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Comrades From The North

Well here we are again for another year on the roller-coaster. It's a Big Dipper on which Dylan is firmly saddled as he makes his first foray to the Far East since the pandemic brought about the cancellation of his planned Japanese gigs in 2020. At the time of going to print, news came through of a mid-June festival show in Granada, Spain. More to follow, one assumes. Dylan has also been the subject of a photographic piece by Hedi Slimane who snapped the great man for the latest Portrait of a Musician series for Celine Homme, an online fashion outlet.

Hello to one and all and welcome to the latest instalment of your humble journal. While we have been preparing this edition Dylan has completed his tour of southern Europe and a fine one it was too, replete with a fair number of surprise additions to the setlists. Not that you would have noticed in the first concert of the tour which featured the, by now, standard seventeen-song set. However, come the second night he’d replaced That Old Black Magic with another, less venerable staple, Not Fade Away, the Buddy Holly tune that became a Grateful Dead live favourite. He continued to mine his stock of Dead numbers as the tour progressed. Indeed, song fourteen in the set soon took on the role of his variation songs, not frequently but often enough. Thus, during the course of the tour he slipped in a stimulating basket of alternate tunes including Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum. Brokedown Palace, Truckin', Only A River and one-off versions of Stella Blue, Van Morrison's Into The Mystic and Merle Haggard's Bad Actor. Stepping out even further, he played two eighteen-song shows and ended the tour with a whopping nineteen song concert in Rome. All in all, this was a pretty successful jaunt that garnered much critical acclaim. As we write there are no further bookings in the pipeline but it is certain that Dylan will be at large on American stages in the not-too-distant future. Depend upon it. It seems that Dylan’s heart is no longer in the Highlands, well his heart may be but his home will no longer stake that claim. He is selling his Highlands hideaway for a tidy £3million. Dylan has put his estate near Aviemore on the market after owning it for almost 20 years. Aultmore House in Nethy Bridge is described by Knight Frank, the agents, as "an elegant fully refurbished Highland country house with private grounds and cottages with dramatic views towards the Cairngorms.". Dylan bought it alongside his brother in 2006 for £2.2m. But he has been unable to visit it since the Covid pandemic, and he may have felt that he would get little use out of it in the future. Selling agent Tom Stewart-Moore said: "They bought it as a base. They’ve not been able to use it in recent years and that’s the reason for the sale. Up until about pre-Covid times, Bob and his brother would normally go there for a few weeks a year.” If anyone fancies a role as Monarch of the Glen, with its eleven1 bathrooms, four reception rooms and the obligitary music room, then this is for you!!!!

Shortly after going to press with the previous issue came the news that Gordon Lightfoot had died aged 84. .Lightfoot’s music has been widely covered by many great artistes, but Dylan was a massive fan of the Canadian singer-songwriter. He said that his fellow singer died “without ever having made a bad song”, and every time he listened to one of them, he “wished it would last forever.” In fact, it was reported that, when Dylan recorded his album John Wesley Harding, he tried to emulate the sound of Lightfoot, but didn’t manage to - something he revealed to Rolling Stone's Jann Wenner in a lengthy 1969 interview- "I thought if he could get that sound, I could. But we couldn't get it."

There has been some idle speculation in the press recently suggesting that Dylan’s touring may come to a conclusion once he finishes this world tour on which he is embarked. It is just that-speculation, and based on no evidence but it gives one pause for thought. Many of the long-serving acts continue to tread the boards - Paul McCartney, The Stones, The Who to name but three. But the road is long and winding and even the creature comforts of first class travel and accommodation must lose their allure as the endless trek continues. This could be the last time. Could it be?

Our apologies for an error in the photograph credits in issue 75 of The Bridge. The image on page 80 from Stuttgart 2000 should have been credited Jens Winter.

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

Mike & John

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