Comrades From The North
Winter has come early to North-Eastern England. We are buried under considerable snowfalls and the simple business of pursuing daily life is a trial. Why is it that every time we have snowfall the fabric of civilisation is stretched and torn. Schools close, the buses stop running, ambulances park up and food supplies dwindle. This doesn't happen in countries where they have frequent and significant snowy weather. However, it's not likely to change anytime soon. We need fortitude and endurance which is what Dylan has shown during the course of this year with yet another marathon touring schedule just completed. Looks like he is still having fun if the consecutive New York City shows are any guide. Over three nights he pulled out the stops and played 34 different songs out of a total of 49 performances. Given that the opening number and the last four songs are the same, it meant a different body of a show each night. There is no question then of Dylan resting on any laurels. And there are already dates lined up for Australia in the Spring.
Just as Dylan remains active currently so his emerging back catalogue continues to garner him lavish praise. The recent releases of the Bootleg Series Vol 9 Bob Dylan The Wittmark Demos: 1962-1964 and Bob Dylan - The Original Mono Recordings have been universally welcomed and have been the catalyst for extended reviews and special features on the man, the best of these being in Mojo 205 (see Jotting Down Notes). Of course the Wittmark (and Leeds) demos have been in the hands of collectors for umpteen years but it is gratifying to see them finally achieve official release status. There is still so much more that could be released from the archives that this series could go on forever. As we have commented elsewhere in this issue, the Jimi Hendrix legacy is still very much alive forty years after he died with the official release of new archive material every few months and not just concerts. Most of the material is from studios or rehearsals. And Jimi had only four recording years in his prime! So long as Dylan wants it to happen then we could see these Bootleg Series releases going on into the sunset.
The "bonus" disc which comes with these sets Bob Dylan in Concert Brandeis University 1963 is a lovely addition to the canon. Part of Ralph J Gleason's archive collection, it was discovered by Jeff Gold and Toby Gleason as they were rummaging through the massive music collection. Thank goodness they kept on looking and found this little gem. The University on-line magazine has a nice feature on this item at http://www.brandeis.edu/now/2010/october/dylan.html
In this edition of The Bridge we resume publication of Robert Shelton's 1966 conversations with Bob Dylan about life, music and the universe but in particular about Shelton's impending biography. We hope that you will enjoy this slice of unreleased prime-time Dylan opinion-making and there's more to come.:
We wish you the very best for the forthcoming festive season. For those who can take time off, enjoy it and for those who can't, do your best.
May you climb on every rung ..........
Mike & John
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