studio in his home.

Separated from his wife, he was performing in Birmingham, Ala., when, backstage, he met a young door-to-door magazine saleswoman named Kay Reynolds, a fan, who was 15 and white. They moved in together in short order and were soon married, in spite of Southern taboos against intermarriage.

During the late 1950s Mr. Diddley’s band featured a female guitarist, Peggy Jones (stage-named Lady Bo), at a time when there were scarcely any women in rock. She was replaced by Norma-Jean Wofford, whom Mr. Diddley called the Duchess. He pretended she was his sister, he said, to be in a better position to protect her on the road.

The early 1960s were low times. Chess, searching for a hit, had Mr. Diddley make albums to capitalize on the twist dance craze, as Chubby Checker had done, and on the surf music of the Beach Boys. But soon a foreign market for his earlier music began to grow, thanks in large part to the Rolling Stones, a newly popular band that was regularly playing several of his songs in its concerts. It paved the way for Mr. Diddley’s successful tour of Britain in the fall of 1963, performing with the Everly Brothers, Little Richard and the Rolling Stones, the opening act.

But Mr. Diddley was not willing to move to Europe, and in America the picture worsened: the Beatles, the Stones, Bob Dylan and the Byrds quickly made him sound quaint. When work all but dried up, Mr. Diddley moved to New Mexico in the early 1970s and became a deputy sheriff in the town of Los Lunas. With his sound updated to resemble hard rock and soul, he continued to make albums for Chess until his contract expired in 1974.

His recording career never picked up after that, despite flirtations with synthesizers, religious rock and hip-hop. But he continued apace as a performer and public figure, popping up in places both obvious, like rock ’n’ roll nostalgia revues, and not so obvious: a Nike advertisement, the film “Trading Places” with Eddie Murphy, the 1979 tour with the Clash, and inaugural balls for two presidents, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

His last recording was the 1996 album “A Man Amongst Men” (Code Blue/Atlantic), which was nominated for a Grammy. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and in 1998 was inducted into the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame as a musician of lasting historical importance.

Since the early 1980s Mr. Diddley had lived in Archer, Fla., near Gainesville, where he owned 76 acres and a recording studio. His passions were fishing and old cars, including a 1969 purple Cadillac hearse.

The last of Mr. Diddley’s marriages was to Sylvia Paiz, in 1992; his spokeswoman, Ms. Clary, said they were no longer married. His survivors include his children, Evelyn Kelly, Ellas A. McDaniel, Tammi D. McDaniel and Terri Lynn McDaniel; a brother, the Rev. Kenneth Haynes; and 15 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

Mr. Diddley attributed his longevity to abstinence from drugs and drinking, but in recent years he had suffered from diabetes. After a concert in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on May 13, 2007, he had a stroke and was taken to Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha. On Aug. 28 he suffered a heart attack in Gainesville and was hospitalized.

Mr. Diddley always believed that he and Chuck Berry had started rock ’n’ roll, and the fact that he couldn’t financially reap all that he had sowed made him a deeply suspicious man.

“I tell musicians, ‘Don’t trust nobody but your mama,’ ” he said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 2005. “And even then, look at her real good.”


03/06/2008 11:34. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Helsinki, Finland June 1, 2008

1.Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (Bob on keyboard)
2.Lay, Lady, Lay (Bob on keyboard)
3.Rollin' And Tumblin' (Bob on keyboard)
4.Visions Of Johanna (Bob on keyboard)
5.Things Have Changed (Bob on keyboard)
6.The Levee's Gonna Break (Bob on keyboard)
7.Tangled Up In Blue (Bob on keyboard)
8.Watching The River Flow (Bob on keyboard)
9.Every Grain Of Sand (Bob on keyboard)
10.It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (Bob on keyboard)
11.Nettie Moore (Bob on keyboard)
12.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
13. Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
14.Summer Days (Bob on keyboard)
15.Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob on keyboard)
16. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
17. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)
02/06/2008 13:56. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

St. John's, Newfoundland May 24 2008

1.Watching The River Flow (Bob on keyboard and harp)
2.Lay, Lady, Lay (Bob on keyboard)
3.The Levee's Gonna Break (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin)
4.Shelter From The Storm (Bob on keyboard and harp)
5.Rollin' And Tumblin' (Bob on keyboard)
6.Visions Of Johanna (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin)
7.Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
(Bob on keyboard and harp)
8.Ballad Of Hollis Brown
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on banjo, Denny and Stu on acoustic guitars, Tony on standup bass)
9.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
10.Workingman's Blues #2 (Bob on keyboard)
11.It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on banjo)
12.Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard and harp)
13. High Water (For Charlie Patton) (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on banjo)
14.Summer Days (Bob on keyboard)
15.Masters Of War (Bob on keyboard)
16. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
17. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on violin)
02/06/2008 13:54. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Reykjavik, Iceland May 26 2008

1.Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
(Bob on keyboard and harp)
2.Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (Bob on keyboard and harp)
3.The Levee's Gonna Break (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on electric mandollin)
4.Tryin' To Get To Heaven (Bob on keyboard)
5.Rollin' And Tumblin' (Bob on keyboard)
6.Nettie Moore (Bob on keyboard)
7.I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (Bob on keyboard)
8.Honest With Me (Bob on keyboard)
9.Workingman's Blues #2 (Bob on keyboard)
10.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
11.Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
12.It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on banjo)
13. When The Deal Goes Down (Bob on keyboard)
14.Summer Days (Bob on keyboard)
15.Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob on keyboard and harp)
16. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
17. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on violin)
29/05/2008 19:31. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Saint John, New Brunswick May 19, 2008

1.Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again (Bob on keyboard and harp)
2.Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (Bob on keyboard and harp)
3.The Levee's Gonna Break (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin)
4.Desolation Row (Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on electric mandolin)
5.Watching The River Flow (Bob on keyboard)
6.Nettie Moore (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on viola)
7.I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (Bob on keyboard and harp)
8.High Water (For Charlie Patton) (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on banjo)
9.Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
10.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
11.Visions Of Johanna (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin)
12.Things Have Changed (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on violin)
13. When The Deal Goes Down (Bob on keyboard)
14.Summer Days (Bob on keyboard)
15.Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob on keyboard and harp)
16. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
17. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)
20/05/2008 13:01. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Lewiston, Maine May 17, 2008

1.Watching The River Flow (Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on lap steel)
2.Lay, Lady, Lay (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel, Stu on acoustic guitar)
3.The Levee's Gonna Break
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin, Stu on acoustic guitar, Tony on standup bass)
4.Shelter From The Storm
(Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on pedal steel, Stu on acoustic guitar)
5.Rollin' And Tumblin'
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin, Stu on acoustic guitar)
6.The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll (Bob on keyboard)
7.Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel)
(Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on electric mandolin, Stu on acoutic guitar)
9.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on lap steel )
10.Workingman's Blues #2
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel, Stu on acoustic guitar)
11.It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on banjo, Tony on standup bass)
12.Spirit On The Water
(Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on pedal steel, Tony on standup bass)
13. Ballad Of Hollis Brown
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on banjo, Denny and Stu on acoustic guitars, Tony on standup bass)
14.Summer Days (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel, Tony on standup bass)
15.Ain't Talkin' (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on viola, Stu on acoustic guitar)
16. Thunder On The Mountain
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on lap steel, Stu on acoustic guitar)
17. Blowin' In The Wind
(Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on violin, Stu on acoustic guitar)
19/05/2008 12:38. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Worcester, Massachusetts May 16, 2008


Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel)
2.Girl Of The North Country
(Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on pedal steel, Tony on standup bass)
3.Watching The River Flow (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on lap steel)
4.Can’t Wait (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin)
5.The Levee’s Gonna Break
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin, Tony on standup bass)
6.Simple Twist Of Fate
(Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on pedal steel, Stu on acoustic guitar)
7.Rollin’ And Tumblin’
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin, Stu on acoustic guitar)
8.Tryin’ To Get To Heaven (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel)
9.John Brown
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on banjo, Stu on acoustic guitar, Tony on standup bass)
10.Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine)
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on lap steel, Stu on acoustic guitar)
11.Spirit On The Water
(Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on pedal steel, Tony on standup bass)
12.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on lap steel)
13. Workingman’s Blues #2
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel, Stu on acoustic guitar)
14.Summer Days (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel, Tony on standup bass)
15.Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on lap steel)
16. Thunder On The Mountain
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on lap steel, Stu on acoutic guitar)
17. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel)
19/05/2008 12:36. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Dallas, Texas-February 23, 2008

1.Rainy Day Women #12 & 35
2.Lay, Lady, Lay
3.Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
4.Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)
5.The Levee's Gonna Break 
6.Spirit On The Water
7.Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
8.'Til I Fell In Love With You
9.The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll
10.Honest With Me
11.When The Deal Goes Down
12.Highway 61 Revisited
13. Workingman's Blues #2
14.Summer Days
15.Ballad Of A Thin Man
16. Thunder On The Mountain
17. All Along The Watchtower
25/02/2008 11:49. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Dallas, Texas- February 22, 2008

1.Cat's In The Well
2.It Ain't Me, Babe
3.I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
4.Blind Willie McTell
5.Rollin' And Tumblin'
6.Workingman's Blues #2
7.Things Have Changed
8.Spirit On The Water
9.Visions Of Johanna
10.Honest With Me
11.When The Deal Goes Down
12.Highway 61 Revisited
13. Mississippi
14.Summer Days
15.Masters Of War
16. Thunder On The Mountain 
17. Blowin' In The Wind
25/02/2008 11:38. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Dallas, Texas-February 21, 2008


Review by Steinar Daler

Bob was ON from the very start in this very nice venue. Pill-box was fine and It ain't me babe too. 
Watching the river flow was very good - great singing and the band really swings. 
A bit sad that Bob put down the guitar after the 3 first songs, but anyway his guitarplaying or pianoplaying do not add much to the music. 
His voice was fine all through the concert and Danny was the guitar maestro tonight. I have seldom seen him so much to the front.
 Girl of the north country  with Bob on harmonica and Rollin' and Thumblin' were solid too and Workingman's blues one of the highlights tonight. 
Beautiful singing and great phraing. High water was as normal with maybe Donny's banjo not load enough in the mix. 
Spirit on the water was another highlight, extraordinary singing by Bob in my ears. Can't wait was next up and had a new arrangement. 
The melody sounded allmost like High water and was not too sucsessful. Highway 61 was as we heard it before and solid as usual, Positively 4th street as well.
 Honest with me was also as usual - boring. Nettie Moore was of course fine, but not as beautiful as before. 
The change of mood between the verses and the choire was missing - defenitely not an improvement. 
Summer days was uninspired and I feared the Bob had finished his energy for tonight, but he finished of the main set with a really fine Ballad of a thin man. 
Best version I have heard in years. His phrasing and singing was perfect. Ancors without LARS and Watchtower were also great. 
Both Thunder on the mountain and Blowing in the wind were good to hear. Overall a good solid concert. 
What I will remember best was Wokingman's blues and Thin man - really great and for sure I will remember Danny's guitarplaying. 
Never heard it better. Bob looked in good shape and for the one who wonders, he is still wearing the same white hat, but there is no longer a flashy ring on his hand.
 I'm looking foreward to the next two concerts and hopefully a lot of different songs.  
22/02/2008 10:03. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Denny Freeman - Bob's best guitarist ever?

Dylan sideman Denny Freeman is worth the whole ticket

Bob Dylan is about to hit the stage — and I’m really excited about this show. Not so much ’cause it’s Dylan; I’ve seen him several times over the years. I’m more excited about seeing Denny Freeman play lead guitar.

(Dylan’s band will be performing at the Ryan Center at the University of Rhode Island with Elvis Costello and Amos Lee on Saturday.)

You say you don’t know about Freeman? Well, you’re in for a treat. The man’s an exquisite p_layer_ — more about _style_ and tone and taste than sheer speed. Freeman loves chords, and space. He has a broad range of tastes: jazz, silky ballads, surf music, ’60s wah-wah pedal. And he has a great ear for the blues.

Freeman is a charter member of the Austin blues scene. The Vaughan brothers have known him as a friend, a bandmate, a roommate and mentor.

Freeman lived a blues life for a long time, playing music at night, doing construction work during the day. When he first got to Austin in 1970, Freeman and his blues buddies from Dallas — Jimmie Vaughan, Doyle Bramhall, Paul Ray — played in a dive for a payday of beans and chicken wings.

He has been playing with the Dylan band since March 2005.Freeman is all over Dylan’s latest record, Modern Times, which definitely tips its hat to the blues of Muddy Waters and Memphis Minnie on several cuts. He’s never overbearing, though. Freeman knows how to do sly and spare and subtle.

“Denny is a great accompanist,” his friend Paul Ray was saying not long ago. And he should know, having fronted a band called the Cobras that featured both Freeman and a very young Stevie Ray Vaughan. “Most guitarists can’t resist that urge to play all over you. But not Freeman. He knows where the spaces are.

“Denny was never the kind of p_layer_ who is into trading licks with other guitarists, either. He never tries to outdo someone. Because in his own (quiet) way, he outdoes them anyway. A lot of times, with the Cobras, we’d really be cooking, and I’d try to make him play one more round on the solo. He’d kind of wink, say no, that’s all I’ve got.”

Dylan’s live sets are very polished and professional, you know, but there’s a lot of room in them for Freeman to shine. Fans old and new are going to enjoy “Rollin’ and Tumblin,’” often played as an encore, on which Freeman and fellow guitarist Stu Kimball let loose on a wild, slidy blues ride.

Bitten by the music, Freeman caught the blues at age 12, around the birth of rock ’n’ roll, while living in East Dallas. It started innocently enough: He’d go to parties, play spin the bottle with friends, listen to 45s on the record p_layer_. Older kids began to expose him to do wop, the Clovers, the Drifters.

“And at about that time, Little Richard and Chuck Berry and Fats Domino started coming on the radio,” Freeman said to me years ago. “I thought to myself, ‘Wow. What’s happening here is a whole new world.’ All of a sudden, instead of playing _base_ball and shooting baskets, all this wild (black) music was going on in my life.”

“Me and my friends would ride the bus to downtown Dallas on Saturday afternoon, go to the pawn shops and the record stores. We’d buy three 45s for a dollar and stuff.”

As Freeman got older, he got into jazz — “the only guy I know who bought jazz singles,” says Paul Ray. “Blue Note jazz singles” — fell in love with Cream, marveled at Hendrix, got into surf guitar. Freeman’s sensors, then and now, were wide open to all guitar sounds.

If you want to know Freeman’s heart, check out any one of his five solo albums, the first released in Austin, the more recent ones after he moved to Los Angeles for a while in the mid-1990s.

The guy loves to play, in the most childlike sense. No final bow in sight. Freeman has recorded with Taj Mahal and Jennifer Warnes and Jimmie Vaughan, played with the cream of the Austin blues divas, written country music that no one has ever heard. He turned 63 this year — and in so many ways, his career has never looked brighter
28/11/2007 14:13. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Austin City Limits- USA Fall Tour 2007

06/11/2007 22:54. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Drawings by Bob Dylan


CHEMNITZ, Germany - An exhibition of a unique collection of artworks by Bob Dylan, including variations of previously published drawings and sketches, has opened at a museum in this eastern German city.

Visitors flocked to the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz museum Sunday to see the 170 colored versions of pictorial motifs by Dylan called, “The Drawn Blank Series.”

The exhibit consists of drawings that Dylan produced between 1989 and 1992 and published in a book. Curator Ingrid Moessinger had 332 of the works specially reprinted and painted, and Dylan then selected 170 works for display.

“Bob Dylan selected the works for the exhibit himself,” Moessinger said.

The pictures show scenes from daily life: portraits of women and men, still lifes, cityscapes and other places that Dylan, 66, observed during his travels. The exhibit runs through Feb. 3.

Art historian Frank Zoellner said the works reflect Dylan’s music.

“The landscapes are very peaceful,” said Zoellner, while noting depictions of interiors often lacked a center, giving them a sense of restlessness.

A guiding theme in the drawings are variations of the same motives — much in the way Dylan performs his music, Zoellner said.

“On stage, Dylan never plays any song the same way twice,” Zoellner said.

06/11/2007 13:03. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Bob likes drawing


170 drawings by Bob Dylan go on display


'My drawing instructor in high school lectured and demonstrated continuously to "draw only what you can see" so that if you were at a loss for words, something could be explained and even more importantly, not misunderstood. Rather than fantasize, be real and draw it only if it is in front of you and if it's not there, put it there and by making the lines connect, we can vaguely get at something other than the world we know.'

These drawings are sketches for paintings that either never were painted, have yet to be painted (or more likely never will be painted). They are done mostly by pencil, some by charcoal and spotlight and a few by pen. Those familiar with the mediums can easily tell which is which. They were done over a two or three year period from about 1989 to about 1991 or '92 in various locations mainly to relax and refocus a restless mind.
My drawing instructor in high school lectured and demonstrated continuously to "draw only what you can see" so that if you were at a loss for words, something could be explained and even more importantly, not misunderstood. Rather than fantasize, be real and draw it only if it is in front of you and if it's not there, put it there and by making the lines connect, we can vaguely get at something other than the world we know.

BOB DYLAN September, 1994.

06/11/2007 10:32. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Dylan's 'There' found in Neil Young's Lair

Bob Dylan's recording of "I'm Not There" that appears on the soundtrack to Todd Haynes' film sounds plenty different from the version that appears on "Basement Tapes" bootlegs. Thank Neil Young's fanaticism and pack rat mentality for that.
The newly unearthed version clearly has the Band backing him as opposed to the popular bootleg version, a mostly acoustic reading by Dylan with a bit of rhythmic thumping in the background.

"It's pretty much just a sketch," Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo said in an interview for a piece on the soundtrack. "The lyric is open ended. It's hard to tell if (the words) make any sense."  Sonic Youth recorded a version of the song that runs over the end credits.
Soundtrack producers and Haynes were creating 5.1 mixes of songs and still using a bootleg copy of the tune when the suggestion arose that they find a better copy of the title track.
Joel Bernstein, a rock photographer who has been shooting Dylan and Young since the early '70s, was working with the team as an archivist and he suggested contacting Elliot Mazer. Mazer, who has produced a number of Young's albums, had worked with Dylan's manager in the '60s, Albert Grossman.

After Dylan's period of inactivity following his 1966 motorcycle accident, Grossman began to work on the publishing side for Dylan and started amassing a collection of tapes of songs that were not released over the next several years. Naturally, copies of the tapes were made; the Band's Garth Hudson even brought in a collection for the "I'm Not There" team to sift through.
Mazer, it turns out, had made a copy for his friend Young, who had tucked it away.
Randall Poster says his partner on the soundtrack, Jim Dunbar, "had to be Sam Spade, trying to make all these connections. What helped us get it quick was having the support of the Dylan camp."

What struck recording engineer Greg Calbi, who has worked extensively with Dylan, was the distinctiveness of the version in Young's vault.
"Every engineer who ever got a copy would put their stamp on it," Poster said, relaying Calbi's observation. "It was mutated over the years. We got the raw version."
Coincidentally, Young revisits his unreleased past with "Chrome Dreams II," which was issued last week;
02/11/2007 14:07. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

The Basement Tapes

This article is courtesy of tricia.j and expectingrain.com:

Turn On the _base_ment Lights
Rock writer/Dylan freak Sid Griffin attempts to crack one of music's great mysteries.

By Justin F. Farrar

October 24, 2007

Music fans have been stuffed with enough Bob Dylan product to keep 'em fat through the next century. The music industry will pump out anything it can on the guy, no matter how repetitive or gratuitous. Dylan's longtime label,
Columbia, just dropped yet another anthology of previously released material: the triple-disc set Dylan. And on October 30, Sony will release the Other Side of the Mirror: Live at the Newport Folk Festival DVD. It's far more interesting than Dylan, but still, a lot of this footage already appears in numerous formats.

But there are always exceptions, and this time around, it's Sid Griffin's book, Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, the Band, and the _base_ment Tapes.

The _base_ment Tapes album might be rock's greatest mystery. In July of 1966, at the height of his popularity, Dylan crashed his motorcycle and suddenly dropped out of the spotlight amid a hurricane of rumors about nervous breakdowns, drug addiction, and even death.

Over the next year, he called Woodstock, New York, home and recorded more than 100 songs with his backing band, the Hawks (eventually rechristened the Band), in the _base_ment/garage of their nearby home, "Big Pink." But beyond a 24-track double LP in 1975 — a chunk of which isn't even true _base_ment Tape material — the recordings have only been available as crappy-sounding bootlegs. And that's all anybody really knew — until now.

Griffin, a former member of country rockers the Long Ryders, is the first writer to shed serious light on this shadowy period in Dylan's career. Moreover, he unloads a totally refreshing perspective on the music, making novel connections to the Byrds, Velvet Underground, alt-country, Americana, and modern indie rock. And he does it all without a sliver of access to the man himself.

Scene recently phoned Griffin at his London home and found a man totally obsessed and exploding with Dylan knowledge.

Unlike Greil Marcus' Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan's _base_ment Tapes, which only adds more mythology to the story, Million Dollar Bash reads like a detective story that methodically attempts to solve the mystery behind this music.

Marcus is a great writer, but he gets off the subject of the _base_ment Tapes to deliver sociological sides and state-of-the-union reports of the
America of the 1860s and '40s. I didn't do that. I mean, what were these guys doing in Woodstock? It's a weird story. In 1966 Dylan is chasing the Beatles commercially and catching up. He is going to play Shea Stadium. But the motorcycle accident gets in the way, and he cancels the tour, an ABC television special, and his novella Tarantula. He also cancels all [previously scheduled] recording commitments. Yet 1967 is the year Dylan spends the most time recording and writing the greatest number of quality songs. Off the top of my head: "This Wheel's on Fire," "You Ain't Going Nowhere," "I Shall Be Released," "Lo and Behold," "Tears of Rage," plus "All Along the Watchtower" on John Wesley Harding. And none of this stuff, except "Watchtower," comes out at the time. We simply don't have a story of a pop-culture figure that's similar.

Why do you think Dylan recorded this music the way he did?

I obviously don't know the real answer. No one knows the official story, but I kind of pieced it together. Here's my speculation: Dylan is up in
Woodstock, but he has this wonderful band on retainer, who are doing bugger all in a New York hotel — partying on Bob Dylan's tab. So it's [manager] Albert Grossman saying to Dylan, "The money is going to dry up. We canceled our tours and an ABC special. Bob, do something." Grossman's twin plan is to release a greatest-hits package and get this band up to Woodstock to fire Dylan up. If Grossman takes Bob to a New York studio, he might scare the horses, so to speak. So he'll arrange something informally. There's no clock, and Dylan is allowed to find a direction in comfort. And they just stumbled into this. The reason why I think this is, the initial _base_ment Tapes [recorded in spring of 1967] are just covers and songs made up on the spot. They don't get serious until we get into summer, and they don't get real serious until September.

A lot of rock critics _frame_ The _base_ment Tapes as the great oddity in Dylan's discography, but you believe it's his greatest achievement of the '60s.

Most baby boomers think the great Dylan hat-trick is Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde. But for me its Blonde on Blonde, The _base_ment Tapes, and John Wesley Harding. Joe Boyd, producer for Fairport Convention, believes Dylan would've never gotten away from all those fanatics on his roof who thought he was God, had he made a proper album of these tapes. It seems as if this whole period was Dylan's reaction to all the intense media attention. It was absolutely out of control by mid-'66. He now had a family and wanted some peace. So he dropped out.

It's interesting how you argue that Dylan and the Band's informal home-recording process, as if it's just a bunch of friends jamming, is a major influence on not just modern rock, but indie music as well.

I think the lo-fi quality sound of all the bootlegs out there has inspired the indie approach. And, of course, now we have U2, Daniel Lanois, and his crowd recording in his house. Neil Young records things in a barn on his ranch. These folks are all inspired by Dylan and the Band. The Beatles too, for their Get Back sessions [in 1969].

Ironically, the original master tapes sound much better than the bootlegs and the 1975 LP, right?

People who have heard the very original tapes — some of Neil Young's crowd — say Garth [Hudson, keyboardist for the Band] did a wonderful job of engineering. It's not the primitive sound that all of us have heard.

Any chance of an officially expanded release one of these days?

Well, Dylan didn't make himself available for my book, but I know for a fact that Dylan knows of it. I've been lobbying for an expanded version of The _base_ment Tapes. I'm hoping one day they'll go for it in Dylan's Bootleg Series. You could easily do a three-CD remastered collection.

29/10/2007 20:17. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Dylan gets behind the wheel to sell Escalades

20071023204246-bob-cadillac.jpgBob Dylan has added Cadillac to his short list of product endorsements.

The Minnesota-bred folk/rock icon is featured in a television ad for the 2008 Escalade. The ad starts airing today.

The ad features Dylan behind the wheel of a Cadillac driving across a remote desert listening to the XM satellite radio network.

Dylan has one line in the commercial: "What's life without taking a few detours?"

Print and online versions of the ad begin running in November. Dylan has previously done ads for Victoria's Secret and iPod.

23/10/2007 20:42. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Dylan Quote


" Everybody plays in my world

aint nobody first second third or fourth

everybody shoots at the same time

an ringers dont count" 

A letter from Bob Dylan

17/10/2007 11:50. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Columbia, Maryland September 28, 2007

1.Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (Bob on electric guitar, Donnie on lap steel)
2.Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)
(Bob on electric guitar, Donnie on lap steel, Stu on acoustic guitar)
3.Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues (Bob on electric guitar, Donnie on lap steel)
4.Simple Twist Of Fate
(Bob on electric keyboard and harp, Donnie on pedal steel, Stu on acoustic guitar)
5.Rollin' And Tumblin' (Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin,
Denny on slide guitar, Stu on acoustic guitar)
6.Workingman's Blues #2
(Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel, Stu on acoustic guitar)
7.Desolation Row (Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin,
Stu on acoutic guitar, Tony on standup bass)
8.Beyond The Horizon (Bob on electric keyboard and harp, Donnie on pedal steel,
Stu on acoustic guitar, Tony on standup bass)
9.Honest With Me (Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on lap steel)
10.When The Deal Goes Down (Bob on electric keyboard and harp,
Donnie on pedal steel, Stu on acoustic guitar, Tony on standup bass)
11.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on lap steel)
12.Ain't Talkin' (Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on viola, Stu on acoustic guitar)
13.Summer Days (Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel, Tony on standup bass)
14.Masters Of War
(Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on lap steel, Stu on acoustic guitar, Tony on standup bass)
15. Thunder On The Mountain
(Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on lap steel, Stu on acoustic guitar)
16. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on electric keyboard and harp, Donnie on violin)
01/10/2007 13:19. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Bob Dylan Yom Kippur siting, 2007

An email I received today:
Since you have a web page on the subject, here’s a sighting if you’re interested -

Bob Dylan on Yom Kippur/Shabbat 5768 (Sep. 22 2007) in Atlanta, GA -

He had a show that night at an arena just outside of town and ours was the Chabad shul most convenient to his hotel.

He had the 5th Aliyah (he had asked for one) and left after Yizkor.

His Rabbi in California called my Rabbi the day before to make arrangements and was very specific.  He said, and I quote verbatim what I was told by one who was present during the call, that “he hates people” and wanted to be left utterly alone.  He didn't want anyone coming up to him and saying anything... not "Welcome," not "Shabbat Shalom," nothing.  Not even the Rabbi was to come up and say hello.  He wanted 3 reserved seats out of the way in the back for himself, his road manager and personal manager (though some say one was a bodyguard).

But he asked for the Aliyah nonetheless and wore a large black knit ski/pimp hat instead of a kippah.  There was no way the cat didn't stand out in the crowd.  When he had his Aliyah you could hear a pin drop, but he muttered so softly that only the guys on the bima could hear him.

Some details that only a Jewish Dylan fan would appreciate:
    •    He was seated in the midst of Israelis, none of whom had a clue who he was.
    •    Dylan’s Hebrew name as he gave it on the bima is Zushia ben Avraham, not Shabtai Zisel.  Why the difference, I don’t know... either the latter has been wrong all these years or he changed it, but what he said was absolutely clear to everyone who heard him.
    •    When a Mi Sheberach was made after his Aliyah, he gave the names of four kids.  The Gabai asked, “Any other children?”  He said, “I have a lot of kids, just go ahead.”
    •    His Aliyah pledge was for “Tzedakah,” meaning amount to be determined.  The Rabbi is still wondering if it was all worth it or not.
I told my Rabbi, “If he ever comes on a different Shabbat or Yom Tov and you invite him for a meal without inviting me as well, you and I are through.”  He laughed and said, “I’m told he only comes to shul on Yom Kippur, so don’t hold your breath.”
25/09/2007 13:58. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Hanging out with Bob in 1965

20070922155033-1965-bob.jpgJerry Schatzberg’s shot of Bob Dylan in a New York studio - unusual in that the singer is unguarded, and not posing for the camera - was taken in June 1965, during the recording of the Highway 61 Revisited album. Schatzberg was making his name as a fashion and portrait photographer when he got a call from Dylan’s then-girlfriend Sara Lowndes to say that if he wanted to take shots of the rising star and his newly acquired electric backing band, he was welcome. “Sara was a friend, and she and Nico [who later sang with the Velvet Underground] had been telling me about Dylan for a while,” remembers Schatzberg. “They took me down to see him play in the Village. After that, I was very keen to take his picture.”

Schatzberg got to see a side of Dylan that was distinct from the one emerging in the public consciousness: he was playful, co-operative, and excited by the music he was making. “It was an ideal situation because he was absorbed by his work and he let me get on with mine. He was fun and willing to do anything, but he came across badly in the press at the time because the reporters’ questions didn’t match up with what he was thinking.
I remember someone asked, ‘Do you believe in nature?’ His reply was, ‘I don’t believe in any drugs.’”

The shot also coincided with Dylan’s denunciation by the folk world that had supported him. His performance at the 1965 Newport folk festival, with an electric guitar and backing band, had outraged the acoustic purists, and he followed it with a tour that mostly consisted of sustained boos from the audience. “I went to see him in concert at Forest Hills in New York, where he was booed,” remembers Schatzberg. “We went to [Dylan’s manager] Albert Grossman’s apartment in Gramercy Park afterwards, and Dylan was in a rage because he was absolutely sure of what he was doing. It’s not the job of an audience to tell an artist what they can and cannot do.”

22/09/2007 15:50. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

The Other Side Of The Mirror Bob at Newport DVD

The Other Side Of The Mirror - Bob Dylan Live At The Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965

On Tuesday, October 30, Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings will release on DVD, for the first time in any format, The Other Side Of The Mirror - Bob Dylan Live At The Newport Folk Festival 1963 - 1965, on Tuesday, October 30. A long-awaited by Bob Dylan aficionados, The Other Side Of The Mirror brings together more than 80 minutes of exquisitely filmed performances, 70% available here for the first time, drawn from three seminal years in the artist's ever-evolving career.

Produced and directed by Academy Award winner Murray Lerner (From Mao To Mozart: Isaac Stern In China), The Other Side Of The Mirror - Bob Dylan Live At The Newport Folk Festival 1963 - 1965 opens a window into a critical epoch in American cultural history as reflected in the musical transformations of Bob Dylan's galvanizing watershed performances at the Newport Folk Festival in 1963, 1964, and 1965.

"This is a different kind of film, in a sense, from what I usually make," said Murray Lerner. "We decided on no narration, no pundit interviews, no interviews with Dylan. Nothing except the experience of seeing him ... . That to me is exciting. Just the clear experience gives you everything you need."

The DVD includes liner notes from Grammy-winning author Tom Piazza.


The following was put together hastily for another messageboard, so I don't vouch for its 100% accuracy. Corrections and additions welcomed.

* 1963
* North Country Blues (7/26 afternoon workshop)
* With God On Our Side (with Joan Baez – 7/26 afternoon workshop and 7/28 night performance)
* Talkin’ World War III Blues (7/26 night performance)
* Who Killed Davey Moore? (7/27 afternoon workshop)
* Only A Pawn In Their Game (7/26 night performance)

* Blowin’ In The Wind (with the Freedom Singers, Joan Baez and Peter, Paul and Mary – 7/26 night performance)
* 1964
* Mr. Tambourine Man (7/24 afternoon workshop)
* Johnny Cash sings Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right (night performance)
* Joan Baez sings Mary Hamilton as Bob Dylan (7/24 night performance)
* It Ain’t Me, Babe (with Joan Baez – 7/24 night performance)
* Joan Baez interview
* With God On Our Side (with Joan Baez – 7/26 night performance)
* Chimes Of Freedom (7/26 night performance)
* 1965
* If You Gotta Go, Go Now (7/24 afternoon workshop)
* Love Minus Zero/No Limit (7/24 afternoon workshop)
* Daytime rehearsal with Dylan’s electric band
* Maggie’s Farm (with electric band – 7/25 night performance)
* Like A Rolling Stone (with electric band – 7/25 night performance)
* Mr. Tambourine Man (7/25 night performance)
* It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue (7/25 night performance)

The songs in red have never circulated before in any form; those in blue have circulated only in audio form. Even those which were included in the original Festival film were only partial recordings (they may or may not be complete in the new film).

Of most interest, of course are the rarities—"North Country Blues" is one of Bob's unheralded masterpieces and only four live versions circulate (including the disastrously drunk Friends of Chile benefit concert performance in 1974). Only two other performances of Who Killed Davey Moore? are known. Only A Pawn in Their Game is a rarity, and this is the second performance chronologically.

At last we will be able to see Bob perform the majestic farewell-to-folk of "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" at the '65 festival, when he returned to the stage with an acoustic guitar after being booed off for his electric performances. Were there tears in his eyes, as legend has it? We will find out....

With all these riches to feast on it seems churlish to gripe, but there are one or two minor disappointments:

1) I note at least two performances that feature (in incomplete form) in the 1968 film Festival but are not in this new film. Therefore Dylan completists will still have to purchase the old movie (which was spruced up a couple of years ago and has a lot of historic stuff besides Dylan). This is not such a biggie (most of us already have it). But...

2) Still no video of the last song of the first electric set ever, after which Bob left the stage in a temper. What has happened to It Takes A Lot To Laugh, still known then as Phantom Engineer? Will we ever get to see it?

But to end on a positive note, here's the blurb from the maker of this new movie (and the earlier Festival):

"This is a different kind of film, in a sense, from what I usually make," said Murray Lerner. "We decided on no narration, no pundit interviews, no interviews with Dylan. Nothing except the experience of seeing him ... . That to me is exciting. Just the clear experience gives you everything you need."

At last someone realizes what the fans want: not talking heads interpreting what we can see with our own eyes, just the performances.

22/09/2007 13:40. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Outlaw Blues (first live concert performance) !!

Nashville, Tennessee

September 20, 2007



1.Cat's In The Well (Bob on electric guitar)
2.Lay, Lady, Lay (Bob on electric guitar)
3.I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (Bob on electric guitar)
4.Rollin' And Tumblin' (Bob on electric guitar, Donnie on electric mandolin)
5.Workingman's Blues #2 (Bob on electric keyboard)
6.High Water (For Charlie Patton)
(Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on banjo)
7.Spirit On The Water (Bob on electric keyboard and harp)
8.Tangled Up In Blue (Bob on electric keyboard and harp)
9.One More Cup Of Coffee (Valley Below)
(Bob on electric keyboard and vocals, Jack White on electric guitar and vocals)
10.Outlaw Blues (first live concert performance)
(Bob on electric keyboard and harp, Jack White on electric guitar did vocals)
11.'Til I Fell In Love With You (Bob on electric keyboard and harp)
12.When The Deal Goes Down (Bob on electric keyboard)
13.Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
(Bob on electric keyboard)
14.Ain't Talkin' (Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on violin)
15.Summer Days (Bob on electric keyboard)
16.Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob on electric keyboard and harp)
17. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on electric keyboard)
18. I Shall Be Released (Bob on electric keyboard)

21/09/2007 13:07. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Meet Me In The Morning (first live concert performance) !!


September 19, 2007

Nashville, Tennessee

1.Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (Bob on electric guitar)
2.Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (Bob on electric guitar)
3.Watching The River Flow (Bob on electric guitar)
4.You're A Big Girl Now (Bob on electric keyboard and harp)
5.The Levee's Gonna Break
(Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin)
6.Spirit On The Water (Bob on electric keyboard and harp)
7.Desolation Row (Bob on electric keyboard and harp, Donnie on electric mandolin)
8.Workingman's Blues #2 (Bob on electric keyboard)
9.Things Have Changed (Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on violin)
10.Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)
(Bob on electric keyboard)
11.Meet Me In The Morning (first live concert performance)
(Bob on electric guitar and vocals, Jack White on electric guitar and vocals)
12.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on electric keyboard)
13.Nettie Moore (Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on violin)
14.Summer Days (Bob on electric keyboard)
15.Masters Of War (Bob on electric keyboard)
16. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on electric keyboard)
17. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on electric keyboard and harp)

20/09/2007 11:46. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.



Live Shots: Bob Dylan at Austin City Limits Music Festival

Mon Sep 17, 2007 at 01:00:25 PM

The artwork for Bob Dylan’s album The Basement Tapes, recorded in 1967 but not officially released until 1975, features Dylan and the members of The Band playing in a basement surrounded by circus entertainers – belly dancers, fire-eaters, midgets, etc. Just as the album’s music found Dylan rejecting The Voice of a Generation mantle that had been bestowed upon him in favor of an older and more elemental approach, so did the art work symbolize the beginning of a new phase of Dylan’s career – that of the traveling entertainer, the minstrel, the road-show trooper.

Dylan is now nearing 2000 performances on the never-ending tour that supposedly began in 1988. But it is hard to imagine that he’s played to many crowds larger than the one that awaited him Sunday night at the Austin City Limits festival. As the other stages shut down – Wilco, the Decemberists, Ziggy Marley – everyone from high school kids with their cell phones to grandparents with their lawn chairs flocked toward the far end of Zilker Park where Dylan was set to perform.

Driving over that morning, I listened to classic Dylan and recent Dylan to prepare myself for what has become of his voice. The young Dylan was a master of pre-rap rhythm and hillbilly melodic nuance with punk attitude to burn – a truly great rock and roll singer. The old Dylan croaks along like a frog bumping his ass on the ground, which makes it all the remarkable that he is still releasing cool and essential albums like last year’s Modern Times.

But it was no less a shock when Dylan launched into the first tune, “Rainy Day Woman,” and out came a strange and painful sound. This was way beyond the proverbial frog in the throat – more like an old Delta blues singer who’d just gargled with Sterno. The band, anchored by Austinites Tony Garnier on bass and Denny Freeman on guitar, began to find its groove on the blues “Watchin’ the River Flow.” The set list alternated old favorites – “It Ain’t Me, Babe,” “Tangled Up In Blue” -- with songs from the new album, “Spirit On the Water,” “The Levee’s Gonna Break.”

By the time they got to “Highway 61,” another blues, the band was really locked in the groove and Dylan’s voice seemed to be loosening up. Laying on my back on the grass about 300 yards from the stage, I convinced myself that it didn’t matter if this was a great show or not. What mattered is that he is still out there doing it, and all these kids will be able to tell their grandchildren that they saw the legendary Bob Dylan in his white straw hat and white striped trousers – the stage uniform of a trooper.

But then Dylan pulled a surprise; on “Nettie Moore,” a folksy ballad from Modern Times, he put his voice way up front in the mix, reveling in its wrecked glory, as a violin cooed gently in the background The result somehow sounded both timeless and brand new, an instant classic. “Ballad of a Thin Man” found Dylan snarling with renewed vigor from behind the keyboard. The first encore, the Chuck Berryish “Thunder on the Mountain,” had the college girls up and swirling like their mothers at a rock festival from way back in the day.

“Like a Rolling Stone” came next, of course. Forty years ago, this song asked a generation that imagined it was breaking loose from all the old rules, “How does it feel?” Now it could be the medical question one hears at one’s 40th high school reunion. “How does it feel?” Well, it hurts. And not just my aching back. My soul hurts, because the world is as fucked up as it ever was and our country is stuck in another war that should never have been started. It’s like we – our generation -- never learned a goddamn thing. Walking toward the exit, I thought that Dylan, the history buff, might have predicted as much. Human nature does not change. What matters is that the show must go on.

But then Dylan pulled another surprise: For the first time in the night, he spoke, introducing the members of the band in his antiquated, carnival-showman’s accent. And then he sang one of the most beautiful songs he’s ever written, “I Shall Be Released,” a prayer for spiritual and psychological liberation from the inevitable suffering that living brings. And suddenly, Dylan’s voice didn’t sound wrecked anymore – it sounded, well, hopeful. Even more than that, it sounded human; not the voice of a generation, the voice of one man. And I walked out smiling into the night. – Rick Mitchell

Austin, Texas

September 16, 2007

1.Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (Bob on electric guitar)
2.It Ain't Me, Babe (Bob on electric guitar)
3.Watching The River Flow (Bob on electric guitar)
4.Spirit On The Water (Bob on electric keyboard and harp)
5.The Levee's Gonna Break
(Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin)
6.Tangled Up In Blue (Bob on electric keyboard and harp)
7.Things Have Changed (Bob on electric keyboard)
8.Workingman's Blues #2 (Bob on electric keyboard)
9.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on electric keyboard)
10.Nettie Moore (Bob on electric keyboard and harp, Donnie on violin)
11.Summer Days (Bob on electric keyboard)
12.Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob on electric keyboard and harp)
13. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on electric keyboard)
14. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on electric keyboard)
15.I Shall Be Released (Bob on electric keyboard and harp)

18/09/2007 14:52. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

The Bob Dylan Show, 2007 Fall Tour


The Bob Dylan Show:

---- September 2007 -

 Austin, Texas

September 15, 2007

1.Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (Bob on electric guitar)
2.It Ain't Me, Babe (Bob on electric guitar)
3.Watching The River Flow (Bob on electric guitar)
4.You're A Big Girl Now (Bob on electric keyboard and harp)
5.The Levee's Gonna Break (Bob on electric keyboard)
6.Spirit On The Water (Bob on electric keyboard and harp)
7.Cry A While (Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on banjo)
8.Tangled Up In Blue (Bob on electric keyboard and harp)
9.Workingman's Blues #2 (Bob on electric keyboard)
10.Honest With Me (Bob on electric keyboard)
11.Beyond The Horizon (Bob on electric keyboard and harp, Tony on standup bass)
12.Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)
(Bob on electric keyboard)
13.Nettie Moore (Bob on electric keyboard, Donnie on violin)
14.Summer Days (Bob on electric keyboard)
15.Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob on electric keyboard and harp)
16. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on electric keyboard)
17. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on electric keyboard)



11/09/2007 23:13. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

I`m Not There -Review by John Hume


I saw the movie when it opened here a few days ago (Friday 7th Sept), so a few brief comments....

We had arranged to meet some friends in a wine bar about an hour from Catania on friday evening, so we had to catch an early showing on friday afternoon...
We went to a new multiplex cinema which just opened a few weeks ago, not far from where we live, so with 9 or 10 movies to choose from, I wasn't expecting there to be many/any people in the theatre with us...
A total of 5 showed up, including Valeria and myself.... a couple in their 70's and another guy in his 70's... maybe pensioners got in free that afternoon, and they had nothing else to do, but get inside out of the heat!?

I hadn't read many of the articles on the web beforehand, so I didn't have any idea what to expect, other than a strange movie, which turned out to be true.
I had seen a few brief clips on local TV, as it had been getting some coverage on Italian TV because it was showing at the venice film Festival....

Visually it is excellent!!! lots of recreations of well known images and photos from the 60's, and scenes from DLB and ETD and NDH, and a few in jokes for the hardcore fans....
A couple of laugh out loud moments which I won't spoil for you if they haven't been shown in clips already.

I'd read a few reviews commenting on Cate Blanchett, varying from 'wonderful, and she deserves an oscar' and more recently, that she was the worst thing in the movie and her performance was terrible. This latter reviewer obviously wasn't a dylan fan... her hand gestures and movements are captivating!!! you end up watching her hands in each scene, as she has captured Dylan perfectly.... spookily even!!! you'll see what I mean when you view the movie.

I didn't like some of the other artistes cover versions, with the exception of Antony singing 'Goin to Acapulco'.... one of my favourite moments in the movie actually. He had previously done a stunning version of 'Hallelujah' on the Leonard Cohen tribute documentary/Cd and has a brilliant voice.

I can't comment extensively on the dialogue, as they had dubbed the movie in Italian here, a common occurrence, rather than show the original with subtitles, and my Itlaian isn't fluent enough to grasp the whole text..
Even the poster has the title 'Io Non Sono Qui', which would translate as I am not here..... instead of there

Overall I enjoyed the first hour or more much more than the latter part of the movie.... for me, it tended to drag in the second half, but you may disagree.

So, a must see for any Dylan fans, but of little or no interest to anyone else I would think.

John Hume

Esteemed Dylan photograper


10/09/2007 21:09. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

In Reason And In Rhyme - Con Rima Y Sentido

To celebrate the election of Bob Dylan for The 2007  Prince Of Asturias Award of The Arts An Illustrated Anthology of Bob DYlan Songs in Spanish will be published.

I encourage all of you artists out there to send your drawings or paintings of any of the songs listed. Send medium size  - up to 300 KB scans of your works for a first review.The illustrations chosen will later be required in a bigger size.Send your files under JPG,TIF or GIF format to : plotino_cat@yahoo.es

Artists selected will be contacted with details of the copyright rights.










more songs will be added


22/06/2007 12:23. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.


20070614233935-hibbing-house.jpgAnte la noticia de que Bob ha sido nominado para el premio Principe de Asturias de las Artes, voy a intentar acelerar el proyecto de una Antologia rimada e ilustrada para ver si podria verse para esas fechas.Solo una cancion sera seleccionada de cada album oficial.No se incluiran los bootlegs ni las canciones de bandas sonoras.Iran apareciendo en el blog bajo el tema POETRY.
14/06/2007 23:39. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Bob Dylan, Premio Príncipe de Asturias de Las Artes


"Dylan es el número uno y está presente en la memoria de varias

generaciones, .."



13/06/2007 16:28. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

He’s Not There (2007): Talkin’ Bob Dylan Symposium Blues

Stephen Hazan Arnoff


A group of some one hundred and fifty scholars, writers, musicians, critics, and other careful listeners came to Highway 61 Revisited: Dylan’s Road from Minnesota to the World at the University of Minnesota this past March looking for a cure for their Talkin’ Bob Dylan Blues. With more than fifty papers presented over three days on topics including (but not limited to) Dylan and the disabled, sleaze, Japan and England and Italy, Andy Warhol, Zen, trains, Virgil, the Nobel Prize, his fans, and the apocalypse, it was a chance for some of the artist’s most faithful interpreters to try to craft something beautiful or useful or dissonant or inspiring from thinking about Dylan’s work from just about every conceivable angle.

Musician Spider John Koerner started the program by pointing out the irony of the impending explosion of Dylan Talk in the land of the typically laconic Minnesotan, joking: “Did you hear the one about the Norwegian who loved his wife so much he almost told her?” Then conference organizer Colleen Sheehy noted that regardless of any Nordic reserve in the air, all of the participants shared a burden for which she was quite grateful: “We can’t stop talking about him,” she said.

In our defense, Dylan is as ubiquitous as ever, and there is a lot to talk about. Tune in to Theme Time Radio Hour, and for just .95 a month (yes friends, that’s just .95 a month – satellite radio receiver not included), host Bob Dylan will talk your ear off every week, a freewheelin’, genial, and even giddy host introducing and parsing a thematic grab bag of country, soul, rock, and blues. Hear the Yoda of DJs declaiming excerpts from Paradise Lost or a poem by Emily Dickenson, singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” a capella, answering (probably fake) email correspondence from listeners, preaching about the Bible or Women’s Names or Laughter, sharing recipes for drinks, or rattling off forty or so names of favorite flowers, including the name of one – the Victoria Sorgum – that he invents on the spot, cracking himself up on air. Though he does not address the audience directly, Dylan performs incessantly – upwards of one hundred concerts a year at county fairs, private corporate events, casinos, festivals, zoos, and mid- and large-size halls, even spending a few summers with Willie Nelson appearing only in minor league baseball parks. Having recently shared his visage with an ad campaign by Victoria’s Secret, published the first segment of a multi-volume memoir, produced a documentary on his early career with Martin Scorsese, and green lighted a bio-pic entitled I’m Not There (featuring not one, but seven actors in the role of you-know-who), when it comes to the public sphere, Bob Dylan can’t stop talking either.

Ain’t Talkin’

Expecting a symposium of “talks” to glean a deep sense of Dylan Talk is a tall order. Consider the stubborn claims of “Ain't Talkin'” from last year’s album Modern Times: Here a cantankerous, downhearted narrator voices resignation about the fact that there is nothing at all left to talk about in the world, let alone him; all that remains is to ramble. “Ain’t talking, just walkin’,” Dylan’s narrator says – a wandering Jew par excellence, a drifter, a runaway slave.

Like the curse of the biblical Cain himself, the curse of the hero of “Ain’t Talkin’” – as well as the majority of Dylan’s songs from Time Out of Mind (1997), Love and Theft (2001) and Modern Times (2006) – carries the burden of what might otherwise be considered twin blessings: difference and survival. And while Dylan’s hero in “Ain’t Talkin’” and its companion songs is set apart by having nothing left to lose, he also never has the security to sleep in the same bed twice:

Ain't talkin', just walkin'
Through this weary world of woe
Heart burnin', still yearnin'
No one on earth would ever know


These lyrical concerns carry striking parallels to the intractable state of Cain, archetypal rolling stone whose soul is chased by a sin for which he cannot repent. In Genesis 4:13, Cain says to God:

‘Now that you have driven me this day from the soil
and I must hide from your presence,
I shall be a restless wanderer on the earth
and whoever finds me will kill me.’

Again from Modern Times, but in this instance from “Spirit on the Water,” Dylan says:

I can't go back to paradise no more
I killed a man back there

The sin of murder in paradise references a biblical trope explicitly, not an uncommon occurrence for an artist who once sang in “Jokerman” that “the Book of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, the Law of Jungle and the sea” were his only teachers. But who, in fact, is the man that Dylan’s narrator killed back there? Cain killed his brother Abel in a rage sparked by jealousy. Recall that each of the brothers and the first children of Adam and Eve had tried to please God with a sacrifice. When the sweet scent of the burning fat of Abel’s flock tickled God’s fancy more than Cain’s fruit and grain, Cain became creation’s first murderer. What rage festers at the heart of Modern Times?

“Ain’t Talkin’” says:

All my loyal and my much-loved companions
They approve of me and share my code
I practice a faith that's been long abandoned
Ain't no altars on this long and lonesome road

Likewise, the center of Cain’s crime rests at the crossroads that God himself had demanded to link human and divine: an altar. In Dylan, it is precisely the lack of an altar, the ultimate weigh station between worldly and otherworldly life, which generates the rage bubbling up amidst the gregarious freedom of his creative witnesses. Dylan’s characters’ anger and fatigue are often directed at the absence of their (or his) access to God – an absence that an altar might have cured, but for many reasons cannot. Amidst voices declaiming dissatisfaction at the human divine partnership from songs like “With God on Our Side” to the suggestion of the broken promise “back there” in “paradise,” many of Dylan’s best lyrical obsessions are rolling contemplations on exile – lamentations on the limitations of a life where mundane talk or singing about God is possible, but holy talk with God is not. And as the song goes, a person without an altar to meet the divine – as well as, it seems, the good deeds or commandments embodied by the Golden Rule – is a person lost:

They say prayer has the power to help
So pray from the mother
In the human heart an evil spirit can dwell
I'm trying to love my neighbor and do good unto others
But oh, mother, things ain't going well

Ain't talkin', just walkin'
I'll burn that bridge before you can cross
Heart burnin', still yearnin'
They'll be no mercy for you once you've lost

In sixteen minute mini-epic “Highlands” from 1997 – a signature tune for the restless but resigned Dylan of the last decade – the narrator says: “Talking to myself in a monologue.” Like worry beads through the fingers, like Psalms recited for protection and comfort on a crowded bus, like a mantra, like the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, much of Dylan Talk is a monologue striving towards becoming sacred dialogue. When words don’t work, as they often do not, he prefers walking and wandering, another act fused with sacred potential. Both talking and walking rest on the hope of transcending a kind of sin – not necessarily template biblical sins like Cain’s murder of Abel, but the contemporary sin of meaninglessness as described by the narrator of “Love Sick” in the first line of the first song on the same album as “Highlands”: “I’m walking through streets that are dead.” If this monologue serves no higher purpose and cannot live in the Highlands, it is better for him just to keep his mouth shut – good advice for my colleagues and I as we prepared our words on Dylan as well.

Revisiting Highway 61

When I arrived at the presenters’ reception on Sunday morning, people were already buzzed. Many had spent the day before traveling up Highway 61 on a seven hour bus trip touring Robert Zimmerman’s hometown of Hibbing. They had scanned the library books of Hibbing High School, looking for a familiar name in the check-out cards in the back; conjectured on the composition of the faculty before his matriculation and its impact on his worldview; noted the building that had housed the movie theater his family had owned; visited his childhood home in short, solemn lines in and out of the door; squinted into the second floor window of another building in town where his bar mitzvah had been held in a rented room. Everyone at the conference was, in one way or another, seeking Bob Dylan’s roots, and the visit to Hibbing had set the tone for all of the talking that would follow. From the specific landscape of Dylan’s world growing up not far from Highway 61 – and then the social, cultural, religious, political, and geographical influences he had found on the mythic adventurer’s Highway 61 and beyond it – visitors were rubbing up against a sense or an illusion of getting closer to answering the question of where Bob Dylan had really come from.

I had spent the Saturday before the conference not in Hibbing, but at a suburban synagogue in St. Paul, giving a sermon and teaching class about Dylan and religion. Talking through a cluster of favorite Dylan songs about religion anchored by “Highway 61 Revisited,” I had collected impressions to the question of “where Dylan comes from” myself. After the class, ten or twelve people gathered around the lectern, each with a question or story to share. This one’s aunt had babysat for him and this one had had her hair done with his mother, and this one had been his bunkmate at camp, and this one, a second cousin by marriage, knew for a fact that “Highway 61 Revisited” was not about politics or religion or Vietnam. “It was about his family,” she whispered, leaning forward, speaking slowly and dramatically. “Everyone knows he abandoned them,” she said. “He didn’t even invite them to weddings.” Arching her eyebrows and nodding her head slowly, it was the nod of assumption that she knew better about the motivations of a man who was, at least for her, just a good Jewish boy gone bad.


Families and parents of all shapes and sizes do get grilled in Dylan's rereading of the story of the Binding of Isaac, but at the same time, on a grander mythic level, it is one of the best examples of Dylan’s hunger to reveal the dark side of the nexus of altars and human-divine talk. If the story of Cain is a biblical prototype for murder in the throes of both ritual and familial passion at an altar, the story of Abraham and Isaac comes in a close second.

Highway 61 runs right down the center of the United States, beginning in Minnesota at the Canadian border near Dylan’s birthplace and ending in New Orleans at the Gulf of Mexico. Also known as the Blues Highway, Highway 61 was a primary route of Exodus of slaves from the South towards the industrial cities of the North. As Dylan hears it:

Oh God said to Abraham, 'Kill me a son'
Abe says, 'Man, you must be puttin' me on'
God say, 'No.' Abe say, 'What?''
God say, 'You can do what you want Abe, but
The next time you see me comin' you better run'
Well Abe says, 'Where do you want this killin' done?'
God says, ‘Out on Highway 61.’

According to his midrash – the ancient Jewish art of interpreting biblical texts that Dylan falls into by purpose, instinct, or chance – Abraham is an easily corruptible huckster who builds an altar for his own son, a model venue for the four successive verses of the blind leading the lame that follow. Highway 61 is the site of a flippant conversation between God and Abraham – the name of Dylan’s father, as the second cousin by marriage at shul might have added – that produces not only bad talk leading to a bad altar, but an endless cycle of a suffering that orbits around it.

A Fun Loving Guy

Yet even this multilayered reading of the perils of family and a wicked mythic pattern could not stand alone in the face of reports from the field by Bobby Vee, who lit another lamp on the highway in the auditorium after official greetings and the music of Spider John and Tony Glover.

Tan and slim with grey hair slicked back, five decades in the music business and recipient of thirty-eight top ten hits and seven gold records, Vee moved lightly in a double-breasted jacket and jeans to the tip of the proscenium. He radiated an I’m-so-happy-to-be-here smile, palms open, relaxed in his element, working the room. As his lapel mic kept flickering in and out forcing him to share a hand-held with the interviewer, Vee remembered without pretension how he and his band had given a kid named Elston Gunnn a shirt for their first show together because he hadn’t had a clean one to wear; how Gunnn with three “n’s” had been working as a busboy in a dive, but still claimed to have just come off of a tour with Conway Twitty. Zimmerman cum Gunnn cum Dylan banged on the piano with Vee’s band for a month until just before Buddy Holly’s plane went down in an Iowa field and he had passed the reigns of rock and roll on to both of them: Vee would replace Holly on the tour that had also taken the lives of Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. Dylan would claim at the 1997 Grammy Awards to have locked eyes with Holly from the audience at the Duluth National Guard Armory just before his death in an exchange of spirit that had animated Dylan’s work, especially the recording of the breakthrough album of the most recent portion of his career, Time Out of Mind. “He was a good-spirited guy, a fun loving guy,” Vee said of Dylan. “And he stays as current as the bread in the bakery.”

Here was straight talk amidst the interpretive rambling: Bobby Vee, one of Achilles’ own soldiers, stepping out of a flat narrative tapestry and describing the hero tying his sandal, an ordinary, ratty guy like you and me through whom an unexplained gust of genius had blown, shifting sense in the world. Information about the singer within the songs served each listener’s need to bring him down to earth somehow, to construct a biography with reasons and causes explaining how this person could or could not contain his gifts.

Even more, as sane, sensitive, and invested as interpretative obsession with the work of a great artist may be, it is also interminably personal. Stories of encounters with Dylan played counter to the universe of the artist’s sounds, images, words, or movements inevitably blending with the interpreters’ own hopes and dreams, creating an echo chamber of meaning where hearing or remembering who spoke first – the artist or the listener – was difficult. Questions rose and fell as to whether Dylan and his listeners could actually be talking about the same thing at all.

10,000 Talkers

I recently returned to my copy of Scorsese’s No Direction Home, looking for the scene of former singing partner and lover Joan Baez explaining how if you don’t “get” Bob Dylan his music can fall totally flat, but if you do, he can touch you so deeply that it is painful to hold. I found an excerpt of Mavis Staples instead, scion of one of the great gospel vocal groups ever, mistress of a thick, trembling, soulful voice that can crack open mountains, and, rumor has it, one of 60’s hipster Dylan’s unrequited loves. She sings a few verses of “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” in the film, coming to the line “I saw 10,000 talkers whose tongues were all broken,” pausing, saying “Lord have mercy,” and then a few lines later, she stops and sucks in a long breath before the camera cuts away, tears welling-up in her eyes.

Rightly so, after all of this talk of talking, it is difficult to bring forth a sense of what all of this Dylan Talk brought to the world – more broken tongues and windbags to make poets cry? Maybe it was only the reflection of a sense of a shared purpose for seeking meaning in the brave, beautiful, up and down experience of elevating language through listening and talking in a world so full of flat, mundane, damaged words – but I still sensed many small prayers in the air.

The core story of Dylan’s most compelling recent work is his wandering characters’ experience of exile on the flat, haunted earth – from paradise due to some unnamed crime, from a lover, or from a sense of where they could otherwise be. The wanderer wrestles with the tensions of choosing to report his experience of the world. Should he talk or plead his way out of it or simply resign himself to a path of silence, reflection, and survival? These choices carry Dylan’s work into conflicts that have shaped the most cutting, definitive, and radical religious art of recent times.

As in Franz Kafka's “Before the Law” – where a man from the country wastes his entire adult life waiting to enter the gate containing the Law only to discover on the verge of death him that the door had been meant only for him all along if only he had opened it – Dylan’s characters are primary witnesses to humanities’ losing its ability to communicate with and influence the divine. Even though it is only one answer to exile, in “Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)" (1978) Dylan offers a stunningly close parallel to the set-up of Before the Law. Yet his hero, standing alongside the messianic figure of Senor, reaches a very different conclusion than that of Kafka’s man of the country with a lost and frozen soul:

Senor, senor, do you know where we're headin'?
Lincoln County Road or Armageddon?
Seems like I been down this way before.
Is there any truth in that, senor?
How long are we gonna be ridin'?
How long must I keep my eyes glued to the door?
Will there be any comfort there, senor?....

Senor, senor, let's disconnect these cables,
Overturn these tables.
This place don't make sense to me no more.
Can you tell me what we're waiting for, senor?

As on Highway 61, a vacuum of corruption has filled the crossroads where the Law may have once obligated the world to make some kind of sense. Dylan’s hero turns to Senor, the Spanish term for the Lord, and demands action. Despite recent, perhaps cunning claims to the contrary, Dylan’s characters keep walking, talking, paying, praying, loving, longing, packing, moving, and chalking it all up to a written, recorded, performed experience of words of challenge and comfort – a full-on package of options for making meaning out of exile even when they fade in fatigue to silence.

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Efraim of Sadilkov – grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidism – put it this way in a teaching translated by Arthur Green and Barry Holtz in Your Word is Fire. Prayer, listening, silence, and words all share mysteries to keep:

Take special care of what you do in the moments immediately after prayer.
The spirit of your worship may remain with you
and affect your thoughts and deeds.
One who prayed with great fear of heaven may see awe turn to anger.
One whose prayer was an outpouring of love
may be overwhelmed by unwanted passion.
In order to avoid such pitfalls,
it is best after prayer to begin at once your work and study.

These words require careful thought,
but their implications are best not committed to writing.

These are choices worth talking about – Dylan’s and more; almost imperceptible altars for crafting something beautiful or useful or dissonant or inspiring out of these blues.

Dylan sketch on page 2 by Paul Butler.

Stephen Hazan Arnoff’s essay on Philip Roth was recently awarded the Rockower Jewish Press Award in the category of Jewish Arts & Criticism. He presented his article on Bob Dylan’s Modern Times at Highway 61 Revisited: Dylan’s Road from Minnesota to the World at the University of Minnesota in March 2007. The article was chosen in Italy as one of twelve definitive critical articles ever written on Bob Dylan and will be published by Interlinea Press in 2008. He is the Managing Editor of Zeek.

ZEEK logo © 2006 by Zeek Magazine and the author. This article may not be distributed for commercial purposes without the express written permission of Zeek Magazine ( zeek@zeek.net). Reprints and other distributions must contain this copyright notice.

This entry can be found online at: http://www.zeek.net/706dylan/

07/06/2007 10:12. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Delia, Newcastle 2000





 Delia was a gambling girl, gambled all around,
Delia was a gambling girl, she laid her money down.
All the friends I ever had are gone.

Delia's dear ol' mother took a trip out West,
When she returned, little Delia gone to rest.
All the friends I ever had are gone.

Delia's daddy weeped, Delia's momma moaned,
Wouldn't have been so bad if the poor girl died at home.
All the friends I ever had are gone.

Curtis' looking high, Curtis' looking low,
He shot poor Delia down with a cruel forty-four.
All the friends I ever had are gone.

High up on the housetops, high as I can see,
Looking for them rounders, looking out for me.
All the friends I ever had are gone.

Men in Atlanta, tryin' to pass for white,
Delia's in the graveyard, boys, six feet out of sight.
All the friends I ever had are gone.

Judge says to Curtis, "What's this noise about?"
"All about them rounders, Judge, tryin' to cut me out."
All the friends I ever had are gone.

Curtis said to the judge, "What might be my fine?"
Judge says, "Poor boy, you got ninety-nine."
All the friends I ever had are gone.

Curtis' in the jail house, drinking from an old tin cup,
Delia's in the graveyard, she ain't gettin' up.
All the friends I ever had are gone.

Delia, oh Delia, how can it be?
You loved all them rounders, never did love me.
All the friends I ever had are gone.

Delia, oh Delia, how can it be?
You wanted all them rounders, never had time for me.
All the friends I ever had are gone.

05/06/2007 14:02. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Bob Dylan, 2007 Summer Tour


 It's impossible to mention Bob Dylan without mentioning the tangible, and often intangible, impact his music and poetry has had on the fabric of American life.  As relevant today as it was in the 60s, Bob Dylan's music speaks to politics, social commentary and philosophy.  He has been hailed as a ‘musical documentarian' and lovingly referred to as a ‘reluctant figurehead of American unrest.' 

"....he's built the largest body of work worth listening to in rock & roll. He's the American song-and-dance man, the sleight-of-hand man, mixing up folk roots, beat poetry, Chuck Berry, Baudelaire, Texas medicine, railroad gin, and his own psychedelic mutations of the blues, singing it all in that intense Book-of-Deuteronomy howl of his." -

 - Rolling Stone Album Guide

We are honored to have him grace our stage.

The Bob Dylan Show:

---- June 2007 -----
Fri 22 Atlantic City
Sat 23 Atlantic City
Sun 24 Hershey
Tue 26 Florence MA
Wed 27 Uncasville
Fri 29 Wantagh NY
Sat 30 Bethel NY
---- July 2007 -----
Sun 1 Essex Junction VT
Tue 3 Quebec City
Wed 4 Montreal
Thu 5 Ottawa
Sat 7 Toronto
Sun 8 Toronto
Tue 10 Interlochen
Wed 11 Sterling Heights
Thu 12 Toledo OH
Sat 14 Cleveland
Sun 15 Indianapolis
Mon 16 Kansas City
Thu 19 Morrison CO
Fri 20 Morrison CO
Sat 21 Telluride
Sun 22 Albuquerque
Tue 24 Tucson
Thu 26 Costa Mesa CA
Fri 27 Paso Robles
Sat 28 Kelseyville
---- August 2007 ----
Wed 8 Christchurch NZ
Fri 10 Wellington
Sat 11 Auckland
Mon 13 Brisbane
Wed 15 Sydney
Fri 17 Melbourne
Tue 21 Adelaide
Thu 23 Perth
---- September 2007 ----
Sun 16 Austin
---- October 2007 ----
Bloomington IL

Details at:
Bob Dates

04/06/2007 22:36. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Dylan writing


, “Me, I don’t want to write for people any more — you now, be a spokesman. From now on I want to write from inside of me… the bomb is getting boring because what is wrong goes much deeper than the bomb… I’m not part of no movement…”  

For those who expected folk to be about the repetition of received

truths and comforting consensus, it was something of a shock, but it really was

no preparation for what was to come.

29/05/2007 10:45. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.


28/05/2007 22:53. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Gems from Bob


Roger McGuinn of the Byrds said that above all else, he rates Dylan as one of rock's greatest poets: "I've always admired Bob's work, and we've gotten along well over the years. I think Bob's most admirable quality is his sense of songwriting ability, his lyrics. I've compared him to Shakespeare


Rolling Stone magazine's associate editor Austin Scaggs says that the constantly touring Dylan is just as mysterious in his 60s as he was 40 years ago: "I don't think he travels with family. I think he has that bus all to himself. I think inside the bus, I think he has books, he has a typewriter, he has some sort of outlet to listen to music. I think he's constantly listening to new music, or old music. But who knows? What does he do all day? Does he work on the next volume of his book? Does he write new songs?"

"Shooting Star" mp3
 "God Knows" mp3
"Born In Time" mp3
"Dignity" mp3

Outtakes from Oh Mercy, 1989.

"Hazel" mp3

From MTV Unplugged Afternoon Rehearsals, 1995.

"Tombstone Blues" mp3

Alternate version from Highway 61 Revisited, 1965.

"I'm Your Teenage Prayer" mp3

From The Basement Tapes, 1967

25/05/2007 04:15. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.




"Thunder on the mountain, fires on the moon
There's a ruckus in the alley and the sun will be here soon
Today's the day, gonna grab my trombone and blow
Well, there's hot stuff here and it's everywhere i go."


1. The words! The words! Those “spinning reels of rhyme.”
2. That attitude.
3. That frizzy halo of hair.
4. Those black shades.
5. The music. Always short-shrifted in favor of the lyrics, Dylan’s music is much more inventive and melodious than he’s ever been given proper credit for.
6. The crack of the snare drum heard ‘round the world: Like A Rolling Stone.
7. Going electric.
8. The humor. Dylan’s sly.
9. The Basement Tapes.
10. The Jesus period, because it gave us Slow Train, one of his best songs, and albums.
11. “In the dime stores and bus stations/People talk of situations/Read books, repeat quotations/Draw conclusions on the wall/Some speak of the future/My love she speaks softly/She knows there's no success like failure/And that failure's no success at all.” (Love Minus Zero/No Limit)
11. Chronicles, Vol. 1.
12. The concerts. It is there, not on the albums, where you get the most undiluted shot of Dylan — thorny, unpredictable, blindingly brilliant.
13. The Rolling Thunder tour.
14. His harmonica playing.
15. “Oh God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son"/Abe says, "Man, you must be puttin' me on"/God say, "No." Abe say, "What?"/God say, "You can do what you want Abe, but/The next time you see me comin' you better run"/Well Abe says, "Where do you want this killin' done?"/God says, "Out on Highway 61." (Highway 61 Revisited.)
16. Dylan the movie star. Sure, he’s awful, but would you really not want him to be in Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid reading those labels: “Beans...succotash...beans...”? Or Slim Pickens dying to the strains of Knocking On Heaven’s Door?
17. Bob and Joanie.
18. Bob and Sara, “radiant jewel/mystical wife.”
19. Blowin’ In The Wind.
20. Beating up Weberman.
21. The great Jim Marshall photo of him rolling a tire down a Greenwich Village street.
22. “Ah get born, keep warm/Short pants, romance, learn to dance/Get dressed, get blessed/Try to be a success/Please her, please him, buy gifts/Don't steal, don't lift/Twenty years of schoolin’ and they put you on the day shift.” (Subterranean Homesick Blues.)
23. Don’t Look Back.
24. The Traveling Wilburys and Bob’s great Springsteen-esque goof, Tweeter and the Monkey Man.
25. Hurricane.
26. Lay, Lady Lay.
27. I Threw It All Away.
28. “Let me ask you one question/Is your money that good/Will it buy you forgiveness/Do you think that it could/I think you will find/When your death takes its toll/All the money you made/Will never buy back your soul” (Masters of War)
29. Blood on the Tracks.
30. The interviews: combative, restless, insightful, the second best way to get a glimpse of Dylan’s unique way of thinking.
31. Springsteen’s line on Dylan at the Hall of Fame: “If Elvis freed your body, Bob freed your mind.”
32. That reedy voice. Love it or hate it, a Dylan song needs that Dylan voice.
33. Things Have Changed, which made him "Oscar winner Bob Dylan."
34. "Have you heard the news?" he said with a grin/"The Vice President's gone mad"/"Where?"/"Downtown."/When?”/"Last night"/"Hmm, say, that's too bad" (Clothes Line Saga)
35. When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky
36. Every Grain of Sand.
37. Just Like Tom Thumb Blues
38. “And your long-time curse hurts/But what's worse is this pain in here/I can't stay in here/Ain't it clear that…I just can't fit/Yes, I believe it's time for us to quit/When we meet again/Introduced as friends/Please don't let on that you knew me when/I was hungry and it was your world.” (Just Like A Woman)
39. Dylan’s mystery life: How many times has he been married? How many children does he really have?
40. Dylan wearing the false beard at Newport. Why?
41. Dylan appearing on Dharma and Greg. Why?
42. Dylan performing for The Pope. Why?
43. Dylan's radio show!
44. Without Dylan, would the Byrds have ever had a career? Or Peter, Paul and Mary?
45. The famous concert in England: “Judas!” Dylan’s response: “I don’t believe you…you’re a liar.”
46. Dylan at The Last Waltz.
47. Scorsese’s No Direction Home.
48. “Don’t follow leaders. Watch your parking meters. (SHB)
49. “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. (SHB)
50. Most Of The Time
51. John Wesley Harding.
52. “Money doesn’t talk, it swears.” (It’s Alright Ma)
53. All Along The Watchtower.
54. “If my thought-dreams could be seen/They'd probably put my head in a guillotine.” (It’s Alright Ma)
55. If Not For You.
56. Elliot Landy’s photo of Bob on the cover of Nashville Skyline.
57. The living room cover of Bringing It All Back Home.
58. “Lights flicker from the opposite loft/In this room the heat pipes just cough/The country music station plays soft/But there's nothing, really nothing to turn off/Just Louise and her lover so entwined/And these visions of Johanna that conquer my mind.” (Visions of Johanna).
59. “Early one mornin' the sun was shinin'/I was layin' in bed/Wond'rin' if she'd changed at all/If her hair was still red.” (Tangled Up In Blue).
60. Series Of Dreams
61. Dylan’s heart scare: “I thought I was gonna meet Elvis.”
62. Without Dylan, we wouldn’t have had the movies How High and American Pie: The Wedding, directed by Bob’s son, Jesse.
63. Boots of Spanish Leather.
64. Desolation Row
65. “You better start swimming or sink like a stone, cause the times they are a-changing.” (The Times They Are-A-Changin')
66. “Ah, I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” (My Back Pages)

24/05/2007 02:16. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

LUCKY YOU -- Music from the Motion Picture. Various Artists. Columbia Records/Sony Music.


But make no mistake –it’s “Huck’s Tune,” written by Bob Dylan for this film, that is the album’s centerpiece, standing alone as and one of the finest melodies and most brilliant vocal performances Dylan has featured in the last decade.

Simply, “Huck’s Tune” is a stunning achievement – both musically and for its poetry, a song that captures the ache and the essence of growing old, a song that captures the taste of time as it unravels into landscapes and secret lives re-formed into long sweet new memory pools.

In “Huck’s Tune,” Dylan’s voice encases the music as tight as a glove and refuses to let go, compelling us to live through the characters on screen, driving us to put ourselves in Huck’s skin as we answer our own question -- just what makes a guy take to this kinda life anyway?

Dylan’s delivery on this piece is reminiscent of the way Johnny Cash used to sing in the latter days of his career – sometimes breathless, sometimes searching, the poet at the edge of himself and the stage, looking for answers in human words, looking for answers that just might not exist at the invisible throes of this threshold:

The game’s gotten old

The deck’s gone cold

I’m gonna have to

Put you down

For awhile…”

 "Huck’s Tune" by Bob Dylan.


22/05/2007 07:00. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Music with a taste _ Mùsica que "sabe"


When i put my daughter to bed , before she goes asleep, we listen a couple of times to one of my Bob favourites.Tonight, it was "Lay Lady lay" and what a song this is, what sweet feelings it brings to me,such a magic sound i can only define as a "taste". 


19/05/2007 16:52. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

¿Que le parecen la filosofía actual, las tendencias modernas?


La gente hace oídos sordos a todo lo que puede salvarla,mientras persigue un muro,una extraña ilusion.Buscan la libertad donde no esta,y acaban con los dos pies cogidos en una trampa, desangrandose sin sentirlo, porque estan colocados con las drogas de la ilusion.

Bob Dylan

Minneapolis City Pages,1983

18/05/2007 16:08. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Studies of Bob # 6

20070517092429-adriana-s-bob-1.jpgDrawn by my daughter when she was five years old
17/05/2007 09:24. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Studies of Bob # 5

17/05/2007 09:23. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Studies of Bob # 4

17/05/2007 09:22. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Studies of Bob # 3

17/05/2007 09:21. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Studies of Bob # 1 -


Drawn by my daughter when she was five years old.

Bob is crossing from one world to another

16/05/2007 14:14. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Why New Rock Groups Dont Do Dylan Covers?


Bob dylan himself didnt start composing his own songs, he just played and sang traditional folk songs that everybody was supposed to know. Nowdays, young groups as soon as they are given a chance go out and pretend they deserve all attention to their own songs.But that is not the way, that is not going to work.They will not be much known a few hundred miles away from their homes.They will simply pass away like the clouds that cross the skies everyday

Take this new group from my country,Tulsa .Listen to  the  girl singer Miren Iza , she has the feeling, the touch, she makes you fly with the band playing really good ,like we have never heared a spanish band sound like this. And the lyrics are good, stripped feelings, though maybe a bit too enclosed in a particular after teen mood.

But what strikes me more is the fact that  many of these young singers and band memebers confess themselves as fans of Bob Dylan.why not then pay him due respect? Are they not aware of the enormous consideration the  musical world has for Bob?And not only the musical world.Whenever i come across an album of songs by someone i dont know and i find among the songs a dylan cover, i inmediately take this as a sign of wit, and i will want to know who this band is , and i will respect them, even if the rest of the songs are not of my choice.

12/05/2007 16:33. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.




We seem to be hellbent on destruction," Wenner said during his interview with Rolling Stone's idol-in-chief, Bob Dylan. "Do you worry about global warming?"

To which Dylan replied:
"Where's the global warming? Its freezing in here."

Bless his rock 'n' roll heart.
10/05/2007 10:30. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Bob In Concert

 3/27   Stockholm, Sweden - Debaser Medis 
3/28 Stockholm, Sweden - Globe   
3/30 Oslo, Norway - Spektrum   
4/1 Göteborg, Sweden - Scandinavium   
4/2 Copenhagen, Denmark - Forum   
4/4 Hamburg, Germany - Colorline Arena   
4/5 Münster, Germany - Halle Münsterland   
4/6 Brussels, Belgium - Forest National   
4/8 Amsterdam, The Netherlands - HMH   
4/9 Amsterdam, The Netherlands - HMH   
4/11 Glasgow Scotland - SECC   
4/12 Newcastle, England - Metro Radio Arena   
4/14 Sheffield, England - Hallam FM Arena   
4/15 London, England - Wembley Arena   
4/16 London, England - Wembley Arena   
4/17 Birmingham, England - National Indoor Arena (NIA)   
4/19 Düsseldorf, Germany - Philipshalle   
4/20 Stuttgart, Germany - Porsche Arena   
4/21 Frankfurt, Germany - Jahrhunderthalle   
4/23 Paris, France - Palais Omnisports de Paris   
4/25 Geneva, Switzerland - Arena   
4/26 Turin, Italy - Palaolimpico Isozaki   
4/27 Assago, Italy - DatchForum (ex Forum)   
4/29 Zürich, Switzerland - Hallenstadion   
4/30 Mannheim, Germany - SAP Arena   
5/2 Leipzig, Germany - Leipzig Arena   
5/3 Berlin, Germany - Max Schmeling Halle   
5/5 Herning, Denmark - Herninghallen   
6/22 Atlantic City, New Jersey - Borgata Hotel Casino Event Center   
6/23 Atlantic City, New Jersey - Borgata Hotel Casino Event Center   
6/24 Hershey, Pennsylvania - The Star Pavilion   
6/26 Florence, Massachusetts - Pines Theatre   
6/27 Uncasville, Connecticut - Mohegan Sun Casino Arena   
6/29 Wantagh, New York - Nikon At Jones Beach Theater   
6/30 Bethel, New York - Bethel Woods Center For The Arts   
7/1 Essex Junction, Vermont - Champlain Valley Exposition   
7/3 Quebec City, Quebec - Colisée Pepsi Arena   
7/4 Montreal, Quebec - Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier   
7/5 Ottawa, Ontario - Cisco Systems Ottawa Bluesfest   
7/7 Orillia, Ontario - Casino Rama Entertainment Centre   
7/8 Orillia, Ontario - Casino Rama Entertainment Centre   
7/10 Interlochen, Michigan - Kresge Auditorium   
7/11 Sterling Heights, Michigan - Freedom Hill Amphitheatre   
7/12 Toledo, Ohio - Toledo Zoo Amphitheater   
7/14 Cleveland, Ohio - Plain Dealer Pavilion   
7/15 Indianapolis, Indiana - The Lawn At White River State Park   
7/16 Kansas City, Missouri - Starlight Theatre   
7/26 Costa Mesa, California - Pacific Amphitheatre   
7/27 Paso Robles, California - California Mid-State Fair Grandstand   
7/28 Kelseyville, California - Konocti Field Amphitheatre   
8/?? Australian Tour - (unconfirmed)   
9/?? US Fall Tour - (unconfirmed)   
9/15? Austin, Texas - Zilker Park (unconfirmed)   
02/05/2007 18:25. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Academics gather in Minnesota to deconstruct Dylan




"I should think people need to explain themselves if they're NOT intrigued, enthralled and obsessed with Dylan," Hicks said during a lecture at the symposium. "Those of us who are, we don't have any explaining to do."



28/03/2007 14:24. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Bob Dylan on the Moon landings, 1969

The commentary was going to be done by a USAF commander at Nasa HQ, but that was considered a touch dull, given the epic achievement of having a man walk on the Moon. So they asked Bob Dylan to be "guest commentator"; the only stipulation was that he had to say, "That's one small step for a man - one giant leap for mankind," which had been approved at the highest level.When the corkscrew-haired visionary arrived in his dark glasses, it was clear there might be trouble. His opening words, "I was ridin' on Apollo 11 when I thought I spied some land" did not augur well, nor did his conviction that among the personnel piloting the landing craft were a juggler, a clown, a gambler, a jingle-jangle percussionist and a melancholy woman from the Lowlands.Pressed to describe the lunar landscape, he told the NBC audience: "The mystic spattered mist lies bleeding in the night/ where the cowboy junkie rides the tattered freight train." The producers looked at each other. As Neil Armstrong placed his foot on the Moon's surface, Dylan was prompted to say the famous line. "It's a small step for a man..." he began, "Down the ladder he does go/ He's come a long long journey/ from Desolation Row." They fired Dylan and got Armstrong to do it again, saying the line himself. He ballsed it up as well. 
08/03/2007 14:54. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Miguel de Unamuno escribió:


La figura es hondura,el sonido es sentido;hundirse en visión,sentirse en el son.

Sembrar cantares por el camino;

                                                     matar pesares

                                                      es mi destino

23/02/2007 13:43. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Comment on "Highlands" by R.Ward

Understanding the truth that this world is doomed and the only answer is holding out for the next, is far more important than being able to tell the difference between a "real blond and a fake.

19/02/2007 00:19. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Ain't nothing so depressin' as tryin' to satisfy this woman of mine ( Me and Jackie Tesson in Cadiz, southern Spain , 1986 )

20070209143147-jackie-me.jpgI'm flat out spent, this woman been drivin' me to tears
I'm flat out spent, this woman she been drivin' me to tears
This woman so crazy, i swear i ain't gonna touch another one for years.

08/02/2007 15:25. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.


20070201122547-bob-79.jpg 5 diciembre 1979Albuquerque NM  Dylan: "Well, you know we're living now in the end times. I don't think there's anybody here who doesn't feel that in their heart. Scripture says, "in the last days, perilous times shall be at hand. Men shall become lovers of their own selves." Blasphemous, heavy, and high-minded. Now, I don't know who you're gonna vote for, but none of those people is gonna straighten out what's happening in the world now. You know what's happening right now, when you look at the Middle East? They're headed for a war. That's right, they're headed for war. There's gonna be war over there. I'd say maybe five years, maybe ten years, could fifteeen years, I don't know, but remember I told you right here.I told you "The Times They Are A-Changing" and they did. I said the answer was "Blowing In The Wind" and it was. And I'm saying to you now, Jesus is coming back, and he is. There is no other way to salvation. I know around here you've got a lot of different spiritual things. You've got a lot of gurus, I know you do. You've got a lot of people just putting a mess on you in all kinds of ways. You don't even know which way to believe. There's only one way to believe. There's only one way, the truth and the light. It took me a long time to figure that out before it did come to me. I hope it doesn’t take you that long. But Jesus is coming back to set up his kingdom in Jerusalem for a thousand years. I don't know if that's news to you, but I know you don't read it in the newspapers. But it's the truth. Alright. So don't you be worried now. Don't you be bothered by the events to come, because, if you're saved, you're saved. And if you're lost, you're lost."  
31/01/2007 20:14. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

The Eye In The Bob Dylan Shows

20070110135742-the-eye-in-the-bob-dylan-shows.jpgThe Eye represents the All-Seeing-Eye, which in mystical symbolism represents The Silent Watcher. In many of the organised religions and cults such as Egyptology, Masonry, etc., it represents, at lower levels, the one God watching over. In reality it is our own Inner God ... that which is connected to all life and not a force to be in abeyance to, other than within the boundaries of our evolution.

Therefore, the Eye represents Truth that is permanent and available within everyone. The Crown on top of the eye is a representation of attainment, and therefore the Mastership which is possible by consciously becoming The Silent Watcher and acknowledging its authority within, rather than as an external entity.

The Flame breaking from the Crown is the Enlightenment that occurs when spiritual direction is achieved and Truth can be seen as an event rather than a quality. When one understands, rather than knows intellectually ... the difference between wisdom and knowledge.
10/01/2007 13:57. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Bob Dylan's Concert--Provocative, Rewarding

20061123142202-blogdylan2-717157.jpegBob Dylan is a symbol of bitter-sweet criticism of the artificialities found in contemporary society.

Dylan is disarmingly honest, almost consistently dour and his songs seldom achieve any full unity of concept.

Like a jigsaw puzzle, many of the separate parts, and occasionally some of the combined pieces, are fascinating and obviously the product of a talented craftsman in imagery. But on none of Dylan's compositions is a full picture ever completed.

Dylan's songs are as unclassifiable as the costumes of his most devoted young admirers because uniformity and conformity are the antithesis of this restless and cynical generation's philosophy.

He doesn't really sing much either. It's mostly a shouting, wailing narrative, and his blank verse lyrics are as irregular as the charts and meters.

It isn't emotionally or physically easy to attend a Dylan concert but it's provocative and rewarding in a degree seldom found elsewhere in American artistic expression.
 Phil Elwood was the jazz critic for the San Francisco Examiner (and later the Chronicle) for more than 35 years.
23/11/2006 14:22. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Kierkegaard, The Story of Abraham and Bob Dylan

"And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him.....Take thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land od Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which i will tell thee of."And Kierkegaard said : " Why doesn't some poet take up situations like these instead of the stuff and nonsense that fills comedies and novels?"And Bob Dylan did "Highway 61 "


21/11/2006 18:52. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

TRAIN A -TRAVELIN` BOB DYLAN 1968 -MADRID 11-03-04 LONDON 07-07-05 VALENCIA 03-07-06 BOMBAY 11-07-06

There's an iron train a-travelin' that's been a-rollin' through the years,
With a firebox of hatred and a furnace full of fears.
If you ever heard its sound or seen its blood-red broken frame,
Then you heard my voice a-singin' and you know my name.

Did you ever stop to wonder 'bout the hatred that it holds?
Did you ever see its passengers, its crazy mixed-up souls?
Did you ever start a-thinkin' that you gotta stop that train?
Then you heard my voice a-singin' and you know my name.

Do you ever get tired of the preachin' sounds of fear
When they're hammered at your head and pounded in your ear?
Have you ever asked about it and not been answered plain?
Then you heard my voice a-singin' and you know my name.

I'm a-wonderin' if the leaders of the nations understand
This murder-minded world that they're leavin' in my hands.
Have you ever laid awake at night and wondered 'bout the same?
Then you heard my voice a-singin' and you know my name.

Have you ever had it on your lips or said it in your head
That the person standin' next to you just might be misled?
Does the raving of the maniacs make your insides go insane?
Then you've heard my voice a-singin' and you know my name.

Do the kill-crazy bandits and the haters get you down?
Does the preachin' and the politics spin your head around?
Does the burning of the buses give your heart a pain?
Then you heard my voice a-singin' and you know my name.

Copyright © 1968
05/07/2006 00:13. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.



   Hay un viejo tren de hierro viajando a través de los años,con una máquina de odio y un decorado lleno de miedos.Si alguna vez escuchaste su sonido o viste su  chasis rojo-sangre, Es que oíste mi voz cantar y conoces mi nombre. ¿Te paraste alguna vez a pensar sobre su carga de rencor?¿Vistes a sus pasajeros, esa confusa mezcla de almas?¿Nunca se te ocurrió pensar que tenías que parar ese tren? Entonces es que oíste mi voz cantar y conoces mi nombre. Me pregunto si los líderes de las naciones no ven el mundo asesino que están dejando en mis manos.¿ Has pasado mas de  una noche en vela pensando lo mismo? Entonces es que oíste mi voz cantar y conoces mi nombre. ¿Alguna vez tuviste la sensación o te dijiste a ti mismo,que la persona sentada junto a ti podría estar equivocada?¿ Te revuelve por dentro el rabiar de los maníacos? Entonces has escuchado mi voz cantar y conoces mi nombre ¿No te deprime tanto odio loco y asesino?¿No te marean tanta política y tanto sermón?¿Te rompe el corazón ver los vagones ardiendo? Entonces escuchaste mi voz cantar y conoces mi nombre. 
05/07/2006 00:07. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Hi There Friend

Hi there friend  Bob is going to be used and instrumentalized by our  social -nationalist politicians in their so called Peace Process here in the Basque Country, paying for his singing at a festival that the authorities will make free with the money of all. A false process and a false war. Spain gave a general amnesty in 1979 with the restoration of democracy to all, but the Basque terrorist - not freedom fighters- group ETA refused it. And for the next 30 years went alone killing over 800 inocent people with 5000 injured.Any kind of people have been killed, from women and children to retired military, from business men to simple politicians.At the same time, the Basque region enjoyed one of the most autonomous regime known in Europe with everything important transferred, from education to health care, from police to taxes. And now, with over 500 activists in prison, the band says it,s time to sit down and negotiate, but in no moment have we heard any single word of repent for their crimes, what’s more, political intimidation and monetary extortion goes on. But all this seems not important for our young and -self declared- "Red" new president,Zapatero who, we, the spanish people still doubt that he and his "red friends" from the Basque and Morocco countries had nothing to do with the Madrid 11th of march attacks.where 190 people died.And so,  now they think Bob will help them making believe that Peace is coming, just when the whole world has learned that Bob is not and never was , " a pacifist", but is the man who wrote the lyrics of "Man Of Peace" instead. And also the man to have said not many good things about patriotism itself. What an irony it is that the ones who have always hated Bob for his jewness and his americanism are now praising him.But his true followers know very well for whom his bells toll, for the victim that died two thousand years ago to save us all. The Victim, not the killer.

In Bob Plot     
17/06/2006 00:48. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.


17/06/2006 00:21. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

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