The Next Track, Episode #209 – Sean Latham, Director of the Institute for Bob Dylan Studies, on Bob Dylan at 80

Sean Latham, Director of the Institute for Bob Dylan Studies, talks about the Bob Dylan archive, the Bob Dylan Center, and about Bob Dylan at 80.

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The Next Track, Episode #208 – Jeff Slate on Bob Dylan at 80

Musician and journalist Jeff Slate has written about, and for, Bob Dylan, and has recently released an album with one disc of Dylan covers. We discuss Dylan at 80, and choose our top five Dylan albums.

Help support The Next Track by making regular donations via Patreon. We’re ad-free and self-sustaining so your support is what keeps us going. Thanks!

Support The Next Track.

Find out more at The Next Track website, or follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast.

The Next Track, Episode #203 – Keith Miles on Bob Dylan in London

Dylanologists Jackie Lees and Keith Miles have written a book about Bob Dylan it London, highlighting the importance of the city to Dylan’s career and growth as an artist. Keith Miles joins us to discuss this book, and tell some tales of the troubadour in the city.

Help support The Next Track by making regular donations via Patreon. We’re ad-free and self-sustaining so your support is what keeps us going. Thanks!

Support The Next Track.

Find out more at The Next Track website, or follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast.

New Bob Dylan Song: Murder Most Foul

Bod Dylan has released a new 17-minute song, Murder Most Foul, about the killing of John F. Kennedy. It’s a slow, haunting, dirge-like ballad, essentially a talking song, where the lyrics sound almost improvised as the song goes on. There’s a playful use of rhyme and cultural reference, and in this time of great sadness, it brought tears to my eyes.

Dylan fans have transcribed the lyrics, which can be found on the Expecting Rain website.

Dylan scholar Scott Warmuth has found a book about the Kennedy assassination that may have been an influence on the song, or at least its tittle.

Murder most foul

Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Review Recordings

Rolling thunderIn 1974, Bob Dylan returned to touring after a long absence. It had been eight years since he had semi-retired after his 1966 motorcycle accident, and he went out in 1974 with The Band, the group that had backed him on his extensive 1966 tour, and performed 40 concerts.

But he wanted to do something different, and came up with the idea of the Rolling Thunder Review. He wanted to play in small venues in smaller towns, and assembled a ragtag group of musicians to join him. This wasn’t a Dylan tour; the concerts each lasted about four hours, with Dylan on stage only for the last 90 minutes or so. The group included Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn, Joni Mitchell, Ronee Blakely, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Bob Neuwirth, and violinist Scarlet Rivera whose sound defined the album Desire, that had yet to be released.

On the first leg of the tour, which included thirty performances, some of the concerts were professionally filmed and recorded, and, while some of the best takes were released previously on The Bootleg Series, Volume 5: Bob Dylan Live, 1975 (Amazon.com, Amazon UK), we’ve only just gotten a release of five complete Dylan concerts, along with three discs of rehearsals and a bonus disc with some disparate recordings from the period.

The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) is one of the more fascinating “bootleg” releases by Bob Dylan. There’s an energy that isn’t in all of the other live recordings, in part because of the interesting concept of the traveling minstrel show. Playing in small venues made everything different, and these performances show Dylan at a pivotal period: just after the major release of Blood on the Tracks, which brought Dylan back as the pre-eminent singer-songwriter, and with the new material from Desire, including classics like Sara, Hurricane, One More Cup of Coffee, and Romance in Durango, all now classics.

If you’re a Dylan fan, it’s clear that you want this set. While the five concerts are pretty similar, there are some different songs in each one, and the recording quality, and the energy, is ideal. You can’t listen to this on the streaming services – at least not yet – there’s just a one-disc sampler available.

So get The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) and enjoy this great period. And check out the Martin Scorcese-directed documentary that is available on Netflix from today.

The Next Track, Episode #131 – Jeff Slate on Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks

The Next Track Blue Flat Button2 400pxMusician and journalist Jeff Slate wrote the liner notes for the latest Bob Dylan Bootleg Series release, More Blood, More Tracks, covering the Blood on the Tracks sessions.

Listen to The Next Track: Episode 131 – Jeff Slate on Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at The Next Track website. You can follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast, to keep up to date with new episodes, and new articles from the website.

Theater Review: Girl from the North Country, by Conor McPherson, at the Old Vic

North countryThose who know me will not be surprised that when I heard a play was being produced in London based on songs by Bob Dylan, I would rush to get tickets. My partner bought a pair of tickets as a Christmas present last year, and we were in the front row, dead center.

This is the first time Dylan has authorized the use of his music on stage since an ill-fated dance-based show by Twyla Tharp in 2006, that lasted a mere three weeks on Broadway. Dylan’s record company, Sony, approached playwright and director Conor McPherson asking if he would be interested in writing something around Dylan’s songs, and while he was reluctant, he came up with an idea and submitted it to Dylan’s management. They approved, and he went ahead with the project. The theater describes it as follows:

Duluth, Minnesota. 1934.

A community living on a knife-edge huddle together in the local guesthouse.

The owner, Nick, owes more money than he can ever repay, his wife Elizabeth is losing her mind and their daughter Marianne is carrying a child no-one will account for.

And, when a preacher selling bibles and a boxer looking for a comeback show up in the middle of the night, things start to spiral beyond the point of no return…

Read more

Bob Dylan: Conor McPherson on writing the musical – BBC News

Imagine you are approached by one of the world’s most famous musicians and asked to create a show using their songs.

But there is a problem. You’ve never written a musical before.

That was the challenge facing the Irish playwright Conor McPherson, when he was contacted by none other than Bob Dylan’s management company.

The writer, who is best known for his critically acclaimed play The Weir, says he was “puzzled” and has no idea why he was approached.

“And I don’t really want to know,” he adds.

I look forward to this. I have tickets for September.

Source: Bob Dylan: Conor McPherson on writing the musical – BBC News

The Next Track, Episode #53 – Bob Dylan’s Never Ending Tour

The Next Track Blue Flat Button2 400pxWe welcome author and Dylanologist Andrew Muir to talk about Bob Dylan’s Never Ending Tour, and his recent concerts in the UK.

Listen to The Next Track: Episode #53 – Bob Dylan’s Never Ending Tour.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at The Next Track website. You can follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast, to keep up to date with new episodes, and new articles from the website.