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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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Thursday, October 27, 2011


Another fine,pin-sharp photo by Paolo Brillo



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, it's highly unlikely that Bono would have been consulting you about his repertoire in the first place.

5:12 am  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Indeed - even more unlikely than your having trouble directing your comment to the relevant blogpost.

10:19 am  
Anonymous Elmer Gantry said...

On a whim recently I decided to order the cd version of 'Squeezing out Sparks' by Graham Parker, which had been one of my favourite albums of the late 70s but which I hadn't listened to in a long time.

Just got it the other day and have been playing it constantly ever since. The first side (as it was way back then) must be among the best ever recorded.

Great band, Great singing and it definitely proves 'Passion is no ordinary word'

just to tie this in with Bob, here is a link to a picture of him & GP together at Blackbushe:

4:21 am  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Thanks, Elmer - a nice website, with some interesting recollections from people who were there: many of them very young and some at their first gig. I remember it relatively well myself...

10:24 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great photograph....strange how Dylan's performances somehow do not send you back to previous times. My sister had a late Dylan conversion about 18 months ago when she listened to Blood on the Tracks ( the same thing happened to me in 1977) and since then she has been waiting to see Dylan perform live. I informed her of the recent tour about the time the tour was announced and suggested that she did not go to a concert. I explained that his old man voice was no longer the extraordinary voice of days gone by and that he tends to concentrate on his most recent songs which were performed and recorded with his restricted vocal range. She had recently been to see James Taylor and was delighted with his performance and said how his performance of songs such as "You've Got A Friend" sent her back to the 1970s.

It is rather strange how some people in this Youtube age can still go to a Dylan concert and expect to see him perform with an acoustic guitar and harmonica performing his protest songs but evidently plenty of people do.

I went ticketless to the show in Manchester ( I do not do ticketmaster rip off prices, incidentally , beware of restricted use of ticketmaster gift cards ) and was lucky enough to get a second row ticket from a Knopfler fan. The highlight was a truly magical "Forgetful Heart" and the overall performance was anything but nostalgic. It was a fearless performance of great passion and intensity.

Of course, the greatness of Blood on the Tracks, as wonderful as the words are, is down to his voice. I think it was Geldoff who referred to the unparralleled intelligence of the singing on BOTT and Andrew Motion's description of his extraordinary matchless voice on "Visions Of Johanna" is probably better applied to BOTT. Without a doubt, only Bob Dylan could surpass the utter brilliance of his mid sixties songs and performances.


1:51 pm  
Anonymous Elmer Gantry said...

Should have added that if you watch this clip:

you will see that the picture of Bob & Graham Parker together takes pride of place in GP's home.

by the way, have been listening to a lot of Paul Clayton recently & have been surprised to find (given the tone of most Dylan biographies about him - poor lost soul unable to cope with Dylan's superior talent etc.) that, on his own terms, he was a very fine artist, indeed.

4:48 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If I could only turn back the clock to when...."

Anyone fortunate enough to be at the Antwerp concert for the performance of "Not Dark Yet"? I honestly thought that Dylan was no longer capable of singing like this ("Love Sick" at the same show was rather special too).

Elmer...I believe that Graham Parker supported Dylan at a Hammersmith residency. Graham has recently coverd a number of Dylan songs including "License To Kill" and has enormous respect for Dylan's most recent work ( I sometimes check out his blog)'Heat Treatment' is a great album.

I prefer it when Dylan does not have a supporting artist.However,has any other artist had a greater list of supporting artists? Clapton, Armatrading, De Franco, Simon, Nelson,Petty,Morrison,Young, Mitchell,Baez, Ginsberg,Elliot, etc,etc.


6:12 pm  
Anonymous Elmer Gantry said...

Should add that I have been listening most often to Clayton's album of songs & solos for dulcimer, which is available from here:

and which, I think, is a much overlooked classic.

His album of Whaling songs from the days of Moby Dick is also excellent.

4:25 am  
Anonymous Elmer Gantry said...

Should add that I would also recommend Claytons
'Sings Homemade Songs and Ballads/Folk Singer' cd, with the priviso that, while it includes some excellent material, also features as a bonus track a godawful Weavers-at-their-worst-esque version of 'So Long, Its been good to know with you' complete with a choir which seems to have come direct from the Muppet show.

the version of 'whisky in the Jar' is almost as excruciating.

Pity, because Clayton's work is distinguished - almost always - by its tastefulness.

There is also a quality of pathos in some of Clayton's best work which, I think, influenced some of Bob's best folk performances like "Moonshiner', 'Corinna, Corinna' and 'I was young when I left home.'

9:32 am  
Anonymous Elmer Gantry said...


Was wondering about this curious point - in both Clinton Heylin's and Howard Sounes' bios of Dylan, the date of Paul Clayton's death is given as April 1966 [April 6th], according to Heylin}.

However, in your books and in Bob Coltman's biography of Clayton, the date is given (correctly, it would appear) as March 1967.

According to Heylin, Clayton's 'death' led Dylan to perform "Its all over now, Baby Blue' with 'a new underlying sorrow' during his Australian tour, which took place at that time. This can't be correct, surely...

Should add that listening to Clayton has also led me back to the great Etta Baker...

6:09 am  

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