JOTTING DOWN NOTES
FORMS OF PSYCHIC EXPLOSION
The Crossroads I'm Standing At
Eric Clapton and Friends in Concert - A Benefit for the Crossroads Centre in Antigua was released on video and DVD in October. Bob Dylan sings Don't Think Twice, It's All Right, and shares vocals with Eric Clapton on Crossroads and Bright Lights, Big City.
Don't Look Back
Don't Look Back will be released on DVD, Video and Laser Disc in January 2000. Included in addition to the film there are uncut audio performances including, To Ramona, Love Minus Zero/No Limit, It's All Over Now, Baby Blue, The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll, plus a never before heard version of It Ain't Me, Babe. In addition, the DVD features a running comentary from D.A. Pennebaker and tour road manager Bob Neuwirth, a never-before-seen version of the Subterranean Homesick Blues cue card scene, as well as a Dylan discography and biographies of Pennebaker and the film's cast and crew.
House Of Blues
An incomplete video of Dylan at House Of Blues, Atlanta on the 4th August 1996 now circulate. The show is complete up to the beginning of Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again when it abruptly ends! The full track listing is:
To Be Alone With You/Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You /All Along The Watchtower/Under The Red Sky/Watching The River Flow/Silvio/Love Minus Zero/No Limit +/Tangled Up In Blue +/The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll +/Stuck Inside Of MobileWith The Memphis Blues Again.
Dharma & Greg
On 12th October 1999, Bob Dylan appeared, unbilled, on the 4th episode in the new season of the US TV sitcom Dharma & Greg. It came at the end of the show, when Dharma, played by Jenna Elfman, decides to show off her drum skills by trying out for a band. Dylan is the bandleader. You see a lot more than his back. Bob plays on 2 instrumental songs, faces the camera, and speaks on several occasions.
"I'll count it off," Dylan advises Dharma as a song begins.
The odd appearance was engineered by Eddie Gorodetsky, a writer on the sitcom who is friendly with Dylan. When producers sought a nationally known musician for the cameo role, they decided to test the contact. Through his manager, Dylan requested a few tapes of "Dharma & Greg," said the show's creator, Chuck Lorre. About a month later came the word: Bob was game.
Taping took an hour. At one point, Dylan suggests a meringue beat, then a polka. When Dharma tries a different beat, she says, "That's kind of too funky for your style, eh?"
"Not at all,"' Dylan says with a wide smile.
He demurs when Dharma asks if she's passed the audition, but laughs when she asks whether he can help pack up her drum kit.
"Yeah, sure," he says, already completing more dialogue than he uses during most concert appearances.
There's no telling what it was about "Dharma & Greg" that appealed to Dylan.
DOWN IN THE GROOVE - OFFICIAL RELEASESBlonde On Blonde and Blood On The Tracks were released on 18th October, 1999 Columbia; Catalogue Number: MILLEN15 and 16 respectively. Millennium editions are the full version of the albums with the original gatefold sleeve for Blonde On Blonde. There are no differences to report .
Soundtrack for a Century - Sony's 26-CD collection, and 12 individual 2-CD volumes include Blowin' In the Wind (1962) and Like a Rolling Stone (1965) by Bob Dylan. Was due to be on sale October 1999.
Sony/Columbia in the States ran a promotion earlier this year which involved purchasing two CDs from the "Nice Price" or "Best Value" series to receive a free CD. The CD was called Rare Rock Tracks and featured previously unreleased performances by eleven artists. There was one track included from Bob and this was Cold Irons Bound from December 20, 1997 at the El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles.
Bob On The Net
The flow of new songs on the Bob Dylan website has slowed in recent months. Since the previous issue of The Bridge only three songs have been added, and these are the only ones current.
53 4th Time Around, Palacio de Festivales, Santander, Spain 13.4.99
54 Highlands, Madison Square Garden, NYC 27.7.99
55 Tryin' To Get To Heaven, Pavilhão do Atlântico, Lisbon, Portugal 7.4.99
The website now has the lyrics for the Time Out Of Mind songs.These correspond to the published versions and differ slightly from the ones performed on the CD.
In this issue we have a plethora of Dylan covers. We will give as much detail as space allows:
Druh Trva with Peter Rowan released their new CD, "New Freedom Bell," on 21 September 1999 on the Compass label and it features versions of Tryin' To Get To Heaven and Cold Irons Bound.
Scott Holt's new album, "Dark Of The Night," includes Gotta Serve Somebody and it is released on the WEA label.
Ramblin' Jack Elliot's first album on his new label WEA, Long Ride features With God On Our Side and two songs with a Bob link are featured:- Ranger's Command and East Virginia Blues.
The new CD released earlier this year by Kingfish called "Sundown On The Forest" features It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry. It is available on the Phoenix label.
Meet Me In The Morning is included on Jon Shain's new CD "Brand New Lifetime" on the Flyin' Records label.
Early this year Jimmy Lafave issued a new double CD entitled "Trail" on the Bohemia Beat label. This contains 12 covers of Dylan songs and some versions are worth searching out. The full track list:
Positively 4th Street/Simple Twist Of Fate/Oh, Sister/Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues/Forever Young/If Not For You/I'll Be Your Baby Tonight/Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You/I Threw It All Away/Down In The Flood/It's All Over Now, Baby Blue/One Too Many Mornings.
Grisman and Company, the all-star trio, David Grisman, John Hartford and Mike Seeger bring plenty of rustic charm and verve to their new release, "Retrograss". The trio indulges in several other musical make-overs including Bob Dylan's Maggie's Farm.
"Living Room" is the new album from Anders Osborne released earlier this year on the Shanachie label. This is unique for the inclusion of Coast To Coast Blues, apparently a cover of a previously unreleased Bob Dylan composition.
"Eternal Circle" by Michel Montecrossa features eleven Bob Dylan tracks, most of them rarely covered by other artists. The full track list is:
Eternal Circle/Knockin' On Heaven's Door/Sitting On A Barbed Wire Fence/Blowin' In The Wind/Mixed Up Confusion/Tomorrow Is A Long Time/Love Minus Zero/No Limit/On The Road Again/All Along The Watchtower/Bob Dylan's Dream/Couple More Years/and the bonus Mpeg-Video Quinn The Eskimo.
Eternal Circle is distributed (audio) through the Internet worldwide: www.mp3.com/michelmontecrossa. The complete Eternal Circle cd-plus (audio and video) is available from: Mira Sound Germany, Danziger Str. 1, d-82131 Gauting, 'phone: 089-8508555, fax: 089-8509178, e-mail: email@example.com or the Internet: www.mirapuri-enterprises.com.
To catch up on older covers, there was a Maxi single released by Bruce Springsteen in August on the Sony/Columbia label which includes Chimes Of Freedom.
Another WEA release to feature Dylan covers is the "Best Of The Band Volume 2" by the The Band. It includes Blind Willie McTell and Forever Young.
John Mellencamp covers Farewell Angelina on new CD, "Rough Harvest" which was released in August on the UNI/Island label.
KULA SHAKER's last recorded material is to be a cover of Bob Dylan's Ballad Of A Thin Man which will be released sometime next year on a Dylan tribute album.
Recently, frontman Crispian Mills said: "The song includes the line, 'Something's happening here but I don't know what it is'. I thought that was highly appropriate for my band."
Kula Shaker split after Mills announced his decision to go solo.
A miniseries on CBS is about the early days of rock 'n' roll, ''Shake, Rattle & Roll.'' It includes the first recording ever of Bob Dylan's Fur Slippers, done in a traditional blues style by B.B. King. This is one of 21 tracks recorded specifically for programme. These tracks are included on a companion soundtrack album from MCA.
The upcoming Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young reunion album, will include a bluesy rock song co-written by bandmember Stephen Stills and Bob entitled Seen Enough.
Columbia/Legacy is honoring Joplin's memory with "Expanded Editions" of those four albums, as well as an extended version of the 1973 "Greatest Hits" LP. One of the rarities will be on "Kosmic Blues" and is a version of Dear Landlord.
Pete Townshend's latest recording was unveiled on the Internet called Pete Townshend Live: A Benefit For Maryville Academy.'' It was posted exclusively at musicmaker.com's website for promotion (and later for sale) with it's entire musical content -- with a limit of one track at a time -- available for free download for one week. At the end of this period, the song that has attracted the most downloads will be then be recommended to radio stations across the nation.
Most of the album was recorded August 16, 1998, at the House of Blues in Chicago. This album features Pete Townshend and a talented band providing fresh, outstanding versions of The Who songs and a haunting version of Bob Dylan's classic Girl From The North Country, which was performed by Townshend and his band at the Woodstock celebration in August 1998.
Sheryl Crow is preparing to release her first live album, which promises to be a star-studded affair. "Sheryl Crow And Friends Concert" in New York City's Central Park. Crow performs seven songs on her own, and all of the guests join her for the finale Tombstone Blues. The album is due in to be released in December 1999.
Is It Rolling Bob?
Sydney Stadium, Sydney, Australia, 13 April 1966 Soundboard
This is a recently discovered tape of Bob's first show in Australia. Here we have almost the full show, with only part of the first verse of She Belongs To Me missing. One of the main areas of interest with the tape is that the shows is concluded with Positively 4th Street. It was thought that Bob had closed all of the shows after March 1966 with Like A Rolling Stone but obviously not! An essential tape to search out. The full song list is:
She Belongs To Me/4th Time Around/Visions Of Johanna/It's All Over Now, Baby Blue/Desolation Row/Just Like A Woman/Mr. Tambourine Man/Tell Me Momma/I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)/Baby, Let Me Follow You Down/Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues/Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat/One Too Many Mornings/Ballad Of A Thin Man/Positively 4th Street
Target Centre, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 23 October 1998, Soundboard
Good quality soundboard from Bob's home State, with solid performances from Bob and the band. Excellent versions of Gotta Serve Somebody, a long My Back Pages, and Highway 61 Revisited. Bob quote, "Thank you ladies and gentlemen. Here's a song I wrote for Garth Brooks, he did it so well I just had to do it myself." Full track listing:
Gotta Serve Somebody/I'll Remember You/Cold Irons Bound/Just Like A Woman/Silvio/It Ain't Me Babe +/ Masters of War + /Tangled Up in Blue +/My Back Pages+/ Make You Feel My Love/Highway 61 Revisited/Love Sick/Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35/Blowin' In The Wind+/ 'Til I Fell In Love With You/Forever Young +
Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, 31 January 1974, Soundboard
Another recent arrival is the remaining part of this soundboard from 1974. Nothing unusual to report here. This is the full song list:
It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)/Rag Mama Rag/This Wheel's On Fire/The Shape I'm In/Forever Young/Highway 61 Revisited/Like A Rolling Stone/Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)/Blowin' In The Wind
Vancouver, British Columbia, GM Place, 11 June 1999 - Soundboard In-house FM
This is an Audio Loop tape, recorded from the House system for the aurally impaired in the audience. Whilst reasonable it is nowhere near the quality of a soundboard tape and lacks the atmosphere of an audience recording.
Bob's vocals are clear, but the band is mixed very low and cannot be easily heard or distinguished on the slower Electric songs. The performances are Ok, and the lukewarm reviews given at the time to the duets with Paul Simon are justified from listening to this tape
Hallelujah, I'm Ready To Go +/Mr. Tambourine Man +/ Masters Of War +/It's All Over Now, Baby Blue +/Tangled Up In Blue +/All Along The Watchtower/Tryin' To Get To Heaven/Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again/Not Dark Yet/Highway 61 Revisited/Love Sick/Like A Rolling Stone/It Ain't Me, Babe +/The Sound Of Silence*/I Walk The Line*/Blue Moon Of Kentucky*/ Knockin' On Heaven's Door
* * Duets with Paul Simon
Bob Fass Radio Show WBAI March 1963
A radio show featuring Bob and Suzie Rotolo from March 1963. Bob Fass plays 4 songs from an acetate Bob has brought in from the then unreleased and uncompleted Freewheelin' album. The tracks played are Oxford Town, Corrina Corrina, I Shall Be Free and Down The Highway. Unfortunately, the takes are the same as the released album.
Bob does not play live on the show, but spends about 20 minutes in light-hearted "playful banter" with Bob Fass discussing, among other things, poetry and time travel. Nothing is revealed.
Walkin' The Hills Of Old Duluth: The Poetry Of Stephen Scobie
by Terry Kelly
Rock music and poetry traditionally make for extremely awkward, if not disastrous, bedfellows. Just think of the acres of tosh committed to paper by Jim Morrison and Marc Bolan. Most of my critical instincts tell me that rock lyrics - even the finest of the genre - are one thing, and serious poetry quite another. It follows that the tiresome, but oft-repeated debate pitting Bob Dylan against John Keats isn't really a debate at all. Yes, rock lyrics can aspire to "poetic" qualities and evoke similar complex emotional and intellectual responses in us, but ultimately, they require the human voice and music to complete the aesthetic cocktail.
By a neat coincidence, I'm writing this in the week that Britain celebrates National Poetry Day. Even more appropriately, the overall theme of this year's literary celebration is poetry and song lyrics. Leading the celebrations is our Poet Laureate, Dylan fan and Bridge subscriber, Andrew Motion. So where does Ted Hughes's successor stand on the Dylan/Keats debate? Interviewed on the Poetry Society's website, Motion said this: "In one sense, it's important to establish differences, and these can be described pretty simply. Keats didn't play the guitar, or write much for music (I mean: his words are free-standing in a sense that Dylan's aren't), and Dylan hasn't produced any book-length narrative poems. In other respects, I think it's a false dichotomy. They each have their own brilliant and distinctive things to say, and neither - in their greatness - matters more or less than the other." Even the famous critic, avowed Dylan fan and fellow Bridge subscriber, Christopher Ricks, seems t o hedge his bets when he describes Bob as a great "user" of words. Ricks, Warren Professor of the Humanities at Boston University, USA, recently edited the new edition of the classic anthology, The Oxford Book of English Verse (Oxford University Press, 1999). But although Dylan could not have been included in the famous anthology by reason of age - the youngest writer included being the 60-year-old Nobel prizewinning Irish poet, Seamus Heaney - I would like to guess that His Bobness will still not be considered worthy of inclusion in a decade or two. Dylan is simply not part of the accepted canon of English verse (although I hardly think this will give Bob any sleepless nights).
Forgive the long preamble, but it explains why I was initially extremely apprehensive when asked to review a volume of poetry about Bob Dylan for The Bridge. Oh, Mama, a book of poetry about Bob? Can this really be the end? Visions - not of Johanna - but of a badly produced, sloppily pretentious free verse epic, complete with a blurry student rag mag cover based on Blonde On Blonde immediately sprang to mind. Thankfully, my fears were completely unfounded. In fact, Scottish-born Canadian writer and academic Stephen Scobie is a real poet. Possibly best known to readers of The Bridge as the author of the 1991 critical study, "Alias Bob Dylan," his latest poetry collection can more than hold its own as literature and as a worthy addition to the rapidly expanding world of Dylan studies. "and forget my name - a speculative biography of Bob Dylan" (Ekstasis Editions, Canada, 1999) is a 65-page poetic exploration of the biographical and creative roots of the boy from Hibbing. Using Dave Enge l's fascinating "Just Like Bob Zimmerman's Blues: Dylan in Minnesota" (River City Memoirs, 1997) as a source book, Scobie tries to explain, in poetic terms, the origins of Dylan's muse, as it was fostered in the wide open spaces around what the singer calls in Planet Waves, "the hills of old Duluth."
But Scobie never distorts Dylan's biography for the sake of poetic invention; rather he approaches the facts of the singer's life from richly oblique angles, teasing out a consistent lyrical resonance which stays in the reader's mind. I hear echoes - an important word, in the context of this ambitious poem - of early Gary Snyder or Ed Dorn, in the way Scobie is able to fuse factual information and lyrical intensity. I was reminded of Thom Gunn's description of Snyder's poem, Mid-August at Sourdough Mountain Lookout: "It is a poem of fact, not of metaphor or symbol; statement does all the work, and we are invited to test it by only the most general of human experiences, a knowledge of what it feels like to be up a mountain, for instance, or of what water tastes like." (The Occasions of Poetry, Faber, 1982). But while the whole poem is a highly assured and sophisticated piece, it is certainly not written for students of contemporary poetry alone. Any serious Dylan fan will find insig hts galore in Scobie's poem and I would urge you to seek out this fine collection.
Putting Dylan In The Picture
By Terry Kelly
Early Dylan (Pavilion Books, £19.99) captures His Bobness from his early folkie days, into the creative thunderstorm of 1965. But it is the images of Dylan in 1966, in all his iconic raging glory, which provide the book's real visual feast. A wonderful treasure house of black and white pictures from the privileged photographic trio of Barry Feinstein, Daniel Kramer and Jim Marshall, the book will jolt even the most jaded fan with such unfamiliar 1966 pictures as our hero discovering a Sheffield betting office called "LSD Partners." Dylan turns on his familiar self-conscious mean and moody look while posing in the doorway, but the image captured just seconds before is far more revealing, as he dives out of the limo, hands in the air, with a beaming, childlike smile across his face after spotting the sign.
The Man In Him by Ken Brooks
Agenda Ltd, Andover (£9.99)
This book takes on a massive challenge to cover Dylan's career from start to finish. Many areas are covered in great details and the author is thorough in his efforts.
However, there are some difficulties with the book mainly caused by the huge amount of material that there is to cover.
Painting His Masterpiece: Song & Dance Man III - The Art Of Bob Dylan
By Terry Kelly
This is a wonderful book. Let me put that another way: this is a book of wonders. A monumental work of detailed scholarship, this third edition of Michael Gray's pioneering study sets a bench-mark of critical excellence that few, if any Dylan commentators will be able to equal. If my opening comments sound like blurb-speak or hyperbole, so be it. I mean every word and the book justifies the praise. Composed with passion and consummate artistry, the central argument of Gray's, "Song & Dance Man III - The Art of Bob Dylan" (Cassell, £29.99), his 944-page masterwork, is right on target, so direct: Bob Dylan's work matters. His preface urges us to ignore the uninformed carping about high and popular culture by the toffee-nosed Late Show establishment lit crit crowd and the equally patronising Keats versus Dylan nonsense spawned by playwright David Hare and fellow G&T academic rock music know-nothings. Gray, rightly irked that Dylan is still required to pass some kind of cultural litmus te st, correctly places Cockney rebel John Keats and old rock 'n' roller Bob Dylan in the same classy culture club. (A view shared, incidentally, by our recently appointed Poet Laureate and Bridge subscriber, Andrew Motion).
Right at the start of his book, Gray asks us to view his monumental study as "a benign kind of labyrinth, or city-state," inviting readers to lose themselves in its many main arteries, side-streets, or darkened alleyways. In truth, there is something architectural about the book's design and ambition. I'm tempted to risk derision and call its approach contrapuntal, as each chapter complements and counterpoints another. Michael Gray has written the book of his life and the last word of this review must be this: essential.
Return to Contents Page