Happy birthday Bob Dylan: A tribute article (1)
“…you’re the one that’s been causing all them riots over in vietnam. immediately turns t a bunch of people an says if elected, he’ll have me electrocuted publicly on the next fourth of july. i look around an all these people he’s talking to are carry blowtorches / needless t say, i split fast go back t the nice quiet country…”(2)
during the second song last night at off broadway, “Corrina, Corrina” played by Cassie Morgan and the Lonely Pine, i leaned over to my friend and said, “I really like this song.” i could have said that all night. over beers, over anything. Shot of Love — a 12-band, five-hour marathon tribute concert celebrating Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday — a testament to the diversity and ability in our local music scene to cover the range and depth of Dylan’s lengthy career. “70, f**k you Keith Richards,” Roy [Kasten] joked, and the FCC-fill-the-blank joke. we associate icons with iconic symbols, or so I thought when i eyeballed the Skekses beginning “Boots of Spanish Leather” with the harmonica cage, or the even the whistle in “Highway 61 Revisited” which produced a healthy group giggle. Ryan Spearman, he played “The Times They Are A-Changing” — “played it pitch perfect,” i’m told outside and i’m sad i wasn’t there. Joe Stickley and Sean Canan offered an upbeat hullabaloo “Buckets of Rain” when i returned but not before going to the bathroom.
Rough Shop joked, “We’re going to play an extended version of ‘Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands.’ We’ve got 30 minutes, right?” I might have misquoted by a word or two or four but ya get the idea. oh, and Cat [Pick], i heard ya say it was going t b your first MC on last monday drive time “and you do it well.”(3) A beautiful “Wallflower” bounced from the warm strings of Cumberland Gap, and i overheard someone say, “don’t be ridiculous. the best Dylan is ’66, no need to differentiate. royal albert hall, that’s the best Dylan,” to which, a woman responded, “i like his ’80s stuff.” “christian Dylan?” “what do you mean?” and i stopped caring when the Sparrows lead singer, Rebecca Ryan, delicately tapped her left fingers on her left blue jean thigh to a sexy, slowed-down, bass-heavy rendition of “I Want You” and an electric “Oxford Town” — an exercise in “tonal breath control.”(4)
writing a Bob Dylan tribute article is about as difficult as a Mark Twain look-a-like contest if you’re a twelve-year-old boy who can’t grow a mustache or fit properly into a white suit. and your mother won’t let ya smoke a cheap cigar. current events come an go don’t you know and i don’t like my picture taken. Magnolia Summer, “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues.” yep, “i’m going back to South City, i do believe i’ve had enough!” and who was that on the moving piano on “Simple Twist of Fate.” “The Feed,” you answer. [Dave Grelle, to be specific.] “why allen ginsberg was not chosen t read poetry at the inauguration boggles my mind.”(5) i could hear Pretty Little Empire outside. again regret except i met nine beautiful strangers / consuming meat an cigarettes an sitting. Karate Bikini pleased with “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” and “Like a Rolling Stone,”
[end of pause]
while Brothers Lazaroff delivered a tender “Most of the Time” and the brothers invited all musicians to return t the stage. when I first saw that electric Sleepy Kitty poster, I wondered who and what and how it would all end and i was surprisingly shocked at the obvious an beautiful choice — “I Shall Be Released.” unison is funny bird with serious wings.
and then Brothers Lazaroff mischievously ignored the scheduled — i’m guessing by body gestures & apologies — an rolled into an impromptu “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.” good fun. where were you “i have no arguments an i never drink milk.”(6) when you see a band, any band from last night, tell em’ I said hello…they brought their own voice t a tribute which wasn’t easy to pull off.
i’ve heard Dylan recently call this era his middle years. he released his first album in ’62. as a different birthday approaches, i reflect not only upon how Dylan influenced her but for how long — roughly 50 years, or 21% of american history!
(1) This article is a tribute to the mad and beautiful notes inscribed on the back of multiple Bob Dylan albums.
(2) Bringing It All Back Home (1965)
(3) Buckets of Rain
(4) Bringing It All Back Home (1965)
(5) Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
(6) Bringing It All Back Home (1965)