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Comrades From The North

As we write this column the UK the weather is turning from winter to springtime and new life is stirring in the fields, hedgerows and farms. As you read this, Big Ben has gone silent (repair and maintenance) and the Brexit bell will have peeled signalling the long divorce between Europe and the United Kingdom.Through all of this change one thing remains constant - Bob Dylan will be on tour somewhere. And so he is - this time around starting in northern Europe and ending up in the UK and Ireland. Hope you get to see him and that you enjoy the experience. You might guess at what he is going to play but you can never tell. They say that things happen in threes and, if that is so, then Dylan is doing it in style. Not only is he releasing his third consecutive album featuring songs from the Great American songbook, he is issuing it as a triple album!. The album, Triplicate, features thirty more of these offerings across the three discs, each of which is themed. No doubt, by the time you read this, you will have had the pleasure of hearing this material several times and may react positively or otherwise. Certainly the Dylan chat rooms have been lively with opinion, both positive and adverse. No doubt, if Dylan ever bothered to read any of this e-chat he would be indifferent about it and do what he has always done - plough his own furrow. Really that is what we should expect and something that we should celebrate - a genuine artiste pursuing his art in the way in which he wishes too, irrespective of commericial concerns, record company pressure, critcal comments from so-called professionals or disquiet from fans. After all, if Miles Davis had listened to the nay-sayers the world might have been deprived of all of his great albums of the 1970s. Dylan was once more represented in this year’s Grammy awards. He was nominated in two categories and was succesful in one of them. He was awarded Best Historical Album for The Bootleg Series Volume 12: The Cutting Edge 1965-1966 but was unsuccessful in the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album with Fallen Angels. The list of awards grows ever longer. Speaking of awards, or something vaguely similar, don’t you ever tire of those endless lists that appear with incresing frequency in the music press. You know the ones - best albums of all time, greatest ever singles, best fify Beatles cuts and so on. Come the Christmas editions of most of these journals you will find a list purporting to identify the best albums of the year just ending. From your editors’ viewpoint it makes for easy “journalism” and a means of filling in a significant number of pages at a time when supposedly less is happening in the musical universe. And you can guarantee that they will publish some other list at some point during the year. It is all good fun, of course, and no-one should really get uptight if their favourite waxing does not win (I mean Pet Sounds better than Revolver - Really???) but it is, in the end, a futile exercise where the entries will and do change over time. After all, the best is still to come. Anyway, enough of causal ranting, and back to important matters. Enjoy the new album, enjoy the shows and we hope that you enjoy this edition of The Bridge.

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

Mike & John

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