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Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60

12 May 01 - 01:37 PM (#461045)
Subject: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: Peter T.

As people here know, Rick Fielding and I are disgusting bandwagon jumpers and followers of fashion, so this is as good a place to say that we will be doing Part III of our Dylan stuff on Rick's Acoustic Workshop show, CIUT.FM Toronto, Monday May 21st, 7 p.m., the week of Dylan's Birthday (May 24). Among the other notable events -- and this thread is for posting --:

Friday's New York Times had a pretty dull article on New Dylans, some of whom are on the just released new tribute album "A Nod to Bob" (Red House Records), virtually all acoustic including (among others) Rosalie Sorrels, Rambling Jack Elliot, and Canada's Hart-Rouge doing "With God On Our Side" in Quebequois!

A new Bio -- Positively 4th Street, by David Hadju, is in the stores, chronicling the famous few years with Baez and the Farinas.

David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, has an article on Bob in this week's New Yorker, the prelude to a public Conference in New York involving various figures from Patti Smith to Christoper Ricks (the dean of Dylan lit. critics).

This month's Guitar World, Acoustic, has a fine tribute article/review on how to play the open tuning tunes of "Blood on the Tracks".

more to come I am sure....
yours, Peter T.

12 May 01 - 01:53 PM (#461047)
Subject: RE: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: GUEST,Froggy

Peter, did the New York Times actually say that Hart Rouge sang "in Quebequois" (sic)?

I wouldn't think that the New York Times would suggest that there's such a langauge as Québécois.

"Dieu à Nos Côtés," the translation of "With God On Our Side" that Hart Rouge sings was translated by Hugues Aufray and Pierre Delanoë, who are from France.

Excuse me, I must go now and ride right up to Miss Mousey's door.

12 May 01 - 02:03 PM (#461054)
Subject: RE: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: GUEST,Ann Powers

I wrote the article in the NY Times. My exact words were "a French version of 'With God On Our Side' by the Quebecois ensemble Hart-Rouge."

Mr. T obviously has an agenda to make me and/or the NY Times look ignorant. That's easy to do anonymously by badly misquoting someone on the Internet.

12 May 01 - 02:47 PM (#461069)
Subject: RE: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: Peter T.

I apologise profoundly -- it was a joke. We Canadians make such jokes. The article does say French, but I made it Quebecois, since I assumed Hart-Rouge has such a tinge. I have not listened to the album. I have no agenda to make the NYTimes look ignorant. If it wasn't for the New York Times we would in North America be living in a howling wilderness of ignorance and stupidity. And I am a Canadian! You cannot find out anything about what is happening international news, most science, anything about art, and much particulary about classical music without reading the NYTimes. It gets a bit tiresome on occasion -- how much longer are they going to let William Safire and Thomas Friedman go on writing the same article week after week? -- but I read it every day.

yours, Peter T.

12 May 01 - 04:26 PM (#461102)
Subject: RE: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: Steve Latimer

Looking forward to tuning in next Monday. I really enjoyed the first two in the series.

12 May 01 - 05:43 PM (#461133)
Subject: RE: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: marty D

Great news Peter. Perhaps I'll actually get to HEAR this show. Others have said that the first two were informative and funny.

"Guest Ann Powers", you said:

"Mr. T obviously has an agenda to make me and/or the NY Times look ignorant. That's easy to do anonymously by badly misquoting someone on the Internet."

I would say "surely you're joking", but it seems from your post, you preferred to take offence at an obvious tongue in cheek message. I can assure you that Peter T is hardly anonymous in THIS community. In my year and a couple of months here I've found him to be an interesting member who uses humor and makes a lot of sense. In fact, posting as a guest could easily mean that you are not who you claim to be. We've had a rash of that lately.

Sorry to be testy back, but I feel you attributed a motive where it wasn't meant, and Peter's a good guy.

marty Dawson

12 May 01 - 11:17 PM (#461236)
Subject: RE: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: simon-pierre

and anyway, to my knowledge, and according to this site, Hart Rouge come from Saskatchewan. But ok, ok, they're now based in Montréal...

13 May 01 - 10:33 PM (#461692)
Subject: RE: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: RichM

...And hello! The language spoken in Quebec has its own verve and flavor--so calling it Québeçois is not wrong--it's actually more accurate!

Rich Vanasse-McCarthy

13 May 01 - 10:48 PM (#461695)
Subject: RE: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: Little Hawk

Well, this is all good to hear. Gotta check out the new bio for sure, and looking forward to the radio show.

- LH

13 May 01 - 11:17 PM (#461717)
Subject: RE: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: Rick Fielding

When I was growing up in St Anne de Bellevue Quebec, many spoke a hybrid euphemistically called "Franglais".

Mais nous avons Mon Dieu on notre side!


14 May 01 - 06:47 AM (#461843)
Subject: RE: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: GUEST,Froggy

RichM, no one in Québéc refers to the French langauge as "Québeçois" (sic).

BTW, if you want people to think that you know something about what you're talking about, perhaps you should learn where the accents go in "Québécois."

"Québeçois," as you spell it, would be pronounced kay-bic-swa with an "s" sound in the last syllable.

In any case, as I said, in my first post, "Dieu à Nos Côtés," the translation of "With God On Our Side" that Hart Rouge sings was translated by Hugues Aufray and Pierre Delanoë, who are from France.

Excuse me, I must go now and ride right up to Miss Mousey's door.

15 May 01 - 05:36 AM (#462599)
Subject: RE: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: Big Tim

Can I ask what is the general opinion on the recent biog by Howard Sounes, "Down the Highway"? I've just finished it and thought it was pretty good as it told us a lot about Bob the man rather than just analyse to dust the lyrics.

19 May 01 - 10:53 AM (#466229)
Subject: RE: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: Tedham Porterhouse

I found this promo at

May 24: The Songs of Bob Dylan.

In 1999, writing in Sing Out! Magazine, I noted that Bob Dylan redefined "how we make, listen to, and think about folk music, popular music and rock 'n' roll, and how those strands collide, intersect and combine with each other." Because this week's edition of Folk Roots/Folk Branches falls on Dylan's 60th birthday, we'll mark the occasion with an entire show devoted to the songs of this most-influential artist.

We'll hear many of Dylan's own recordings as well as versions of his songs performed by generations of other artists. We'll be drawing on recordings dating from as early as 1962 and as recent as 2001.

-Mike Regenstreif

The show is on CKUT-FM in Montreal and in RealAudio from on Thursday May 24 from 9:00 to noon (EDT).

19 May 01 - 12:32 PM (#466266)
Subject: RE: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: Peter T.

Monday night there will be a Dylan cover extravaganza at the Free Times Cafe in Toronto, including Noah Zacharin and others. Torontonians can warm up with the Acoustic Workshop (CIUTFM) at 7, and then cruise on over.

yours, Peter T.

21 May 01 - 02:14 PM (#467233)
Subject: RE: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: Peter T.

Sorry, I made an error. The Free Times Dylan Cover event is actually on May 30. Apologies. Our show is however on tonight. Ciut. 89.5. 7:00 p.m. yours, Peter T.

22 May 01 - 01:25 AM (#467637)
Subject: RE: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: marty D

Great show guys. I have to tell the truth, if I hadn't checked this thread a few times to see if the slighted lady came back to get some more licks in I would probably have forgotten to listen. What was the song you ended with? Just Dylan on the piano. It was beautiful.


22 May 01 - 05:20 AM (#467712)
Subject: RE: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler

As well as all the 60th birthday tributes, the critics are having their say as well: Three "damning with faint praise" pieces from today's London Times follow:
Three visions of Dylan at 60


'His entire back-catalogue would be so much better if Quincy Jones had made it a bit more interesting'

Once upon a time, the only moving images of Bob Dylan I knew were from D. A. Pennebaker's 1965 documentary Don't Look Back, where Dylan made a fairly decent fist of being the Beat Jesus in a series of heart-breakingly lovely fitted jackets. Then, last year, I saw him onstage at Wembley, and he was orange, wearing some kind of blouse, and looked like he spent his days sitting on the verandah of his ranch taking pot-shots at ramblers while shouting "Gah!" You could see it was his face — hipster Bob was still there, albeit with gobs of bitter old man stuck to him. But his eyes, man. Bob Dylan didn't have Bob Dylan's eyes any more. These were the eyes of the vultures in Jim Henson's 1984 puppet film Dark Crystal. He looked like he'd been around the world and found everything but himself to be ultimately disappointing. I stayed to watch him wrestle It's All Over Now, Baby Blue to the floor, like an old lion-tamer and his even wearier lion, and left. What, I pondered, was the point of being the coolest man in the world — and in the coolest year of the coolest decade in history at that — if you just end up being an orange-faced misanthropist in cowboy boots who duckwalks during the middle-eight of Visions of Johanna? But then, was Bob Dylan ever the coolest person in the world? The thing about Don't Look Back is that you tend to watch it for the first time when you're 17, go "Man, that is the Beat Jesus" and then never really get around to watching it again. But I did rewatch Don't Look Back recently, and although he occasionally said something cool, it was only ever about himself, and the rest of the time he was just a mouthy adolescent with hair verging on a mullet who was incredibly cruel to Joan Baez and clearly scared Alan Price from the Animals, who was supposed to be his buddy, to death.

But, y'know, it's not as if he can't write songs. It's just that the way he plays them makes them sound like they are only made of two notes, one of which is slightly broken. Dylan's version of All Along the Watchtower is interminable — like a pub bore trying to tell you about the English Civil War in real time. Jimi Hendrix's version makes you want to go out and punch things, very hard. Bob Dylan's version of Mr Tambourine Man sounds like Grandpa Simpson whining that his chair is too hard. When the Byrds take it, they sound as if they have breakfasted very lightly on air.

Dylan is a great songwriter, yes; a fascinating pop star, yes, but let's not pretend any more. His entire back-catalogue would be so much better if Quincy Jones had made it a bit more interesting, and Simon and Garfunkel had sung it in their lovely high girls' voices.

So in the interests of counter-balance to all the pieces that will run this week by misty-eyed leather jacket-wearing men arguing over whether Blonde on Blonde or Highway 61 Revisited is Dylan's finest moment, I'd like to state that Dylan actually peaked in 1979 with his born-again Christian effort Slow Train Coming. It has nice guitar bits by Mark Knopfler from Dire Straits on it, and a dearth of lyrics about little boys in Chinese suits in favour of Man Gave Names To All The Animals, which goes: "He saw an animal leaving a muddy trail/Real dirty face and a curly tail/He wasn't too small and he wasn't too big/Ahhh, I think I'll call him a pig".

Apart from the Bob in the late 1980s who joined the Travelling Wilburys, re-named himself "Lucky" Wilbury and jammed in Siobhan from Bananarama's house with Jeff Lynne from ELO, that was the best Bob we've ever had. Caitlin Moran (Aged 26)

I will never forget the thrill of rushing home with a copy of Bob Dylan's second hit single, Subterranean Homesick Blues. The year was 1965. I was 12 and Dylan was 24. It was such an extraordinary record, a primitive surge of two-chord garage-band blues with a street-smart lyric so dense and verbose I'd even purchased the sheet music to help me untangle it.

A string of sexily hip non-sequiturs quickly imprinted themselves on my mind — "Don't follow leaders/Watch the parking meters"; "The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handles"; "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." Truly this was a song that went beyond the trivial concerns of normal pop in search of a deeper poetic truth.

My Dad, a jazz musician, took a more sceptical view. Taking the sheet music over to the piano, he began playing the song as scored, plonking the single note that comprises almost the whole of the vocal part with comically deliberate emphasis and a quizzical look on his face. "Not a very demanding tune," he observed.

Well, what did my Dad know, anyway? Dylan had just ripped up the rulebook by which an older generation of musicians had operated. Melody? Harmony? Chord changes? How pedantic could you get? I am now older than my father was when Subterranean Homesick Blues came out. And, of course, both Dylan and I have been proved absolutely right. Subterranean Homesick Blues turned out to be one of the most influential records and Dylan one of the key participants in the shaping of the musical future that we now inhabit, an era in which the envelope has been stretched to accommodate everything from the intentionally tuneless braggadocio of rap to the most abstract of ambient electronica.

You still, occasionally, hear older folk bemoaning the lack of "proper" singing and "decent" tunes in various forms of modern music. But no one would seriously challenge the artistic validity of a Dylan performance on the grounds of melodic or harmonic incompetence, would they? The man, it is popularly agreed, is a genius, a poet, a legend, an icon. His music has withstood the test of time. Fans still flock to his concerts. And within the overheated world of the baby-boomer chattering classes his bona fides remain unimpeachable. Indeed, for any modern cultural pundit with serious aspirations, it has become a rite of passage to pen a book about Dylan, or at the very least an article in one of the supplements, in which all previous claims on behalf of the man's enduring and undying talent are trumped and then double-trumped.

So why do I find myself, on the eve of the great man's sixtieth birthday, thinking back, not to all the wonderful tunes and transcendental lyrics that Dylan undoubtedly did write (a very long time ago), nor to all the musicians, from Jimi Hendrix to Badly Drawn Boy, on whom he has exerted a pivotal influence, but instead to that single note, relentlessly plonking away on my father's piano? Partly it's because the case that has been made on his behalf has become so overstated in recent times as to be almost risible. Of course he was one of the principal architects of pop. But a rival to Keats? Chaucer? Shakespeare? And partly it's because I have a sneaking suspicion that in his dotage, Dylan has become a bit of an old sham. The moment when he first blew it for me was when he shuffled on stage at the end of Live Aid in 1985 and busked his way through a couple of songs which his accompanists, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, had never heard before, let alone rehearsed. It was a performance of such slovenly and needless mediocrity that I found myself, over a period of time, readjusting my critical perception of him as an artist.

Why was it, I wondered, the next time I went to one of his concerts, that he has never bothered to rehearse with any of his accompanying musicians? Who could honestly say that — whatever his influence and achievements in the past — Dylan has any sort of a singing voice left now? Why has he written no more than a handful of half-presentable songs since 1975? And how on Earth can he have earned a living for more than 40 years as a professional musician and still be such an awful harmonica player? The answer that keeps pushing itself forward, as Dylan wends his way around the world like some weary gypsy god on his "never-ending" tour, is that he simply doesn't care that much any more. He knows his fans will accept anything he cares to offer, however half-hearted, and with each new anniversary the tributes will pour in ever more fulsomely.

His place in the history books is guaranteed, and quite rightly so. But, rather like Elvis Presley, Dylan has allowed a period of cosmic brilliance to become compromised by a long spell of chronic under-achievement.

Music, like drama, depends on the ability of the artist to persuade his audience to suspend disbelief. Whether it be a Beethoven symphony or a production of Hamlet or a Spice Girls show, the performance must be put across with sufficient rigour for us not to start worrying that it might fall apart at the seams or descend into self-parody at any moment.

Dylan may well be the most revered senior citizen in rock. But how long are we prepared to keep giving him the benefit of the doubt? David Sinclair (Aged 48)

You may be the most influential singer of your generation, Mr Zimmerman. But Christopher Ricks must not rate you as a poet besides Shelley. Keats you ain't. And nor for that matter was John Lennon, or even more for that matter George Harrison.

You may be America's radical prophet, and from America the world. Your songs may be even more popular then those of the Beatles and Elvis, and your lyrics are certainly wittier. (Pas difficile.) How many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man? This is a puzzling question, but not beyond all conjecture.

I am not the man to criticise you. I prefer Mozart to pop. I found your predecessor, Lonnie Donegan, more to my taste, because he was jokier without your preachiness. But I can see that you are good. And you caught the heroic but woolly anger of your generation. "Ah, but I was so much older then/I'm younger than that now." Your song wailed the self-indulgent Zeitgeist. And so you acquired your fanatical following.

You represent their youth. In the Sixties you were established as the heroic bard of the civil rights and anti-war movements. Your protest songs such as Blowin' in the Wind are classic protest songs. But they are still second division compared to immortals such as the Marseillaise, John Brown's Body or Psalm 130. Your songs are not just didactic. They combine indictment with wit and warmth, as in Girl from the North Country.

And then you became irritated with being national radical bard. Mr Tambourine Man outraged your purist protest fans. After your accident, your songs became more personal and less political. The civil rights movement had (partly) won, and the Vietnam War had been (partly) lost. You have gone electric, switched to gospel, become dreamy, reverted to protest. You are a chameleon of the soundtrack. Your lyrics are the most popular and most intelligent of your generation. For protest songs your voice sounds like the buzzsaw in the blues tradition. For country songs you were smoother, like a lawnmower. Elsewhere you sound more raw like a lavatory flushing. You have many voices, which you use like an instrument to create atmosphere and effect.

You have moulded the thoughts and dreams of the young. You have opened up new avenues of musical and lyrical exploration. Your words are more to my taste than your voice is. Happy Birthday, Strolling Minstrel.

And now for some music more to my taste (age?). Emma Kirkby singing Mozart, I think. Phillip Howard (Aged 66) Copyright 2001 Times Newspapers Ltd.


22 May 01 - 09:02 AM (#467781)
Subject: RE: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: Whistle Stop

Some interesting thoughts there. I completely disagree with the first essay, which says that Dylan's work is better performed by others -- the Byrds, Hendrix, or a hypothetical Quincy Jones production. I always thought that, when he was at his best, Dylan's delivery was as compelling as his songs. But this first piece was written by a youngster, who may be excused for not hearing the same things in these songs that old guys like me hear.

Much as it pains me to say so, the second essay has a point. Bob has done a lot of coasting in recent decades, and if we're honest with outselves, most of us would probably agree that there has been more bad than good. I'm sure Dylan realizes this as much as we do, but probably he can't do much about it (other than quit, which he doesn't want to do -- and why should he?). I look at him like I looked at late-period Picasso, or Muhammed Ali -- even after their best years were behind them, and they frequently embarrassed themselves, they occasionally displayed some of the old brilliance, and we kept watching for those moments.

Bob has earned our praise, and our thanks, even if he hasn't always achieved the level of brilliance of his best work. He doesn't owe us a thing at this stage.

22 May 01 - 09:40 AM (#467805)
Subject: RE: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: Steve Latimer

I enjoyed the show last night, although I missed the first quarter of it.

I'm frustrated because I've had The Bootleg Series on order from Chapters for about six weeks, they keep saying "next week". I'm looking forward to it even more having heard versions of "Tangled Up In Blue" and "Idiot Wind" that I'd never heard before. I really liked this version of "Idiot Wind". Biograph has another alternate version of TUIB that is also quite good.

Marty D., the song they closed the show with was "Blind Willie McTell" from the Bootleg Series. How can anyone say Dylan can't sing? He sure sung the hell out of that one.

As far as the essays go, having seen Bob in '97 and then again last summer and owning "Time Out Of Mind" I think that any one who says that Dylan is resting on his laurels has not given him a chance lately. I'll admit that when I saw him in the eighties he was awful, unrehearsed and I wouldn't be surprised if he was more than a little drunk. But the two most recent shows were as well rehearsed and professional as any I've ever seen. Bob himself has admitted to having recommitted himself to stong live performances and I'll go out of my way to see him again. He is back at the top of his game.

22 May 01 - 10:08 AM (#467813)
Subject: RE: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: GUEST,djh

That first article by Caitlin Moron is mean spirited, ill informed, stupidity. Who published it? I don't care for the gushy "Dylan is the greatest" articles , but, if the folks writing the article(s) can only relate to Dylan through Jimi Hendrix, and want to punch something when they do, Why write about Dylan at all?
I read a positive article about Dylan in my local Sunday paper that Said Dylan has only recorded 2 good albums in 20 years?! . "World Gone Wrong" & "Good as I Been To You" are some of his finest work and they are obviously not the albums being refered to. The problem is people think Bob is a Popstar. I could trash Prince if I accused him of failing as a folk musician, all it would prove is that I am an idiot.

22 May 01 - 10:38 AM (#467826)
Subject: RE: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: Rick Fielding

Hmmmmm, more Quincy Jones eh? Simon and Garfunkle doing the vocals eh? I suspect had Roscoe Holcomb been the subject of the article, they might have suggested his work would have been better with "Earl Scruggs style" banjo.

Sorry, but Mr. Dylan changed the rules forever, and if you really want to get inside of music you have to know SOMETHING of his influences. To many critics that would mean listening to a lot of "boring" old trad farts, and I doubt they really want to do that.

Thanks to the folks who listened to our three shows. Peter worked hard on the series, and it was fun to do.


22 May 01 - 11:46 AM (#467876)
Subject: RE: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: Peter T.

Now that is a stupid essay. Certainly not in the top ten stupid essays about Bob Dylan (line up over here, please), but pretty stupid.
The show was a great opportunity for me -- thanks to Rick for the chance. There has been good feedback from students -- we have been talking about Tangled Up in Blue all morning, which, let me tell you, is a great way to spend a morning. The paradox continues: how can someone who writes such masterpieces (and some of them are, I don't care what the Times thinks) also write such dreadful careless stuff? But of course they said that about Wordsworth.
The argument about Keats is pointless. To stick to music, Schubert is infinitely superior as a writer of classic songs than the Beatles or Dylan or any of these people. But with the arrival of popular music, the requirements of the genre change, and the comparisons no longer function. Janis Joplin is not Renee Fleming -- but guess what Renee Fleming listens to to warm up to before concerts?

yours, Peter T.

22 May 01 - 04:46 PM (#468102)
Subject: RE: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: Peter T.

I didn't realise -- 3 stupid essays! Philip Howard is usually more intelligent. No wonder the Times is ancient history. I mourn the loss of the Times.
yours, Peter T.

23 May 01 - 09:19 AM (#468587)
Subject: RE: Dylan Watch: Events Coming for 60
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler

If a John Lennon harmonica sold for £2,400 recently at auction, how much for one of Bob's?
Dylan essay goes on sale

A school essay by Bob Dylan on John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath is on sale for almost $25,000 (£15,600). The essay is part of a collection of the musician's memorabilia on sale in New York to mark Dylan's 60th birthday.

The shop, Gotta Have It, is also selling a yearbook from when he left school and one of his mouth organs.

Manager Bob Schargrin told the New York Post: "Aside from the Beatles, he's the single most valued signature in rock and roll."
(c)BBC Online

RtS (Mind out of Mind)