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the pioneer of Dylan Studies; writer, public speaker, critic; became a Doctor of Letters in 2015 (awarded by the University of York, UK)

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006


A quick recap: The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia (including searchable CD-ROM) is out and it looks like this -

and the first signing in the UK is a week tomorrow, Wednesday 28th June, 2-4pm at Nunnington Hall, Nunnington, near Helmsley, North Yorkshire (for anyone who, like me, can't make it to Dylan's Bournemouth concert 250 miles to the south that same evening).

And a new request: if, browsing the Encyclopedia, you encounter any error, please do write in to this blog and report it; we intend to build corrections into future printings, so it would be most valuable to hear of them. Thank you.


Blogger almax said...


I am very much looking forward to the new book.

I just stumbled across your blog while surfing.

You may be interested in a review of Song and Dance Man which I wrote on my own blog some weeks ago, here

best wishes

2:45 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Just returned from the bookshop with the book and I'm looking forward to reading it (or starting to - to be precise) this evening with a cold beer for company. Many thanks for making the effort.

Unable to get tickets for the Bournemouth gig next week, so at least I have the book as compensation.


Peter Revell

4:52 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Dear Alastair & Peter
Many thanks for your support. I hope the book fulfills some of your high expectations of it.

Best wishes~

9:04 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Michael, I write you from Spain, and this is going to be one of my mustlove ones of the summer. It's really great. But while I was reading excerpts I have found a curious omission: why when you talked about Hendrix do not mention 'Highway Chile'? It seems that nobody notice that the song is about Bob. And you're not the first one, I swear. Best,

Antonio Curado

6:38 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Dear Antonio
Thanks for telling me about 'Highway Chile', which I must admit I'd forgotten about! I'll have to re-listen, paying more attention to the words than I sometimes do on Hendrix records. And when it comes to publishing a corrected reprint, I may be able to add it - as well, of course, as noting that Dylan played 'The Wind Cries Mary' on his first XM Radio show. (And 'Highway Chile' was, of course, originally the B-side of 'The Wind Cries Mary', which is a pleasing small neatness.)

Thanks too for your kind comments on my book.

10:43 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Gray

First of all, thank you for your wonderful books both recent and not so. Despite all the praise for the Encyclopedia, I've a suspicion that my favourite is destined to remain S&DMIII, - not just my favourite Dylan book, but up there with the best of any: Middlemarch, Woodlanders (long list deleted)...

You asked for errors and typos to be notified with a view to subsequent correction. Though I wouldn't normally bother, I noted one in the entry for John Bauldie, and, since John's listing above any other ought to be spot-on, here it is:

John died on the way back from Bolton after watching his beloved Wanderers beat Chelsea (not Brighton) 2-1 in a Coca Cola cup game. As you'll know, John was in the company of Chelsea's then vice chairman Matthew Harding, who was killed in the crash along with him. I only met John a couple of times, but have the fondest memories of him.

And one more: Olof Bjorner has an entry but for some reason does not appear in the index.

Hope that's helpful.

Best wishes


11:05 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Dear Jim
Thanks very much. I've had the Brighton/Chelsea mistake pointed out to me, but hadn't known of Olof Bjorner's omission from the index, so that's useful. But of course, what I really must thank you for is the truly immense compliment you have paid my book.

11:45 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:12 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael, I'm looking forward to picking up your book when it reaches bookstores where I live. So far, I've been reading some of the excerpts posted on your publisher's website. Some, in particular the Fats Domino entry, I've found to be excellent, entertainingly written snapshots.

The Michael Bloomfield entry, however, appears to be fundamentally innaccurate.

Both Bloomfield and Dylan himself have spoken about their first
meeting, in Chicago in early 1963, and it is mentioned in biographies of both men. However, according to the enc. entry :

"His intermittent relationship with Bob Dylan began, as for so many
musicians Dylan has locked onto down the years, with a phone call out
of the blue. Would he like to fly to New York and play on this song?
... Bloomfield took the flight, his guitar on the seat next to him; he
didn't own a guitar-case. The sessions began on June 15, 1965."

No mention of the earlier meeting, though it goes on to mention
Dylan's "long, affectionate and generous speech on who Mike Bloomfield
was" when the guitarist appeared on stage for the last time at one of
Dylan's November 1980 shows in San Francisco. In that very speech Dylan
talks about the first time the two met, in Chicago. In 'No Direction
Home' Dylan talks about how, even after much time had passed since
their earlier meeting, Bloomfield was the first name he thought of when
he wanted a guitarist in 1965.

That is when the phonecall occurred... two years after their first meeting.

Just wondering what the editorial process was for the book, as something of this scope would seem to justify not only a good editorial team but hopefully proofs sent out to well-chosen, knowledgeable readers pre-publication to pick up on obvious errors like this.

As I said, looking forward to the book, but have to say this sort of thing is disappointing. Hopefully such errors are few and will, as you have indicated, be fixed before a reprint. A pity, however, they were not fixed pre-publication!

4:05 am  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Dear Gabriel
Thanks for writing. OK, I forgot the first Dylan-Bloomfield meeting. That's one small fact out of many millions. It's inevitable that there will be errors, and I'm grateful when people note them for me - but it seems a bit harsh to say that such an "obvious error" is "disappointing" and to ask why everything wasn't sorted out in advance. We'd never have published the book at all, if everything had had to be checked with outside experts the whole time. That's a simple fact. Most facts are not so simple. And one person's "obvious" is most people's not obvious at all...

Anyway, I hope you might concede that the level of detail in this book - the level of very accurate, small detail - is pretty high, and that it serves as a resource that can't be infallible but is, at base, highly trustworthy. Not least because in many cases I phoned musicians and checked things with them, often finding that the generally accepted "fact" was not so. In this and other ways, thousands of things were checked in advance.

Hey, at least you liked the Fats Domino entry. And thanks again for writing. My son's name is Gabriel, by the way. Not many people share it.

7:10 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:34 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Please stop all this how-to-completely-reorganise-the-book stuff and just confine yourself to errors of fact. Thank you.

4:55 pm  
Blogger george boyter said...

I checked out the Encyclopedia but was disappointed to discover the omission of Anthea Joseph who first put Bob up on his very first visit to London. She appears in the crowded room scene in Don't Look Back. She used to work for Joe Boyd (who else?) during Witchseason's heyday. She continued to receive calls from Bob and could turn up backstage at concerts to be given a big Bob welcome.
Did you know of her existence?

1:51 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


and I forgot to say a larger still Thank You for thoughtfully providing the CD Rom. Invaluable. If this book doesn't lead its users into all manner of rich seams of music then I guess they don't want to be led.

(For Everyone's sake do NOT reorganise the book - what a hellish idea!


2:55 am  

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