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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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Friday, February 13, 2009


No, not together.

I've just been e-mailed a press release only slightly less boring than most, telling me this:

"Legendary singer/ songwriter Melanie begins a three night residency at London's Jazz Cafe on Friday 29th May 2009. In these rare intimate UK performances she will be accompanied, on guitar, by her virtuoso son, Beau Jarred Schekeryk. The first night's performance will feature the albums Born To Be & Candles In The Rain in their entirety. Born To Be was Melanie's debut album, released on Buddha Records in 1968, and features notable self penned tracks 'In the Hour', 'I'm Back In Town' & 'I Really Loved Harold' as well as her version of Bob Dylan's 'Mr Tambourine Man'. "

The night after, she'll sing two more albums, and so on, ending with a night where she sings whatever people most request by visiting her website. I shan't be turning up to hear Melanie, but it was impressive when Brian Wilson started touring around reconstructing entire albums - and in turn makes me think how interesting it would be for Dylan to do the same once in a while.

We've spent so many years saying how marvellously different from his records he always is in live performance (while only ever whispering in private that 95 times out of 100 the recorded version proves far better) - but either way, wouldn't it be weirdly thrilling to go to a Dylan concert that began with acoustic guitars leading into 'Tangled Up In Blue', and finished with 'Buckets of Rain', or began with a large group of musicians on the stage erupting into 'Changing Of The Guards' and ending with 'Where Are You Tonight (Journey Thru Dark Heat)?'

Of course Dylan has said that he'd like to re-record his old albums - I've even read speculation that the new album due out any day now might be one of these (though it's an idea I discount). If he did re-record the old masterpieces, he'd be more capable of replicating the new versions live than the old... which would make for an even stranger format for a concert tour.

Better than the current exhausted format, though - which maybe even Dylan is tiring of. There are persistent rumours that when he adds a second London date, supposedly at a much more intimate venue than the 02 Arena (which wouldn't be difficult), he will preview some of that elusive new album live.


Blogger Ray said...

There are few things more contrived than an artist playing entire albums live onstage. Unless the album just came out, it seems like simple nostalgia, a money-grab where the audience can be assured they won't just a bunch of (gasp) "new songs". Though I am not a big fan of his current live performances, I certainly hope Bob has more class than to re-hash the classics.

3:49 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Caught a concert from the Barbican on BBC4 featuring Roger McGuinn, Carolyn Hester, Eric Anderson, and Judy Collins. (Also featuring Billy Brag, who introduced it.) Part of the excellent Folk America series.

Good to see these relics of the sixties still performing!

11:52 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know, Michael. All these 'entire album'-concerts which seem so 'in' today have something of a sad nostalgic embrace between audiences and artists ... "remember when we all were young and I did and you all listend to this great album". And it's an acknowledgment that the artist cannot come up with anything like it nowadays, as well as that the audience likes him/her/them for what they once did and not for what they do now. Having said this : Van Morrison's Astral Weeks Live is quite enjoyable, though!

best wishes

8:28 pm  

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