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Comrades From The North

Hello and welcome to the first edition of 2024. We hope that this will be a good year for one and all. As we write Dylan has commenced his North American touring year in the Floridian sunshine. With half a dozen gigs behind him, it was business as usual. At the risk of incurring subscriber wrath we must say that the nightly replaying of the (virtually) same set of songs has become wearisome. Yes there are some changing arrangements, some lyrical alterations but largely it is as you were. Dylan has taken to playing old Ď50s covers prior to the final three songs of the shows, the list so far includes Walking By Myself, Big River and Roll Over Beethoven and it's almost like that is the point in the show that fans are waiting for. Now all of this may well change by the time this journal reaches you but the likelihood is that things will stay the same. One amusing incident occurred at the first show of the tour in Fort Lauderdale. A concertgoer shouted at Bob Dylan to ďplay something we know!Ē Dylan then proceeded to play When I Paint My Masterpiece to the tune of Puttin' On The Ritz though some identify the tune as Istanbul (Not Constantinople). A serendipitous moment as Dylan and his band would have certainly planned this arrangement in advance! Recently Terri Thai, Dylanís first manager, wife of Dave Van Ronk, author and general Greenwich Village ever-present posted an online notice of the death of Bob Winn, extracts of which are given below. Yet another one of Dylanís early co-voyagers has gone.

"I'm desolate to tell you that folk singer John Winn died Thursday, February 8. ... John's been a good friend since 1960, when he came to Greenwich Village from Colorado to join the folk singers including Dave (Van Ronk), Tom Paxton, Carolyn Hester, Bob Dylan, and others who performed at the newly-formed Gaslight or Gerde's Folk City, or at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY.....In fact, he organized an outlandish madrigal group comprising Dave (VR), who had a rough voice; Bob Dylan, who had a choppy one; Ed McCurdy, best known for "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream," and, of course, John himself. And John made the group work!"

Last time around we used this column to welcome the release of The Complete Budokan boxset whilst simultaneously bemoaning the huge cost of the artefact. It would seem that many of you agreed. In this issue you will find a thought-provoking reflection on this set from Roy Kelly. Hot on the heels of this product came the 50th Anniversary Collection 1973. At this point we must take pains to emphasize our view that any archive release is worthwhile but this one could have been so much more.The object of this series is for Columbia to retain copyright of the material. So we got all of the sessions for Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid but nothing from the Planet Waves sessions. It seems that the reasoning was that very little had escaped from these latter sessions and, hence, no copyright was in danger. The irony is that there was almost nothing on the Pat Garrett disc that had not already been circulating amongst collectors for many years. And some existing bootlegs also included studio chatter, something which is always conspicuous by its absence on the official releases. Once again, the disc was released in minute quantities making it hard to find and generating large profits from unscrupulous purchasers who sold their copies on Ebay!! Perhaps the Planet Waves material is being prepared as part of a heftily-priced boxset!!!

Well that's that out of the way and itís time to move on.We look forward to another yea

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

Mike & John

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