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Bob Dylan Revisited
Bob Dylan information, discussion and events
Bob Dylan information, discussion and events


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EDLIS exposes another incorrectly captioned motorcycle photo!

The photograph above is being shared around many online sites, incorrectly being labelled as a photograph of a 'young Bob Dylan.'

It is NOT!

This photograph is probably from South Dakota, and is of an unknown young man who is certainly not Robert Zimmerman.

The photograph is identified thus:

"This snapshot turned up in a collection owned by Jerry Greer. He got it from a man who walked into Greer's Indian Engineering one day. The man's father ran a motorcycle shop in Greer's location 40 years before Greer arrived. The man offered Greer his father's scrapbook, which is where this photo came from. This means we don't know who this kid is."

Jerry Greer's Engineering is located in South Dakota:

Jerry Greer’s Engineering, 136 Sherman St. Deadwood, SD 57732.

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Bob Dylan and Duende:

“All through Andalusia, from the rock of Jaén to the snail’s-shell of Cadiz, people constantly talk about the duende and recognise it wherever it appears with a fine instinct. That wonderful singer El Lebrijano, creator of the Debla, said: ‘On days when I sing with duende no one can touch me.’ the old Gypsy dancer La Malena once heard Brailowsky play a fragment of Bach, and exclaimed: ‘Olé! That has duende!’ but was bored by Gluck, Brahms and Milhaud. And Manuel Torre, a man who had more culture in his veins than anyone I’ve known, on hearing Falla play his own Nocturno del Generalife spoke this splendid sentence: ‘All that has dark sounds has duende.’ And there’s no deeper truth than that.

Those dark sounds are the mystery, the roots that cling to the mire that we all know, that we all ignore, but from which comes the very substance of art. ‘Dark sounds’ said the man of the Spanish people, agreeing with Goethe, who in speaking of Paganini hit on a definition of the duende: ‘A mysterious force that everyone feels and no philosopher has explained.’

So, then, the duende is a force not a labour, a struggle not a thought. I heard an old maestro of the guitar say: ‘The duende is not in the throat: the duende surges up, inside, from the soles of the feet.’ Meaning, it’s not a question of skill, but of a style that’s truly alive: meaning, it’s in the veins: meaning, it’s of the most ancient culture of immediate creation.”

García Lorca, Theory and Play of the Duende, Translated by A.S. Cline, 2007

Federico Garcia Lorca wrote about a woman who ‘…began to sing with a scorched throat, without voice, breath, colour, but…with duende. She managed to tear down the scaffolding of the song, but allow through a furious, burning duende, friend to those winds heavy with sand, that make listeners tear at their clothes…’

Nick Cave spoke about the quality in 1999. "Excitement, often; anger sometimes - but true sadness, rarely." is how he described duende. It is the 'terrible question that has no answer'.

To me, it is the duende which makes Bob Dylan so fascinating and moving. It is the darkness, the emotional rawness, the proximity of (and battle with) death, the deep mystery of the unanswered questions.

"Dark sounds, behind which in tender intimacy exist volcanoes, ants, zephyrs, and the vast night pressing its waist against the Milky Way." (Lorca)

This is the quality of Bob Dylan's music that some critics and listeners do not understand. When I wrote about Bob Dylan's voice a few years ago, duende is exactly the word I was looking for to describe the effect. For with Dylan his power is not in technical perfection. Duende is about the emotion, the fire, the pain, the human tragedy, the joy, the easily-crushed fragile tenderness that never sinks into sentimentalism, the intimacy... the ability to touch deep in a way that superficiality can never do.

Duende also means genuineness and authenticity. The ability to convey regret and pain, joy and disillusionment, speculation and knowledge, truth and fiction… the value of a silence and the meaning in a sigh or breath.

It is the power of a moment in time. As Lorca said, "’s impossible for it ever to repeat itself, and it’s important to underscore this. The duende never repeats itself, any more than the waves of the sea do in a storm."

An artist does not succumb to duende, they battle all the way to the edge of rationality and back, knowing human limits of intelligence the entire way. 'Angel' represents the superficial style and virtuous elegance, 'Muse' is the accepted classical norms of creativity and form. But duende is the spirit and power from within that changes perception and leads to spine-tingling transformative art.

For more reading about the link between Lorca and Bob Dylan, Duende and the connection between Spanish traditions and Bob Dylan, one source is Christopher Rollason's worthwhile essay for the Oral Tradition magazine (2007) available to read online, Bob Dylan in the Spanish Speaking World.

"Sólo Soy Un Guitarrista" (Bob Dylan, 'Tarantula')

The links between Bob Dylan and Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca are long and complex. When Bob Dylan wrote "Sólo Soy Un Guitarrista" in his novel Tarantula it echoed the words of Lorca who described a guitar as the tarantula / it weaves a great star / to hunt down sighs / that float in its black / wooden reservoir.


Las seis cuerdas -- Federico Garcia Lorca, 1931

La guitarra
hace llorar a los sueños.
El sollozo de las almas
se escapa por su boca
Y como la tarántula
teje una gran estrella
para cazar suspiros,
que flotan en su negro
aljibe de madera.


Six Strings
The guitar
brings tears to the eyes of dreams.
The sobbing of departed
escapes through its round
And like the tarantula
it weaves a great star
to hunt down sighs
that float in its black
wooden reservoir.


Lorca also wrote 'The Guitar':

La Guitarra -- Federico Garcia Lorca

Empieza el llanto
de la guitarra.
Se rompen las copas
de la madrugada.
Empieza el llanto
de la guitarra.
Es inútil
Es imposible
Llora monótona
como llora el agua,
como llora el viento
sobre la nevada.
Es imposible
Llora por cosas
Arena del Sur caliente
que pide camelias blancas.
Llora flecha sin blanco,
la tarde sin mañana,
y el primer pájaro muerto
sobre la rama.
¡Oh guitarra!
Corazón malherido
por cinco espadas.

English translation:

The Guitar

The weeping of the guitar
The goblets of dawn
are smashed.
The weeping of the guitar
to silence it.
to silence it.
It weeps monotonously
as water weeps
as the wind weeps
over snowfields.
to silence it.
It weeps for distant
Hot southern sands
yearning for white camellias.
Weeps arrow without target
evening without morning
and the first dead bird
on the branch.
Oh, guitar!
Heart mortally wounded
by five swords.


There is an interesting article by Christopher Rollason entitled 'Bob Dylan in the Spanish Speaking World', and amongst others, there is a lengthy exploration of Dylan's connections to Lorca.

The entire piece is really worth reading. here are some points Rollason made about Dylan and Lorca.

"In addition, Lorca’s creative interests extended beyond poetry to music. He played flamenco guitar, composed guitar pieces, and was also a pianist. In 1931, accompanying the singer “La Argentinita” on piano, he recorded ten traditional Spanish songs he had both collected and arranged.

Lorca’s work fascinates Spanish musicians to this day, and many of his poems have entered the flamenco repertoire.

"There is good cause to postulate a considerable, and fertile, influence of Lorca on Bob Dylan’s poetics. The mention of Lorca in Tarantula dates from 1966, but internal evidence suggests that Dylan is likely to have known the Spanish poet’s work rather earlier.

"Lorca combines aspects of the traditionalist and the avant-garde, in a fashion paralleled by the presence of both elements in Dylan. Some of Dylan’s most arresting imagery from the mid-1960s is remarkably similar to Lorca’s, though at no point could one speak of straight transposition or imitation: it is, rather, a question of poetic method." -- Rollason p126

Stephen Scobie related how, in August 1966 Allen Ginsberg gave Dylan a box of poetry books by various authors, Lorca among them (Scobie, Alias Bob Dylan Revisited, 2004:194).


Then some potential lyric influences listed by Rollason. Amongst others we see:

"He looks so truthful, is this how he feels / Trying to peel the moon and expose it"
- Bob Dylan, Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window

“Si mis dedos pudieran / deshojar la luna”
(“If my fingers could / peel the moon”).
_ Lorca, Poeta en New York

“four-legged forest clouds"
- Bob Dylan, Gates of Eden

“azul donde el desnudo del viento va quebrando / los camellos sonámbulos de las nubes vacías”
(“blue where the wind’s nudity breaks / the sleepwalking camels of the empty clouds”)
- Lorca, “Norma y paraíso de los negros”


A tenuous parallel?

"Meanwhile, it is at least possible that Dylan’s “Standing in the Doorway,” composed in 1997, 61 years after Federico’s martyrdom, may carry within it a hidden tribute to the Andalusian poet. The song’s narrator says he is “strummin’ on my gay guitar,” and on the surface, “gay” might seem to have its old meaning of “joyful.” However, the phrase “gay guitar” draws attention to itself, and may be pointing to Lorca. The song has a number of details suggesting Spain, especially Andalusia:

“walking through the summer nights,” “under the midnight moon,” “the dark land of the sun,” “live my life on the square.” The moon is the Lorca image par excellence; the repeated line “standing in the doorway crying” could suggest an Andalusian lament. The line “Maybe they’ll get me and maybe they won’t” evokes someone hounded, a wanted man fearing that the killers will close in on him. The song’s gypsy connotations converge with Andalusia and Lorca. Dylan’s line “eat when I’m hungry, drink when I’m dry,” though derived at first remove from the traditional song “Moonshiner,” as covered by himself, ultimately points back to Romany lore: virtually the same words appear in the mouth of a gypsy character in Walter Scott’s Quentin Durward. From one viewpoint, “Standing in the Doorway” is a song drenched in the American blues tradition, its very title being a blues stock-in-trade; and yet, if we consider the similarities between blues and “duende,” its final line, “blues wrapped around my head,” could also mark Dylan’s homage to Andalusia and Lorca." -- Rollason, p127.


There is also a Facebook group for those who are interested in Bob Dylan's connections to Federico Garcia Lorca:


Duende in mythology:

“A duende is a fairy- or goblin-like mythological creature from Iberian, South American, Chamorro and Filipino folklore. Duendes may also have some traits similar to goblins and kobolds.
“The word is often considered to be the Spanish and Portuguese equivalent of the English word "sprite" or the Japanese word yōkai and is used as an umbrella term for any fairy-like being such as goblins, pixies and elves. The Spanish term originated as a contraction of the phrase dueño de casa or duen de casa, "possessor of a house," and was originally conceptualized as a mischievous spirit inhabiting a house.”

Origins of ‘duende’ as an artistic term:

“El duende is the spirit of evocation. It comes from inside as a physical/emotional response to art. It is what gives you chills, makes you smile or cry as a bodily reaction to an artistic performance that is particularly expressive. Folk music in general, especially flamenco, tends to embody an authenticity that comes from a people whose culture is enriched by diaspora and hardship; vox populi, the human condition of joys and sorrows. Drawing on popular usage and Spanish folklore, Federico García Lorca first developed the aesthetics of Duende in a lecture he gave in Buenos Aires in 1933, "Juego y teoria del duende" ("Play and Theory of the Duende").”

Links to read more:

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Bob Dylan arriving in Perth, Australia, for the opening show of his 2001 tour the following day.

Picture published in The Weekend Australian on Saturday, 17 March 2001. Scanned for the review by Dr George Christos:

Perth Entertainment Center
Perth, West Australia, Australia
18 March 2001

1.Roving Gambler (trad.)
2.Mr. Tambourine Man
3.Desolation Row
4.Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
5.Just Like A Woman
6.'Til I Fell In Love With You
7.Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
8.Visions Of Johanna
9.Tangled Up In Blue
10.Standing In The Doorway
11.The Wicked Messenger
12.Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35

13.Love Sick
14.Like A Rolling Stone
15.If Dogs Run Free
16.All Along The Watchtower
17.Forever Young
18.Highway 61 Revisited
19.Blowin' In The Wind

Complete Perth show audio:

Perth Entertainment Center
Perth, West Australia, Australia
18 March 2001

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Bob Dylan at the San Francisco press conference, 1pm, 3 December 1965, KQED Studios on Bryant Street, San Francisco.

The entire press conference is currently available on YouTube, in six parts:

Part one:

Part two:

Part three:

Part four:

Part five:

Part six:

The full transcript is available at the following link:

Pages 234-246

There is a very comprehensive breakdown and identification of prominent audience members available at:


The EDLIS website 'After A War' mentions the conference because of the interesting opening question about motorcycles:

The first question was about this t-shirt and photograph. The intensely-posed question was asked by someone later identified as 'Eric Weil' who was rumoured to have subsequently spent time in prison and a mental hospital.

EW: I'd like to know about the cover of your forthcoming, erm, album... the one with 'Subterranean Homesick Blues' in it. I'd like to know about the meaning of the photograph of you wearing a Triumph t-shirt.

BD: What do you want to know about it?

EW: Well, I'd like to know if that's an equivalent photograph, it means something, it's got a philosophy in it (Dylan and the audience laugh)... I'd like to know visually what it represents to you. Because you're a part of that.

BD: Um. I haven't really looked at it that much.

EW: I've thought about it a great deal.

BD: It was just taken one day when I was sitting on the steps, you know. I don't really remember it or think too much about it.

EW: But what about the motorcycle as an image in your song writing? You seem to like that.

BD: Oh, we all like motorcycles... to some degree.


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Photograph courtesy of Joe Alper Photo Collection.
Newport 1964: Robert Shelton introduces Bob Dylan to the fiddler Clayton McMichen.


Interesting view from Elijah Wald back in 2015.

"In most tellings, Dylan represents youth and the future, and the people who booed were stuck in the dying past. But there is another version, in which the audience represents youth and hope, and Dylan was shutting himself off behind a wall of electric noise, locking himself in a citadel of wealth and power, abandoning idealism and hope and selling out to the star machine. In this version the Newport festivals were idealistic, communal gatherings, nurturing the growing counterculture, rehearsals for Woodstock and the Summer of Love, and the booing pilgrims were not rejecting that future; they were trying to protect it."

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Congratulations to Bob Dylan for winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.

“Yea, but you’re not talking about Nobel Peace Prizes, you know. Come on, let’s... you know really.” -- Bob Dylan, Elliot Mintz interview for the Westwood One Radio Station three hour broadcast, Los Angeles, March 1991. Transcript can be read at pages 1090-1100.

Gordon Ball, a teacher at the Virginia Military Institute, outlines in his essay Dylan and the Nobel, how in 1996 he endorsed an application to the Nobel Committee of the Swedish Academy nominating Bob Dylan for the Nobel Prize for Literature. He admits that he is not a Dylan fan and his area of related expertise is the study of Allen Ginsberg and Beat Generation literature.

Before briefly discussing the role of Dylan’s voice in the consideration for the Nobel, it is first worthwhile taking the time to understand the nomination process.

Each year the Swedish Academy sends out requests for nominations of candidates for the Nobel Prize in Literature to Members of the Academy, members of literature academies and societies, professors of literature and language, former Nobel literature laureates, and the presidents of writers' organizations. By April, the Academy narrows the field to around twenty candidates.

By May, a shortlist of five names is approved by the Committee. The subsequent four months are then spent in reading and reviewing the works of the five candidates. In October members of the Academy vote, and the candidate who receives more than half of the votes is named the Nobel Laureate in Literature.

No one can get the prize without being on the list at least twice, thus many of the same authors reappear and are reviewed repeatedly over the years.

Thousands of people send in unsolicited suggestions for Nobel Prizes. Only the Swedish Academy sends out requests for nominations of candidates to be considered for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

However, it is interesting as an exercise to consider the questions - how did Bob Dylan make the running for, and in 2016 winning, a Nobel Prize, regardless of the logistics and reality of nominations? And to what extent is his vocal delivery, combined with the oral tradition of his music, a contributing factor?

It is clear that Bob Dylan satisfies the Nobel Prize criteria in that the nominees for the Literature award should be reflecting idealism and integrity in addressing the human condition. Most people would agree that in these fields alone, Bob Dylan’s music has excelled over several decades. It is the literary element which draws debate, and is doing so today in the light of Dylan’s victory. Dylan’s best lyrics certainly can be read as poetry, and are all the more powerful in performance. So why would people question whether Bob Dylan is a suitable Nobel winner?

It might be a consideration that the perception of the songwriting art has been denigrated during the rise of the more vacuous ‘pop song’. This might create a preconceived notion that rock music is created solely for marketing and saleability, is not a poetic art form, and is limited in scope and structure by the constriction of the musical boundaries. Whether this preconception can be overcome is an interesting question. However, if we look at the history of poetry and song, the oral tradition, we can see that there is solid reason to accept a singer songwriter, moving away from the western shift that elevated the written word above the spoken, chanted or sung forms.

The Nobel committee has given awards to dramatists, mixed-media artists and orators (such as Winston Churchill in 1953, who beyond his written work was praised for his speeches and the effects they had in defending human values). So why not a lyricist?

In Greek lyric poetry the word ‘lyric’ is used because the poems were from the tradition of poetry sung or chanted to the accompaniment of the lyre. It is also known as ‘melic’ poetry from the word ‘melos’ meaning "song", from which we get the English word ‘melody’.
In this sense, it is difficult to point to another iconic artist who has contributed more to re-establishing the high poetic form in modern culture. Bob Dylan embodies the oral traditions of balladeers and troubadours or Greek lyric poets, in combination with poetic and literary influences that permeate his work.

And on a world stage Bob Dylan echoes the traditions of Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore or even the Bauls of Bengal who felt most at home visiting Bob Dylan in Woodstock. Wandering singers, learning from everyone and everything, sharing knowledge and insight and a love of wild living.

Congratulations for the well-deserved and long-awaited win, Mr. Dylan.

(c) Tara Zuk, 2016

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Peter Cook and Dudley Moore sing Dylan and discuss whether the answer really is 'Blowin' In The Wind'... London Palladium, 1965. Introduced by Jimmy Tarbuck.

Royal Variety Performance, 8th November, 1965.

Held in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Duke Of Edinburgh K.G., K.T.

Peter, Paul and Mary were also on the bill, although they apparently sang "Early Morning Rain" and "The First Time ever I saw your face", rather than a Dylan song.

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Rebuilt Thread


WBAI Studios
New York City, New York
13 January 1962
Cynthia Gooding radio show.

Full Transcript here:

Hear all the tracks:

1. Lonesome Whistle Blues (Hank Williams/Jimmy Davies)

2. Fixin' To Die (Bukka White)

3. Smokestack Lightning (Howlin' Wolf)

4. Hard Travelin' (Woody Guthrie)

5. The Death Of Emmett Till

6. Standing On The Highway

7. Roll On, John (trad., arr. By Bob Dylan)

8. Stealin', Stealin' (trad. arr. Memphis Jug Band)

9. Long Time Man (trad., arr. by Alan Lomax)

10. Baby Please Don't Go (Big Joe Williams)

11. Hard Times In New York Town

Harmonica talk. etc:


When Bob Dylan wrote 'Hard Times In New York Town' it was based on the melody and structure of 'Down on Penny's Farm' by The Bently Boys.

Hear the Bently Boys here:

There is a brilliant blog with the history of the song as well as a downloadable link to a plethora of different versions (including Dylan's rewrite):

And here is a great video from the above blog. A vintage BBC clip from the 'Tonight' show in 1960. It has an article introduced by a rather stuffy Alan Whicker, talking about the horrors and plight of locals in Newquay England who didn't like the British Beatniks hanging around. The clip opens with Wiz Jones singing his parody of Penny's Farm... Hard times in Newquay 1960 if you've got long hair!


Original thread not visible to some people:

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Bob Dylan experiments with the moustache look in 1966

Frivolous holiday weekend post. ;-)

Re-watching 'Eat The Document' today, and I noticed the scene where Dylan paints a pencil moustache on himself in front of the mirror. It is a style that he has apparently been planning since 1966.

See the scene here, at the 12'40" mark of the film:

The first picture in my post is a pair of screenshots from the movie, showing Bob Dylan trying out the moustache look. The second picture in the post is a photograph taken by David Gahr in November 2001, under the Holy Mackerel sign, Brooklyn.
2 Photos - View album

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Bob Dylan and Bill Murray

In the 2014 American comedy-drama film 'St. Vincent', Bill Murray closes the credits with an improvised and touching scene where he potters around his back yard; smoking, watering a dead plant with a US flag upon display, and singing along with Bob Dylan's song 'Shelter From The Storm' (1976, Blood On The Tracks).

You can watch the scene here:

'St. Vincent' Wikipedia page:

Glenn Whipp in the LA Times wrote about how the scene came about:

"Yes, we know: Nobody sings Dylan like Dylan, but in his new movie, "St. Vincent," Bill Murray performs a pretty wonderful version of "Shelter From the Storm" over the closing credits.

You can watch a version of Murray's work with this video, though the full performance, which cuts between two takes, runs through the entirety of the movie's closing credits. It should all but guarantee that no one will leave this film before the lights go up.

When we spoke earlier to "St. Vincent" writer-director Ted Melfi, he revealed that he had originally planned to end the movie with an elaborate shot involving special effects but then came to think that it was too much of a manipulative "Hollywood" moment. So he asked Murray: What if you just went out to the backyard and sang a song?

"It was 'Shelter From the Storm' from the start," Melfi says. "I love it. It's Harvey Weinstein's [whose company is releasing the movie] favorite song. I tell Bill, and he says, 'Well, that's one of my favorite songs of all time.' So it's kismet.""

Other links between Bill Murray and Bob Dylan...

Bob Dylan and Bill Murray were both guests on the final David Letterman Late Show on May 19, 2015:

The Bill Murray movie Rock The Kasbah (2015) uses Bob Dylan's '*Knockin On Heaven's Door*' for a battle scene in Afghanistan. The clip can be seen in parts at the following link:

'Rock The Kasbah' Wikipedia page:

Hunter S. Thompson

Bob Dylan played the Janus Jazz Festival in Aspen, Colorado on September 1, 2002.

Hunter S. Thompson had a home in Aspen, and Bob Dylan was photographed with Thompson. Of course, Hunter S. Thompson had dedicated his book 'Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas' to Bob Dylan and arranged to have 'Mr. Tambourine Man' played at his funeral. It is said that Thompson and Dylan knew each other from Greenwich Village in the 1960s, and there are many connections and correlations between the two men.

A picture of Bob and Hunter in 2002:

Bill Murray had played the role of Hunter S. Thompson in the 1980 movie '_Where The Buffalo Roam_'. This was a semi-autobiographical comedy film about Thompson's rise to fame in the 1970s. Murray became close to Thompson on set, they had a rivalry and Murray managed to capture the 'gonzo' journalist's mannerisms for the movie to an uncanny degree, even though the movie was not a critical success.

Original Soundtrack of 'Where the Buffalo Roam'

'Where The Buffalo Roam' Wikipedia page:

Bill Murray with Hunter S. Thompson:

And don't fall for the photoshopped pictures - they were wearing matching 'Amazing X Navy' t-shirts in the original shots. ;-)
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