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Comrades From The North

Hello and a very warm welcome to the latest issue of The Bridge. Many of you may have had the opportunity to catch Dylan in his recent round of European shows so we hope that you enjoyed what you saw. This time around multiple concert-goers were treated to a modicum of variety in the song selection including one or two surprises along the way. Having said that, there remained a high degree of rigidity in the set-lists, with 20 songs being utilised in twelve or more of the 19 shows on the itinerary. Whenever Dylan incorporates festival gigs (which are often a tad shorter that normal shows) he tends to vary things – not always but certainly he did again this time around. In fact there were 19 songs which were played only a handful of times – 6 of which were played only the once. Amongst the one-offs were That Lucky Old Sun last played in 1985 but included on the recent Shadows In The Night album and a couple of debut performances namely Sad Songs And Waltzes (a Willie Nelson number)and Where Are You? (also from Shadows In The Night). So, all in all, sounds like promising developments for the European shows to come in the Autumn.

If there is one constant in the Dylan multiverse it is that there is always some rumour in circulation. The most recent one to grab the attention may well turn out to have more than an iota of truth about it. It concerns the next release in the wonderful Bootleg Series. Stories have circulated for some time that the next project could/would be the Blood On The Tracks sessions or the sessions for Blonde On Blonde. Either of those would be most welcome, of course, but this latest rumour suggests that we might get the studio sessions from 1965 and 1966. Given that this would cover what many regard as the most fertile, ground-breaking and influential period of Dylan’s career, this would be a major release should the whisperings prove to have substance. The rumoured format is a 2- CD package, a 6-CD box set and an extensive, multi-CD set, perhaps up to 18 discs, covering the whole period comprehensively. Whilst this latter box might seem somewhat unlikely, it is worth pointing out that it would be odds-on that Sony/Columbia would be releasing Copyright Collection sets at the end of 2015 and 2016 to protect recordings from 1965 and 1966 respectively so why not do it properly and make money out of it at the same time. For goodness’ sake, how much would they be charging for an 18-CD set?!!! If any of this does happen, expect an October 2015 release – in time for the Christmas market no doubt.

The highly respected UK music magazine Mojo produces a (very) occasional side issue entitled Mojo '60s. Issue number 3 hit the shelves in June and features a 20-page special on Dylan in 1965 entitled Revolution In His Head. The piece uses the basic tenet that Dylan invented rock music when he recorded Bringing It All Back Home in January 1965 and it traces what it believes are some of the musical developments prior to this which led up to that seminal work. Not everyone would swallow the claim wholesale, given that one side of the album was practically acoustic and a lot of the first side was not full-blown rock music and some might point to the sessions for Highway 61 Revisited as being the key works, others Newport 1965, others the release of the single Like A Rolling Stone. The magazine also contains a stiff-card promo poster for Don’t Look Back as well as loads of other great features on artistes of the period. Worth seeking out.

And so it remains for us to wish you a pleasant and peaceful summer time or a warm winter for those in the southern hemisphere. Here in the UK we had one week of heat-wave and a pretty soggy time since then. Take care and hope that you enjoy this issue.

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

Mike & John

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