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Comrades From The North

Welcome to the latest edition of your regular window upon the Dylan world. By the time that you read this editorial the latest tour of North America will be over. During this jaunt Dylan has generally stuck with the pattern employed over the past few years, namely a mix of songs from the great American songbook (usually six of these) and a judicious, or injudicious depending upon your viewpoint, set of older and more recent songs. The set-lists are pretty similar to what came before but there have been changes. Some would argue, and do, that the continued inclusion of certain tunes e.g. Early Roman Kings and Pay In Blood, the introduction of others such as Summer Days and the omission from some shows of Tangled Up In Blue and Love Sick has led to concerts that deliver less satisfaction than hitherto. It is all subjective, of course but perhaps it is time for a change. Dylan’s delayed ‘lecture’ for his Nobel Prize award has been duly ‘delivered’ with the now-expected etymological investigation by the guardians of literary purity aka the bean counters. In illuminating some of his musical and literary influences (but only a few) Dylan revealed a little more of himself to the world it seems. Or did he? Could this have been an elaborate construction of truths masked with myth to throw off the bloodhounds? As ever, you will make your own call. But it felt right to us and there was something genuine in his choice of literature which spoke of his own epic journeys over the years. One is reminded of Lancastrian poet Roy Fuller’s piece At T.S.Eliot’s Memorial Service when thinking of Dylan and his role in the scheme of things:

Revolutionary writer
of my youth, how far must it have been
From imagination so to
see you to the brink of the unseen

And in your relating of the
myth to find at last that it was thus
Fell the strange and frightening ad-
venture in the Castle Perilous

The music industry is a strange old place just at the minute. Sales of vinyl are soaring and box sets are commonplace - some of them superb and others a bit of a 'rip-off'. The common factor is that most of this material, vinyl and otherwise is old music. Re-issued 'classics' with extra tracks previously unreleased, 5.1 mixes, stereo and mono mixes and so on. Whilst many of us welcome these releases it seems that there is always another cut which has been recently uncovered thus prompting the re-issue of music that has often been re-issued more than once already. Classic examples are the catalogues of Elvis Costello and David Bowie - most compeletist collectors will have four different copies of each album. The Jethro Tull re-release boxes contain every last type of mix and re-mix mostly of the same set of songs.So where does/should it all end. We like to think that the Bob Dylan sets are exemplars for this type of issue (though not everything is always included) as are the Miles Davis sets. Let us hope that the forthcoming box set of Dylan's gospel years maintains the standards thus far attained.

On 28th October Badlands are holding an event at their store in Cheltenham.They will have Clinton Heylin signing copies of his new book 'Trouble In Mind' along with Willie Nile playing songs from his album 'Positively Bob: Willie Nile Sings Bob Dylan', the track listing is on page 103. For further details of the event see the Badlands advert at the end of the magazine. Just as we were going to press came the sad news came of Sam Shepard's death. Another man done gone. RIP.
We have just received informtion of a limited edition, deluxe book ‘Picnic at Blackbushe’, due for release on October 20th, which will only be available directly from the publisher’s website:

May you climb on every rung ..........

Mike & John

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