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   :13.04.11 09:57.: ..

Webby Awards

- Webby Awards 2011 . .

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2011 Webby Awards .


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   :18.04.11 09:51.:Dylan in China is th..

Dylan in China is the message

Everyone wants a part of Bob Dylan. They want ownership of the unownable. Songs are different to paintings and sculptures. Songs are clouds. They change shape, they pass by, they fragment and reform, but they're always chained to the sky, and that sky in which they float is the artist's canvas.

In Dylan's case, they're not our songs, they're his. He can do with them what he likes. People take them, adore them, love them, cherish them, connect with them, are inspired by them, but that has to be the end of it.

It poisons the relationship to want anything more. This is especially so with Dylan, a legend, an icon, a revolutionary. When the listener believes the artist should be answerable to him or her, they place their sense of priorities above the artist. It doesn't matter how right or righteous the cause, how deep the emotions run, it is still theft.
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Dylan, who performs in Melbourne this week, was criticised last week for performing in China by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd and by human rights groups, among others. It was Dylan's first appearance in China. He had to have his song list vetted by the Communist Party. Hence the outrage in some quarters, on two counts: that he would appear in a country that treats human rights as a giant would treat a bothersome fly, and that he would allow the party to tell him what to sing.
Both points miss the overwhelming factor that even the robot men of China would not have considered: being there.

China is a monolithic political machine that survives through repression. It calibrates life. The machine may think it's in control by allowing Western artists to perform under its rules (the Rolling Stones played there a few years ago), but robots only understand robot rules. They don't get the poetic imagination that resides in all, no matter how deeply buried.

Dylan could have stood on the stage at Beijing and recited Mary Had a Little Lamb and, from a political vantage, had the same effect as the songs he performed. Being there.
Everything about Dylan is a protest song. He hasn't retired to Malibu. He doesn't play the rooms at Las Vegas. He's touring a third of the year around the globe, and has been for decades.

The songs he did perform in Beijing included All Along the Watchtower, Like a Rolling Stone, Ballad of a Thin Man, Love Sick, A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, It's All Over Now Baby Blue and Tangled Up in Blue. Boy, was that audience short-changed. Come on, Dylan, where were your hits?

Something was happening and they didn't know what it was, did they? The opening song was Gonna Change My Way of Thinking, with its Christian tilt, from Dylan's album Slow Train Coming. How did that get through the godless cogs of the robot men?

It's true he didn't perform Masters of War, the top protest song of all time according to a Mojo listing published several years ago. But in the past two years he has only played it about a dozen times, and he last played The Times They Are A'Changin' in 2009.

Similarly, he performed Blowin' in the Wind only half a dozen times last year.

As Alex Ross, a critic for The New Yorker, pointed out last week: "To expect an artist to issue incendiary statements while on tour is the worst sort of armchair moralism. In any case, Dylan almost never makes topical comments from the stage, and the notion that he would launch into a critique of the Chinese regime will amuse anyone who has paid even the slightest attention to him in the past 20 years."

Dowd cites Hurricane, a song Dylan wrote about the injustice in the jailing of boxer Rubin Carter, and contrasts this with the singer's silence in China over the incarceration of artist Ai Weiwei. To Dowd, Dylan was merely a mercenary and, implicitly, a puppet of the repressive state.

To her, he sold out because of what he did not sing. In fact, Dylan last played Hurricane in 1976, and has performed it only 33 times in his career. By contrast, he has performed All Along the Watchtower close to 2000 times.

Perhaps people invest so much in Dylan, and then they don't like to see their investment behave in ways with which they do not agree. Perhaps he is a hostage to how others perceive him. This is not the fault of the artist or indeed their responsibility. They ask nothing of an audience but their ears. Everything else is beyond their control.

Dylan has been battling being labelled a turncoat and a sellout since the '60s. To some in the folk movement, even back then he was a traitor, a Judas, for selling out; that is, he plugged in an electric guitar. He was a bigger enemy than the enemy. Figure that out.
No other artist has been forensically examined like Dylan. A couple of weeks ago, the Fordham Law School in the US held a two-day conference on Dylan and the law.

Professors were, if not fighting in the captain's tower, at least vigorously discussing myriad points of view about the songwriter and his work. A book is due out soon by an academic on the complexities of "blackness" in Dylan's work.

All of this is fine, in its strange way. Just don't act as if he is yours. He's an artist, he don't look back.


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   :19.04.11 09:35.:TWO CLASSIC DOCUMENT..


D.A. Pennebaker's Cinéma Vérité Masterwork "Dont Look Back" & Murray Lerner's "The Other Side of the Mirror - Bob Dylan Live At The Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965" Available on Blu-ray Everywhere Tuesday, April 26

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Bob Dylan fans and film aficionados alike have reason to celebrate on April 26, when a pair of classic documentaries, each chronicling and illuminating different aspects of Bob Dylan in the 1960s, will be released on state-of-the-art Blu-ray disc (BD) for the very first time.

Both D.A. Pennebaker's Dont Look Back, a pioneering masterwork of cinéma vérité, and Murray Lerner's revelatory musical time-capsule The Other Side Of The Mirror - Bob Dylan Live At The Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965, provide indispensable glimpses into Dylan and his pivotal role as an American artist in the 1960s, each film capturing an earlier era with heart-breaking immediacy.

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Dont Look Back - Blu-ray Edition (Tuesday, April 26, 2011) - Docurama Films(R)

New Video's Docurama Films(R) presents the first Blu-ray release of "Dont Look Back," newly mastered in High Definition (HD) and featuring a brand new and exclusive interview with D.A. Pennebaker, the film's director, and renowned rock and culture critic Greil Marcus.

The Blu-ray edition also includes bonus material from the 2007 DVD release: Highway 65 Revisited; Five Additional Uncut Audio Tracks; Commentary by D.A. Pennebaker and tour road manager Bob Neuwirth; Alternate Version of the "Subterranean Homesick Blues" Cue Card Sequence; Original Theatrical Trailer.

When acclaimed documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker (Monterey Pop, The War Room) filmed Bob Dylan during a three-week concert tour of England in the spring of 1965, he had no idea he was about to lens one of the 1960s most iconic feature films. Wanting to make more than just a concert film, Pennebaker decided to seek out both the public and private Bob Dylan. With unobtrusive equipment and rare access to the elusive performer, he achieved a fly-on-the-wall view of one of the most influential musicians of any era -- and redefined filmmaking along the way.

New Video launched Docurama Films(R) in 1991 with Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back, the first feature documentary ever available on DVD. Twelve years and 250 award-winning, highly-acclaimed documentary titles later, Docurama continues to discover and release the greatest non-fiction films of our time while spreading the word about filmmakers who are taking the form to new heights.

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The Other Side Of The Mirror - Bob Dylan Live At The Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965 (Columbia/Legacy)

Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings are releasing, for the first time on Blu-ray disc, The Other Side Of The Mirror - Bob Dylan Live At The Newport Folk Festival 1963 - 1965. An essential film in the Bob Dylan cinematic canon, The Other Side Of The Mirror brings together more than 80 minutes of exquisitely lensed performances, 70% seen here for the first time, drawn from three seminal years in the artist's ever-evolving career.

Produced and directed by Academy Award winner Murray Lerner (From Mao To Mozart: Isaac Stern In China), The Other Side Of The Mirror - Bob Dylan Live At The Newport Folk Festival 1963 - 1965 opens a window into a critical epoch in American cultural history as reflected in the musical transformations of Bob Dylan's galvanizing watershed performances at the Newport Folk Festival in 1963, 1964, and 1965.

"This is a different kind of film, in a sense, from what I usually make," said Murray Lerner. "We decided on no narration, no pundit interviews, no interviews with Dylan. Nothing except the experience of seeing him... . That to me is exciting. Just the clear experience gives you everything you need."

* * * * *


All I Really Want To Do (7/24/1965 - afternoon workshop)

North Country Blues (7/26 afternoon workshop)
With God On Our Side (with Joan Baez - 7/26 afternoon workshop and 7/28 night performance)
Talkin' World War III Blues (7/26 night performance)
Who Killed Davey Moore? (7/27 afternoon workshop)
Only A Pawn In Their Game (7/26 night performance)
Blowin' In The Wind (with The Freedom Singers, Joan Baez, and Peter, Paul and Mary - 7/26 night performance)

Mr. Tambourine Man (7/24 afternoon workshop)
It Ain't Me, Babe (with Joan Baez - 7/24 night performance)
With God On Our Side (with Joan Baez - 7/26 night performance)
Chimes Of Freedom (7/26 night performance)

If You Gotta Go, Go Now (7/24 afternoon workshop)
Love Minus Zero/No Limit (7/24 afternoon workshop)
Daytime Rehearsal with his electric band
Maggie's Farm (with his electric band - 7/25 night performance)
Like A Rolling Stone (with his electric band - 7/25 night performance)
Mr. Tambourine Man (7/25 night performance)
It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (7/25 night performance)

Bonus Feature: Interview with director Murray Lerner


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   :22.04.11 10:08.:When Bob Dylan &..

When Bob Dylan & B.B. King came to town

THE times they are a changing, but Bob Dylan and B.B. King will never be forgotten.

Two of the biggest names in blues and folk were at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre last night.

Dylan worked his way through songs old and new. Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking kicked off the night before heading into familiar territory of Senor and I'll Be Your Baby but the blues versions, which the 69-year-old stuck to most of the night, became tired.

Performing blues and bluegrass versions of his back catalogue was entertaining, but lacked the emotion and delivery we have come to love.

B.B. King's opening show was a brilliant tribute to the blues legend, who despite being 85 years of age can handle a room of 5000 with his stage presence and fancy fretwork.


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   :25.04.11 09:01.:Dave Stewart collabo..

Dave Stewart collaborates with Bob Dylan and Stevie Nicks on new album

The Eurythmics musician co-wrote a track with the legendary folk musician for 'The Blackbird Diaries', as well as recording collaborations with Fleetwood Mac vocalist Stevie Nicks and country singer Martina McBride.

Dave said of the album: 'This was my favourite time ever in the studio, I wrote most of the songs on the spot and recorded all of them in one incredible session lasting 5 days and nights.'

Stevie's involvement comes after Dave leant his production and writing skills to her latest album 'In Your Dreams' and she wanted to return the favour.

The 'Sweet Dreams' musician ' who has worked with many of the world's most highly rated musicians, including Ringo Starr, Bob Geldof and Gwen Stefani - has been especially busy of late, and is currently said to be working with Mick Jagger on the Rolling Stones frontman's first material since his band released 'A Bigger Bang' in 2005.

Mick's brother, Chris, revealed: "He's doing a record at the moment in Los Angeles with Dave Stewart, he called me last night telling me what he was doing."

'The Blackbird Diaries' will be released on June 27


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   :26.04.11 09:56.:Bob Dylan set list -..

Bob Dylan set list - Byron Bay Bluesfest (First night), April 25, 2011

Byron Bay, Australia
Byron Bay Bluesfest
MoJo Stage
April 25, 2011

1. Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking
2. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
3. The Levee's Gonna Break
4. Tangled Up In Blue
5. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
6. Tryin' To Get To Heaven
7. High Water (For Charley Patton)
8. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
9. Summer Days
10. Simple Twist Of Fate
11. Highway 61 Revisited
12. Ballad Of A Thin Man
13. Like A Rolling Stone
14. Forever Young



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   :26.04.11 10:02.:Dylan proves magical..

Dylan proves magical in Byron

HE'S renowned for his hit or miss live shows but Bob Dylan, 69, was on song when he finally played the 22nd annual Byron Bay Bluesfest on Monday night.

It was just a shame he wouldn't let the crowd see him as well as hear him.

The sense of relief was palpable as a large, licorice-allsorts audience waited with baited breath to see if Dylan could live up to not so much expectation, as hope.

And he did.

While his vocals aren't nearly as crisp as those of Elvis Costello, who followed his rousing set on the Mojo stage to close Day 5 night's delights, Dylan was indeed present and accounted for.

Opening with Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking before peeling off favourites from Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (with Dylan on guitar) to The Levee's Gonna Break, Tangled Up In Blue, A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (which it did for a few minutes); Highway 61 Revisited (greeted with an enormous roar); Ballad of a Thin Man; Like A Rolling Stone and Forever Young, his beaut band carried his cataolgue to comforting heights and more than made up for any clairty his vocals lacked.

The big criticism was that he didn't screen his performance on the large screens either side of the stage or in front of the Mojo tent as every artist before and after him has done during the festival.

We don't care what you look like, Mr Dylan. We want to watch you believe what you're singing. We hear it. Indulge us by letting us see it.

Dylan appreciated the crowd's warmth and applause enough to utter a rare ''thank you''.

Turn on the telly today, if you really want to thank us Bob.

Elvis Costello is one of few artists capable of rising to the challenge of following an act of Dylan's iconic status. And as grand as Costello's set was last night, smart money is on an even bigger blinder tonight!

His razor-sharp band The Imposters, including super sideways guitarist Charlie Sexton, built the crowd up and brought them gently back down with a wonderful mix of favourites and treats.

''How many of you have been here since Thursday?'' Costello asked as he launched into A Slow Drag With Josephine.

It was a rocking affair from there, from Every Day I Write The Book to Watching the Detective -- no one could complain.

Also among Monday's highlights were Osibisa's standout set on the Crossroads stage from the joyous Everybody Do What You're Doing to a magical cover of George Harrison's My Sweet Lord and Wolmfother's Andrew Stockdale closing the night on the APRA stage by gate-crashing the Resin Dogs' set for for a blinding Led Zep cover.

Today offers the chance to see both Bob and Elvis play again.

Can Bob bounce back on the big screen?

No dramas if he doesn't you can always Pump it Up with Elvis or funk it up with George Clinton. All hail Day 6.


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   :03.05.11 10:39.:Gig review: Bob Dyla..

Gig review: Bob Dylan in Auckland

"Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the poet laureate of rock 'n' roll."

Introduced by monologue, the man who "forced folk into bed with rock, disappeared into a haze of substance abuse, returned after finding Jesus before being written off in the 80's" brought Vector Arena to it's feet last night.

Back in New Zealand for the first time since 2007, Dylan strode out decked in black, with a cream, Boss of the Plains-style hat, and treated Auckland to the thick end of a two-hour show which left fans baying for a second encore.

From an extensive catalogue of 34 studio albums, Dylan mixed a range of favourites, including Tangled Up in Blue, Desolation Row, This Wheel's on Fire and Highway 61, with a selection of acclaimed newer work like Thunder on the Mountain and Spirit on the Water.

Songs like Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum also saw him throw the odd curve ball.

Spending most of his time playing a side-facing organ, Dylan went about business in usual style, lights dimming between songs with no crowd acknowledgement at all.

But he was clearly enjoying himself. Lurching into the ivories, kicking his leg out when on guitar and regularly busting out the harmonica.

He even afforded a "Thank you, friends" before launching into a three-song encore. Usually he only plays two songs to end an evening.

Compared to his recent 90-minute sets in Australia, he also gave New Zealanders much more bang for their buck.

Both shows at the Byron Bay International Blues and Roots Festival received mixed reviews. The first was largely panned with grumbling over Dylan's decision to switch off the large video screens at the side of the stage.

Over sensitive? Perhaps. Typical Dylan? Definitely.

But those at last night's show can have little to complain about.

Admittedly his ever-evolving voice is somewhat shot, though it stood up well last night, and you know before you get there he won't play you the 'original' version of his songs in favour of swing-heavy adaptations.

But for a guy who hits 70 this month, his energy and overall performance easily hit the mark.

Backed by a superb five-piece band, the sextet really got things moving during Highway 61 and Thunder on the Mountain.

After an hour-and-a-half Dylan and his cohorts silently addressed the audience, stood in a line at the front of the stage. There was no bow, just seven or eight seconds of eye-balling before they slipped off into the darkness.
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Then came the star-studded encore.

Launching into Like a Rolling Stone, almost 10,000 Kiwis belted the lyrics back at the stage before All Along the Watchtower and Forever Young brought a memorable night to a close.

Leaving the stage for a second time, the house lights stayed down for another three or four minutes, teasing Vector Arena with hope of a re-appearance.

But you don't become the most enigmatic man in music by dishing out second encores.

The most pertinent question now is will he ever come back?

Bob Dylan
Where: Vector Arena, Auckland
When: Saturday, April 30


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   :05.05.11 10:40.: ..


Bob Dylan 70th Birthday New Release Bonanza

Bob Dylan may be celebrating his septuagenarian birthday, but the cake is being carved at the shareholders meeting. Bob Dylan means many things to many people, but in the corporate boardroom it's all about the Benjamins. Ever since his 50th, every time Dylan's birthday hits a decade, a latent and lucrative cottage industry re-emerges, offering a plethora of new editions and re-releases bearing Dylan's shining monicker. On May 24, Dylan will turn 70, and the hype is so ridiculously over the top, that 2011 takes the trophy for the sheer volume of products up for release.

While some of these releases will actually make excellent high-quality gifts for fans and collectors, others are lame rush jobs, quickly tossed together to cash in on the occasion. And the irony is that by the time Dylan's birthday finally gets here, the market will be so saturated with products that everyone clambering for placement will lose money. All Dylan fans have to do is sit it out and wait for the clearance sales.

But cynicism aside, the following is a list of all the products being released in tandem with Bob Dylan's big Seven-Oh. See ya at the store!

* Shot in '65, D.A. Pennebacker's vintage 1967 black-and-white film release Don't Look Back is being presented on Blu-ray by Docurama (compare prices).
* Sony/Legacy is also releasing Murray Werner's The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan at Newport Folk Festival, 1963-1965 on Blu-ray (compare prices).
* The children's biography, When Bob Met Woody: The Story of the Young Bob Dylan, was released by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on May 3 (compare prices).
* The new CD, Bob Dylan in Concert Brandeis University 1963 was released by Sony/Legacy on April 12 (compare prices).
* Bob Dylan: A Spiritual Life, by Scott Marshall, dropped from the heavens of Bully! Pulpit Books on April 15.
* The new biography, The Ballad of Bob Dylan, by Daniel Mark Epstein came from Harper Books on May 3 (compare prices).
* Carlton Books dropped a new edition of Andy Gill's Bob Dylan: The Stories Behind the Songs, 1962-1969 on April 5 (compare prices).
* The updated edition of The Old, Weird America was released by Picador on April 11 (compare prices).
* The re-release of Robert Shelton's classic biography, No Direction Home (which includes an additional 20,000 words cut from the original 1986 manuscript) was released by Back Beat Books on May 1 (compare prices).
* For the serious music collector, on the heels of its Beatles and limited-edition John Lennon deluxe CD archives, Box of Vision released its (actually gorgeous) Bob Dylan music archive in April, along with retail shelf sales on May 10.
* David Yaffe's new volume of essays, Like a Complete Unknown (Yale University Press), will hit the shelves on the maestro's birthday, May 24 (compare prices).
* Chrome Dreams released the final DVD of its Dylan documentary collection. Titled Bob Dylan 1990-2006, The Never Ending Narrative, on April 19 (compare prices).
* Produced by Highway 61 Entertainment, another new DVD documentary, Bob Dylan Revealed, spilled from the racks on May 1 (compare prices).
* And let's not forget the kiddies. Even though it's not coming until November, Sterling Books has announced an illustrated version of Bob Dylan's song, Blowin' in the Wind for children.


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   :06.05.11 09:22.: ..

. GQ.

Icon: Bob Dylan

By Robert Chalmers

As America's greatest living songwriter turns 70, he remains as distant and contrary as ever. Joining the 'latest leg' of his Never Ending Tour, GQ talks to those who have worshipped and worked with him in an attempt to unwrap rock'n'roll's greatest enigma.

Everything would be so much more simple if he were dead. Let's say that Bob Dylan had passed away in his early to mid-thirties, as would have befitted the Christ-like figure his most fanatical admirers consider him to be. He would have released Blood On The Tracks in 1975, and completed Desire, the second masterpiece from his middle period, which appeared the following year. Disciples would never have had to struggle with his distinctive readings of songs such as "Froggie Went A-Courtin'", "The Little Drummer Boy", or "Here Comes Santa Claus". They would have been spared the need to follow him to places like Bournemouth, Limoges and Spokane, to hear him revisit his classic compositions in a voice that, on a bad night, has the timbre of a cracked bell. The fog of secrecy that surrounds his life would long since have lifted.

There would have been little point in devoted admirers rehearsing, as so many have, questions he might answer concerning his lyrics. "When you wrote that line, Bob, about 40 red, white and blue shoe strings, did you mean 40 striped laces, or 13 red, 13 white and 14 blue?" And did you really have a job in the great north woods [as you wrote in 'Tangled Up In Blue'] 'working as a cook for a spell'? What were the specials? Who was your sous chef?" And - this next question was actually put to him by his former Boswell and occasional collaborator, Larry "Ratso" Sloman, concerning Dylan's sublime 1966 love song "Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands" - "In the chorus, 'My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums'... That word, 'eyes'. What is it? A noun, or a verb?

The constant need to explain his work - a curse Bob Dylan has bemoaned for 50 years - would be over, as would the need to avoid the attentions of his more unhinged fans. Gone, too, all those fatiguing enquiries concerning his alleged lovers, opiate use and undignified stories such as those recent reports about neighbours to his main residence, in Malibu, complaining about the odour emanating from his workers' Portaloos, with predictable headlines such as "Blowin' In The Wind". On a superficial level, at least, everybody wins.

Dylan, though, remains obstinately fit and industrious, and celebrates his 70th birthday in May. In 2006, after a frustratingly inconsistent run of albums over the previous three decades (disappointing enough at certain points, such as his "born-again" period in the early Eighties, to convince some that his talent had deserted him forever) he produced the triumphant Modern Times. It's the best thing he's done, I suggested to one of his compatriots (a household name who, like many I interviewed for this article, insisted on remaining anonymous) since Desire. "It's the best thing he's done," came the reply, "since Blood On The Tracks." That renaissance has been sustained with 2009's Together Through Life. And in recent years - having already proved himself the greatest folk singer, lyricist and rock'n'roll artist of all time - the famously taciturn performer has improbably evolved into the world's greatest-ever DJ as the avuncular host of the arcane, witty and magnificent series Theme Time Radio Hour.

"Critics are notoriously liberal with their use of the term 'genius'," says fellow songwriter Steve Earle. "Bob Dylan is one of the very few people in the history of popular music who you can unquestionably apply that word to. From the moment Dylan arrived as a songwriter, he was [so] much better than everybody else around [just like], to take a crude example, Pelé was at his peak, or Tiger Woods. He emerged from nowhere, like an alien. And that was just the start."

"Hang on," I say. "Aren't you the man who claimed that Townes Van Zandt is the greatest songwriter in the history of popular music, 'And I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that'?"

"This may sound a bit odd," the Texan replies, "but I was comparatively late in understanding Bob Dylan's overwhelming importance as a songwriter. Everybody who does my job exists in the shadow of Bob Dylan. There are two categories: Dylan and everybody else. It's as simple as that. And it's going to be that way until he dies."

It could be that, because you have somehow grown up beyond the reach of English- speaking popular culture - you are now asking: who exactly is Bob Dylan? On a literal level, the question is a straightforward one. Born Robert Zimmerman on 24 May 1941, in Duluth, Minnesota, he first used his new name in 1960 and emerged as an unrivalled talent in the New York folk clubs. Most agree that he has enjoyed three especially brilliant periods: first as an acoustic artist, with protest anthems such as "The Times They are A-Changin'", in the early Sixties; then with his great electric trilogy, Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde, in the middle years of that decade; and finally the more introspective work of his Blood On The Tracks period in the mid-Seventies. Fans argue as to just when his current, fourth great flowering began, but there's a broad consensus that, in the studio at least, it is ongoing.



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   :11.05.11 10:22.:Bob Dylan 70th birth..

Bob Dylan 70th birthday countdown, No. 26 - His complex friendship with Donovan

Do I like Donovan's "Colours"? No. He's a nice guy, though - Bob Dylan, 1965 San Francisco press conference.

Scottish singer-songwriter and guitarist Donovan Philips Leitch was born on May 10, 1946.

The relationship between Donovan and Bob Dylan is almost as confusing as the reports of Dylan "going electric" - an event that Donovan witnessed.

The problem started with an encounter on May 8, 1965, when the rising star Donovan hung out with Dylan at the Savoy Hotel in London. The moment was captured by D.A. Pennebaker in the 1967 documentary, Dont Look Back.

In the spring of 1965, Donovan's Dylan-esque "Catch The Wind" was number five on the U.K. singles charts, while Dylan had climbed to number 13 with 1964's "The Times They Are A-Changin'." Meanwhile, "Subterranean Homesick Blues" was rising up the U.S. charts at the same time.

In the film, Dylan appeared to have been amused/annoyed by this new upstart, one of the first "new Dylans", before the summit occurred, commenting:

(To Alan Price of The Animals): "Who's this Donovan?" Price tells him he's a good guy and a better guitar player than him. Dylan says he wants to meet him.
When Albert Grossman (Dylan's Manager) asks Dylan if they mail to him an award he has been recently given, Dylan tells him "I don't even want to see them. Tell them to give it to Donovan". Then he opens a newspaper and says "Donovan, Donovan, our next target. He's our target for tomorrow".
In the car, Dylan asks Donovan's manager tour, Fred (who was also Dylan's) about Donovan's tour: "Uh, not so good", Fred says, Bobby Neuwirth (Dylan's friend) laughs. Dylan lights a cigarette and turns to the window, saying nothing.
Before the last concert Dylan talks to Neuwirth in the backstage and asks, "Donovan out there?" Neuwirth replies "Hey, I can't see him people like Donovan they look just like ordinary everybody out there." Dylan says nothing.

In Dont Look Back, we can see a party in progress, and a timid-looking Donovan starts to play a gentle original song, "To Sing For You". Realizing that he was no threat, the film shows Dylan eviscerating Donovan with his recent composition, "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue".

Or did he?

Donovan hinted that he performed "To Sing For You" to diffuse a situation with a belligerent drunk that was harassing Dylan, with Bob praising the song midway through. Also, if you listen closely, it sounds like Donovan requested "Baby Blue", so it was would not have been Dylan's idea of a put-down.

Pennebaker also added this information:

. . .When Donovan first came to meet him in his room. . .I had a camera there, but Dylan said, "I don't want you to film any of this." So, I didn't. Donovan played a song, which was set to the tune of "Mr. Tambourine Man" ("My Darling Tangerine Eyes") but with different words. Dylan didn't crack. He just listened. Finally, Donovan realized that the rest of us were sitting there kind of cracking up. Later, he said [to Dylan], "Well, I heard you sing this somewhere and I thought it was a folk song so I thought the tune was up for grabs." Dylan said, "There have a been a lot of songs that people said I swiped, but that wasn't one of them." And he let it go. It was kind of a funny moment.

Reportedly, Dylan handed Neuwirth and Pennebaker Halloween masks, which they were all wearing when Donovan arrived. Donovan, to his credit, said nothing.

According to Olof, Dylan also sang two other new songs, "Love Minus Zero/No Limit" and "She Belongs To Me", plus "Let Me Die In My Footsteps".

While on tour, Dylan added a line while performing "Talkin' World War III Blues", singing "I looked in the closet, and there was Donovan!" While the crowd laughed, Dylan told reporters after the show that "I didn't mean to put the guy down in my songs. I just did it for a joke."

The headline in Melody Maker on the fifth day of May, 1965, proclaimed "Dylan Digs Donovan", and the issue appeared to be settled.

It turns out that Dylan and Donovan actually met earlier in the day of the Savoy summit, during the filming of the promotional "Subterranean Homesick Blues" short. According to Donovan, it was the beat poet Allen Ginsberg that suggested he, Donovan, and Dylan write some of the lyrics from "Subterranean Homesick Blues" on the backs of large, white cards for what turned out to be the opening scene of Dont Look Back. Dylan encouraged Donovan because he liked his penmanship. According to other sources, Bobby Neuwirth, Alan Price, and Joan Baez also helped. Donovan said he and Bob swapped songs, and Dylan said he particularly liked "To Sing For You." Dylan, Donovan, and Price then attempted to go to a club in Soho, but were mobbed by teenyboppers and returned to safety and the Savoy.

Before Dylan went back to the U.S., Donovan was invited to see Bob one more time. All four members of a certain British pop combo from Liverpool were in the room, hidden in the darkness. Bob asked, "Have you met these guys yet?" It was, of course, the Beatles.

In the May 15 issue of Record Mirror, Donovan reviewed Dylan's new album, Bringing It All Back Home, track-by-track. Here are a few examples:

She Belongs To Me: "Yea, it's beautiful. His Buddy Holly influence comes out. Very pretty harmonica on it, it's nice.

Maggie's Farm: "This is the ... (Turns volume up and laughs). It's a good send-up. It's just amusing. You know, all these things he does they're just personal, you can't understand them. It's just to make one person laugh, probably Maggie. Don't like this much." (Takes it off).

It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding): "He's written a lot of poems and he's just picked these few to put to song. You've got to be a genius to understand them. To me he's just a guy that writes poems and puts a lot of feeling in them. it's hard for me to say what I think of him. I couldn't write a story of what I think of him for any paper. I like him because he shoots down a lot of people who shoot a load of crap."

Filmmaker Sandi Bachom recalled seeing Donovan with Dylan at a party in 1966, after a show at Riverside College:

"It was a big deal. Donovan was there, and Dylan. They spent a lot of time in another room, probably getting high and playing guitars."

By 1966, the Bob Dylan influences were gone. Donovan would soon be hanging around with the Beatles (helping write "Yellow Submarine" and teaching them his finger-picking technique) and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Ten years ago, Donovan was asked to comment on Dylan for his 60th birthday:

Q: What was the first Dylan song you heard - and what did you think?
Donovan: Can't recall - it could be "Song To Woody" . . .But when I heard "Blowin' In The Wind" it was the clarion call to the new generation - and we artists were encouraged to be as brave in writing our thoughts in music. . . I sounded like him for five minutes - others made a career of his sound.

Q: How did you feel about Dylan's switch to electric sounds in 1965?
Donovan: . . . Dylan shocked Newport Folk Festival by going electric. I loved it when he played electric guitar and I was there when it happened! The audience at Newport Folk in the USA were still naïve - the girls in Bobby Sox and pony tails and the boys in plaid shorts and crew-cuts - what did they or the press know about folk and R&B?

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   :13.05.11 10:08.:Bob Dylan in 1969: H..

Bob Dylan in 1969: His first Rolling Stone interview

They say Bob Dylan is the most secretive and elusive person in the entire rock & roll substructure, but after doing this interview, I think it would be closer to the point to say that Dylan, like John Wesley Harding, was "never known to make a foolish move."

RollingStone.com: Hear audio excerpts from this interview

The preparations for the interview illustrates this well. About 18 months ago, I first started writing Bob letters asking for an interview, suggesting the conditions and questions and reasons for it. Then, a little over a year ago, the night before I left New York, a message came from the hotel operator that a "Mr. Dillon" had called.

This article appeared in the November 29, 1969 issue of Rolling Stone. The issue is available in the online archive.

Two months later, I met Bob for the first time at another hotel in New York: . . . he casually strolled in wearing a sheepskin outfit, leather boots, very well put together but not too tall, y'understand. It was 10 A.M. in the morning, and I rolled out of bed stark naked -- sleep that way, y'understand -- and we talked for half an hour about doing an interview, what it was for, why it was necessary. Bob was feeling out the situation, making sure it would be cool.

That meeting was in the late fall of 1968. It took eight months -- until the end of June this year -- to finally get the interview. The meantime was covered with a lot of phone calls, near misses in New York City, Bob's trips to California which didn't take place and a lot of waiting and waiting for that right time when we were both ready for the show.

The interview took place on a Thursday afternoon in New York City at my hotel, right around the corner from the funeral home where Judy Garland was being inspected by ten thousand people, who formed lines around several city blocks. We were removed from all that activity, but somehow it seemed appropriate enough that Judy Garland's funeral coincided with the interview.

Bob was very cautious in everything he said, and took a long time between questions to phrase exactly what he wanted to say, nothing more and sometimes a little less. When I wasn't really satisfied with his answers, I asked the questions another way, later. But Bob was hip.

Rather than edit the interview into tight chunks and long answers, I asked Sheryl to transcribe the tapes with all the pauses, asides and laughs left in. So, much of the time, it's not what is said, but how it is said, and I think you will dig it more just as it went down.

To bring us up to date after all that, August through September was spent trying to get Baron together with Bob to get some new photographs of him, in a natural, non-performance situation. But it proved fruitless.

Perhaps if we had had another six months to work on getting the photographs, but Bob was simply not to be rushed or pushed into something he really didn't feel like doing at the time. ("I'll have Baron meet you in New York tomorrow." "Well, tomorrow I might be in Tucson, Arizona," "Baron will fly to Tucson," etc.)

The photographs we have used are from rehearsals for the Johnny Cash show and from the Isle of Wight, ones you probably have not seen yet, and some photos of Bob from a long time ago. Bob promised that we would get together soon to take some photos, and if we do, you'll see them as soon as we get them. But don't hold your breath.

Meantime, here's the interview.

When do you think you're gonna go on the road?

November . . . possibly December.

What kind of dates do you think you'll play -- concerts? Big stadiums or small concert halls?

I'll play medium-sized halls.

What thoughts do you have on the kind of back-up you're going to use?

Well, we'll keep it real simple, you know . . . drums . . . bass . . . second guitar . . . organ . . . piano. Possibly some horns. Maybe some background voices.

Girls? Like the Raelettes?

We could use some girls.

Do you have any particular musicians in mind at this time?

To go out on the road? Well, I always have some in mind. I'd like to know a little bit more about what I'm gonna do. You see, when I discover what I'm gonna do, then I can figure out what kind of sound I want.

I'd probably use . . . I'd want the best band around, you know?

Are you going to use studio musicians or use some already existing band?

I don't know . . . you see, it involves putting other people on the bill, full-time. I'd only probably use the Band again . . . if I went around.

And they'd do the first half of the show?

. . . Sure . . . sure . . .

Are you thinking of bringing any other artists with you?

Well, every so often we do think about that. [Laughter.] We certainly do. I was thinking about maybe introducing Marvin Rainwater or Slim Whitman to "my audience."

Have you been in touch with either of them?

No . . . no.


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   :14.05.11 10:54.: ..

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   :16.05.11 10:26.:Bob Dylan comments o..

Bob Dylan comments on China, censorship, and upcoming books - A must read

In a bold and unexpected move, a bobdylan.com post, written by Bob Dylan, clarifies much of the misinformation about Dylan's tour of China. Take that, Maureen Dowd!

From Bob Dylan's official website:

May 13:

To my fans and followers

Allow me to clarify a couple of things about this so-called China controversy which has been going on for over a year. First of all, we were never denied permission to play in China. This was all drummed up by a Chinese promoter who was trying to get me to come there after playing Japan and Korea. My guess is that the guy printed up tickets and made promises to certain groups without any agreements being made. We had no intention of playing China at that time, and when it didn't happen most likely the promoter had to save face by issuing statements that the Chinese Ministry had refused permission for me to play there to get himself off the hook. If anybody had bothered to check with the Chinese authorities, it would have been clear that the Chinese authorities were unaware of the whole thing.

We did go there this year under a different promoter. According to Mojo magazine the concerts were attended mostly by ex-pats and there were a lot of empty seats. Not true. If anybody wants to check with any of the concert-goers they will see that it was mostly Chinese young people that came. Very few ex-pats if any. The ex-pats were mostly in Hong Kong not Beijing. Out of 13,000 seats we sold about 12,000 of them, and the rest of the tickets were given away to orphanages. The Chinese press did tout me as a sixties icon, however, and posted my picture all over the place with Joan Baez, Che Guevara, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. The concert attendees probably wouldn't have known about any of those people. Regardless, they responded enthusiastically to the songs on my last 4 or 5 records. Ask anyone who was there. They were young and my feeling was that they wouldn't have known my early songs anyway.

As far as censorship goes, the Chinese government had asked for the names of the songs that I would be playing. There's no logical answer to that, so we sent them the set lists from the previous 3 months. If there were any songs, verses or lines censored, nobody ever told me about it and we played all the songs that we intended to play.

Everybody knows by now that there's a gazillion books on me either out or coming out in the near future. So I'm encouraging anybody who's ever met me, heard me or even seen me, to get in on the action and scribble their own book. You never know, somebody might have a great book in them.


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   :17.05.11 09:33.:The tree of 70 http..

The tree of 70

24 of May Dylan will be seventy. Truly amazing what the man has achieved and is still achieving. 34 studio albums, more than 500 songs, more than 3100 concerts, dozens of awards, among others 11 grammys, one Oscar, two doctorates at Universities, several exhibitions around the world with his artwork, listed as one of Times most influential people of the 20th century, nominated several times for the Nobel Literature Prize, and so on. I picked out exactly 70 milestones to celebrate and honour Dylan. And although the 70 milestones are in number of cases personal choices (e.g I miss the great song abandoned love in every list you can find on the Internet, and i have chosen the concert in Madison Square Garden because of the phenomenal performance of the Times weve know, a song by Aznavour), I think most people who admire Dylan will back up 80 % of the choices (at least).


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   :19.05.11 09:24.:Bob Dylan and old ro..

Bob Dylan and old rockers: will we still love them when they're... 70?

Once upon a time, rock music was young - and its stars were, too. Now, as Bob Dylan nears 70, Neil McCormick asks whether an old rocker can still deliver the goods.

Bob Dylan will be 70 years old next Tuesday, May 24. Seventy! From one perspective, looking through the prism of youth-obsessed pop culture, it seems such an extraordinary thing. Pop freezes its icons in moments in time, and Dylan will always be there at the explosive birth of the modern pop age, manning the barricades of the Sixties revolution, captured in black and white: a skinny, grave-faced, curly haired, visionary twentysomething, strumming his acoustic guitar, blowing bony notes through his harmonica, warning the adult establishment to get out of the way (Senators, congressmen, please heed the call/ Dont stand in the doorway, dont block up the hall) because the times they were a-changin.

Well, the times have changed all right and Dylan with them. This year, he has toured the once mysterious and inaccessible land of China, allegedly submitting his set list to censorship by the powers that be. He didnt play The Times They Are a-Changin but he did play his world-weary postscript from the year 2000, Things Have Changed, in which he growls with a defeatism that borders on defiance: People are crazy, times are strange/ I used to care but things have changed. Yet he ended his set in Beijing with his beautiful 1974 hymn Forever Young, in which he elegantly celebrates the most positive virtues of youth: May your heart always be joyful/ May your song always be sung.

We are still singing Dylans songs, in all their poetry, wisdom, contradiction and complexity. His sombre, gospel-tinged ballad Make You Feel My Love from 1997 has just spent more than 40 weeks in the British top 40, delivered with worshipful authority by 23-year-old star of the moment, Adele.

Shift the pop-culture prism, and Dylan at 70 starts to make a different kind of sense, because he has been here, right in front of us all this time, hair greying, jowels sagging, wrinkles spreading across his face, voice slowly turning from the barbed wire ululations of a youth in thrall to the ageless depths of folk to a rubbed raw bullfrog croak of an old man giving it whatever his ragged vocal cords still can.

And he is not alone, out there on the geriatric frontline. Paul McCartney (68) is on tour, and planning a new album. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (both 67) are considering another Rolling Stones tour. Brian Wilson (68) is currently on tour in Britain, no longer a Beach Boy, but still a celebrated musical genius. Paul Simon (69) has a new album and tour this year. Roger Daltrey (67) has been performing the Whos rock opera, Tommy. Rock and roll once revelled in its youthful flash of energy, delighting in anti-adult sloganeering like Live fast, die young, leave a beautiful corpse and Pete Townshends aggressively nihilistic I hope I die before I get old (he is 66 today), but those who survived its first hedonistic impulses inevitably did get old, and along the way made some vital new discoveries. Music is for life. And life is long.

It is a good time to be a veteran rock musician. Bob Dylans last album, 2009s Together Through Life, was number one on both sides of the Atlantic, his first British chart topper since Desire in 1975. Neil Diamond (70) had his first ever number one studio album in Britain in 2008. Leon Russell (69) staged a critically acclaimed comeback last year with The Union, made with Elton John (a mere stripling of 64).

Other spring chickens enjoying a second wind of recording and touring success include Greg Allman (63) and Robert Plant (a youthful 62), who, when challenged about being a sexagenarian rock star in a radio interview, smartly retorted old people do it better. Perhaps that could be a new slogan for our times. But it would be a mistake to get too carried away by the apparent triumph of age over beauty. As recorded music sales collapse and musical activity migrates towards the internet, it is older consumers still romantically attached to the notion of the long-playing record as a cohesive work of art who are keeping the album alive. Bob Dylan fans, in other words.

The young are still with us, illegally downloading Lady Gaga, Rihanna and provocative art rapper Tyler The Creator. And if you havent heard of him, then all it shows is that the generation gap is still wide open. But veterans are cleaning up on the still thriving live circuit, too, trading on reputations built over time. According to a recent report on the live music industry by Deloitte, a full 40 per cent of the frontmen of the top 20 highest grossing live acts in the States will be 60 or over next year.

Rock got old, and so has its audience. This is our music, and it still speaks to us, still tells us things about our lives, still brings us joy in the moment, still carries our spirits aloft. Because it turns out that we didnt, as we perhaps might have once imagined in more innocent times, all slip into pipes and slippers and start listening to Mantovani and trad jazz. Certainly, we may have shifted the dial from BBC Radio One to Radio 2, but only to find the DJs were getting older with us, and are still playing our songs. And even if veteran artists are only talking to their own generation, we should celebrate the very fact that they are still talking.

Paul Simon, an artist working at the very heights of lyrical singer-songwriting, has spoken of being on a new frontier: the frontier of age. Prior to the Sixties, popular songs were essentially show tunes, dance tunes, novelty songs and love songs. Dylan and his contemporaries introduced the notion of the songwriter as a poetic chronicler of his life and times, they were artists of their own interior worlds, making pop music that aspired to the same heights as other art forms.

This remains the challenge, as Simon would have it: The struggle of Dylan and the Stones and McCartney and Neil Young is to see the possibility of talent continuing to evolve, as is the case in other arts. Nobody says you should stop painting when youre 60.

Dylan at 70 makes sense to us, because he is still helping his listeners make sense of the world. The final track on his most recent album is a masterpiece every bit as beautifully wrought and challenging as The Times They Are a-Changin, even if its message might sound sour in the mouth of a firebrand youth. Its All Good simultaneously rails against and accepts the injustices of life, juggling with the great and small in an almost mocking spirit, eyes fixed on an even bigger picture. Big politicians telling lies/ Restaurant kitchens, all full of flies barely seem to move Dylan at 70, as he declares he wouldnt change a thing, even if I could.

Its a song no child could have written, magnificent in its ambiguity, the great bard of pop culture barking out his indifference over a rattling rock and roll rhythm, snapping throw on the dirt, pile on the dust. It is, as he wryly notes, all good.

As we mark Dylans shifts from the raging fires of youth to the slow-burning embers of old age, we should celebrate not just his extraordinary legacy, but the even more extraordinary fact of his continuing creativity, reporting back from what may turn out to be popular musics last unexplored frontier.


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   :20.05.11 10:01.:Dylan at 70: In Bob ..

Dylan at 70: In Bob we trust

Bob Dylan is 70 on Tuesday. If like me you are a Dylan fan, you will have been waiting for this event for months, perhaps even years. If you are not a Dylan fan and I realise there are some who have not seen the light you'll wonder what all the fuss is about. Even those happy to hum along to his early hits may now think his life is but a joke.

I am a Dylan fan, but not quite a fanatic. I'm not one of those people who goes to every gig, collates setlists, chats with other obsessives on internet messageboards, or criss-crosses America in an RV in pursuit of him. I first saw him in 1978, when he played a week of concerts at Earls Court. He hadn't performed in the UK for nine years, and these were huge events. For me, just finishing university, this wasn't a show, it was a rite of passage, a communion, a consummation. I have kept my programme and even my ticket from that 1978 concert. I've just discovered that ticket stubs from those concerts are selling online for £20 three times what I paid for my balcony seat back then but I'm not selling. For me, this concert was a watershed. I had found someone in whom I believed totally.

What's odd is that I've never questioned that faith, even when his inspiration flagged. As a recent poll of leading musicians in Rolling Stone magazine suggests, all his signature songs are from the first 15 years of his career. Blood on the Tracks in 1975 marks the end of that period of unquestioned greatness. Desire the first album I got to know well thanks to John Peel playing it complete on his late-night Radio 1 show as soon as it was released in 1976 retains some of that aura and ambition. But Street Legal, released in 1978, shows a marked falling off. Music writer and Dylan specialist Greil Marcus immediately recognised its inauthenticity. The banal, mechanical rhyming underlines the diminishing energy, and not even the brilliant Señor can save it. Dylan's muddled middle period was beginning.

It is tempting to conjure up a brilliantly revisionist argument that the true glory of Dylan resides in the mid-80s albums Empire Burlesque and Knocked Out Loaded, for instance but it can't be done. But the albums in the middle period should not be completely dismissed, even though many critics more or less gave up on him in the 80s. Some artists who produced great work in the 60s and early 70s Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones spring to mind really have added nothing of note to their oeuvre since. They remind you of those young playwrights who pile out great plays before realising just how difficult it is. Once they've lost that innocence, they either dry up, or, worse, spend 40 years repeating themselves.

Dylan had lost the knack of producing great albums he was blocked creatively for much of the 80s but could still knock out the occasional great song. Shot of Love, released in 1981 at the height of his religious phase, ends with the poignant Every Grain of Sand. Infidels, from 1983, has Jokerman. Even Down in the Groove in 1988, reckoned by some to be his worst album, a bare 30 minutes of insipid new songs and uninspired covers, has one song I really like Death Is Not the End, which has one of those gloriously mournful Dylan harmonica intros. This is enough to forgive him a great deal, even the peculiar version of Shenandoah on the same disc.

Something was clearly amiss in the 80s mid-life crisis, too much touring, personal problems, who knows? His gift was always instinctive rather than entirely controlled. No one who could publish Tarantula, his rambling 1966 sub-Ginsbergian poem, or waste his time on the tedious and incomprehensible mid-70s film Renaldo and Clara could claim to have impeccable artistic judgment. When it was easy for him, it was too easy; when it got hard, maybe he panicked.

You certainly sense a degree of panic in his memoir Chronicles, published to great acclaim in 2004. "I hadn't actually disappeared from the scene," he writes, "but the road had narrowed I was lingering out on the pavement. There was a missing person inside of myself and I needed to find him I felt done for, an empty burned-out wreck. Too much static in my head and I couldn't dump the stuff. Wherever I am, I'm a 60s troubadour, a folk-rock relic, a wordsmith from bygone days, a fictitious head of state from a place nobody knows. I'm in the bottomless pit of cultural oblivion." This is laying it on a bit thick. Dylan, for all his virtues, never quite knows when to stop when it comes to word production.

Dylan's audience diminished in the 80s. It was easy to get tickets for gigs, and you could see him in smaller venues. But we true fans never wavered. I would have bought the albums even if they hadn't still contained the occasional gem. I'd signed up for the religion at Earls Court in 1978, and there was no going back.

He wasn't confined to small venues for long. The official bootlegs won back the critics, and gave fans like me new cause for fascination. Then came the run of albums, beginning with Time Out of Mind in 1997, that suggested his gifts had returned, albeit in different form. He seemed to have found his voice again as he ruminated on mortality and communed with the ghosts of the great bluesmen.

Late Dylan is fascinating: the darkness, the obsession with time draining away, the refusal to stop touring even with a voice as rough as sandpaper. He transcends criticism now. When he makes a Christmas album, as he did in 2009, we nod sagely and add it to our collections, marking it down as an homage to Bing Crosby, one of his earliest heroes. I could probably live without it, but I'm not embarrassed to have it in my collection. Indeed, his croaky rendition of O Come All Ye Faithful (with verses in Latin and what may be English) may turn into a regular part of my Christmas ritual, like eating too many cheese footballs before dinner.

I bought an album recently to fill a gap in my collection: Bob Dylan (A Fool Such As I). It was released in 1973 by Columbia when Dylan announced he was moving to Asylum. Generally seen as a malign attempt at subversion from his long-time label, it is filled with covers he had recorded but never intended to release Can't Help Falling in Love, Big Yellow Taxi, A Fool Such As I, Mr Bojangles. Critics mocked it, and it was quickly deleted when Dylan made his way back to Columbia. It's expensive to buy the CD cost £55 from a seller in Germany. I'm listening to it now. And do you know what? It's great, money well spent; the sabotage didn't work.

Dylan has been omnipresent for the past 50 years, yet we know next to nothing about him. Fat books pour forth, especially in this anniversary year, yet he still eludes us, this rolling stone, this balladic thin man. Todd Haynes's clever, beautiful, moving film, I'm Not There, is a perfect summation of Dylan's career, because he truly does not seem to have been there during those 50 years. The six Dylan personas incarnated by six different actors (including a black boy and a white woman) perfectly represent Dylan's elusiveness, his partly deliberate evasiveness, his stolid evanescence (the lyrical logorrhoea is catching).

I have a framed photograph of the young Dylan on the wall next to my desk. He is thin, wearing jeans and a check shirt, looking straight at the camera with a hint of arrogance, hands in pockets, his guitar case sitting on the road beside him. He is standing outside, in what looks like an empty car park, surrounded by pools of water. He is alone, self contained, at one with himself in this alien landscape. He has a slight smile, as if he has some secret information. Yet he never spells it out, never makes it easy for us. That may be why the love affair endures; the mystery remains. The answer is still blowin' in the wind.

In 2005, the Guardian asked me to review a Dylan gig. This was probably a mistake as the chance of an objective assessment was nil. The reviews editor may have realised this when I tried to give the show seven stars. I remember becoming tearful during Visions of Johanna, one of his truly great songs, which even the ultra-reductive late Dylan is incapable of reducing to rubble. A man standing beside me saw me making notes through the tears. "We're just crossing the ocean with Bob," he said. "Write that down." And I did, because he had summed up what it means to be a Dylan fan. We are on a voyage, and the voyage never ends.


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   :23.05.11 09:07.: 70! It..


Its Not Easy Being Bob -- a retrospective look at Bob Dylan on his 70th Birthday

Of course, the less the public saw of Dylan the more they clamored for him and the few appearances he made generated a great deal of publicity. He continued to deliver albums that not only sold well, but, for the most part, always included something unexpected.
No one, not record labels, fans, family or the press, has ever been able to box Dylan in. In January 1974, Dylan returned to live touring playing 40 concerts coast-to-coast, backed by The Band. In 1975 the success of the phenomenal album, Blood on the Tracks spawned the Rolling Thunder Revue tour that featured a wide range of performers including T-Bone Burnett, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Joni Mitchell, David Mansfield, Roger McGuinn, Mick Ronson, Joan Baez, and violinist Scarlet Rivera, whom Dylan discovered walking down the street with her violin case hanging from her back. In November of 1976 Dylan appeared at The Bands farewell concert, honoring his long relationship with the musicians and much of his set was included in the Martin Scorsese film of the concert, The Last Waltz. In 1978, Dylan toured the world performing 114 shows in Japan, the Far East, Europe and the U.S. to a total audience of two million people.
In 1978, Bob Dylan became a born-again Christian. The album that followed Dylans conversion was the compelling Slow Train Coming. It won Dylan a Grammy for Best Male Vocalist for the song Gotta Serve Somebody. While the album sold well Dylan took a lot of heat in the press for his conversion.
When he toured from the fall of 1979 to the spring of 1980 Dylan talked about his faith saying things like: Years ago they ... said I was a prophet. I used to say, No I'm not a prophet they say Yes you are, youre a prophet. I said, No it's not me. They used to say You sure are a prophet. They used to convince me I was a prophet. Now I come out and say Jesus Christ is the answer. They say, Bob Dylan's no prophet. They just cant handle it.
And so it was. People didnt mind other people embracing a particular faith but they got angry when Bob Dylan did it. Why? Because Dylan had long been established as the voice of truth. And when the voice of truth says you need Jesus you have to reckon with it. Many responded in anger.

By the next album, Saved, in 1980, a lot of people seemed to be hopping mad about it. Dylan has never been afraid to go up against criticism and his records still sold, but after awhile, all but his truest fans werent listening to the songs or anything he had to say about his faith. They just couldnt let it go. Dylan sang on We Are the World. the fundraising single for Africas famine relief and on July 13, 1985, he appeared at the climax of the Live Aid concert at JFK Stadium in Philadel-phia backed by Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood from the Rolling Stones. He sang a ragged version of Hollis Brown, his song about rural poverty, and then said to a worldwide audience of over one billion people: I hope that some of the money ... maybe they can just take a little bit of it, maybe ... one or two million, maybe ... and use it to pay the mortgages on some of the farms and, the farmers here, owe to the banks.
Naturally, his remarks were widely criticized as inappropriate, but they inspired Willie Nelson to organize Farm Aid to benefit debt-ridden American farmers.
In January 1988 Dylan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Bruce Springsteen declaring, Bob freed your mind the way Elvis freed your body. He showed us that just because music was innately physical did not mean that it was anti-intellectual. In the fall of that same year Dylan co-founded the Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty.
Their multi-platinum Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 reached No. 3 on the U.S. album charts and featured songs that were described as Dylans most accessible compositions in years.

After Orbison died in December 1988, the remaining four recorded a second album.

Dylan then released Oh Mercy which included Most of the Time, a song later prominently featured in the film High Fidelity and What Was It You Wanted?which most interpret as a wry comment on the expectations of critics and fans.

Though he had backed off from the overtly Gospel songs the album included Ring Them Bells, a song about faith.

In fact, though Dylan told interviewers he had re-embraced his Jewish faith he never really has back off from his spirituality. Every album contains lyrics and themes that are virtually right out of the Bible. I dont believe Dylan gave up on Christianity. He just realized that he could be far more effective if he stopped challenging people head on with it.

In a 2004 interview with 60 Minutes he told Ed Bradley that the only person you have to think twice about lying to is either yourself or to God. He also explained his constant touring schedule as part of a bargain he made a long time ago with the chief commander in this earth and in the world we can't see.

In a 2009 interview with Bill Flanagan promoting his Christmas in the Heartalbum, Flanagan commented on the heroic performance Dylan gave of O Little Town of Bethlehem and that Dylan delivered the song like a true believer. Dylan replied: Well, I am a true believer. In 1991, Dylan was honored by a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award from the recording industry. The event coincided with the beginning of the Gulf War and Dylan performed his song Masters of War and then made a short speech that startled some of the audience:

Well, my daddy, he didnt leave me much you know he was a very simple man, and he didnt leave me a lot but what he did tell me was this. He did say, son, he said he said so many things, you know. He say, you know its possible to become so defiled in this world that your own mother and father will abandon you, and if that happens, God will always believe in your own ability to mend your own ways.

Those who believed Dylan had stepped away from his beliefs began to wonder again.

In the next few years Dylan recorded Good as I Been to You (1992) and World Gone Wrong (1993) which included Lone Pilgrim written by a teacher from the 19th century and sung with a haunting reverence.

Dylan did an MTV Unplugged in November of 1994, but later that spring was hospitalized with a life-threatening heart infection. He canceled his European tour but soon left the hospital saying, I really thought Id be seeing Elvis soon.

By midsummer he was back on the road and in the fall performed before Pope John Paul II at the World Eucharistic Conference in Bologna, Italy. The Pope then gave a sermon to the 200,000 people in the audience that was based on Dylan's Blowin in the Wind.

In September of 1997, he released Time Out of Mind, his first collection of original songs in seven years which won him his first solo Album of the Year Grammy Award.
In December 1997, President Bill Clinton honored Dylan in the East Room of the White House saying; He probably had more impact on people of my generation than any other creative artist. His voice and lyrics havent always been easy on the ear, but throughout his career Bob Dylan has never aimed to please. Hes disturbed the peace and discomforted the powerful. When Time Magazine did their end of the century list of the Most Important People of the Century, Dylan was on it, described as a master poet, caustic social critic and intrepid, guiding spirit of the counterculture generation.
In March of 2001, Dylan won his first Oscar for his song Things Have Changed which he wrote for the film Wonder Boys. Since then he has often carried the award (or a facsimile of it) on the road with him, sitting it on top of an amplifier which he performs.
On August 29, 2006, Dylan released Modern Times which entered the U.S. charts at No. 1, making it Dylan's first album to reach that position since 1976's Desire.
Nominated for three Grammy Awards, Modern Times won Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album and Dylan also won Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance for Someday Baby. Modern Times was named Album of the Year, for 2006, by Rolling Stone magazine

n 2007 a study of United States legal opinions determined that Dylans lyrics were quoted by judges and lawyers more than those of any other songwriter, 186 times versus 74 by The Beatles, who were second. Among those quoting Dylan were conservative Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia, both conservatives.
The most widely cited lines included you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows from Subterranean Homesick Blues' and when you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose from Like a Rolling Stone'. In 2008, the Pulitzer Prize jury awarded Bob Dylan a special citation for his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.'
In 2009 Dylan released Together Through Life in April which contained songs he had written with long-time Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. It was his 33rd studio album and debuted at No. 1 on the American charts. In November of that same year he released Christmas in the Heart, his first Christmas album.
A collection of hymns, carols and popular Christmas songs, all royalties from the album went to benefit the charities Feeding America in the USA, Crisis in the UK, and the World Food Programme.
The Never Ending Tour commenced on June 7, 1988, and Dylan has played roughly 100 dates a year for the entirety of the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century a heavier schedule than most performers who started out in the 1960s. By the end of 2010, Dylan and his band had played more than 2,300 shows.
Ever changing Dylan alters his arrangements and changes his vocal approach night after night. Dylan's performances in China in April 2011 generated controversy. Some criticized him for not commenting on the political situation in China, and for, allegedly, allowing the Chinese authorities to censor his set list. Dylan denied it, saying on his website, As far as censorship goes, the Chinese government had asked for the names of the songs that I would be playing. Theres no logical answer to that, so we sent them the set lists from the previous three months. If there were any songs, verses or lines censored, nobody ever told me about it and we played all the songs that we intended to play.

Like many artists Dylans personal life has been up and down. He married Sara Lownds (the sad- eyed lady of the lowlands) on Nov. 22, 1965. Their first child, Jesse Byron Dylan, was born on Jan. 6, 1966, and they had three more children: Anna Lea, Samuel Isaac Abraham, and Jakob Luke. Dylan also adopted Sara's daughter from a prior marriage, Maria Lownds (later Dylan, born Oct. 21, 1961).

In the 1990s Dylans son Jakob became well known as the lead singer of the Wallflowers. Jesse Dylan is a film director and a successful businessman. Bob and Sara Dylan were divorced on June 29, 1977. In June 1986, Dylan married his longtime backup singer Carolyn Dennis. Their daughter, Desiree Gabrielle Dennis-Dylan, was born on Jan. 31, 1986. The couple divorced in October 1992. A true renaissance man Dylan has been very involved in film and visual art as well as music.
In 1972, he wrote songs and backing music for Sam Peckinpahs Pat Garret & Billy the Kid and playing the role of Alias, a member of Billys gang with some historical basis. Despite the film's failure at the box office, one of its songs, Knockin on Heavens Door, has become one of Dylan's most extensively covered songs.

Dylans 1975 tour also provided the backdrop to his nearly four-hour film Renaldo and Clara, a wildly improvised mixture of concert footage and reminiscences.
Released in 1978, the movie received awful and had a very brief theatrical run.
Later in the year, a two-hour edit that mostly featured the concert footage had a much wider release.
In 1987, Dylan starred in Richard Marquands Hearts of Fire, playing Billy Parker, a washed-up-rock-star-turned-chicken farmer whose teenage lover (played by Fiona) leaves him for an English pop sensation (played by Rupert Everett).
Dylan contributed two original songs to the movie, Night After Night, and I Had a Dream About You, Baby, as well as a cover of John Hiatts The Usual, but the film was not well received by cricits or the public A longtime visual artist Dylan has published three books of drawings and paintings beginning with Drawn Blank (1994) and his work has been exhibited in major art galleries. The Drawn Blank Series, opened in October 2007 at the Kunstsammlungen in Chemnitz, Germany and showcased more than 200 watercolors. From September 2010 until April 2011, the National Gallery of Denmark exhibited 40 large-scale acrylic paintings by Dylan entitled, The Brazil Series.
Bob Dylan has released 34 studio albums, 13 live albums, 9 bootleg albums (The Bootleg Series) and 14 compilation albums. Thats 70 albums. One for each year of his life.

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   :24.05.11 09:22.: - 70! A..

- 70!

Advice for Bob Dylan on his Miscellaneous Birthday, from Bob Dylan Examiner

Thank you for finding this article under the avalanche of stories written by people contemplating what Bob Dylan's 70th birthday means.

Words have been printed and posted, books have been written and expanded, radio documentaries have been broadcast, all in celebration of the Bard of Hibbing. Can TV news reports be far behind?

What could I possibly add? Even though I've seen many links to these articles, I haven't had time to read most of them. I'm sure the obvious things have been covered - His impact on individuals, music, art, society. How grateful we are that he's still here and still relevant, still generating headlines, still controversial, still an enigma, still on the road.

When I skimmed the recent Dylan birthday issue of Rolling Stone, it brought to mind an Eric Clapton interview I read probably about a decade ago. I don't remember the exact question, but when he was asked what his favorite blues songs or records or guitarists were, Clapton answered that he couldn't think of music in that way.

A simple answer, but, in a way, very freeing.

Before I even opened Rolling Stone's Dylan birthday issue, I was already dismissive of the claim that they really had the definitive list of "The 70 Greatest Dylan Songs." Do we finally have confirmation, once and for all, that "Tough Mama" (#65) is a slightly better than "Shelter From The Storm" (#66)? Is "Jokerman" slightly inferior to "It Ain't Me, Babe", but just a hair better than "Spanish Harlem Incident"?

I used to have a friend that was also a Dylan fan. When discussing his works, we had a special saying. It didn't matter if we were discussing Blonde On Blonde, New Morning, or Knocked Out Loaded, one of us would always wistfully comment, "That's from one of my favorite periods".

Just as Dylan fans are often puzzled how some people cannot appreciate what we consider to be the "genius" of Dylan's work, there are those on the other side that don't understand how we can stand his voice. They also believe that we blindly follow Dylan, as if his words were the sermon on the mount and that we are uncritical devotees, praising everything from his lamest out-takes to his deteriorating voice.

Much like Dylan, we are misunderstood.

One thing that would irritate me, if I let it, is people taking pot-shots at Bob. He's such an easy target, and easy to mock, with insults accompanied by a pathetic excuse for a "Zimmitation", usually by someone that could not possibly imagine what it would be like to accomplish the things Dylan has. These people think they know Dylan, but they haven't got a clue. They think they are clever, but they are the opposite.

When I was younger, it was difficult to understand what Dylan was doing, where it came from, what it meant. For me, it took a concert by Dylan and the Band in 1974 to kick out the limitations in my mind of what music and art could do. It altered the trajectory of my life.

I wanted to understand Dylan, but I had not yet lived enough, experienced enough. Yet I could not get enough.

Since I filed my George, John, Paul, and Ringo solo albums just to the right of my Beatles albums, the Dylan "section" was smack dab in the middle of my relatively small record collection of the mid-1970s. I'd walk up to my LPs, I'd see Dylan album spines staring me in the face, and I'd have to decide - Do I want to listen to Dylan, or something else? I usually chose Dylan.

I grew up on the Beatles and the Monkees, then the Top 40 of WABC and WGLI (AM). I was then interested in underground rock (now known as "classic"), but had to find out about it the hard way, from FM radio and magazines like Creem, Circus, and Crawdaddy. I had no idea what was "cool" or "good". In high school, one day Grand Funk and Emerson, Lake & Palmer were cool, the next day they weren't. I didn't know the difference between Black Sabbath and the Grateful Dead. You'd often blindly buy albums for the exorbitant price of $3.89, basically because the cover was cool.

Most of my friends did not understand Dylan, nor my passion for his music. Even though he was pumping out number one albums like Planet Waves, Blood On The Tracks, and Desire, and touring with The Band and Rolling Thunder, it did not penetrate their worlds. They continued to listen to newer hard rock bands like Aerosmith and Kiss, without even knowing, or caring, how much they stole from the Stones and the Who.

Finally, in 1976, Dylan was going to have his own television special, Hard Rain, in prime time on a major network, just like Sonny & Cher, or Tony Orlando & Dawn. I saw the last Rolling Thunder show of 1975, and loved Desire, but I had not heard anything about the second leg of the tour.

It was very different than the show I saw, and unnerving to watch. My entire family was in the TV room while my friends were in their homes, also watching. It was judgment day.

The program began with Dylan singing "Hard Rain". It was not a pretty sight. It was an outdoor show in a stadium, and it had been raining. Dylan sang in his yelping voice, a hard voice, a voice crying out in the Colorado wilderness. The song stopped then started again, and again, and again. He even slowed down and dragged out the chorus. It appeared to go on forever.

It was a challenge, but I was not going to be a "Mr. Jones." I was intrigued, but I can't say I enjoyed it, because it wasn't meant to be enjoyed. It was rough, like punk rock without the fashion. It took me years to understand it.

A friend of mine said he turned it off halfway through the first song.

By the end of the 1970s, after the Street Legal tour, Renaldo and Clara, and Slow Train Coming, I had lost the plot. I couldn't possibly understand what Dylan was doing or what he was going through. I would still follow him, even calling the local NBC affiliate to complain when Dylan's appearance on SNL was joined in progress due to a Celtics game.

In 1981, I was in England, and saw the second edition of Michael Gray's Song and Dance Man, The Art Of Bob Dylan. I didn't know anything about it, but bought it anyway. It opened up Dylan's world to me. Gray was able to articulate what Dylan's music meant, where it came from, and finding nice things to say about such puzzlers as Self Portrait and Saved.

When I got back to the States, I went on a Dylan buying rampage, filling in holes in my collection, and buying books like Paul Cable's Unreleased Recordings. I would scrounge around used record stores to buy LPs by the Searchers, Clapton, and others that contained unreleased Dylan compositions.

By now I was getting it, or at least beginning. I figured I'd unlocked the secret and wanted to share it, although it would be foolish to claim I understood everything. I spent the 1980s as the lone Dylan supporter at work, picking fights with anyone that put down any Dylan album. When Down In The Groove was released, a friend sarcastically said, "Two great ones in a row, huh?" Without missing a beat, I replied, "Three, actually." I should have said, "25".

Analyzing Dylan taught me something. First of all, you've got to have faith. Dylan is one of the handful of artists that I trust, and one of the few that is still capable of making of making great music into his 70s.

There is only one Bob Dylan. There is no one else like him (although many have tried). He is a human conundrum, someone that has created such a mystique that when you discover that he stole from some other artist or media, it not only does not take away from his art, it enhances it.

Next, I've learned that it's important to question everything, and that's what I'm doing. It is not blind devotion, it's going beyond the obvious. Anyone can say Dylan can't sing anymore, or Dylan sold out, or laugh at Christmas in The Heart. That's easy.

Dylan is never easy.

If you're making fun of Dylan, you probably don't get him (or you write op-ed pieces for the New York Times). And you probably never will.

I'm sure I don't get everything about Dylan, but I'm learning, still, and I'm just sharing another point of view. The hidden view, the one in the shadows, where many are afraid to look. If I'm defending Dylan's voice at the Grammys, it's sincere. I'm not saying it's pretty, I'm just saying it's real.

For me, that's something to be applauded.

Happy miscellaneous birthday, Bob. You don't need any advice. I just hope you enjoy this one, and many more to come.

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