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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, March 06, 2010


John Baldwin's Desolation Row Information Service has revealed this morning that Dylan will be doing no UK concerts this year, except for one festival... and that will be the Hop Farm Festival on July 3 (the first night of a three-day event). It's near Paddock Wood, Kent, only 45 minutes by train from London, and the address is: The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood, Kent TN12 6PY. The website is Tickets are not on sale yet, but are likely to be restricted to 20,000, and to be of two types: day tickets and weekend-including-campsite tickets.

And if you can't fit Bob into your schedule, you can always come to Summer Days instead...


Blogger Brent White said...

I don't want you to publish this, as it is apropos of nothing, but I've been revisiting my copy of Bob Dylan Encyclopedia in recent days, and I want to tell you that it's an absolute treasure. I just read, for example, your entry on Jerry Lee Lewis. I didn't know I even _cared_ about Lewis, and now I'm eager to check out his Hank Williams covers and his live stuff from the early '60s. Or how about your paragraph on Dylan's line about "stepping into the arena" from "Angelina"? So much good stuff here! Insightful and authoritative to be sure, but also beautifully written. Thank you.

3:18 am  
Anonymous Martin said...

I just wanted to say that my Wife and I have just returned from a Winterlude Weekend, which we can highly recommend.

The house is in a beautiful part of France, the food cooked and served by Michael's Wife, Sarah is absolutely outstanding, as is the wine ! And the company and Bob Dylan discussions are informal but highly educational for anyone with an interest in Dylan's work and music.

It's by no means all about Bob, and we met some other very interesting guests, but it was wonderful to have the opportunity to chat with other people who are equally enthralled by Bobs work, and to hear at first hand Michael's extensive knowledge of Dylan's work.

A truly marvellous weekend !!
Martin and Teodora

2:21 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bob dylan to visit the legendary
fields of munster rugby see you at
thomond park limerick on sunday 4th july the dust of rumour

7:18 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Brent, sorry to disregard your request but it's such an enjoyable comment I had no scruple.

Anonymous: I've let this through for novelty value, but in future I'm not going to publish messages I don't understand, OK?...

10:34 pm  
Anonymous carl Finlay said...

I think anonymous is saying he heard a rumour that Bob will have a concert in Limerick on the 4th of July. Thomand Park is where the Munster rugby team play their home games. Ticketmaster have already started to advertise it, although no tickets are on sale as of yet.
There was a link on expecting rain on wednesday.

3:39 am  
Anonymous Kieran said...

Anonymous is correct! Bob may not be playing in Britain, but I got an email from ticketmaster telling me he will play in Limerick in July.

I was surprised, because it seems out of the blue, but it came from Ticketmaster.

"Bob Dylan plus Special guests live at Thomond Park Stadium, Limerick. 4 July 2010.

Presale start time: 11 March 2010 at 10:00
Presale end time: 15 March 2010 at 08:00"

8:56 am  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Quite right - the dust of rumour has become fact. Bob is playing Thomond Park Stadium in Limerick on the 4th of July: a 1-day festival with three other big-name acts and one less well-known one, according to the promoter.

11:40 am  
Blogger Welcome to the Sssssnake Hotel said...

Dear Michael,
Just to let you know that former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion does not consider my poetry 'crap'. He invited me to be one of 10 children's poets featured on the National Poetry Archive.
Very sad to discover that someone whose writing I have long admired, takes such a narrow minded view of poetry for children. Have you actually read any more of my poetry. There are plenty of serious poems in my books too.
Brian Moses

12:15 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Should have added that in both "Love Henry' & "The Bows of London' 'Yellow hair' is associated with a murder. This may gave added resonance to the line about 'blood dryin' in my yellow hair' in Angelina

I think, in the earlier songs, yellow hair may have had a mythic significance (Apollo?) that is lost on us.

2:56 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Apparently the 'Yellow hair' line is much older than I thought.

It first occurs in a song called the 'Two Sisters', which it appears was the basis for 'The Wind and the Rain' (which Bob used as the basis for Percy's Song")...

A lot of 'begats' there, I know


4:59 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The phrase 'golden locks' (without the 'long') appears, it seems, in another Child ballad, The False Knight Outwitted

5:07 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The phrase 'Golden locks' also appears in this poem by the English poet, George Peele:

His golden locks time hath to silver turned

His golden locks time hath to silver turned;
O time too swift, O swiftness never ceasing!
His youth 'gainst time and age hath ever spurned,
But spurned in vain; youth waneth by increasing:
Beauty, strength, youth, are flowers but fading seen;
Duty, faith, love, are roots and ever green.

His helmet now shall make a hive for bees,
And, lovers' sonnets turned to holy psalms,
A man-at-arms must now serve on his knees,
And feed on prayers, which are age his alms:
But though from court to cottage he depart,
His saint is sure of his unspotted heart.

And when he saddest sits in hmely cell,
He'll teach his swains this carol for a song--
"Blessed be the hearts that wish my sovereign well,
Cursed be the souls that think her any wrong."
Goddess, allow this aged man his right,
To be your beadsman now that was your knight.

George Peele

5:18 am  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Many thanks for all this interesting info on the folksong and poetry antecedents of that 'yellow hair'.

11:20 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


There was another post here - which made it clear that what I am talking about is the "Yellow Hair' reference in Angelina & the ref. to "Golden Locks' in "Changing of the Guards'.

You suggested in the Encyclopedia that this term may come from Kenneth Patchen - I think its more likely to have come from the folk tradition sources mentioned above.

5:02 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "Yellow Hair' line in Jack Orion (covered by Bert Jansch among others runs:

'“Oh ragged are your stockings love and stubble is your cheek and chin
And tangled is that yellow hair that I saw late yestre'en'

In Bows of London the Martin Carthy version) the line is:

And he took some strands of her long yellow hair
Took some strands of her long yellow hair

'And he made some strings from this yellow hair
Made some strings from this yellow hair '

In Love Henry, it runs:

She took him by his long yellow hair,
And also by his feet.
She plunged him into well water, where
It runs both cold and deep.

5:30 am  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Again, thank you - I did click "publish" to all your 'yellow hair' comments, and I do remember that first one, which made it clear that we were discussing the 'yellow hair' in 'Angelina', so I don't know why that didn't appear before. One of the tiny uninteresting mysteries of cyberspace tech, I suppose. But in any case I imagine most readers of this blog would have picked up on where all this yellow hair arose in Dylan's canon.

10:02 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What interested me with the Peele poem as well was that its tone - that of the wounded and mistreated servant -fits well with the theme of 'The Changing of the Guards'.

Also the line:
'A man-at-arms must now serve on his knees'
could almost fit into that song.

Not to say that it directly influenced the song (which it probably didn't) but there are some interesting connections..

10:11 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funnily enough, the peele poem has already been set to music by the great John Dowland, whose music is good enough to survive being massacred by Sting.


It also has sometimes been published under the name 'A Farewell to arms' which must be where Hemingway got the title for his novel.

5:03 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael Was reading Frank Bidart's 'Afterword' to Robert Lowell's "Collected Poems" when I came across the foolowing line which, I think, is also applicable to Dylan's work:

"Crucial to the texture of a Lowell poem, throughout his career, are these images or actions or things that resist a single meaning, that haunt because, dense with meaning, they also elude meaning"

10:47 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems I misread the theme of the Peele poem - it was, in fact, written as part of "Polyhymnia (1590), a blank verse description of the ceremonies attending the retirement of the queens' champion, Sir Henry Lee. This is concluded by the sonnet, A Farewell to Arms, quoted by Thackeray in the seventy-sixth chapter of The Newcomes. To The Phoenix Nest '

The knight in the poem insists that he will now pray for the Queen rather than fighting for her.

It could be argued that there are some lines in "Changing of the Guards' which suggest Elizabethan England - the 'renegade priests' for example, the line about 'on midsummers eve near the tower', etc

4:48 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another (slight, I admit) Dylan-Dowland connection.

Dowland wrote an arrangement of the folk song 'Go from my window' which, with a slight tweaking, becomes 'Go away from my window' in 'It aint me, Babe.'

The Dowland arrangement can be found on the excellent 'John Dowland Lute Music 4' by Nigle North on Naxos.

This recent article in The Guardian draws a connection between Dowland & Bob:

12:29 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is one version of the lyric of Go From My Window:

Go from my window, my love, my dove,
Go from my window, my dear,
For the wind is in the west and the cuckoo's in his nest,
And you can't have a lodging here.

Go from my window, my love, my dove,
Go from my window, my dear,
O the weather it is warm, it will never do thee harm,
And you can't have a lodging here.

Go from my window, my love, my dove,
Go from my window, my dear,
The wind is blowing high, and the ship is lying by,
And you can't have a harbouring here.

Go from my window, my love, my dove,
Go from my window, my dear,
The wind and the rain have brought him back again,
But he can't have a harbouring here.

Go from my window, my love, my dove,
Go from my window, my dear,
The devil's in the man, that he will not understand
That he can't have a lodging here.

5:12 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had a quick search through the book Early Scottish ballads by William Motherwell (which is available on Google books) and there are some 23 references to 'yellow hair' in it -

Child would probably have a similar number, I reckon

5:51 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seemed to me that "Yellow Hair' was an unusual formulation in English, so my suspicion is that it is a direct translation from Scots Gaelic or Irish.

Sure enough, the phrase does feature in the book, An Duanaire, 1600-1900: Poems of the Dispossesed edited by Sean O'Tuama & the Irish poet, Thomas Kinsella.

This is a book of old Irish poetry and the phrase "Yellow Hair" (bui-chuachaibh) occurs in the poem "Brightness most Bright' by Aogan O'Rathaille on p. 151 of that book.

10:45 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In relation to the mythic connotations of 'yellow hair', this is from Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy:

A flaxen hair; golden hair was even in great account, for which Virgil commends Dido, Nondum sustulerat flavum Proserpinina crinem, Et crines nodantur in aurum . Apollonius (Argonaut. lib. 4. Jasonis flava coma incendit cor Medeae ) will have Jason's golden hair to be the main cause of Medea's dotage on him. Castor and Pollux were both yellow haired. Paris, Menelaus, and most amorous young men, have been such in all ages, molles ac suaves , as Baptista Porta infers, 4919 Physiog. lib. 2. lovely to behold. Homer so commends Helen, makes Patroclus and Achilles both yellow haired: Pulchricoma Venus, and Cupid himself was yellow haired, in aurum coruscante et crispante capillo , like that neat picture of Narcissus in Callistratus; for so [4920] Psyche spied him asleep, Briseis, Polixena, &c. flavicomae omnes ,

——— and Hero the fair,
Whom young Apollo courted for her hair.

Leland commends Guithera, king Arthur's wife, for a flaxen hair: so Paulus Aemilius sets out Clodeveus, that lovely king of France. [4921] Synesius holds every effeminate fellow or adulterer is fair haired: and Apuleius adds that Venus herself, goddess of love, cannot delight, [4922] "though she come accompanied with the graces, and all Cupid's train to attend upon her, girt with her own girdle, and smell of cinnamon and balm, yet if she be bald or badhaired, she cannot please her Vulcan." Which belike makes our Venetian ladies at this day to counterfeit yellow hair so much, great women to calamistrate and curl it up, vibrantes ad gratiam crines, et tot orbibus in captivitatem flexos , to adorn their heads with spangles, pearls, and made-flowers; and all courtiers to effect a pleasing grace in this kind. In a word, [4923] "the hairs are Cupid's nets, to catch all comers, a brushy wood, in which Cupid builds his nest, and under whose shadow all loves a thousand several ways sport themselves."

11:40 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob's interest in Virgil has already been noted by some classical scholars (believe it or not):

Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2001 13:45:13 -0500
From: "Jim O'Hara" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>

I don't think this has been mentioned on this List yet, though it has
been discussed on the Classics List. Bob Dylan's latest album features
a song with some words that should look familiar to Vergilians: (the site cites Vergil in
a footnote)

Lonesome Day Blues
(words and music by Bob Dylan. Copyright (c)2001 Special Rider Music)
I'm going to spare the defeated, I'm going to speak to the crowd,
I'm going to spare the defeated, boys, I'm going to speak to the
30 I'm going to teach peace to the conquered, I'm going to tame the

Jim O'Hara
Paddison Professor of Latin
206B Howell Hall
phone: (919) 962-7649
fax: (919) 962-4036
surface mail:
James J. O'Hara
Department of Classics
CB# 3145, 101 Howell Hall
The University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3145

11:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to add that Paul Clayton's superb version of 'The Two Sisters'
can be heard here:

11:36 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Should have added that the Clayton version does not include the 'wind and the rain' refrain that Dylan uses in Percy's song.

This version recorded much later by the Irish folk group, A, does:

11:45 pm  
Anonymous Elmer Gantry said...

just to add that there is an interesting discussion of some of the versions of the 'Two Sisters' here

5:54 am  
Anonymous Elmer Gantry said...

Sorry - think I forgot to paste website:

5:55 am  
Anonymous Elmer Gantry said...

Just noticed that the phrase 'Yellow Hair' also appears in the version of 'Locks and Bolts' recorded by Paul Clayton on his superb album of American Folk Tales and Songs, which he recorded with Jean Ritchie.
The relevant part of the lyric is:

Her yellow hair, like locks of gold,
Come jingling down my pillow;
She is the one that I love best,
She's like the weeping willow.

12:37 pm  

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