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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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Wednesday, January 21, 2009


photo by Alan Govenar

Yesterday (January 20th) - a wonderful day, as pure achievement for black Americans, however much disappointment is in store over the next four or eight years. Among the many joy-inducing, moving spectacles I never thought to see in my lifetime was that of Aretha Franklin singing it her way (and in so splendid a hat), and the elderly civil rights activist Joseph Lowery not only delivering the benediction but including in it quotations from Big Bill Broonzy, which put a grin on the faces of all the good-hearted people on the podium, not least from Michelle and Barack Obama. I can’t imagine how amazed Blind Willie McTell would have been.

It was also the 20th anniversary of the death, at the age of 89, of blues singer and pianist Whistlin' Alex Moore, whose 1929 record 'West Texas Woman' ends with a couplet I had cause to quote in Song & Dance Man III: The Art of Bob Dylan (pp. 651 & 688) in the context of the title song of Dylan's Under The Red Sky:

The wolves howled at midnight, wild ox moaned till day
The man in the moon looked down on us but had nothing to say.

Aptly enough, his burial place (in Dallas, Texas) is the Lincoln Memorial Cemetery.


Blogger joe butler said...

it was a great day but where was Bob?

4:56 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

on Barack Obama's iPod, apparently.

5:36 pm  
Blogger joe butler said...

Then the sands will roll
Out a carpet of gold
For your weary toes to be a-touchin'.
And the ship's wise men
Will remind you once again
That the whole wide world is watchin'.and cheering

8:14 pm  
Blogger Steve said...

Hi Michael
I see that on April 3, 2009 you will be speaking in Nyack, NY. If you're still looking for more venues for your trip, there is one in Portland, Maine called One Longfellow Square. They host events similar to yours as well as all types of music, etc. I can provide more info if this is possible. Otherwise we'll see you in Nyack.

2:16 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Dear Steve
Thank you for writing. Yes I am still looking to add more dates to my tour - setting my face hard against the economic climate - so thank you for this suggestion.

Should you wish to contact me privately about this you can e-mail me c/o my old friend Al Bakirky at lawdylawdy(AT)

2:57 pm  

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