BOB DYLAN ENCYCLOPEDIA: A BLOG 2006-2012

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

BOB DYLAN ENCYCLOPEDIA GREATEST HITS CD OUT NOW

Today is the release date of Bob Dylan Encyclopedia Greatest Hits on CD. This is an audio-book, as you probably know by now, covering what I think is a wide spectrum of topics dealt with in the 850 entries in the book.

If you want to hear short sample excerpts, they're here:



The CD running-time is just short of an hour, and the full tracklist is:

1.   1965-66: Bob Dylan & the UK Charts [6:19]
2.   Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat [3:33]
3.   Being Unable to Die, and Howbeit [3:00]
4.   Blood On The Tracks [10:49]
5.   Telegraphy and the Religious Imagination [4:40]
6.   Eat The Document [4:38]
7.   Frying an Egg On Stage [0:52]
8.   Duluth, Minnesota [3:52]
9.   Musicians' Enthusiasm for Latest Dylan Album, Perennial [ 0:52]
10. Dylan in Books of Quotation [3:31]
11. "Love And Theft" [13:35]

You can buy the download version  -  or just individual tracks  -  from every major outlet, but the CD is only available from the Shop Page of www.michaelgray.net.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

THE LAST TYPEWRITER

Godrej & Boyce - the last company left in the world still making typewriters - has shut its Mumbai production plant. It has some machines left in stock but won't make any more.

My own first typewriter was an Olympia Monica my parents bought me.
It was kind of them, but in retrospect a Fender would have been the better bet.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

HOME FROM SUNNY IRELAND

I arrived home yesterday evening from my 13-day Irish tour  -  having been phenomenally lucky with the weather on all but one of those days. In other respects some days were better than others.

The highlights were the very generously administered Dock Arts Centre in the small town of Carrick-on-Shannon, which got everything right, and the literature festival in Galway  -  a buzzy place at any time. Delivering my Searching for Blind Willie McTell talk to a packed audience in the Drury Lane Theatre there was a real delight.

The lowlight was arriving at the Central Library in Cork three days ago to find that the organisers of the so-called Cork World Book Festival had never bothered to notice that the talk they'd booked was titled Love Me Slender: The Genius of Early Elvis  -  and not, as they had dozily billed it on posters and leaflets, Love Me Tender etc... I've often arrived at venues to find the technician unacquainted with the Tech Spec I'd sent to the programme director months earlier, but I've never before, in a decade of giving talks, been anywhere they didn't even get the title of the talk right. And this from a city library.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

URL FOR AUDIO-BOOK DOWNLOAD FROM iTUNES

My audio-book Bob Dylan Encyclopedia Greatest Hits can be bought as a download either complete or as individual tracks (and you can hear short samples) from iTunes here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

MISSED: MY OWN BLOG ANNIVERSARY

For better or worse, I was obviously too busy to notice this, but last month  -  March the 4th, in fact  -  marked the fifth anniversary of the creation of this blog. Over 600 posts have been notched up since then. Just thought I'd mention it  -  and say a special hello to those who've been there since its early days. Your readership is appreciated.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

MICHAEL IN IRELAND

Just a handy reminder of the dates still to come on my current tour of talks in Ireland:

TONIGHT: at the Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon, Country Leitrim, 8.30pm
Bob Dylan & the Poetry of the Blues

TOMORROW NIGHT (APRIL 14): at Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar, Co. Mayo, 8pm
Searching For Blind Willie McTell

FRIDAY APRIL 15: The Locke Bar, 3 Georges Quay, Limerick, 8pm:
Love Me Slender: The Genius of Early Elvis

SATURDAY APRIL 16: Cuirt International Festival of Galway, 3pm
Druid Lane Theatre, off Quay Street, Galway City
Searching For Blind Willie McTell

TUESDAY APRIL 19:  Mermaid Arts Centre, Main St, Bray, Co. Wicklow, 8pm
Bob Dylan & the Poetry of the Blues

WEDNESDAY APRIL 20: Cork World Book Festival, 7.30pm
Central Library, Grand Parade, Cork
Love Me Slender: The Genius of Early Elvis

THURSDAY APRIL 21: Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda, Co. Louth, 8.30pm
Bob Dylan & the Poetry of the Blues

Monday, April 11, 2011

DYLAN IN CHINA

I realise I'm putting my spoke in rather belatedly here, but I'm travelling in Ireland without my aged, heavy laptop so I can only grab computer time fleetingly and seldom. But  -  I have rarely read so much nonsense in the daily press, and the broadsheets have been worse than the tabloids, if anything, than on the subject of Dylan in China "deliberately leaving out" his usual protest songs (ie 'Blowin' in the Wind' and 'The Times They Are A-Changin'), and "charging through his set without any banter with the crowd" and "only introducing his band after 90 minutes". Trashiest report of all, I thought, was from some idiot in the Independent On Sunday.


Have these people ever been to a Dylan concert? Do they have no idea how many songs he's written, or how many he necessarily leaves out of each concert?

Besides which, he sang 'A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall', including "And the executioner's face is always well hidden". Not exactly 'I Want To Hold Your Hand'. 

Further, here's a paragraph taken from John Baldwin's Desolation Row Newsletter of the other day:

Just to put a lie to the suggestion that “Blowin’ In The Wind” is a banned song in China, listen and watch this Chinese TV newscast about the arrival of Bob Dylan – it lasts about 10 minutes and is followed by a totally unintelligible discussion (unless you speak Chinese), but it’s well worth viewing to take in a different side. Dylan coming to China had very clearly touched the public imagination. See:

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150214009635540


Of course, I'm not saying, either, that Dylan doesn't know where he is when he's choosing songs. Hence for example his brave and most appropriately serious performance of 'Masters Of War' a few years ago in one of the Japanese cities atom-bombed in World War II.

It makes you wonder what level of attention his 70th birthday will receive from these papers next month.


Tuesday, April 05, 2011

HE NOT BUSY BEING BORN...

APRIL 2ND saw Leon Russell turn 70. He was born in Lawton, Oklahoma.

APRIL 3RD was the 125th birthday of Dooley Wilson, the man who sings and plays piano in the great film Casablanca, especially, of course, playing 'As Time Goes By' at Bogart's insistence and against Ingrid Bergman's wishes. (I spoke to Ingrid Bergman once... when I was working for United Artists Records in London in 1977-79 they'd issued 'As Time Goes By' as a single, and it went silver, and I was asked to tell Ms Bergman, since she was on the sountrack of the single, that she had earned a Silver Disc. To my disappointment, though not my surprise, she was unimpressed, and therefore not especially friendly.)

APRIL 3RD was also the 10th anniversary of the death in Atlanta GA, age 63, of Gene Vincent's core guitarist Paul Peek.

Lastly, APRIL 5TH is the 105th anniversary of the birth of Lord Buckley (pictured) in Tuolumne CA.

GREAT LIST OF DISTINGUISHED FIGURES & THEIR DYLAN CHOICES

Another URL: this time to the BBC's list of which 'Desert Island Discs' guests have chosen which Dylan tracks. A couple of the people have been on the programme twice, I notice, but still  -  so many diverse people have wanted a Dylan track, and it's quite a variety of song-choices. It's here.

For those who don't know, the programme is on radio, and asks each week's invited guest to answer questions about their life and to choose the eight tracks they would wish to have with them if they were marooned on a desert island. (They're also asked to choose one luxury item. Notoriously, in an earlier era when such things were notorious to the BBC, Norman Mailer chose marijuana.)

PENNEBAKER, 85, ON DONT LOOK BACK WITH GREIL MARCUS

Since I can't for some reason get the video to come up here, I offer the URL (with thanks to Mick Gold, who notes 85-year-old Pennebaker's undimmed enthusiasm): http://tinyurl.com/6ktkuaf
Good stuff.