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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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Saturday, September 19, 2009


I thought instead of arguing about current Bob I'd start posting a series of clips from when he was unarguable. Here's the first, from Newcastle 1966:


Anonymous Kieran said...

Bob was "unarguable" back then? Hmmm...I thought there were folks who paid in just to boo him, on that tour....

6:12 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Yes, but we all agreed at least 40 years ago that they were wrong. As wrong as you are now about the virtues of Christmas In The Heart, Kieran...

6:41 pm  
Anonymous Kieran said...

Well, "we" didn't all agree at the time, or else there would have been nobody booing. Only hindsight proved them wrong - as wrong as you are now about Tell Tale Signs, Michael.

Great clip, by the way. I love that era of Bob too. Keen as a musketeer's blade, was young Bob.

I haven't heard CITH yet - but I expect it to be a simple, sleighbells and yo-ho-snow Christmas album. It's probably more like a children's album, and the bits I heard sound like fun, and nothing more - which is all we can hope for from such an exercise.

By the way, not everyone thinks that just because it's Bob, he gets a pass. I never listen to Modern Times, except for one or two songs, but I enjoy TTL because - apart from the woeful My Wife's Hometown and the brutally flat It's All Good - it has a vibrancy in the performances and the music can soar.

Especially the undeniably delicious Forgetful Heart...

7:28 pm  
Anonymous McHenry Boatride said...

Kieran - The past is another country; they do things differently there.

Of course you are right - there has never been a time when Bob was unarguable. Funnily enough I seem to remember having a few arguments about Bob with a man named Gray a couple of years before this concert.

7:47 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who was it that shouted "Judas!" McHenry? You or Michael.
Pat Ford

9:39 pm  
Anonymous McHenry Boatride said...

Pat - It certainly wasn't me! I was at the Sheffield concert, not the Manchester one. Emotions were a little heated there, but it was a great concert. And I believe that Michael was at the Liverpool one (where - if memory serves - he failed to get an interview with Mr D), famed for the live recording of Just Like Tomb Thumb's Blues.

Michael was a big fan of Bob by then, but I recall that he was a little less keen - initially - in the "folk" period. The rest is history.

10:08 am  
Blogger gdash said...

But is it really fair to compare current Bob to this? This performance, which I sometimes think is the greatest ever filmed, matches Billie Holiday in the thirties, Sinatra in the fifties etc, that is, pinnacles of 20th Century music.

Well, Billie wasn't as great in the 40s and 50s, nor was Sinatra in the 60s and 70s; yet both still made some worthwhile and even brilliant music, music I wouldn't reject just because it doesn't push through the clouds.

The argument against current Bob, then, shouldn't be made by putting it up against 1966 live "Like a Rolling Stone", but rather by its own merits or demerits. (ALMOST current Bob did get there, with "Love and Theft".)

Anyway, the Doggett piece you printed makes me want to pick up the new CD; so far, I've just heard "Must Be Santa" and liked it.

PS A while back I showed this clip to a few friends in their early 20s and, to a person, they were blown away. Seeing the light go on in their eyes was thrilling. Something similar has happened when I've shown kids segments of Elvis's 1968 boxing ring performance.

11:26 pm  

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