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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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Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Lowell George
would have been 65 years old today. He was the shining star of southern rock band Little Feat in the 1970s and the writer of the truck-driving anthem ‘Willin’’, which Dylan has performed many times in concert, starting in 1990 in Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas that September 6, 8 and 9 respectively. Lowell George died in June 1979. Little Feat's co-founder was Richie Hayward (they had been in an earlier band together), who in 2004 became a shortlived member of Dylan’s Never-Ending Tour band, playing drums and percussion in a supporting rôle to George Racile (who was having problems with one arm). Hayward played from the Tulsa Oklahoma concert of February 28 (not playing on the opening number or the encore songs this first night) through till the end of the April 4 concert in Washington D.C..

Bob and the media
For those who liked Part 1, the third and final part of John Carvill's excellent and thoughtful essay You Had To Ask Me Where It Was At: Bob Dylan & the Media, plus clickable links to the earlier parts, is now online here.

Summer Days
There are still places available for our Summer Days weekends in June, including the one that could be combined with catching two or three of Dylan's Spanish and French concerts (in Barcelona, Carcassonne and Bordeaux). See here for details and pictures.

Bob and the UK General Election
The Times - or The London Times, as Americans insist on miscalling it - runs a regular snippety featurette called 'Chatter: Trends, topics and tweets', which surely typifies both the way the broadsheet press has dumbed down (presumably to compete with British television) and the increased way that they fill the paper with punters' contributions that they don't have to pay for. Anyway, last Wednesday the contributions they ran included this, from a Louise Johnson:
I'm an undecided voter in a marginal constituency, so for once, my vote sort-of matters. What a daft system. In related news, our doorbell broke yesterday and we're not mending it 'til May 7.

Chronicles Volume One Index
PDF copies of this are still available: see the previous blog entry.

Bob and Lourdes
Sarah and I took some American friends to visit Lourdes the other day - the first time we'd been to look at it, though it's only 45 minutes from our house. I was sorry we ran out of time there before I'd had the chance to look for a flesh-coloured Christ that glows in the dark, though I'm sure they're available, judging by the plethora of gift-shops spilling out onto the pavements with enticing things like plastic mini bottles for holy water and Virgin Mary thermos flasks.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to Lourdes (for the only time) in 1989, and it was (already) an overblown bazaar back then. Heaven knows (literally) what it must be like now.....


6:11 pm  
Anonymous wee tommy said...

My aunt brought me a Christ that glowed in the dark from Lourdes in about 1967, although as with all luminous plastic in those days, it wasn't so much flesh-coloured as sort of yellow, and took on a lustrous greenish tinge when the lights went out. Maybe the technology has improved by now.

9:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget the toy guns that spark.
Do they make those anymore? They had a whirring friction gear which went rat-a-tat-tat and threw sparks on the down stroke.
I'll never forget an 80's interview with Dylan where a said, "The toy manufacturers are responsible too. They're the ones who start the assembly line of death."
Pat Ford

4:58 am  
Anonymous mick said...

Michael, thanks for your brilliant index. If I were Robert Christgau, I would give this Index A++. It's a work of art that I dreamt about finding because the way Chronicles works (dream-like) is that things flow backwards & forwards in a subjective way, and I'm never sure which bit goes where.

I still like the book and your Index reminded what a prodigious rag-bag of ideas and references are contained in its 290 pages. I know some people reviled it after going through it with a fine Google tooth comb and discovering that half of it was written by Jack London, and the other half by Marcel Proust or maybe it was Mezz Mezrow. The passages at the end where he talks about 'Pirate Jenny' and listening to Robert Johnson are very good. As a work of fiction, Chloe Kiel and Ray Gooch get B++ so I hope we see Volume Two one day.

11:00 am  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Er, Pat - I don't think the Roman Catholic / Saint Bernadette souvenirs at Lourdes do include toy guns that spark...

11:03 am  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Ah, is he being sent to Coventry? I didn't know that...

And Mick, thank you for your kind comments on the index.

11:13 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dylan says somewhere that he hates oppression especially the oppression of children.


1:06 pm  
Blogger joe butler said...

I'd send him to coventry
he just refuses to return my calls

3:46 pm  
Anonymous Kieran said...

Joe Butler,

I think Dawkins is - typically - showing his ignorance and his need for the inexhaustive oxygen of publicity.

Very un-Bobbish, as you say...

5:01 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was just leafing through the Phil Ochs entry in the Bob Dylan Encylopedia and saw the reference to Billy Bragg's song memorialising Phil. Thought I'd mention that an American singer named Todd Snider a few years put out a terrific song called Thin Wild Mercury that is about Phil and Bob's encounter in the taxi over Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window? and the very different paths the two artists' lives took after that.

8:31 pm  

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