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Comrades From The North

Welcome back to a new subscription year and a very big welcome for those newly subscribing. We hope that you enjoy this year’s efforts. There must be something in the air. As a new European tour was announced this past week and the furious ticket-selling got under way, many subscribers and others were musing upon whether this will be Dylan's swansong. And the probable cause of that musing – the fact that Dylan is ending the tour in the iconic Royal Albert Hall in London, the very venue where he played out the last gig of his apocalyptic 1966 world tour and did battle with those who raged against the electrical storm for the last time before moving into retirement from touring. It’s fair to say that the idea that these shows will complete some sort of ineffable circle and lay rest to the touring bug is probably very fanciful but something on which is pleasant to while away some time in idle speculation! After all, following Dylan’s return to touring in 1974, there have been only four years in the succeeding forty years when has had not toured. The European tour looks like an interesting. Starting on 10th October and running through to 28th November Dylan will play 33 gigs but will only visit seventeen cities. For the UK leg he will play nine gigs in three cities and these will all be in relatively small halls. It is gratifying that fans will not have to make pilgrimage to the vast airplane hangars with their lousy sound that we know as arenas. Of course, the downside has been the availability of tickets – with such venues they have sold quickly and so it is possible that many fans may not be able to catch Dylan in the flesh this time around. The current AmericanaramA tour through up a surprise in Memphis (2nd July) when Charlie Sexton was back in place of Duke Robillard. Following his replacement, Robillard posted some interesting Facebook messages:

For sale Bob Dylan CD and record collection for sale slightly used.

Followed by a sort of explanation:

No emergency situation. I simply have too much stuff and want to un-complicate my life. And then a spritely coda later: How can you NOT love BD? Guess I’ll be keeping CDs! LOL

Oh and the set list now includes Duquesne Whistle. You will no doubt recall the storm-in-a-great-lake caused by Joni Mitchell a few years ago when she referred to Dylan as a plagiarist in an interview with Los Angeles Times writer, Matt Diehl. Having originally said that Dylan wasn’t “authentic at all” she has now posted a video interview to explain. She states that she was talking about the larger idea of inspiration versus craft — and how, as they get older, artists sometimes have to work to construct songs that once came to them of a piece. She claims that the reporter just did not get the subtlety of her remarks and printed the infamous remark because of that. Putting it subtlety herself - “That remark is completely out of context. The interviewer was an asshole. He’s misconstruing everything I say, I hate doing interviews with stupid people, and this guy’s a moron.” And what does she think about our man now?

I like a lot of Bob's songs, though musically he's not very gifted. He's borrowed his voice from old hillbillies. He's got a lot of borrowed things. He's not a great guitar player. He's invented a character to deliver his songs. Sometimes I wish that I could have that character — because you can do things with that character. It's a mask of sorts.

Well it's not so clear that she has actually clarified things - isnt this sort of saying the same thing as the original statement? Incidentally to read more about inspiration and creativity in Dylan's work take a look at the review of John Hughes' new book in JDN later in these issues.

Enjoy your summer, enjoy the Bootleg Series 10: Another Self Portrait details in JDN and we'll be back as the summer turns slowly to autumn.

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

Mike & John

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