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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 11, 2010


I only learnt yesterday that Larry Fabbro had died. My copy of the UK-based ISIS fanzine always arrives late here in France, and it gave me the sad news that Larry had died unexpectedly this August 25, aged 69, in Pontiac MI.

Lawrence L Fabbro was one of Bobby Zimmerman's fellow students at Hibbing High and played guitar in Bob’s first Hibbing group, the Shadow Blasters (as the wider world first learnt from Dave Engel's excellent book Just Like Bob Zimmerman's Blues: Dylan in Minnesota, 1997). Bob's girlfriend Echo Helstrom wrote in Larry's high school yearbook that she really liked the way he played guitar, though he was only learning the instrument as he went along, having played the trumpet till he helped form Bob's group.*

News of Larry's death saddens me in particular because on my own first visit to Hibbing, in 1998, it was Larry who showed me around the town and drove me in his car out to North Hibbing in the snow and pointed out its remaining traces, reading them almost like an archaeologist who'd known the place in a previous life. Dave Engel tells me that Larry was also one of the first to be helpful to him when he started researching his book.

When I returned to Hibbing a second time, in 2001, to give a talk at the public library, Larry and his then partner Deborah Irish were among those who bought a copy of Song & Dance Man III - they were living on Hibbing's 3rd Avenue East at the time - and Larry hung back at the end of the event till others had finished talking to me, to take me for a drink. He was a gracious guide and a thoughtful, loyal old friend to Bob, and he made no attempt to claim any relevance of his own to the later Dylan.

*Dave Engel's book is long out of print, but there's a short account, titled Hibbing rock'n'rollers, drawn largely from his research, in The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia.


Blogger Unknown said...

I am just reading this in 2016 on Dylan's 75th birthday. I am Larry's oldest daughter Missy. Thank you for the fond memories, I miss my Dad every day.

10:52 pm  

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