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Comrades From The North

Maybe it's a feature of getting older or maybe it's not but it certainly does not feel like it's been 10 years since we published the first Bridge. However, it is 10 years and we are so grateful to you, our subscribers, for seeing those years through with us. It sounds hackneyed but it's true, without you there would be no Bridge, indeed there would be no point in even trying. We would also want to reflect again on the memory of John Bauldie, the real inspiration behind what we do. John was the original and the best and without him…. well you know the rest. He is still sadly missed.

There are, however, much more important anniversaries than ours. It is 30 years since the release of Street-Legal, a sometimes controversial waxing but one which has always been received favourably in these quarters. Most astounding is the fact that it is now 20 years since the Never Ending Tour started. This is something that has generated its own life-history and has seen its fair share of highs and lows, rumours, surprises, legends and who knows how many tens of thousands of miles racked up by Dylan, the band, the crew and the fans. Carbon footprints, anyone? It sure has been a long, strange trip that shows no sign yet of ending and it is doubtful that anyone would have envisaged back in 1998 that it would still be on the road 20 years on. Even at this time distance it is still clear that the tour works and that most shows exhibit that bit of magic even if it sometimes takes a while to appear these days. Whilst Dylan goes on boldly another couple of characters from his story have passed away recently. These were only minor figures in the Dylan universe and their parts were done. Artie Traum played with Dylan just the once in the band which backed Allen Ginsberg in the November 1971 sessions at the Record Plant. His older brother, known as Happy Traum, was much more significant in the Dylan story in the sixties and early seventies. Also lost to us is David Gahr, the photographer who snapped Dylan in the early days in New York. Gahr was one of the first photographers to document folk music revival starting in the late 1950s and into the 1960s. As The Bridge was going to press, we learnt of the death of famed record producer Jerry Wexler (1917 - 2008). Wexler co-produced with Barry Beckett, both Slow Train Coming and Saved.

It has been recently announced that Dylan has received the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation for "his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary power".

As the years slip by and the Dylan drama continues to unfold we hope that you will stay as we attempt to stick with it.

May you climb on every rung ..........

Mike & John

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