Tag Archives: bob Dylan

Bob Dylan at 70

I am just back from jamming with Sheish Money in readiness for my 40th Birthday Bash at Confit Bistro next Wednesday night. The riffs and words were flowing and so was the conversation. I won’t give away what we will be performing, but it was a blast tearing into the words of some of my favourite singer/songwriters. The one thing I can tell you (and I guess it’s no surprise) is, we jammed some Dylan tonight.

There’s always plenty of ‘Bob talk’ when Sheish and I are together and tonight was no different. I was raving about Bob’s Theme Time Radio Hour Show on ‘Friends & Neighbours’ and how he drops in quotes by Nietszche and Wilde (‘Good friends will stab you in the front’), plays Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Little Walter, Hank Williams as Luke the Drifter and wants us all to be his friends. And speaking of friends, just this morning, my good friend Ben in the UK sent me through a link to the BBC’s in depth look at Dylan t 70.

And well, I just have to share this with you… for any Dylan fan, these shows are going to thrill you and for those who ain’t, well, they may just turn you on!

Episode 1 is presented by Kristofferson and features interviews with Dylan’s contemporaries Tom Paxton, Jim Kweskin and Dave Van Ronck, who remember his earliest songs and performances; John Hammond, the man who signed Bob to Columbia Records and Joan Baez, who gives a rare insight into her contribution to Dylan’s success.

Bob himself talks about the music that influenced him as a young man, first hearing Woody Guthrie, meeting Peter, Paul & Mary and walking out of the influential Ed Sullivan TV Show in 1963.

Episode 2 features an interview with Martin Carthy, who talks about the influence traditional British folk music had on Dylan’s work, and Peter Asher and Tom Robinson describe the importance of Dylan’s arrival in the British pop charts; John Lennon and Carly Simon realise Dylan’s lyrics mean so much more than anyone else’s; Bob Geldof remembers the first time he heard Like A Rolling Stone and Joe Boyd, stage manager at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival recalls Dylan’s controversial performance.

Episode 3 looks at the making of arguably Dylan’s most influential album, Blonde on Blonde. The episode is titled Nashville Cats and features newly sourced interviews with the key participants on these historic studio recording dates including musicians Al Kooper, Charlie McCoy, Hargus “Pig” Robbins, Wayne Moss, Henry Strzelecki and Joe South. The documentary also features the perspective of Producer Bob Johnston, the man responsible for convincing Dylan to record in Nashville, and reveals the real story behind the supposed symbolism of its famous cover shot care of Jerry Schatzberg, the man behind the lens.

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Counting Down to 40

So there’s twelve days left of my thirties… 

I was talking with a friend the other night, how my twenties were tumultuous and my thirties, a period of settling, so I am now looking forward to diving deeper into the forties and the start of family life.

To celebrate this year, I am performing at Confit Bistro (4/9 Doggett St, Fortitude Valley) on Wednesday May 25. I will be combining my passions of music and poetry and performing a mix of my own words and the words of some of my favourite rock’n’roll poets… think Bob Dylan, David Berman, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave. The venue opens at 6pm with all of the live performances starting at 6:30pm. I will, as always, be joined by guitar-slinging poet, Sheish Money as well as Jazz singer, Sarah Collyer and fellow Brisbane poets, David Stavanger, Nathan Shepherdson, Fern Thompsett & Janaka Malwatta. If you are in town and want to come along, then shoot me an email so I can book you a spot.

And as I share a birthday with Bob Dylan, I always find myself reaching for him on the CD rack at this time of year. This year, Bob will enter his seventies and his sixth decade as a performing artist… can’t really imagine life without him.

So as a treat for all you Bob fans, here’s a link to some Dylan rarities… WPKN have put together a great little 15min segment which features A Fool Such As I (with The Band), a souped-up, rockabilly version of Watching The River Flow and two classic covers. First up, Bob rips through the Stones’, Brown Sugar before finishing with a brilliant version of Neil Young’s, Old Man. You can listen to the whole set here. Bob on!

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I once loved a woman, a child I am told: the passing of Suze Rotolo

The world sure is a strange place… I have been digging Bob Dylan all over again these past few days, firing up the car speakers with Folksinger’s Choice which captures all the fire of a young Bob and then today I read that the gorgeous Suze Rotolo passed away on February 25.

Suze, who inspired the songs Boots of Spanish Leather & one of my all time favourites, Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright; Suze, the gorgeous blonde walking arm in arm with Bob on the cover of Freewheelin'; Suze, described by Bob as the most erotic thing he had ever seen… gone.

For a snapshot of her fierce intellect, check out, A Freewheelin’ Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties.

Such sad news…

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Melbourne Round Up

The weekend in Melbourne was huge!

Musically, I discovered a Bob Dylan CD that I had not heard of called Folksinger’s Choice, which captures a 20 year old Bob live in the studio with Cynthia Gooding on March 11, 1962, prior to the release of his debut album. The performances are crackling, with Bob sounding like a blues singer, three (or more) times his age. His covers of blues standards, Fixin’ to Die (Bukka White) and Smokestack Lightning (Howling Wolf) have a wildness to them; the sound of a young genius, bursting his lungs. It is also the first ever known performance of his early classic, The Death of Emmett Till, which blows Cynthia away… and it’s the banter between songs that really makes this all the more special, Dylan already creating his own myth, spinning a yarn about 6-years spent with the circus and sounding completely believable. The other Dylan originals on this CD are Standing on the Highway (which riffs off the Robert Johnson classic, Crossroad Blues) and Hard Times in New York Town. I think this one is going to be on very high rotation in the coming weeks…

And to add to our Beat Collection, I picked up a copy of Poets on the Peak – Gary Snyder, Phillip Whalen & Jack Kerouac in The Cascades, which charts each mans time as a Fire Lookout and a lesser known gem, The Lowell Connector – lines & shots from Kerouac’s hometown, featuring poems by Clark Coolidge, Michael Gizzi & John Yau and photographs by Bill Barrette. I’m already dipping into Poets on the Peaks and loving it…

And to top all this off, the reading as part of the The Castlemaine Poetry Series, was up there with the very best interstate readings I have ever participated in. In fact, the day felt like a session at a Poetry Festival, featuring some of Australia’s finest voices including Jane Williams, Robyn Rowlands, Matt Hetherington, Maurice McNamara, Anna Fern, Ray Liversidge, Ross Gillette, Nathan Curnow, Gillian Pattinson, my lovely wife, Julie Beveridge and MC extraordinnaire, Ross Donlon. With all of these poets performing alongside esteemed translator, Richard Perry, who gave a stunning reading from the work of Ryokan & Ikkyu and another launch of Famous Reporter  (including readings from, BN Oakman, Lucy Williams & Lorraine McGuigan), needless to say, I was in seriously good company. I closed the day with a reading and believe me, you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face at the end of it. A large, warm, attentive crowd… it was blissful! Julie took some video footage of my reading so keep watching the site, as I plan to post that sometime this week.

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Short & Sexy: The New Penguin Box-set

Seems like 2011 is a great year for big birthdays… SpeedPoets turns 10, this Lost Shark turns 40, Dylan turns 70 and the Penguin Modern Classic clocks up a neat half century. And they are doing it in style by releasing a box set of 50 literary hits from the likes of Saki, Chandler, Nabokov, Camus, Kafka, Woolf & Beckett. Looks like this is due to hit stores in April.

Rubbing my hands together already…

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Bob Dylan signs six book deal

Just this week, the Dylan rumour mill went into overdrive with the news that Bob has signed a six book deal with Simon & Schuster, two of which are rumoured to be the much anticipated follow ups to the stunning, Chronicles vol. 1. There is also talk that one of the books will collate material from Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour, which clocked up 100 shows over its three year stint. So that leaves three spaces… in reading recent articles I have come across comments such as, ‘let’s hope there’s nothing like the unreadable Tarantula.’ Well, I have to differ strongly in opinion to that… I can’t imagine Bob would be interested in repeating what he did with Tarantula, but I would love to read some revolutionary prose from the great man. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see what materialises…

In the meantime, if you are after a Bob fix, here’s a link to a killer show from 1965: Bob Dylan, Live at The Hollywood Bowl, 1965.

How does it feel…

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Bob Dylan Exclusive: The Witmark Demos

For many, the release of the legendary Witmark Demos is something of a goldmine… 47 tracks from a fledgling Dylan (1962 – 1964) that until now, have been the stuff of scrappy sounding bootlegs or legend.

To celebrate the release, Rolling Stone are featuring a track from the album, with an accompanying video. Watch Bob singing, Guess I’m Doing Fine

This is Bob in full ‘mono’ glory.

For more information on the release (and it looks like it’s going to be a cracker), head to the Bob Dylan Website.

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