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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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Monday, October 05, 2009


I've accepted an invitation to speak and do a book-signing at the Auburn Avenue Research Library in Atlanta GA on Monday October 19 at 6.30pm (free admission).

I’m especially pleased that the Auburn Avenue Research Library - a crucial and leading African American Atlanta institution - should show such interest in my research and my book. I'd begun to rue the fact that with the exception of the Douglass Theatre in Macon I seemed to be booked only by traditionally white institutions.

I leave for the States on Wednesday. Bob Dylan's Christmas album will be released while I'm over there enjoying Georgia's warm autumn sunshine. (Mind you, I'm being pulled away from the very warm weather we've been having here in Southwest France.) Mid-October is too early for Christmas records! Even if they were going to be any good...

MON OCT 19, 6.30pm - talk: Searching for Blind Willie McTell
Auburn Avenue Research Library, 101 Auburn Avenue, NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-2503
tel: 404.730.4001 x 303


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you pay attention to Dylan's latest tours? It would be interesting to hear your critique of his latest concerts. I would like to know whether you find any nights of the never ending tour to be of any value. Great website!

6:34 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Thanks for your question: apologies for taking so long to answer it, but I've been travelling around Georgia USA since October 9, and before that I was in New York State, and I don't travel with a laptop.

The answer is that I pay attention from a distance. I read the setlists, and sometimes when I read that a particular song performance has been "great" I listen to it on YouTube or whatever. It never is great, though... and anyway it's telling that even Dylan's most abject apologists - the people who always claim he's "never sung better' (or something equally absurd) - can only now pick one or two supposed highlight song performances from any particular concert: whereas it used to be possible to highlight an entire concert as having been magnificent (if not a whole tour, even). The last few times I've seen a Bob concert it's been far from an authentically thrilling artistic experience - and it used to be exactly that. He's still highly charismatic of course, but out of the last four concerts I've seen I can remember only three terrific song performances: one 'Sugar Baby' (which came in the middle of an otherwise notably indifferent performance in a baseball stadium in NY, making me feel, well, Bob, if you can sing 'Sugar Baby' that well, it's outrageous that you couldn't be bothered for any other song that night), one 'Nettie Moore' and one 'Wheels On Fire'.

It gives me no pleasure to respond this way, but that's how it's been for me at Dylan concerts over the last four or five years.

8:47 pm  

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