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Comrades From The North

In the last issue of The Bridge we put forward the sincere hope that it would be the last produced in lockdown. Sadly, that wish has been dashed and we in our little kingdom have been severly restricted once more, the level of severity depending upon which of the four nations one inhabits. Once again, we hope that you are all staying safe and coping with the difficulties created by the modern plague wherever you are. But enough of that. Dylan, and the Dylan industry, has been busy again as you will see from Jotting Down Notes. In September he resurrected his Theme Time Radio Hour series with a special edition on Whiskey - of course he is a whiskey producer! November saw the release of the second series of his Mondo Scripto series as well as the auctioning of Tony Gloverís interviews with Dylan (with Dylanís annotations) and correspondence between the pair. In the absence of any other release, an online product, The Best of the Bootleg Series, was made available. News also emerged of the forthcoming release of an updated and expanded version of Scorceseís Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story in the new year and Dylanís involvement as an executive producer in the film of the John Grisham book, Calico Joe. Phew! There is certainly a lot of energy around this man.

In his biography of Bob Dylan, Outlaw Blues (see interview and review in this issue) author Spencer Leigh presents an entertaining and informative exposition of the contemporaries who lived in the shadow of Dylan and those who came later who were dubbed as The New Bob Dylan. Whilst not exhaustive, the list is a long one. Not may of them wanted that particular appellation and some of them were nothing like Dylan anyway other than being a singer-songwriter. Most of them made a mark in music, even if as a cult artist and some of them became giants in the field. But even if just for a while, all of them were penumbra dwellers who bore the yolk with grace, humour or irritation. Leigh highlights the following, see how many you would name- Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, Paul Simon, Fred Neil, Donovan, Peter La Farge, Patrick Sky, Eric Andersen, Tom Rush, Tim Hardin, Bob Lind, David Blue, Townes Van Zandt, Kris Kristofferson, James Taylor, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Jackson Browne, Tim Buckley, David Ackles, John Prine, Guy Clark, John Stewart, Gordon Lightfoot, Steve Forbert, Mike Hart and Bruce Springsteen. Who do you think should be on that list who isnít? Keith Christmas perhaps, Al Stewart? Definitely Roy Harper. Itís a good game with which to while away the lockdown hours. Returning to Bruce Springsteen who was certainly one of those who was really not in the same musical area, Leigh reproduces the famous quote from Jon Savage "I canít abide Bruce Springsteen - he is just as highly constructed as any other rock star but it is a construction of a particular kind of authenticity. I donít buy it." Whilst one has to allow that he has written some very good songs, one of the Two Riders definitely sees the logic in Savageís words and tacitly supports his view. On a lighter note Leigh reports Loudon Wainwright IIIís witticism about the New Dylans "Well, we all meet once a year at Bruceís home because he has the biggest house".

The world still looks and feels different right now but it canít last forever. Meanwhile take care and stay safe.

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

Mike & John


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