Please note: As this news is old, some of the links may be inactive.
21 December, 2016
Due apparently to a change in manufacturing costs, Sony has informed us that they are able to drastically reduce the price of the upcoming (January 27) release of the 5xLP vinyl box set, “Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series Vol. 1-3”.
This is the first time that this album has been available on vinyl since 1991 and it has never before been available on 180gm heavyweight vinyl.
Previously priced at £98.00, ISIS is now able to offer this box set for £59.99 in the UK!!!
Those of you who have already ordered this album will have been contacted and your price adjusted accordingly.
Staying with vinyl, the mighty MoFi (Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab) has just released three new Dylan titles for the first time in MONO.
These three albums are Numbered Limited Edition, 180gm, Mono Vinyl, 45-RPM, 2LP sets. They are Strictly Limited to 3,000 Copies world-wide.
Please Note: As is usual at this time of the year we will be taking a Christmas / New Year break to recharge our batteries. We will be posting out customers orders for the final time this year on Friday December 23 and we will be out of the office until week commencing January 9.
Feel free to order and all items will be dispatched as soon as we return.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and A Very Happy 2017. Please take a look at our 2016 Christmas Card
Desolation Row & ISIS Ticket Allocation
When we announced the ISIS / Desolation Row Ticket Allocation yesterday afternoon the posting read that subscribers should apply for tickets after 10PM on Saturday. This was a typo which should have read 10AM. This mistake was corrected shortly after being posted but if you were one of the people who got to the site before this change was made be sure to note it now.
Ticket Allocation starts After 10AM Saturday December 10.
Good luck, Derek & John
08 December, 2016
Desolation Row & ISIS Ticket Allocation
Desolation Row and ISIS have managed to obtain a relatively small allocation of the best tickets for each of the 6 UK shows (200 for each night except Cardiff where we just have 100) and these are now being offered to fans who currently subscribe to one or other of the Desolation Row Information Service or ISIS magazine (ISIS by post as a printed magazine). If the allocation is not taken up by subscribers, tickets will be offered to other fans. The shows are:
May 3rd, Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
May 4th, Bournemouth International Centre
May 5th, Nottingham Motorpoint Arena
May 7th, SECC Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow
May 8th, Liverpool Echo Arena
May 9th, SSE Arena Wembley
All shows are seated but we don’t yet have prices.
Tickets go on general sale Tuesday December 12 and we are trying to give you advance opportunity, as you will see. Sorry for the short notice but we’ve only just heard from the Promoter.
We have the best category seats. In addition to the ticket cost, and ITB’s booking fee, John will be adding a handling/postage charges, as usual and costs will certainly be no more (and probably considerably less) than through other outlets depending on how many you require. John will be posting out the tickets so will keep costs to a minimum by sending out tickets for more than one venue together (if that’s what you’ve ordered) rather than paying postage costs to each venue. Postage will be by secure, signed-for, mail.
All we ask you to do now is to email John at firstname.lastname@example.org telling him how many tickets you want and for which venues. To allow everyone a chance to see and respond to this offer, do NOT do that until after 10:00 am this Saturday. You will get a response within 24 hours.
There is an initial limit of 2 per person per show but there will also be a reserve list for those who want more if tickets remain available. Please do not ask for specific seats or areas as this cannot be guaranteed. Tickets will be reserved on a first-come-first-served basis. You will get an email back from John as soon as possible telling you whether you have been successful or not and a booking form with ordering details will follow by email within a few days. If you are unsuccessful, you will automatically be added to a reserve list. You may not get a reply immediately as there will be an initial rush but John will respond with as much haste as possible and certainly before tickets go on sale at the Box Offices.
Please only ask for tickets if you really want them. John will presume that you do and will order them from the Promoter and will need to pay for them. He does not want to order tickets and be left with ones that people have ordered but then decided that they don’t want and neither does he deserve to be treated this way as some fans did for the last tour.
These tickets must be for your own personal use. Steps will be taken to ensure that they are not re-sold and you are invited to purchase them through this fan allocation on the express understanding that they must not be re-sold other than via the allocation using John Baldwin as middle man. He will not charge a fee and will attempt to ensure that tickets are sold on at face value to deserving fans.
John & Derek
Please note that neither ISIS nor Desolation Row make any profit from the sale of these tickets.
25 November, 2016
Today probably wasn’t the best time to send out an email alerting people to my latest blog. If you’re inbox was anything like mine this morning it was most likely full of unsolicited mail informing of you of Black Friday sales (What some people are gonna do f’r money). I’m certainly not a fan of these sorts of gimmicks and ISIS would never sink that low.
Anyway, the first thing to mention today is that we having a sale! Nothing to do with Black Friday you understand! For those of you who didn’t get round to buying a copy of my “Humdinger Folk Singer: The Story of Judas and the Communists”, we are selling the remaining copies at the much reduced price of £5.99.
Some of you may already be aware, but if you were expecting to receive your copy of “The Real Royal Albert Hall 1966 Concert!” from us today then a word of warning. The release date of both the CD and the Vinyl versions of this album has put back one week by Sony to Friday December 2.
The new ISIS magazine, issue 189, is now at our printers and should be with subscribers in the next couple of weeks.
Finally I must mention the Dylan Project. ISIS is proud to have an exclusive on their fantastic new double live album, probably the best the band has done to date. “The Dylan Project: Caught In The Convent” is available here.
Staying with The Dylan Project, don’t forget their Winter Tour is now underway. At these shows the band will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of “Blonde on Blonde” by performing the entire double album live. A full list of the tour dates can be found on page 50 of ISIS 188. Tracy and me will be going along to the gig at the Bilston Robin on Tuesday December 13 so maybe we’ll see you there. Don’t forget; If you see me, say hello!
A new short film made by Sony Legacy to accompany the release of the boxed set “Bob Dylan: The 1966 Live Recordings” features previously unseen footage of the tour, onstage and off, shot by D.A. Pennebaker. Bob Dylan On Tour 1966
07 November, 2016
Rather than run what had become two separate news based pages all future breaking news will be included in this blog. We are not always able to inform you of updates via email, so please check back here regularly.
Bob Dylan’s Beaten Path Exhibition runs from November 5 to December 11, 2016. To my eyes these are by far Bob’s best work to date. Take a peek preview here.
Friday November 11 the “Live 1966” Box Set will be released.
To celebrate this, Badlands, Cheltenham are having a Dylan day celebration.
Clinton Heylin will be taking a Q & A session at 12 noon.
02 November, 2016
I can confirm that the recent news given out by Andy Greene at Rolling Stone magazine regarding the next “The Bootleg Series” release is correct (see my October 21st post below). “The Bootleg Series Vol. 13” will feature Bob Dylan’s Gospel Period material. As I suggested in my previous post, the “BS13” box will be issued in 2017 but as yet no date has been fixed for this release.
I mentioned back in ISIS 185 that The Dylan project had recorded a new live album which was to be released late summer. This new double CD album, which contains material not included on their previous releases, was recorded live during the band’s December 20, 2015 show at the Convent, a state-of-the-art venue near Stroud. Until five years ago the Convent was home to four nuns who lived there as part of a silent order. Now, however, the Grade II listed house is being filled with inspiring live music. Released today, “The Dylan Project: Caught In The Convent” is available from ISIS Magazine. This fabulous 20-track double album is probably the best work the band has done to date!
While on the subject of The Dylan Project, don’t forget their Winter Tour kicks off on November 11. At these shows, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of “Blonde on Blonde”, the band will be performing the entire double album live.
The New Dylan exhibition “The Beaten Path” opens at the Halcyon Gallery on November 5. Those who have already attended previews tell me that this exhibition, featuring media including watercolour and gouache, is far and away Dylan’s best work. Unfortunately, reports have already reached me that some copying might have taken place! Three of the new artworks can be seen here.
One of the pictures, “Classic Car Show” seems to have been influenced by this Stock Footage.
I’m sure you are all aware by now that Bob Dylan has acknowledged news of his Nobel Prize in Literature; did anyone really think that he wouldn’t? Dylan has also said that “If it’s at all possible” he will attend the awards ceremony in Stockholm. More can be found in Edna Gundersen’s Telegraph article / interview.
Last, but certainly not least, a further supply of “The 1966 Live Recordings” has become available. This is still in short supply. Please call for availability.
Individual pieces of vintage vinyl art featuring Bob Dylan’s Positively 4th Street, Lay Lady Lay, Knockin’ on Heavens Door, Watching the River Flow, Maggie’s Farm, Like a Rolling Stone, The Times they are a Changing, I Threw it all Away, Hurricane, Blowin’ in the Wind and Highway 61 revisited.
All on the CBS label cut into the shape of Dylan’s silhouette.
Mounted within a black wooden box frame and raised from an orange base to compliment the label. The frame measures 24cm x 24cm (9.5 x 9.5 inches).
Available from TolhurstVinylArt
21 October, 2016
Andy Greene at Rolling Stone posted some information last night re the possible content of the next “The Bootleg Series” project.
Quote: “‘Personally I think the gospel set is more interesting,’ says a source close to the Dylan camp. ‘Blood on the Tracks is similar to The Cutting Edge in what you’re hearing is different version of the same thing. You’re hearing process. The gospel is a lot of stuff that people ignored. Bob continued to tweak the gospel stuff on the road for a couple of years. It kept mutating.’”
In actual fact, not too much is new here, ‘a source close to the Dylan camp’ has said on a couple of previous occasions that the gospel set is “interesting” and in November 2015 a ‘Dylan source’ told Greene, “We’d also love to revisit Blood on the Tracks, Infidels, Oh Mercy and the gospel albums.”
In truth, Dylan’s people always have several projects on the go at the same time and I’ve mentioned many times before in ISIS what those projects are. They will all come to fruition, the only question is in what order. The recent addition of releases for Copyright Protection reasons has tossed a spanner into machinery and these products doubtless have had an impact on “BS” schedules (1965 and ’66 were busy times for Bob Dylan).
I had previously said that “BS13” wouldn’t be issued in 2016 and that I had heard that there had been some talk of ‘overkill’, a glut of Dylan product in recent times, and on that basis I doubt we’ll see “BS13” early next year.
I won’t speculate on what might be included in a Gospel release, we all know there are a lot of outtakes, but video from Toronto and Buffalo, New York has previously been mentioned. In fact, I mentioned this in my MOJO booklet piece last year.
Whether you like or agree with what Bob was saying or singing at these shows there is no denying he was on fire at this time.
Although I haven’t read these comments myself, I’m told that there has been some Internet speculation that the next “BS” release might be the David Bromberg sessions. This fantasy was arrived at because I wrote a piece about the Bromberg sessions in new ISIS (mailed out this Tuesday). There was absolutely no inference on my part that the Bromberg sessions would be the next “Bootleg Series”! In fact, although I would very much like them to be released, I doubt they will be, or certainly not for a number of years. This is a case of putting two and two together and arriving at 137!
Finally for now, although a few Sinatra have crept into the set it’s nice to see that after six shows we are getting mostly Dylan songs on the fall US tour.
Read the Rolling Stone article here.
For speculation on what might be included on a Gospel Period release, see Robert Orbach’s piece on our facebook page.
14 October, 2016
It’s time to draw breath after the furore of yesterday. We managed to get the fantastic news of Bob’s award of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature on our site within half-an-hour of the announcement. We would have been a quicker had we not been tied up answering telephone questions and fending off media enquiries for interviews from the UK and abroad. You can watch and hear the reaction to the official announcement here.
The naysayers have of course come out in force in condemnation of the Award being given to a mere song and dance man but those of us who know Dylan’s lyrics appreciate just how far his words transcend peoples’ understanding of ordinary ‘popular music’. He is of course the first songwriter / musician in the 115-year history of the Nobel to win the prize in literature and his position of being head, shoulders (and probably arms and legs) above everyone else writing song lyrics will almost certainly mean he is also the last.
“An ill-conceived nostalgia award wrenched from the rancid prostates of senile, gibbering hippies,” wrote “Trainspotting” novelist Irvine Welsh. On the flip side, President Barack Obama tweeted, “Congratulations to one of my favourite poets, Bob Dylan, on a well-deserved Nobel”. The debate will continue for a long time yet and if readers are interested in having their say drop me an email over the next few weeks and I’ll try and include some of your thoughts in ISIS issue 189.
As you will see from last night’s setlist below, my fears that after the Desert Trip Festival Bob would revert to a set laden with Sinatra songs was unfounded! It seems that the Festival wasn’t a one (or should that be two) off .
Bob plays the second of his Desert Trip shows tonight and I assume we will get another Bob set. The real test will now be what happens on Sunday the 16th in Phoenix.
Don’t forget to check out our Pre-used pages. As promised we updated them yesterday but many items sold almost immediately.
October 7, 2016 – Desert Trip Festival, Empire Polo Club, Indio, CA
Rainy Day Women #12 & 35
Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
Highway 61 Revisited
It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
High Water (For Charley Patton)
Simple Twist Of Fate
Early Roman Kings
Tangled Up In Blue
Lonesome Day Blues
Make You Feel My Love
Pay In Blood
Soon After Midnight
Ballad Of a Thin Man
Masters Of War
October 13, 2016 – The Chelsea, Las Vegas, NV
Rainy Day Women #12 & 35
Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
Highway 61 Revisited
It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
High Water (For Charley Patton)
Simple Twist Of Fate
Early Roman Kings
Tangled Up In Blue
Lonesome Day Blues
Make You Feel My Love
Pay In Blood
Soon After Midnight
Ballad Of a Thin Man
Blowin’ In The Wind
Why Try To Change Me Now
13 October, 2016
The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2016
The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2016 is awarded to Bob Dylan “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.
Bob Dylan has been put forward for this Prize many times without success. According to bookmakers he was 10/1 favourite to win in 2011.
Predicting Nobel winners is notoriously difficult and there are many who believe that giving the Prize to Dylan would be an admission of the bankruptcy of literature. As you can probably guess, I don’t count myself amongst those people. In many cases his words stand extremely well on the written page without the aid of music. Nevertheless, I doubted that Dylan would win the prize and a week ago the bookies had him at 50/1.
Dylan is of course the first songwriter to have won the prize and there has already been a huge amount of negative reaction to the Award, which I’m not in the least surprised by.
Dylan has received a multitude of awards over the years but this one might just be a bit special. It’s just a pity that the Prize comes in the form of a Gold Medal otherwise he could display it on stage next to his Wonder Boys film Oscar!
News even more staggering than Dylan’s Nobel Prize was the set he played at Desert Trip last week (October 7). Sixteen Bob songs with not a hint of Sinatra! Actually, I’m not totally shocked by that, the real test will be this evening (October 13) when he plays a ‘standard’ Bob show in Vegas. I’m sure Frank will make a comeback at this show!
For those interested in oldies but goodies, our pre-used page will be updated again tomorrow (October 14) and subscribers will be pleased to hear that we expect ISIS issue 188 to arrive back from the printer early next week.
DRAWN BLANK RETROSPECTIVE – 11 – 20 NOVEMBER, 2016
27 September 2016
Well, after my recent blog post I guess readers would have been aware that something was happening soon! We were asked not to release information about “The 1966 Live Recordings” box set and as far as possible we do try to play the game. Amazon has, however, given out information so I guess that makes it open season!
“The 1966 Live Recordings” box set will contain 36 CDs presenting all of the available recordings from Bob Dylan’s momentous 1966 tour. You will have already read in ISIS magazine (issue 187) that all of the European shows from Copenhagen onward were captured either whole or in part by Dylan’s soundman Richard Alderson on a Nagra reel-to-reel recorder. All of these ‘professionally recorded shows plus the available audience recordings from Down Under will be included in the upcoming box. Some of the audience recordings are said to be quite poor quality and one person described them to me as “Frisbees”; The Nagra recordings though are wonderful.
As I previously stated, this box set will be a fraction of the cost of the “Cutting Edge” 18-CD set. “The 1966 Live Recordings” box will be released by Sony Music Cmg on November 11, 2016. I won’t bore you with the track listing at the moment as I think readers of this blog will be very well aware of the content of these shows. We don’t have a firm price from Sony yet but the box is likely to retail for around £105.00. The firm price and ordering details will follow soon. Please be aware that this is not a numbered/limited edition.
23 September 2016
Over the past couple of weeks we have been bombarded with emails and phone calls asking for information regarding upcoming Dylan releases (“Bootleg Series”, copyright dump, the 1966 Live Concerts). As soon as we are permitted to make announcements we will do so. All I can say at present is watch this space. We hope to be able to talk about the ’66 release soon but at the moment my lips are sealed. Nevertheless, a good indication of what will be included in that release was outlined in the last ISIS (issue 187), during my interview with Clinton Heylin. Indications are that this release will be sold at a fraction of the price of “Cutting Edge”.
There has been a lot of Dylan product over recent times so we really are being greedy expecting more and more. Overkill is a factor that needs to be taken into account with new product so we are not likely to see “BS 13” for some time.
One nice item that is due from Sony soon is “Pure Dylan”. This album was originally released on CD by Sony Music, Germany back in 2011 and was specially imported into the U.K. by ISIS. Now, a full five years later (October 7, 2016), it’s coming out on the newly resurgent vinyl format as a double-LP. As was the case with the CD, this item is available from ISIS.
The album contains the “full” version of ‘Trouble In Mind’ from the 1979 “Slow Train Coming” sessions (Previously unavailable on an official release– apart from the CD version of this album). ‘Spanish Is The Loving Tongue’ is the solo piano recording and ‘Moonshiner’ is taken from the 2005 release, “Live At The Gaslight 1962”. You can read more about this album here and a full review can be found in ISIS issue 159.
Side A: Trouble In Mind / Girl from the North Country / Most of the Time / She Belongs to Me / Billy 1
Side B: Shooting Star / Sugar Baby / You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go / Tomorrow Night
Side C: Every Grain of Sand / Percy’s Song / Born In Time / Boots of Spanish Leather
Side D: This Dream of You / Spanish Is The Loving Tongue / If You See Her, Say Hello / Moonshiner
Don’t forget that we are now taking pre-orders for Clinton Heylin’s “Judas!: From Forest Hills To The Free Trade Hall: A Historical View Of The Big Boo”. The book will be published October 21 but ISIS will have copies available prior to publication. We are also pleased to be able to offer “author-signed” copies of this title. Please note however that only our initial order will be author-signed. Ongoing stock will only be the regular unsigned book.
Also just arrived in stock at ISIS is the official “Fallen Angels” songbook.
For those who haven’t yet seen this item this link is to a news item broadcast on News On 6, Tulsa regarding the second shipment of Dylan items arriving at the new Dylan archive.
7 September 2016
Having taken a week out of the office I thought I would get back in the swing of things with a short blog.
We arrived back to a pallet load of the newly republished “The Ghost of Electricity”. This is an expanded and updated version of John Bauldie’s excellent 1988 book. All ISIS customer pre-orders were dispatched yesterday (Tuesday). If you haven’t yet ordered your copy, you can do so Here.
Those of you who have pre-ordered the new Route Publishing version of Clinton Heylin’s “Judas!: From Forest Hills To The Free Trade Hall: A Historical View Of The Big Boo” will be pleased to know that we now have a confirmed publication date of October 21, 2016. At 320 pages, this is one book that no Dylan fan will want to miss. A great companion to the upcoming Sony 1966 big box live release.
ISIS Magazine is pleased to be able to offer “author signed” copies of this title. Please note however that only our initial order from the publisher will be author signed. Ongoing stock will be the regular unsigned book. Order your signed copy here.
On the subject of Sony big box releases, while I was away, the first week of September, it seems that Amazon advertised the 18-CD big box, “The Cutting Edge 1965–1966”. Rumours quickly appeared on the Internet forums that a re-release of the Limited Edition box set – complete with books, film strip, leopard skin spindle, the works – was due for re-release on September 23, 2016. I have it from an impeccable source that this is completely untrue. The sold out 5,000 Limited Edition release of 2015 is just that– a limited edition. Tales that it will be made available again are utter rubbish.
The Bob Dylan Archive at the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma, is presenting “Dylan on Film”, a collection of Documentaries about Dylan as part of a grand opening celebration.
The film festival, which runs from September 21 to 24, will feature documentaries by D.A. Pennebaker, Martin Scorsese and Murray Lerner. The highlight promises to be outtakes from Scorsese’s “No Direction Home”.
Finally for now, several people have asked when further items will be added to the popular new ISIS “Pre-Used” page. I’m sorry it’s been a while since this page has been updated but rest assured there is much more to come! If only there were more days in a week!
21 June, 2016
Well, it’s been two months since I bothered you all with one of my infrequent blogs.
The latest ISIS and my new booklet, “Humdinger Folk Singer”, have now both been mailed out; most of you will probably have received them by now.
Simon & Schuster have recently been in touch with me regarding the ‘inexpensive” version of “Lyrics Since 1962” that has been promised for quite some time now. For all intent and purposes this is the version that was originally scheduled for October 2014 and then replaced by the hernia inducing deluxe edition.
Published in the UK in October / November 2016 (exact date is unconfirmed), the content will be the same as the deluxe version but the book itself will be physically smaller (thankfully) 254 x 187 mm. Despite what you may have read on some Internet sites, many of the details for this title are not yet finalized. The black and red cover being shown on some sites is not the UK cover but a mock-up US cover. Although the selling price will be £49.99, the page count is seemingly not yet finalized but will run somewhere between 768 and 900 pages (ISBN 978-1-4711-5244-3). Simon & Schuster UK will inform ISIS when all details are confirmed at which point we will begin taking pre-orders.
Those of you who have received your ISIS magazine will know that just before going to print I got word about two new Rattlesnake boot CDs, “After The Empire” and “The 1985 Rehearsal Tape” (page 49 current issue of ISIS). At the time of writing (about three weeks ago, now), I hadn’t heard these two sets so was unable to confirm for sure if they were genuine. Most of you will probably know by now, but just in case, I can confirm that these two are indeed the real deal. After being starved of Bob boots’ for so long it is amazing to get a collection of Dylan originals that we had never heard from a session that we didn’t even know had taken place!
While “After The Empire” is a collection of Dylan originals (apart for one track), “The 1985 Rehearsal Tape” contains more than a sprinkling of cover songs. Over the past 12 months or so I’ve been asked many times if I intend publishing a follow-up to my 2008 book “Bob Dylan: The Songs He Didn’t Write” and the Rehearsal Tape has again pushed this subject to the fore. With more than 50 covers (live and studio) emerging since the 2008 book it’s probably time to seriously consider this.
This update would be an inexpensive (maybe 50/60-page) booklet that size wise would sit next to the original book. At the moment this project is merely under consideration but I would very much appreciate hearing from people who might be interested in this. If you think this is a worthwhile project just drop me an email to email@example.com with a simple yes and I’ll be able to get an estimate of the people interested.
Finally, with the new ISIS and “Humdinger Folk Singer” behind us, Tracy and I are taking a two-week break beginning this Friday (June 24). You can still order from our website as usual but please note that between June 23 and July 11 no goods will be dispatched.
That’s all for now.
Best wishes to you all, Derek and Tracy.
22 April, 2016
With so much happening at the moment I thought it was high time that I wrote another of my occasional blogs.
Bob is of course playing live in Japan at the moment on his “The Set Remains The Same” tour.
According to a recent news report, this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival might feature a stellar line-up that includes the Rolling Stones, Roger Waters, Neil Young, The Who, Paul McCartney, and Bob Dylan! The festival, which will take place October 7-9, will be staged in the Southern California desert at the 78-acre Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA. One source says the top headliners on the bill are guaranteed as much as $7 million each! I have no idea if Dylan has in fact signed up for this event, but it sure as hell sounds interesting! A second weekend is also in the offing.
The “Pre-Used” section on our website has been added to again today (Friday, April 22). As those of you who have been watching (and buying) from this page will know, most items are selling almost as quickly as we can get them on the site (25 of the 30 items we put up on Monday sold in less than 24 hours!). We will continue to offer items for sale on a regular basis so keep checking back.
Released by the Let Them Eat Vinyl record label as part of the recent Record Store Day celebrations, “Bob Dylan’s Greenwich Village Vol 1” and “Bob Dylan’s Greenwich Village Vol 2” are now available through ISIS.
Originally compiled by me back in 2011 as a 2-CD set this is the first time this title has been made available on vinyl. The title is now presented as two double album various artists’ compilations featuring the likes of Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Cisco Houston, Barbara Dane, Buffy Sainte Marie, Tom Paxton, and Simon and Garfunkel.
The new ISIS magazine (issue 185), was mailed out last Thursday and apart from those of you who reside in some of the more far-flung corners of the planet most subscribers should by now have received their copy.
Those of you who have not yet re-subscribed to ISIS be warned, for whatever reason, we are selling an awful lot of one-off single issues of number 185 and as a result we are fast selling out of the first issue of the new subscription year!
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There is quite a lot happening on the book front at the moment: I’m still working away on my booklet, “Humdinger Folksinger”, and I’m still very interested in talking to anyone who was involved with, or attended British folk clubs during the 1960s and had any experience of “Policy Rules” and the wars between the “Progressive” and “Traditionalists” elements of the folk revival.
The Last Great Event
Following on from the excellent “Stealing Dylan From Woodstock,” festival promoter extraordinaire, Ray Foulk, has now completed the second and final volume of the story of the Isle of Wight festivals. Published June 1, 2016, “The Last Great Event” covers the final festival staged in 1970 featuring amongst many others, Jim Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Lenard Cohen, Joan Baez, the Who and of course the late great Jimi Hendrix in his last UK show before his sudden death in London on September 18, 1970. A bumper 363-page hardback, all copies of this beautifully presented book ordered from ISIS will be signed by Ray and Caroline Foulk.
The Ghost of Electricity
To mark the 50th Anniversary of Bob Dylan’s 1966 World Tour and the 20th Anniversary of the tragic and premature death of John Bauldie, The Bridge is publishing an expanded and updated version of “The Ghost of Electricity”.
Written and compiled by John Bauldie and initially published privately in 1988, “The Ghost of Electricity” is long out of print and much sort after. This republication has been put together by John’s lifelong friend, Bill Allison. The book has been updated and will contain previously unpublished photographs from the 1966 tour.
Published sometime during July 2016 and available now to pre-order from ISIS, the book will be A5 in size and perfect bound.
World Wide, The First Twenty Years
Those of you who have ordered the Christoph Maus book “Bob Dylan: World Wide, The First Twenty Years” will be pleased to hear that after a delay this title has now been delivered back from the printer to publisher “Maus Of Music Books”. Our copies now need to be signed and hand numbered, crated up and delivered to us from Germany. We then need to pack and dispatch so it will probably be another couple of weeks before it arrives at our customers’ doors.
That’s all for now. Have a good weekend, Derek.
02 November 2015
First of all, I would I’d like to say how nice it was to meet so many ISIS subscribers on our travels over the last 10 days. I lost count as to how many people, both old and new acquaintances, introduced themselves to Tracy and me and it was great to meet you all.
In addition to how good the shows were and how well Bob is singing at the moment, the hot topic was of course the amount of songs connected to Frank Sinatra that Bob is performing on this tour. I chatted with many of the people I met about the Sinatra songs and although most of the conversations were very positive, some were less so.
I would therefore love to hear from more of you on this subject.
While I know that Bob can and should perform what he wants how he wants, concert goers must have an opinion and ISIS would like to hear those opinions.
PLEASE take a few minutes to jot down your thoughts on the subject and email or write to me. I’m not asking for articles, just some random thoughts:
Are seven Sinatra songs too many?
Did you think he performed them well?
What are your thoughts overall about the current Bob shows?
I’d very much like to publish some of your thoughts in the next ISIS and perhaps compile a poll of the results. So, here’s a chance to have YOUR say. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
While on the subject of the UK shows, I’m sure that everyone who got their tickets through the Desolation Row / ISIS allocation would like to thank John and Jane for all their efforts and it was hugely disappointing to me that John was only able to make it to two of the shows.
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While on the subject of readers’ opinions and ISIS polls, many of you will have read my piece in the “MOJO music guide” – a 52-page Dylan booklet that comes with the latest MOJO magazine (issue 265, December 2015) – In the guide, amongst other things, I list “Ten Great Dylan Concerts”. When I was compiling this list for MOJO I thought what a good idea it would be to get the opinions of ISIS readers on this subject. So, if you don’t have anything to say about the Sinatra songs (come on, you know you do), then maybe you would like to list your “Top 10 Great Concerts”. Actually getting a list down to just 10 is quite hard so if you think you would like to go with a “Top 20” that’s fine.
Let’s make the next issue of ISIS a true “Readers’ Issue”. Many thanks in anticipation.
Again email me at email@example.com
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Published in the United States on October 27 and due for release in the UK at around the same time, “Bob Dylan All the Songs” has been has been delayed in the UK until mid November. We’ll keep you informed on this one.
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For those interested: “A feast of cover versions of Bob Dylan songs from the BBC archives, with classic tracks old and new” will be broadcast on Friday, November 6 on BBC 4 television. The show, entitled “…Sings Dylan”, will also be shown 01:00 on Saturday November 7 and 01:00 on Sunday 8.
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I’m pleased to say that we received our delivery of “The Bootleg Series Vol.12” today. We will be busy packing these over the next couple of days and all orders will arrive with our UK customers in time for the Friday November 6 release date.
For those who can’t wait until Friday’s release, you can hear an advanced sampling of songs (well over an hour of extracts). Listen Here
Enjoy the album and please don’t forget to respond to my requests for your thoughts on the current shows and your opinions as to Bob’s all-time great concerts.
Best to you all,
20 October 2015
A couple of new pre-Dylan English concert events have just announced and I’ve been asked to give them a mention here.
On Friday October 30, the day of Bob’s final British show on this tour, John O’Connell has a “Simply Dylan” gig from 4.30.pm to 6 p.m at The Dancing Man, Town Quay, Southampton, SO14 2AR. This gig will take place after the 12 noon get together at The Guide Dog, 38 Earl’s Road, Southampton, SO14 6SF. So, that a great pub get together, a Simply Dylan gig and Bob in Show and Concert all on the same day!
Author, ISIS subscriber and thoroughly good egg, C.P Lee has organised a pre-gig get-together on Wednesday October 28 before the second Manchester Apollo concert. It’s between 2 pm until 6.30 pm at Fred’s Ale House, 843 Stockport Road, M19 3AW. The pub is on the same road as the Apollo, just a ten minute bus ride from town (no. 192). C.P. suggests ‘day saver’ ticket. Food will be available, Dylan videos on permanent screening and a small PA is in place if anyone wants to perform.
Also, don’t forget the London and Manchester “Stealing Dylan from Woodstock” Waterstones’ events, and that I will be chairing the Friday afternoon London event.
At a Glance:
Friday Oct 23, London Waterstones: “Stealing Dylan from Woodstock” 4pm – 5.30
Friday Oct 23, London Waterstones: “Stealing Dylan from Woodstock” 7pm – 8.30
Tuesday Oct 27, Manchester Waterstones: “Stealing Dylan from Woodstock” 3pm start
Tuesday Oct 27, Manchester Waterstones: “Stealing Dylan from Woodstock” 6pm start
Wednesday Oct 28 Manchester: Fred’s Ale House, Pre-gig get-together, 2pm – 6.30pm
Friday October 30, Southampton: The Guide Dog, Pre-gig get-together, from 12 noon
Friday October 30, Southampton: The Dancing Man, Gig, Simply Dylan 4.30.pm – 6pm
The People’s History of Pop
Calling all Bob Dylan fans, BBC music would love to hear from you. 7wonder.co.uk are crowdsourcing fans’ memories and archives from over 50 years of British rock and pop music for a new series to be broadcast on BBC Four called “The People’s History of Pop”.
Did you see Dylan on his tours to Britain in 1965 or 1966? What where they like? Have you still got your ticket stubs, pictures or even a poster!? If you have memorabilia, please dig it out and go to www.phop.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org to take part.
“The People’s History of Pop” is a four-part series to be broadcast on BBC Four over 2016 (one episode per quarter).
See ya somewhere on the road… And don’t forget, The key is Frank!
*Please note: The ISIS office will be closed Wednesday 21 – Friday 23 October and Thursday 29 – Friday 30 October.
14 October 2015
Issue 182 of ISIS Magazine arrived back from the printer today and has just gone into the post.
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Anyone who missed “Highway 61: Fifty Years On” – Part One of which was broadcast on BBC 4 radio and Part Two on BBC 2 radio – should think about giving it a listen as it’s still available on BBC iPlayer Radio.
Produced by Colin McNulty, Andy Kershaw re-examines the Bob Dylan album that changed popular music and his life.
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I recently received a review copy of the upcoming book by Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon and was instantly surprised and delighted by its presentation.
This one is not quite a “Lyrics: Since 1962”, and therefore will hopefully not require a hernia repair, but at 2.8kg (6.2lbs) it sure is a hefty item.
Each section begins with an arty posterized full-page photo of Bob followed by a short half-page introduction to the album concerned. This is followed by brief sections looking at “The Album Cover”, “The Recording” and variously, depending on the album being reviewed, short sections on “production”, “Technical Details” and “The Instruments”.
We then move onto the album’s songs; each one getting anything from half-a-page to two-and-a-half pages. As with the album write-ups, each song is neatly divided in to sections: “Genesis and Lyrics” and “Production”. Scattered amongst the text you will also find short notes flagging up various bits of information such as “Covers” (giving some of the artists that have covered the song) and “For Dylanologists”, which gives tidbits of other interesting information. “The Bootleg Series” is included as are “Outtakes” and “Singles”.
The book is lavishly illustrated with images; many of Dylan, but many more not.
Published October 29, by Black Dog & Leventhal, “Bob Dylan – All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track” is a large format (11”x8.5” approx) 703-page, hardcover.
This item is previewed in the current ISIS and will be reviewed in full in ISIS 183. Available to pre-order now from ISIS. Full details here
Tracy and I hope to see many of you in London for the upcoming RAH shows and the Friday afternoon Dylan event at Waterstones Piccadilly…
22 September 2015
With October 1 and the European tour only nine days away, I thought it was about time I wrote another of my occasional blogs.
I’m sure we are all eagerly waiting to see what form the set lists will take but I guess only the really optimistic amongst us are expecting much change. Then again, if we have learnt anything about Bob Dylan over the years it is to expect the unexpected.
For those of you at a loose end while in London for the Royal Albert Hall concerts there is a great event planned for the afternoon of Friday October 23.
‘Stealing Dylan From Woodstock’ will be staged at Waterstones, Piccadilly (203/206 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9HD). The event will feature film, live music, recordings and reminiscences’ by Ray Foulk, promoter of the original Isle of Wight festivals and the man brought Bob Dylan to Britain in 1969.
The Dylan show runs twice, 4pm-5.30 and 7pm-8.30. Early attendees can go on to see Bob Dylan at the Royal Albert Hall. I (Derek Barker) will be presenting the programme and Ray and I will be taking part in a Q&A session. Ray’s memoir, ‘Stealing Dylan From Woodstock’ will be on sale.
Similar afternoon events will also take place in Manchester and Cardiff (details to follow).
Those attending the Southampton concert on Friday October 30 will also have somewhere to go before the show.
All Bob fans will be made very welcome at ‘The Guide Dog’ in Southampton. This will be an informal meeting place, and if anyone wants to bring an instrument and play a few tunes, or bring items for sale or to swap, that’s fine too!
Southern Hampshire CAMRA Pub of the Year 2014, The Guide Dog is a good old fashioned back street local and a genuine free house; up to nine guest beers on hand-pump, mainly from local breweries. The pub, which will open at 12 noon, is less than a mile from The Guildhall (a 5 minute drive), although parking will be MUCH easier near the pub than closer to the venue. The Guide Dog is situated at 38 Earl’s Road, Southampton, SO14 6SF. The get together is being organised by John Roberts of Barking Spider Promotions.
A couple of book mentions: Due for publication October 29, 2015, “All The Songs: The Story Behind Every Track” is a comprehensive account of Bob Dylan’s work with the full story of every recording session, every album, and every single (582 released songs). Hardback, 704 pages).
Finally, just a quick note to say that my limited print run booklet, “A Picnic Surprise: Bob Dylan & the Road to Blackbushe”, has sold out and no further orders can be accepted.
A word of warning; expect another bulletin from me later this week…!
12 May 2015
With ISIS 179 mailed out, my Blackbushe “Picnic Surprise” booklet at the printer, and Bob’s British concert tickets taken care of, I can stop and catch my breath! When I looked back at my last blog I was astonished to see it was dated November 12! Sandy Denny was so right when she said, “Who knows where the time goes?”!
The first thing I want to do here is to thank John Baldwin at “Desolation Row” for all his hard work in once again organizing the now customary “Fan Allocation” of tickets for the British Bob shows. Although John arranges the ticket allocations in association with ISIS Magazine, it is HE who does all the hard work.
For the initial sale, which took place on April 30, for the first six shows (RAH, Manchester & Cardiff), John stayed up ALL night so that he could let fans know before 9 am the following morning whether or not they had been successful with their applications. Those who had not been successful were then able to apply for tickets via the venues and usual agents. Our tickets for the three Royal Albert Hall shows sold out in less than three minutes!
There was a little less demand for the additional Albert Hall dates (October 24 & 25) and everyone who applied during the first hour, i.e. between 8 & 9 pm, had their requests fulfilled. The really good news is that everyone who missed out on the first allocation was able to get tickets for the additional shows. Thank you very much for all your kind words (emails and phone calls), they were very much appreciated, but as stated previously, John did all the hard work. I should just say that a very few people haven’t yet paid John for the tickets they ordered and one or two others have changed the minds about attending the shows! Once ordered, John has to pay ITB for tickets and although he will probably be able to re-sell these tickets it’s not fair to put him in this position.
A quick update on the Ted Russell New York photo book: “Bob Dylan: NYC 1961-1964” has arrived in stock at ISIS – or at least part of our order has – and has now been mailed to our customers.
This title is published in the United States by Rizzoli and it seems that the publisher underestimated demand (a familiar story). ISIS, like all other UK sellers, only received part of our initial order and although the vast majority of our customers will have recently received their books we were unable fulfil every order. Apologies to those still waiting, but a second shipment will soon be on its way from the States.
On the subject of new books, in ISIS 179 I wrote enthusiastically about “When the World Came to the Isle of Wight: Stealing Dylan from Woodstock” by Ray and Caroline Foulk. My review was written from an advance pdf of the book but having now received a finished copy I can honestly say that it looks even better in the flesh than it did in digital form. Published June 4, ISIS will have this one before the official release date and all of our copies are signed by the author (festival promoter) Ray Foulk.
On the subject of Ray Foulk, I note that Ray will be giving a talk at Blackwell’s in Oxford on Tuesday, June 9 (19:00 – 20:00). Tickets for the talk are £5 from email@example.com
And while on the subject of Blackwell’s of Oxford, I also note that on Tuesday, May 26th (19:00 – 20:00) “The Old Grey Whistle Test’s” ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris will be sharing anecdotes and stories from his forty years in the music industry. His autobiography “Still Whispering After all the Years” is published this month.
Finally, Castle Galleries will shortly be exhibiting and offering for sale Limited Edition prints (less then 100 copies of each), from Bob Dylan’s “Brazil Series”. The exhibition will be launched in the UK on Friday May 15.
12 Nov 2014 – Don’t Start Me Talkin’
We have been informed by Simon & Schuster U.K. that they hope to receive a further shipment of “The Lyrics − Since 1962” from the U.S. Any such shipment is however at least a month away. Due to the huge demand for this huge book the publisher has so far been unable to meet sellers’ requirements and we understand that this second shipment will go some way toward satisfying those outstanding orders. ISIS was fortunate to receive our full allocation first time round so we are unlikely to receive any further copies from this second shipment. I understand that the recommended retail price of the book may be increased to £160.
We are pleased to say that we have now received stocks of Sid Griffin’s “Million Dollar Bash” book (pub date Nov 20) and the “Lost on the River (The New Basement Tapes)” CD (release date Nov 17). We have, however, been informed by Universal Music that the “Lost on the River” vinyl has been delayed until December 29. This might mean that customers will not now receive their vinyl orders until sometime in January, 2015.
While on the subject of vinyl, the release date for the “BS 11” vinyl set has now slipped to November 24. It also appears that this item will be in short supply from Sony.
Hidden tracks on “BS 11”: I’m not too sure that this qualifies in any way as “a hidden track”; it’s not as though you have to put in any detective work in to find it; simply stick the disc in your machine and it plays.
Nonetheless, it’s true to say that both the back of the slipcase and the track listing on page 39 of the “Basement Tapes” book list Disc 6 as containing 21 tracks. There is, however, a track 22 containing two part songs. The track, which runs for 2.27, contains part of a souped up, almost rock ‘n’ roll version of the trad. song ‘900 Miles’ (a song often associated with Woody Guthrie and Cisco Houston.) The other part song is an alternate take of ‘Confidential’, a song written by Dorinda Morgan and recorded by R&B artist Sonny Knight in 1956. Oddly enough, the first tracklisting I saw for “BS 11” stated that there were 139 tracks, but I then received the official tracklisting from Sony which listed only 138.
A rumour has begun to circulate that Bob has been in the studio recently. If true, I have no idea what he was doing there.
Finally, the highly respected (cough) weekly supermarket tabloid the National Enquirer reported last week that Bob Dylan was married secretly in 2012 but that he is now in the process of getting a divorce because his wife spent most of his estimated $180 million fortune without him knowing! If this sounds implausible, the Enquirer went on to allege that Dylan is now on the verge of bankruptcy. Although this all sounds far-fetched to say the least, it might explain the huge diamond ring(s) he was wearing a while back. Interestingly, the Enquirer webpage that originally featured this “story” has been down for several days.
Anyway, enough of that, back to work on the next issue of ISIS magazine. Ah, but before I go, I have a request: I’m about to start work on a project about the 1978 Blackbushe festival so if anyone has any information, short stories or anecdotes about the festival, or events leading up to the “Picnic”, I’d be pleased to hear from them. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
30 October 2014
Two blog entries in as many weeks! Yes, after a six months gap this is my second blog in two weeks. The reason for this one is because we are becoming inundated with enquiries as to whether we can fulfil all our orders for “Lyrics Since 1962”.
We understand that publisher Simon & Schuster received pre-sales for more than twice their total print run and that most U.K. retailers have only received a tiny fraction of their orders.
ISIS has been extremely fortunate to have received our full allocation and everyone who ordered “Lyrics: Since 1962” with us (and were told by us that they would receive a copy) will indeed do so. Unfortunately however, we have no spare copies.
We are working hard to parcel and dispatch “Lyrics: Since 1962” and all our customers should receive their copies by the publication date of November 6.
“Bootleg Series 11 – The Basement Tapes” has also arrived here at ISIS and again we have received all of our order. Everyone who ordered the 2-CD (Raw) or the 6-CD (Complete) “The Basement Tapes” from us should receive their orders by the release date of Monday November 3. Note: The vinyl LP version is not released until November 15.
Interestingly, copies of “BS 11” contain a flyer advertising the new Dylan album for 2015.
15 October 2014
I can’t believe it’s been a full six months since I wrote my last “occasional” ISIS blog!– time really is a Jet plane. A lot has happened since my last outing in April; much of which has been written about in ISIS 174 and 175, there are however a few upcoming items that are worth mentioning.
We have been asked repeatedly if the Victor Maymudes book, “Another Side of Bob Dylan”, will be available in the U.K and Europe. Published in the United States by St Martin’s Press on September 9, ISIS was informed that this title would not be published in the U.K. due to fears over libel laws. Nevertheless, after being read by a libel lawyer and found to be quite innocuous, the book has been given the go-ahead for publication outside of the United States. We were contacted with the price yesterday by the U.K. distributor and the book is now available to buy from the ISIS website HERE.
A full review of the Maymudes book will be published in the upcoming ISIS issue 176.
Whilst on the subject of books, a revised and updated edition of Sid Griffin’s truly excellent “Million Dollar Bash”, about Bob Dylan and the Basement Tapes will be published in November 2014.
Sid was invited over to Dylan’s New York City office this summer to hear the previously unreleased Basement recordings with a view to him writing the liner notes for “BS 11”, which he duly did. Armed with this insider information he has now completed the updates and revisions to his book originally published in 2007.
This revised edition, which will have an extra 13,000 words, will include all of the newly discovered “Basement Tapes” songs that will feature on “The Bootleg Series 11” plus the first batch of songs that will appear shortly on the first volume of the “Lost On The River Tapes”. Sid’s book is available to pre-order HERE.
And so to the “Lost On The River Tapes” album. Compiled from a collection of long-lost Dylan manuscripts from the legendary Basement Tapes era, the album, produced by T-Bone Burnett and recorded in March, 2014 at Capitol Studios in Hollywood, sounds like an interesting aside from all things truly Dylan. LISTEN HERE. Anyway, after finding ourselves down numerous blind alleys we finally have the U.K. release of this album on order with Island Records and have the deluxe CD and Vinyl editions available HERE.
With “BS 11”, “Lost On The River”, the Maymudes book, Sid Griffin’s “Million Dollar Bash” and “Lyrics: Since 1962” all due in the same month, November it’s going to be a busy time in the ISIS office! And before I forget, ISIS issue 176 is currently at the printer and should be mailed out to subscribers early next week.
On Tuesday October 21, ahead of the official release, “Classic Album Sundays” is hosting a special “The Basement Tapes 11” listening party at the celebrated classic rock venue, the Bag O’Nails in Soho, where Jimi Hendrix performed.
The evening will include a full play through of the original LP set on 180-gram vinyl (Mobile Fidelity) on Classic Album Sundays’ state-of-the-art hi-fi equipment. There will also be a preview of some of the previously unreleased recordings featured on the upcoming 6-CD deluxe edition.
Sid Griffin, writer of the album’s liner notes and author of “Million Dollar Bash”, will be on hand to relay the story behind Dylan’s legendary 1967 Red Room and Big Pink recordings. There will also be a Q&A session.
Tuesday, October, 21 (7 to 10 pm)
Bag O’Nails, 9 Kingly Street, London. W1B 5PH
Tickets: £10 online HERE and if available, £12 on the door.
Until now I had no intention of commenting about the self-declared “Islamic State”, either in the pages of ISIS Magazine or in this blog. Nevertheless, as the press seem obsessed with asking me questions regarding our name – last week BBC Radio Scotland and yesterday The Guardian newspaper HERE – I thought a response was probably overdue.
We have been trading under the ISIS name for 29 years and the Bob Dylan song from which our name is derived was written 39 years ago. The image of the Egyptian goddess, which we use as our logo, goes back to sometime during the 5th dynasty, about 2,400 BC. By comparison therefore, the barbaric Jihadist terrorist organization in Iraq and Syria are very much the newbie’s on the block.
Originally known as Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), after expanding into Syria in April 2013 the group adopted the name “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL), but were also known as “Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The name was however very short lived and on June 29, 2014 the group renamed itself as the “Islamic State” (IS). So, although the name ISIS was only in existence for just over a year and has now been abandoned completely, it seems that sections of our western media favour using the name. Nonetheless, to answer the reoccurring question, “Does ISIS Magazine have any intentions of changing its name”, is a resounding NO!
18 April 2014
I thought it was about time to update my occasional ISIS blog with a couple of bits of news. First of all, Tracy and I would like to wish all our subscribers – and everyone else for that matter – a very happy Easter holiday. On the subject of subscribers, we will be working for most of the holiday (ahhh) finishing off the new issue of ISIS magazine which is due to go to the printer directly after the holiday (Tuesday 22nd). If you haven’t subscribed for 2014, you can do so HERE. Talking about printers, I’m VERY pleased to say that my booklet, “As The Island Slowly Sank: Bob Dylan & the Isle of Wight Festivals”, arrived back yesterday and I’m extremely pleased with the way it’s turned out. We will be trying to envelope all of the orders over the weekend and should get them in the post on Tuesday. We have maybe underestimated the demand for this title; at the time of writing only 104 copies remain unsold! If you wish to order a copy, you can HERE.
As the Bob tour continues to roll on through Japan the feedback is that the shows are every bit as good and consistent as they were when he visited Europe, and especially Britain, at the end of last year. There are some on the Internet, many of whom probably haven’t seen these shows, who are complaining about the static set-lists. All that I can say is that I am happy to forgo the changing set-lists in return for the quality and care that Dylan is currently putting into his performances (the final night at the Royal Albert Hall last November was the best Bob performance I’ve seen in years). We have a great review of Bob’s nine-show Tokyo residency in the upcoming ISIS.
There is no further news regarding Bob recording a new album, although he has been in the studio to record his tribute song for the “Art of McCartney” album. It is rumoured (and I must stress this is only a rumour) that there will be a documentary about the making of the McCartney album and that all the contributing performers, with the exception of Bob Dylan, have consented to being interviewed about their choice of song.
I’ll sign off now and let you enjoy the Easter break.
22 January 2014
First and foremost, Tracy and I would like to wish all our readers a slightly belated but very happy New Year. My first blog of 2014 is a bit of a sales advert but before I get into that I should mention something about touring. Back on December 20, ISIS announced dates for 14 Bob Dylan concerts in Japan. Shortly after (Dec 29), we heard that three further concerts, one each in Tokyo, Sapporo and Nagoya, might be on the cards but since that time there has been no further news. We also said that shows are likely to take place in eastern and southern Europe in 2014 in countries not played in 2013. At the time the tour had not been finalised and although we hoped confirmation might come early in the New Year there is still no word.
We are currently working on the final ISIS magazine of the current subscription year. This should be out in about three weeks time; many thanks to those of you who have already renewed your subs for 2014.
There are currently three new items to mention, all of which are on sale in the ISIS store.
“Bob Dylan – The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration”
Staged at Madison Square Garden, New York in October 1992 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Bob Dylan’s first Columbia recording, “The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration” is to be released on March 3, 2014 in three formats, all with new bonus features.
The fully remastered 2-CD Deluxe Edition will include two previously unreleased bonus tracks from the concert’s rehearsal: Sinead O’Connor singing ‘I Believe In You’, which was not performed at the concert, and Eric Clapton’s rehearsal of ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right’.
The 2-DVD set and the Blu-ray release have been produced from a new High Definition 16:9 video master with remastered audio. Both versions will include 39 minutes of previously unreleased bonus material, including rehearsals, behind-the-scenes footage and interview material.
“From His Head To His Heart To His Hands”
As mention in ISIS 171, Michael Bloomfield is the subject of a career-spanning 3CD/1DVD box set anthology due for release in February 2014.
Produced by Al Kooper, “From His Head To His Heart To His Hands” contains many previously unreleased tracks including some Dylan. The three Dylan tracks mentioned are listed as a 6:35 instrumental version of ‘Like a Rolling Stone’, a 5:58 alternate, i.e. not the one included on “No Direction Home”, but the Chambers Brothers take of ‘Tombstone Blues’ and a live, 5:50, performance from the Warfield of ‘The Groom’s Still Waiting At The Altar’.
“The Spirit Of Radio”
This 3-CD box-set brings together three previously released titles: “Folksinger’s Choice”, “Studs Terkel’s Wax Museum” and the radio and TV broadcasts release, “Life And Life Only”. The three CD’s are as previously released, complete with liner notes, but are now bound together in a new outer package at a much reduced price.
Finally, those of you who have already ordered the 2001 Rome Press Conference CD will be pleased to hear that stock is expected to arrive next week.
That’s all for now,
9 October 2013
First off, Tracy has made some changes to the ISIS website, just a clean-up really. In any event it’s still a work in progress. You will notice that we now have a small range of non-Dylan CDs in stock.
Subscribers to ISIS will be pleased to know that the magazine is expected back from the printer this weekend.
Those of you who ordered your UK Dylan tickets via ISIS / Desolation Row will be receiving them very soon. John and Jane at Desolation Row are currently in the midst of sorting through these. John expects the first orders to be sent out towards the end of this week and mailings will continue over the following week.
The UK Promoter has asked John to inform concert goers that there is no support act for Blackpool or Glasgow. There will however be a support, at the moment unknown, for the RAH concerts.
We have a new Dylan related item up for sale on our website. “Portrait Of Dylan” is a single CD release along the same lines as “Bob Dylan & The Band’s Basement Tapes Influences”. As was the case with that release, “Portrait Of Dylan” is a collection of “original artists” songs that were covered by Dylan, this time during the recording sessions that eventually produced “Self Portrait”, “New Morning” and “Dylan”. The CD contains 28 tracks by a wide range of artists.
To accompany the recently released “Another Self Portrait BS10”, Columbia Records has gone mobile with an innovative app. As each track plays, an interactive collage of images and artefacts horizontally scrolls across the screen of your iPhone or iPad. Embedded in the scroll are links to unreleased images of Dylan, source material, such as session sheets, and newly conducted interviews with Dylan’s collaborators, including one with Al Kooper.
Columbia’s plan is to continue to release new material corresponding to all of the various bootleg series releases, which will update automatically into the app and unlock if the referenced music is present in a user’s iTunes account. All this stuff is way beyond me I’m afraid.
After weeks of speculation that some lost Doctor Who episodes have been located the BBC has now confirmed that a currently unspecified number of early episodes have been found and returned to them. It seems that the majority of the episodes of the BBC Television sci-fi series had been transferred on to film for foreign broadcasters and it appears that one such broadcaster may have found and returned these films to the BBC. BBC Worldwide is expected to confirm the find at a press conference in London later this week. I’ve never understood why the BBC couldn’t just send the Doctor back in his Tardis to a time before they junked the tapes!
What, you might ask, has this got to do with Bob Dylan? Well, although it might well be wishful thinking there is a rumour, and it’s only a rumour, that other missing 1960s television programmes are included in the find and “Dad’s Army” and “Madhouse on Castle Street” have been mentioned!
The British television play Madhouse on Castle Street, which featured the acting debut of 21 year old Bob Dylan, was aired just once by BBC Television on the evening of January 13 1963, as part of the Sunday Night Play strand.
The play was made with electronic video cameras, although recorded onto film rather than tape. The only known copy of the play was junked in 1968, as was the standard practice of the time, despite the fact that Dylan and lead actor David Warner were by then famous.
In 2005, the BBC launched a worldwide search for a copy of the film and in April 2007, BBC Four Arena broadcast a documentary about the making of the play featuring interviews with amongst others director Philip Saville and Dylan collector and regular ISIS contributor Ian Woodward. As the great man once said; only time will tell…
All the Best, Derek B.
3 September 2013
Announced a few days back, a third show, October 26, 2013, has been added on the upcoming European tour. The concert will be at the Tempodrom in Berlin, Germany.
Those of you who have “Face Value” on order with us will no doubt be pleased to learn that copies are due to be delivered to us tomorrow (September 3).
Kevin Ring, publisher of the excellent long running “Beat Scene” magazine, is about to publish a new chapbook. These small (circa 5,000-word) booklets are basically an essay in book form. Beat Scene Press’ latest title, “Bob Dylan in Jack Kerouac’s Lowell, 1975” – number 42 in their series of chapbooks and available mid September – might be of interest to hardened Dylan collectors. This title, which is available in a limited issue of 100 numbered copies, is now available to pre-order from ISIS.
One final thing; not wishing to oversell, we pulled the Michael Krogsgaard “Twenty Years of Recording” and “Master of the Tracks” special limited offer books down from our website. Having now completed the mailing out of these books (see previous item, below!) we have a handful left (2 pairs of “Twenty Years of Recording” and “Master of the Tracks”; 2 single “Master of the Tracks”, and half-dozen marked copies of “Twenty Years of Recording”. Due to the fact that these numbers are so limited we are only accepting telephone orders on a first come first severed basis (02476 – 749501).
26 August 2013
What We Did On Our Bank Holiday
(With Apologies to Fairport Convention)
It’s been a busy week at ISIS HQ. The latest issue of ISIS arrived back from our new printer on Tuesday so we had a hard day of enveloping and mailing the magazine. Wednesday saw the arrival of “Another Self Portrait” from Sony, and a very stylish looking package it is too. Although I’ve always had a soft spot for “Self Portrait”, these pre-overdub versions are a real joy to behold and Bob’s voice is just beautiful! Some of Bob Johnson’s overdubs and production worked on the original album but I’ve almost always had a preference for a stripped down Bob of any type and I certainly don’t miss the irritating female vocals on the likes of ‘Copper Kettle’!
Anyway, we finished packing and mailing those on Thursday just in time to unload the transport from Copenhagen carrying the copies of “Twenty Years of Recording” and “Master of the Tracks” which Michael Krogsgaard had very kindly donated to ISIS. Unavailable for more than a decade and highly collectable, these newly discovered copies have been numbered and signed by Michael especially for ISIS. So, with so many books to pack and mail out that’s Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday taken care of! With “Character Sketches” also due in this week and “Counting Down Bob Dylan: His 100 Finest Songs” not far behind, it looks like we’ll be up to our eyes in book wraps and parcel tape for a while longer.
To my great surprise I got a message from Sony on Saturday morning informing me that they had suddenly “found” a few more copies of the 4-CD “BS 10 – Another Self Portrait” Deluxe box set and that we would now be receiving a second delivery!!! Many of you will probably have managed to find copies by now but if anyone is still in need of a Deluxe copy we now have a few more available, or will have by the middle of the week. Due to the fact that we don’t have many of these we are only accepting telephone orders (02476 – 749501).
Finally, although we don’t yet have confirmation, we are hearing that “Bob Dylan: The Complete Album Collection” could be with us in early November, in time for the Christmas market. There is also a possibility that Sony might release a “condensed” version (Maybe Bob Dylan: The Incomplete Album Collection. Just joking), to meet the Dad and Granddad Christmas market. Okay, that’s about all for now; back to packing those Krogsgaard books.
16 August 2013
With everything that has been happening in ISIS land of late I’ve not had time to think about a blog never mind write one! Anyway, here is a quick update on what’s been happening.
As our subscribers will know over the past few months we have been hit by an extraordinary run of extreme bad luck. Many of you have responded to our recent plight by sending donations. You have been extremely generous. It’s certainly a great pleasure working with and being part of this Bob Dylan community. Thank you one and all. The names of those who have donated so far will appear in the upcoming issue of ISIS. The most pressing problem has been finding a new print company to work with after the sudden demise of our long-time printer, Centreprint UK. This has been a monumental headache for us but it’s now all systems go and the latest ISIS, issue 169, should be back from our new printer and mailed out to subscribers on Monday August 19.
Many of you will already be aware of the supply problems surrounding “The Bootleg Series Volume 10 – Another Self Portrait”. As stated in our July newsletter, the 4-CD Deluxe Box Set and the vinyl LPs are extremely limited and Sony (certainly Sony UK), appear to have oversold by huge amounts. Sellers have, therefore, had their orders cut and outside of the U.S. there has been a frantic scramble to get hold of copies, especially the 4-CD set. I notice that one eBay seller is already asking £135 for the vinyl set and it’s not even released yet!
Anyway, staying with “The Bootleg Series Volume 10” but on a more positive note, our New York correspondent Anne Margaret Daniel has written an extremely detailed track-by-track review of “Another Self Portrait” and the bonus Isle of Wight disc. Anne Margaret’s review for ISIS Magazine includes an interview with Happy Traum.
OTHER NEWS: Thanks to the kindness of Michael Krogsgaard, some new original copies of “Twenty Years of Recording” and “Master of the Tracks” are being made available exclusively through ISIS Magazine!
Unavailable for a decade or more, ISIS is extremely pleased to be able again to offer these books for sale!! Although these two volumes have now been superseded by other works, they remain highly collectable and sought after. These titles rarely come up for sale and when they do, used copies often sell for three figure sums.
To make these books even more collectable, these newly discovered copies are being stamped, numbered and signed by Michael Krogsgaard. Both books are currently limited to 75 numbered copies. Order now, only from ISIS.
ISIS broke the news back in May that the National Portrait Gallery, London would be exhibiting 12 portraits by Bob Dylan. The London exhibit, which is called “Bob Dylan: Face Value”, is confirmed as running from August 24, 2013 to January 5, 2014. The display will be part of the Contemporary Collection displays in Room 40, on the Ground Floor Lerner Galleries in the National Portrait Gallery, London. Admission is free of charge.
The 48-page book which accompanies the exhibition and features all 12 works plus “comparatives” and text is already on sale through ISIS. Publication date is September 2.
Finally, on October 3, 2013 (19:00-20:00), award-winning political journalist and author of the latest Dylan biographies, Ian Bell, will be giving a lecture entitled “Once Upon a Time: The Lives of Bob Dylan”. The talk will be in the Ondaatje Wing Theatre. Free ticket required, available to book in advance.
News Update (6 April 2013)
For various reasons it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here so today I’m going to play a bit of catch up. ISIS magazine was mailed out on Thursday April 4. It should arrive with most of our UK subscribers today, Saturday, or at worst early next week. We are also pleased to say that we have now received copies of Bob Dylan’s “Revisionist Art” book which were also mailed to customers mid last week. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with this book. It’s a very nice looking item which has been put together with a great deal of thought and the presentation and finish is superb.
It was with deep regret that I heard last week that the “The Godfather of Rock Criticism” Paul Williams had passed away.
In January 1966, a year-and-a-half before Jann Wenner founded Rolling Stone, Paul Williams, at the time a 17-year-old student at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, launched the first journal of serious rock criticism, “Crawdaddy!”. The mimeographed magazine was solely written, edited and published by Paul in his dorm room. Over time “Crawdaddy!” reached a circulation of some 25,000.
Williams was also the author of more than 25 books, of which the best-known are “Outlaw Blues”, “Das Energi”, and the three-part “Bob Dylan: Performing Artist” series. In 1979, Paul wrote the book, “Dylan: What Happened?” about Bob Dylan’s conversion to Christianity. Famously, Dylan’s office ordered 114 copies of the book because Dylan wanted to give them out to friends.
I interviewed Paul for ISIS in the summer of 1990 and he also contributed several columns to the magazine during the mid-1990s. Perhaps surprisingly, the last time I talked with Paul face to face was in March 1995 when we spent some time together in Prague. We were there for the opening concerts of Dylan’s European tour at the Palác kultury.
Back home in the USA and shortly after the ’95 Prague concerts, Paul suffered an accident riding his bicycle and was hospitalized for a month with a brain injury. He recovered, but later began to show signs of early-onset dementia brought on by the accident. Paul suffered a steady decline to the point where his wife, singer-songwriter Cindy Lee Berryhill, had no choice but to put him in a managed-care facility in Encinitas, Calif., in 2008. Paul Williams died on March 27, 2013. He was age 64.
Cindy Lee Berryhill, made a short post to Facebook about Paul’s passing: “Rock-writer Paul S Williams, author and creator of CRAWDADDY magazine, (and my husband), passed away last night 10:30pm PST while his oldest son was holding his hand and by his side. It was a gentle and peaceful passing”.
There will be a full and fitting tribute to Paul in ISIS issue 168.
On Friday April 5, 2013 the UK arm of US restructuring specialist Hilco secured a deal to rescue HMV, Britain’s last remaining high street music retail chain. The news will be extremely welcomed by both the UK music industry and music enthusiasts.
Hilco, which acquired HMV Canada almost two years ago, is reported to have purchase 132 HMV shops and all nine branches of the Fopp chain from collapsed group’s administrators Deloitte. The purchase could save more than 2,600 high street jobs.
The 92-year-old iconic UK retailer, famous for its Nipper the dog trademark, had a hand in the Beatles’ big break in early 1960s, recommending the band’s demo record to publishers.
Bob Dylan kicked off his touring for 2013 last evening (April 5) with a concert at Alumni Arena, SUNY Buffalo, New York. Perhaps fittingly, the show opened with ‘Things Have Changed’. As expected, veteran guitarist Duke Robillard has joined the tour band. Robillard has replaced Charlie Sexton on lead guitar. The remainder of the band remains unchanged.
The early reports that have arrived here are that Bob was either centre stage or was playing the baby grand. There was no guitar and no electric keyboard, although the Korg keyboard was on stage in its usual position. In actual fact, Bob appeared to be drifting away from playing the electric keyboard during the November 2012 tour. I’m told that Bob’s vocals were extremely good and that his singing really shone on ‘Scarlet Town’ and ‘What Good Am I?’. The setlist looks very interesting.
April 5, 2013, Buffalo, New York – SUNY Buffalo Alumni Arena
Things Have Changed / Love Sick / High Water (For Charley Patton) / Soon After Midnight / Early Roman Kings / Tangled Up In Blue / Pay In Blood / Visions Of Johanna / Spirit On The Water / Blind Willie McTell / Beyond Here Lies Nothin’ / What Good Am I? / Thunder On The Mountain / Scarlet Town / Highway 61 Revisited / Ballad Of A Thin Man
Happy New Year
A happy New Year from Tracy and me. We are pretty much snowed in here at the moment so I am taking this opportunity to write a somewhat overdue blog. We are currently in the final stages of putting the next ISIS to bed. We hope to get it into the printer in the next few days and have it mailed out before the end of January. That issue, 166, will be the final magazine of the 2012 subscription year.
A number of people have enquired why ISIS has not yet commented about the emergence of “Bob Dylan – The 50th Anniversary Collection”. The answer is simply that I was away on a Christmas / New Year break in France when this item was announced by Sony (December 28, 2012) and by the time I returned to the office (January 7) it was already old news! By January 7 the physical product had come and gone (all 100 of them) and the download, which had been made available only in France and Germany, had been taken down by Sony. From what I gather, the download was only accessible in these two countries from December 28 to January 1.
Also by January 7 Rolling Stone magazine and New York Times had written about Sony’s so called copyright extension release, both using official quotes from Sony representatives. For once therefore, ISIS had missed the scoop. Through our “Dylan Digest” – Breaking News page we pride ourselves in generally being first with all the important news; you can’t however win them all!
Nevertheless, far from ignoring this topic, I have written a lengthy three-part 7,500-word article about the Public Domain in general, Dylan recordings that have been made available as Public Domain releases, and a detailed look at “Bob Dylan – The 50th Anniversary Collection”.
We have no firm news re touring in 2013 other than the report in ISIS last year that talks have taken place with a Japanese promoter and that dates there, and possibly elsewhere in the Far East, may take place in spring/summer 2013.
For now, keep one eye open for your post person and if you haven’t yet re-subscribed to ISIS don’t forget to do so.
If like me you are watching the snow get deeper by the minute then in the words of the late and much-lamented John Bauldie, “Stay Warm”.
Best wishes to everyone, Derek Barker.
Bootleg Series 10 Release
Quite some time ago, it was hinted that Dylan’s people wanted to rehabilitate “Dylan”, the 1973 album that Columbia put out when Dylan left them for Asylum Records.
A little later (October 22, 2012), ISIS suggested that recording sessions from 1969 / 1970 were being considered. In particular, we had heard mention of “Self Portrait” sessions.
More recently, the rumours have focused on “stripped down” material from “Self Portrait” – that is, recordings from the “Self Portrait” sessions but without the overdubs and, what we might call, the peripheral stuff. Some of these tracks could be previously unreleased outtakes, while other tracks previously released material but without the overdubs. Our various sources, quite separately, seem excited by this prospect.
A recast version of “Self Portrait” seems unlikely to constitute a double-CD Bootleg Series release. Nevertheless, there would certainly be many recordings from the period on which to draw for such a Bootleg Series release.
Finally, we should point out that Dylan’s staff are apparently working on a number of different projects at the moment, that everything is subject to change (even at the last minute) and that the final decision will not rest with executives at Sony.
Touring In 2013 (03 December 2012)
Over the past month or so there has been some Internet chatter about whether Bob Dylan will continue touring in 2013! Not rumours, just idle speculation. My information is that Dylan’s people have for quite some time been talking to Japanese promoter Udo re concerts there in 2013
As reported in ISIS at the time, Dylan was interested in touring Japan in 2011, but the local promoter felt that it was not the right time to do so.
For some months, Dylan’s people have been looking at several options but a tour of Japan now seems the most likely to come to fruition. Any tour there would almost certainly be in “Zepp” concert venues. The Zepp halls play host to many international tours of Japan and Dylan has previously played these venues. Each venue takes the Zepp name, along with the city in which it is located. Zepp is a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment Japan.
Dylan is rumoured to be performing at Zepp Tokyo, Zepp Nagoya, and Zepp Sapporo. Osaka has also been mentioned, however, the Zepp Theatre in Osaka has recently closed, so a concert in this city would have to be in another venue. There is a possibility of 10 shows in all. The capacity of the venues range from Nagoya, 1800 to Tokyo, 2700
Most of the other tour news is with regard to shows that will not take place! Some excitement was created a couple of days ago when it was “announced” that Dylan would play a summer festival in Carhaix, France. Information that Dylan would play in Carhaix in 2013 was posted on the “Fnac” website. Tickets were said to be on sale on December 5.
As soon as I was sent this information alarm bells began ringing. Firstly, touring for Spring 2013 has not yet been announced and secondly, it is most unusual (maybe even unprecedented?) for Dylan to play the same festival two years running. In any event, it transpires that Fnac had somehow managed to post a listing containing last year’s acts!
Over the past couple of weeks there has been publicity that Dylan could headline an event called “50th Anniversary Bob Dylan Folk Festival”. Reported in “Brandeis Hoot” (Brandeis University’s Community Newspaper) the event, the brainchild of student organisers, would be held in the 2013 Spring semester to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dylan’s 1963 concert there
However, the same student paper has now announced that Dylan’s booking price, nearly $300,000, would hamper the net finances of the university. It seems the event will still go ahead, but without Bob Dylan!!
No further news is available with regard to touring in 2013, and it is unlikely that we will hear anything further until the beginning of next year. However, it is rumoured that the UK and mainland Europe may be in the mix for autumn 2013. Summer festivals, either in Europe or the USA, are always under consideration. One thing is for certain, Bob Dylan will be back on the road in 2013.
NOTE: Tomorrow, Tuesday December 4, we’ll post information regarding “The Bootleg Series Vol. 10”.
More on Gagosian BabyTalk
Shortly after writing my Gagosian Gallery blog, I was sent a news clipping by Wiebke Dittmer. The clipping had appeared on a blog by Scott Warmuth. The newspaper article is about the Canadian midget wrestler Lionel Giroux, best known by his ring name Little Beaver. Giroux, who began his wrestling career in 1950, was forced to retire in 1987, at the age of 52, after suffering a back injury in the ring. Giroux died on December 4, 1995 of emphysema.
Babytalk (with a small “t”) is a genuine magazine. Launched in 1935 as a supplement, it is America’s oldest baby magazine. Unlike Bob Dylan’s “Vietnam” Life cover, which merely had text added to a genuine Life cover, it appears that Dylan has “designed” his “spoof” BabyTalk magazine cover from scratch.
I can’t find another version of the Little Beaver photograph online, so it seems likely that Dylan has added colour to the black and white image as well as reinstating the cropped parts of the wrestler’s arms. It seems he’s discovered the delights of “Photoshop”.
We await with interest the unveiling of the remaining 29 creations. Are they all magazine covers? Maybe Bob will produce a spoof ISIS cover!
Another Side Of Dylan’s Art At Gagosian
We would have got this information up earlier today (01 Nov 2012) but we’ve had major problems with updating our website. These things are way beyond my comprehension but what I do know is that Tracy gave up smoking six weeks ago and almost took up the habit again after today!
We mentioned in ISIS quite some time back that Dylan would have another art exhibition at Gagosian Gallery, New York in November 2012. In actual fact, this had slipped my mind but as the month of November came rushing in, perhaps blown along by the horrifying winds of Sandy, Gagosian, Madison Avenue, presented us with a small taste of what’s to come.
The exhibition, entitled “Revisionism”: Thirty New Works by Bob Dylan, will run from Wednesday, November 28, 2012 to Saturday, January 12, 2013. It is Dylan’s second exhibition at the space in a little over a year. One piece of artwork, “Baby Talk Magazine: Strengthen Your Baby (2011–12)” is displayed on the Gagosian Gallery website. From the look of this (cough) artwork, it would appear that the Life Magazine cover that was previously seen (by mistake?) at Gagosian might have been a precursor to this latest exhibition. As these pieces of art appear to be straight reproductions of magazine covers with perhaps a little added, I guess there won’t be much of an opportunity for the “Wussies and pussies” to accuse Dylan of plagiarism.
Best wishes to all our friends and subscribers on the American East Coat.
The Bootleg Series Volumes 10 & 11!
Subscribers to the ISIS Magazine “Dylan In-Between” Newsletter will no doubt have read the following news:
Under the heading “Black Friday Records” we previously mentioned that a special release of ‘Duquesne Whistle’ will be on sale in the US for the November Record Store Day.
Much interest (and, indeed, much speculation) has concerned the B-side, which was announced as a previously unreleased version of ‘Meet Me In The Morning’.
In the past, there have been rumours that this song was recorded at the December 1974 sessions for “Blood On The Tracks” in Minneapolis. The version on the Record Store Day single, however, will in fact come from the New York sessions.
When the RSD 7-inch disc was announced, ‘Meet Me In The Morning’ was said to be taken from “The Bootleg Series Volume 11”. This is what the official Record Store Day website had to say about the release:–
“‘Duquesne Whistle’ appears on “Tempest”. B-side is a previously unreleased version of ‘Meet Me In The Morning’ from the “Blood on the Tracks” sessions and is a forthcoming track from “The Bootleg Series Volume 11”.”
This write-up was very quickly amended and now omits any mention of “The Bootleg Series 11”, but where did the Record Store Day people get their information from?
Given that “The Witmark Demos” constituted Volume 9 in the series, this caused a few raised eyebrows. In an attempt to lower those eyebrows, ISIS has made some enquiries.
A little digging confirmed, as I imagined, that Sony, New York had given the information to the good people Record Store Day and yes, ‘Meet Me In The Morning’ is definitely taken from “The Bootleg Series Volume 11”. As to Volume 10, no concrete information was forthcoming from Sony.
For some time, there have been strong rumours that there will be a “Blood On The Tracks” release, based around the withdrawn version of the album that used only the New York session recordings. Beyond repeating that rumour, ISIS will speculate no further. Nevertheless, the Sony/RSD slip-up would seem to confirm this.
Meanwhile, there is the question of “Bootleg 10”. Official lips remain tightly sealed on this subject.
Nevertheless, it is my understanding that the “Bootleg Series Volume(s) 10 & 11” will not be simultaneous or combined releases (as in “The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3”), as suggested elsewhere.
“The Bootleg Series Volume 10” could be with us as soon as the first half of next year and it will not be one of the usual longstanding rumours, i.e. “Blonde On Blonde” outtakes, the Supper Club or a “Hard Rain” DVD.
Although we have not received official information regarding this release, we understand that the powers that be are considering something from the 1969/70 period.
We think we know what this might be, but ISIS is not willing to speculate further at this point.
Much has already been written about “Tempest” in the press and ISIS has two lengthy reviews of the album in issue 164, which is currently at the printer and due to be mailed out to subscribers on Monday, September 17. All I’ll say here therefore is that from the very first play I thought it was a knockout! A tour de force! And after a dozen plays I can’t see any reason to change my way of thinking. “Tempest” hangs together extremely well as a complete work– you could almost call it a concept album. To my ears there isn’t a weak track in evidence.
For those who want to read more about “Tempest” right now, Jeff Daily has written “A Chronicle of Anticipation” which we have posted elsewhere on the ISIS website and our Facebook page has many more thoughts on the subject.
The Sony hype machine has been working overtime to promote Bob this time round. Sneak previews, an MP3 single, video, free iTunes streaming and even pop-up stores in NYC, LA and London.
On Thursday 5, less than 24 hours before their Dylan “Tempest” promotion was due to start, the Dussmann store in Berlin still had no idea if they would be receiving signed copies of “Tempest” so people hoping to travel, in some case long distances, were left hanging. As one might have predicted, when the store opened on Friday morning nothing was delivered. Disappointed customers were told the CDs would arrive on Friday afternoon, but again they didn’t. Some of the lucky ones who persevered were eventually rewarded with a silver ink signed CD copy of “Tempest”. Thanks to Sony Germany, the Dussmann store also gave away free Dylan T-shirts with “Fifty Years of Music” on the front and “And 34 Years of Berlin Concerts” on the back. Nice touch.
It had to happen, but some individuals have already put copies of the signed CDs up for sale on eBay. The first one I spotted (bought from the LA store) was up for grabs for a mere $2,999.99. Another seller, also from LA has now listed a copy for the exact same price. A third copy has now appeared, again on eBay, but this time from London, for a slightly more realistic price of £500. My understanding is that there were a total of just 60 available from the four “Tempest” outlets. Mind you, Bob Dylan signatures ain’t what they used to be. By my calculations there are now a staggering 19,075 signed prints in the “Drawn Blank Series Limited Edition Graphics” collection. This brings a whole new meaning to the term “limited
Strange Tempest coins, also available from pop-up shops.
The Worst Of Times – John Hume Rest In Peace
I’ve just returned from a week away so I am only now able to update this site with the extremely sad news that John Hume passed away in his sleep July 26-27, 2012.
Last week began badly for me as 10 minutes before Tracy and I were due to leave home for a week away I somehow managed to fall down stairs! I bounced off several walls, went round the corner of the dog-leg staircase, and came to rest on top of 10,000 plastic ISIS mailers. My ankle had made a sickening crunching sound during the fall and I was convinced it was broken. Luckily, it was not. In retrospect, I think someone was trying to tell me not to go away. I didn’t heed the call.
After 48 hours away I got a telephone call to say that my mother had been taken into hospital. She was dying, and although it was half expected (having been ill for some time), the news was still shocking.
Another 48 anxious hours passed and I received a message from Dylan fan Steinar Daler that John Hume had died.
I’m sick of writing obituaries and I’m only going to say a few words here. When I’ve got my head straight I’ll put together a celebration of John’s life for publication in next ISIS magazine. Messages of sympathy were quickly posted on the ISIS Facebook page and on the Expecting Rain Discussion Forum.
John had spent a week in the cardiac unit of a Belfast Hospital and had undergone what he described as a “small op on the arteries close to the heart”. He returned for tests and was given the all clear. John emailed me to say that although he would need an extra suitcase to carry all of the medication he was now on he was fit enough to attend a reduced number of concerts on Dylan’s European tour.
John went to those concerts and then decided to take a break in Norway at the home of fellow Dylan fan and long-time close friend Knut. It was there he died in his sleep.
Our deepest sympathies go to Valeria, John’s mother, Knut, Steinar and all others close to John.
John Hume – I’ll Remember You.
Love, Derek and Tracy Barker.
There still seems to be much confusion as to the validity of the Alan Bumstead review.
We can confirm 100% that the review is fake.
Surrounded By Fakery, or “Tempest Over Interstate 80”
Because the deluge of emails coming in to ISIS asking questions about the Alan Bumstead review of “Tempest”, here are just a few comments from me.
I’m fairly certain that review copies of the album have not yet been sent out.
A review copy on vinyl !!!
The catalogue number looks totally wrong!
Take a close look at the centre of the LP label(s)– it’s actually a CD!!!
I could go on but I won’t.
A Few Random Thoughts On “Tempest” (July 17, 2012)
I won’t go into great detail here, there is plenty of time for that anon.
The album title is interesting in itself. The Tempest is of course a play by Willie the Shake and much has already been made of the fact that many consider it to be Shakespeare’s final play. On the other hand, maybe Bob borrowed the title from the 1997 bootleg release, “Tempest Storm”. After all, some of these bootleggers, they make pretty good stuff!
The cover image is clearly a close-up of one the world famous sculptures from in front of The Austrian Parliament Building in Vienna.
The statue shown on the cover is part of the Pallas Athena Fountain. The main standing sculpture is of the Greek goddess Athena. A multi talented lady, Athena is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, just warfare, strength, the arts and crafts and mathematics! Bob always did like mathematical songs!
The image used on the album cover is one of the sculptures at the base of the fountain. The figure, sculpted by Carl Kundmann, symbolizes the river Vltava.
The album opens with ‘Duquesne Whistle’, a song about the “Duquesne Works” steel mill, home to “Dorothy Six”, the largest blast furnace in the world.
The Works, located in the Pennsylvania steel town of Duquesne, was part of the Carnegie Steel Company (later U.S. Steel). Andrew Carnegie was of course the man responsible for the construction of New York’s Carnegie Hall complex, part of which, the Chapter Hall, played host to Bob Dylan’s first ever concert– Saturday, November 4, 1961 (see ISIS 160).
During the 1930s and ’40s, the town of Duquesne, which thrived because of the steel works, had more than 22,000 residents. After the decline of the steel industry – and the closure of the works in 1984 – the population plummeted to just over 5,000.
Dylan appears to have taken inspiration for his song from an article, “Business & Finance: Whistle”, TIME Magazine (Monday, June 26, 1933):–
“Pennsylvania steel town, twelve miles up the Monongahela River from Pittsburgh. For two years its 21,000 inhabitants watched the tires die in the blast furnaces one by one. Then for two more years the furnaces were cold. Duquesne called it Depression. One day last week, Duquesne whistles shrieked, Duquesne bells clanged…”
As indicated some time back, we had come by a number of rumours concerning “Tempest”, some we confirmed and printed, others we didn’t. One such rumour suggested that there would be a longish ballad that was in the vein of ‘Gypsy Davy’. Another mentioned that one song was inspired by Robert Burns. It was never too clear whether these two rumours were connected. In any event, Scarlet Town was the home of Barbara Allen.
The album’s title track, ‘Tempest’, is the long rumoured 14-minute song about the demise of the supposedly unsinkable British passenger liner RMS Titanic.
The album’s closing track, ‘Roll On John’, borrows its title from a traditional number that Dylan was known to perform back in 1962 (played on the Cynthia Gooding radio show, “Folksinger’s Choice”). The track on “Tempest” is, however, the John Lennon tribute mentioned in the June ISIS Newsletter.
The song quotes lines from several Beatles’ numbers, including ‘Come Together’ and ‘A Day In The Life’ (think ‘Tweeter And The Monkey Man’ and Dylan’s use of Springsteen lyrics). Although slightly veiled, Bob Dylan had previously written about John Lennon in the title track to his 1981 album “Shot Of Love”. The track was written shortly after Dylan met with Yoko Ono on January 8, 1981, a month after Lennon had been murdered by Mark David Chapman. At the Travemunde Press Conference (July 1981) Dylan said “He [Lennon] was actually shot by someone who supposedly loved him. But what kind of love is that? That’s fan love. That’s what hero worship can breed, if you worship a man in that kind of way”.
For the time being, that seems like a good place to leave things.
The 10-song 68-minute album will be released on September 11, 2012.
It will be available as a “standard” CD jewel case release; a “deluxe” CD release, possibly complete with a booklet, and as a 2-LP set.
1. Duquesne Whistle / 2. Soon After Midnight / 3. Narrow Way / 4. Long and Wasted Years / 5. Pay In Blood / 6. Scarlet Town / 7. Early Roman Kings / 8. Tin Angel / 9. Tempest / 10. Roll On John
Currently, Sony UK do not have prices for the album. As soon as the details are confirmed ISIS will take pre-release orders.
Citadel Music Festival, Berlin, Germany July 2, 2012
1. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (Bob on Korg keyboard) / 2. It Ain’t Me, Babe (Bob on guitar) / 3. Things Have Changed (Bob centre stage with harp) / 4. Tangled Up In Blue (Bob centre stage with harp) / 5. Cry a While (Bob centre stage with harp) / 6. She Belongs To Me (Bob centre stage with harp) / 7. Love Sick (Bob on grand piano) / 8. The Levee’s Gonna Break (Bob on grand piano) / 9. High Water (For Charley Patton) (Bob centre stage with harp, then grand piano) / 10. Desolation Row (Bob on grand piano) / 11. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on grand piano, Korg keyboard, back to grand piano) / 12. Simple Twist Of Fate (Bob on guitar) / 13. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on grand piano) / 14. Ballad Of a Thin Man (Bob centre stage with harp) / 15. Like a Rolling Stone (Bob on grand piano / 16. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on grand piano) / 17. (encore) Blowin’ In The Wind (Bob on grand piano, then centre stage with harp)
A full 17-song set last night in Berlin, the encore being ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’. Any talk that the baby grand might have been borrowed from another Hop Farm act was dispelled. Bob played piano on nine songs but on a couple of songs he also moved between piano and keyboard, and piano and harp on the same number. There were six song changes from Hop Farm. The probability is that last night’s concert set the tone for the rest of the tour but any major changes will be noted here.
Hop Farm Festival June 30, 2012
This, the first concert of Bob Dylan’s Summer tour of Europe, began with Stu Kimball strolling onto the stage playing a rather bluesy guitar riff. Kimball’s appearance, a couple of minutes ahead of scheduled start time, combined with the absence of the usual Al Santos pre-concert spoken introduction (the first time since I can’t remember when– 2002 I think), caught many Dylan watchers by surprise. The rest of the band followed with Dylan taking up his customary position behind the now familiar electric Korg keyboard. Proceedings began as they had at the Spring concerts with ‘Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat’. This was a noticeably laidback rendition. Bob then moved centre stage to play his Rick Kelly eagle-head Strat on ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’. Bob laid down his guitar and performed the next three songs, ‘Things Have Changed’ (nice version), ‘Tangled Up In Blue’, and ‘Cry a While’ (reworked), centre stage with harp. So far, this was pretty much standard fare. For the next number, however, Bob took a seat at the grand piano which stood centre stage and from there on in the mood of the concert was altered. For the next 11 songs (the remainder of what was probably a slightly a truncated “festival” set), Bob did not return either to the guitar or to the Korg keyboard). Instead, he spent a total of eight songs on grand piano and a further three centre stage with harp. The one song that you would have thought would benefit from being performed at the piano, ‘Ballad Of a Thin Man’, was instead one of the three played centre stage with harp. Seemingly, Bob is not yet ready to move away from atmospheric echo-laden version just yet.
Overall though, the Hop Farm set had a lighter feel to it than of late. Those who complained about the supposed excess volume of last year’s out-and-out rock concerts will no doubt be delighted with the new sound. Not able to trade guitar licks with Bob, Charlie Sexton took something of a back seat compared with previous shows.
With nine of the 16 songs performed seated, several people complained to me that they couldn’t see Bob. However, that was probably made worse by the fact that this was a festival crowd. In any event, Bob was animated, the voice was strong, the weather good and the crowd mostly enthusiastic. ‘Can’t Wait’ was a great performance. Tonight’s set closed with the now obligatory ‘All Along The Watchtower’, in the middle of which, Bob made the band introductions! There was no encore. The burning question – which will be answered tonight in Berlin, Germany – is, does the grand piano belong to Bob, or was it borrowed from another performer– Randy Crawford?
Thanks to those who emailed their thoughts.
1. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (Bob on Korg keyboard) 2. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue (Bob on guitar) 3. Things Have Changed (Bob centre stage with harp) 4. Tangled Up In Blue (Bob centre stage with harp) 5. Cry a While (Bob canter stage with harp) 6. Love Sick (Bob on grand piano) 7. Ballad Of Hollis Brown (Bob centre stage with harp) 8. Spirit On The Water (Bob on grand piano) 9. High Water (For Charley Patton) (Bob centre stage with harp) 10. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall (Bob on grand piano) 11. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on grand piano) 12. Can’t Wait (Bob on grand piano) 13. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on grand piano) 14. Ballad Of AaThin Man (Bob centre stage with harp) 15. Like a Rolling Stone (Bob on grand piano) 16. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on grand piano)
Muttering Small Talk At The Wall
That Sinking Feeling – Bob’s New Album
Much of the talk in Dylan circles at the moment is about a new Bob Dylan studio album. Although we mentioned this in our “Dylan Digest” page back in early March 2012, very little news has since been forthcoming. It was leaked on the Internet that Uncut’s Alan Jones would get to hear the album week commencing May 14, but it’s not certain that such a listening session took place. We understand, however, that New York and London listening session for Sony executives have taken place.
The heading to our previous entry, “That Sinking Feeling”, would also have been appropriate for this piece. We wrote about Bob Dylan’s gaff schooner Water Pearl way back in ISIS 87 (November 1999). We had been sent a postcard entitled “The Launching of Bob Dylan’s ‘Water Pearl’ Bequia West Indies” that had been made from a painting by long-time Bequia habitué, Sam McDowell. The painting was made in 1979 while the postcard (re-printed in ISIS 87, page 39) was first printed in 1997.
We wrote about the circumstances in which the boat sank in a recent issue of ISIS (156, June 2011). The information had appeared in the May 2011 issue of “Classic Boat”. Chris Bowman, who was in the small Grenadine island of Bequia in the early ’70s, built a very nice 40/45ft local-type sloop. She was so nice that Bob Dylan financed Bowman to build Water Pearl of Bequia, a 65-70ft gaff schooner with topmasts on both masts. It seems that Bowman sailed her around the Caribbean for three or four years and had ironed out all of the bugs. He was on his way to the Pacific for a long cruise “financed by Bob Dylan” when disaster struck. En route, Bowman approached the Panama Canal at about 4am. Instead of heaving to and waiting for dawn, he tried to enter the harbour, missed the entrance and piled up on the beach. It seems that he could not organize a salvage tug in time and the Water Pearl slowly broke up over six days.
Anyway, all of this leads me to the recent discovery of another rather nice picture of Water Pearl, different from the one previously printed in ISIS.
Photo from Vanishing Sail Project
Been On The Job Too Long
Derek Barker (2008)
I was in the throes of putting the finishing touches to my book, “The Songs He Didn’t Write: Bob Dylan Under The Influence”, when the much talked about (often for all the wrong reasons) “Tell Tale Signs” arrived at my door. With a publisher’s deadline to meet, the tracks of immediate interest were the cover songs that were new to me: ‘32-20 Blues’, ‘Mary And The Soldier’ and ‘Duncan And Brady’. In the end ‘32-20 Blues’ and ‘Mary And The Soldier’ would both disappoint. Perhaps it’s the repetitive guitar pattern on ‘32-20 Blues’, or maybe it’s simply that the guitar dominates the mix, especially when compared with Robert Johnson’s original recording. ‘Mary And The Soldier’ is a fine song and I can’t quite put my finger on why it doesn’t excite me more. The guitar on this one is so similar to ‘Love Henry’ that I doubt both tracks should have made it onto the same album, and of the two, Bob certainly made the right choice in retaining ‘Love Henry’.
Anyway, the infamous disc three, which coincidentally contained two of the three tracks I needed to hear, was too tantalizing to resist. So, I popped it into my CD player and sat back to listen. Wow! This was not the ‘Duncan And Brady’ that I expected, or indeed the one I was familiar with from live performances. This studio take, driven by David Bromberg’s slide guitar and Richard Crooks’ drumming, with some lovely organ fills from Christopher Cameron, is a revelation. Track two on disc three of “Tell Tale Signs” is a truly remarkable version of ‘Cold Iron Bound’. However, this would have to wait as I hit and re-hit the replay button for repeats of ‘Duncan And Brady’. For me, this stunning studio outtake alone is worth the (very expensive) price of admission to “Tell Tale Signs”. What follows therefore is a short examination of this intriguing song, the majority of which is taken from my book “The Songs He Didn’t Write”.
Duncan And Brady (Traditional)
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
Up comes Brady in a ‘lectric car,
Got a mean look all ‘round his eye,
Gonna shoot somebody jus’ to see them die.
A stunning version of this song was recorded by Bob Dylan during the aborted “Good As I Been To You” album sessions which took place in Acme Recording Studios, Chicago in June 1992 with David Bromberg producing. It is this track that was released in October 2008 on the rarities compilation album “The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Bob Dylan: Tell Tale Signs: Rare And Unreleased 1989-2006”.
Dylan has performed this song in concert many times, the first instance being November 17, 1999 at University Of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire. The song was played forty-eight times in 2000, twenty-four times in 2001 and nine times in 2002. The last performance of the song thus far was on September 1, 2002, at the Janus Jazz Festival in Aspen, Colorado.
It is difficult to identify exactly where Dylan learned the song. An early printing, entitled ‘Brady’, appeared in Carl Sandburg’s 1927 “American Songbag”. One of the earliest recordings was by Lead Belly, but this version definitely is not Dylan’s source. Likewise, New Riders of the Purple Sage, John Koerner and the Grateful Dead can also be discounted. The main contenders are therefore Dave Van Ronk, who released the song on “Dave Van Ronk Sings Ballads, Blues And a Spiritual” (1959) and Tom Rush, who included the song on his 1963 album “Got a Mind To Ramble”. These two recordings have almost identical lyrics and are quite similar to the lyrics performed by Dylan.
Van Ronk says he learned the song from Paul Clayton whose version is entitled ‘Been On The Job Too Long’. In turn, Clayton says that he learned it from a copy of a Wilmer Watts record that he found while collecting songs in Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky.
Although some of the “facts” have been altered, there is no doubt that the song ‘Duncan And Brady’ portrays an actual event. The incident happened on Monday, October 6, 1890 in the Charles Starkes Saloon at 715 North 11th Street in St Louis. A fight broke out in the bar but, when police attended, the brawl turned into a gunfight and police backup was called. One of the officers, Patrolman James Brady, was hit by gunfire and died. Harry Duncan was arrested for the murder but he reportedly claimed his innocence, insisting that the shot was fired by the owner of the bar, Charles Starkes. Duncan filed a series of appeals that took his case all the way to the US Supreme Court. Duncan’s appeal was dismissed and he was subsequently hanged on July 27, 1894. According to some, Charles Starkes would later confess to the murder on his deathbed. Most versions of the song depict Brady as a corrupt officer who, to use Dylan’s phrasing, had “been on the job too looooong”.
The opening verse, which has Officer Brady arriving on the scene by ‘lectric car, is both intriguing and inaccurate. The first electric vehicle in the USA was designed in 1891. It ran, as a test on the streets of Chicago in late 1892 and production began in 1895. It was around 1900 before the vehicles began appearing on the streets in the form of taxicabs and ambulances.
It is a matter of fact that the affray at Charles Starkes’ Saloon occurred on October 6, 1890, a year before the first electric vehicle was invented and a full five years before production began. It would have been impossible therefore for Officer Brady to have attended the incident in his ‘lectric car. (This is probably a remarkable coincidence, but it is interesting that one of the first automobiles to be driven in Manhattan was an electric car purchased by a man named “Diamond” Jim Brady).
My research indicates that the song ‘Duncan And Brady’ was probably written at around the time of Brady’s murder (1890) or possibly shortly after Harry Duncan was hung (1894) and that the original song did not include what is now commonly the opening ‘lectric car verse. This premise can be supported in part by the fact that one of the earliest recordings of ‘Duncan And Brady’, that of Lead Belly, does not contain this verse.
I have always thought it quite odd that a murder ballad should begin with a reference to the nursery rhyme – ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ – and it is my supposition that this ill-worded line was used simply to provide a rhyme for the word “car”. Staying with nursery rhymes, Bob Dylan is not averse to beginning a song with “Once Upon A Time”.
Two rather unusual variant fragments are quoted in Carl Sandberg’s “The American Songbag”. Geraldine Smith, an attorney-at-law in Chicago, provided Sandberg with this version, which she heard from a group of Omaha railroad men. This version is, I think, unique in providing a supposed location.
Down in St. Louis at 12th and Carr,
Big Bill Brady was a-tendin’ bar,
In came Duncan with a star on his chest,
Duncan says, “Brady you’re under arrest”.
This second version, from the R.W. Gordon collection and also included in Sandberg, is interesting because of the lyric variations which include a stanza that has Brady “struttin’ in hell with his Stetson on!”
Duncan and his brother was playing pool,
When Brady came in acting a fool,
He shot him once, he shot him twice,
Saying, “I don’t make my living by shooting dice!”
Brady went to hell lookin’ mighty curious,
the devil says, “Where you from?” “East St. Louis”,
“Well, pull off your coat and step this way,
For I’ve been expecting you every day!”
When the girls heard Brady was dead
They went up home and put on red,
And came down town singin’ this song –
“Brady’s struttin’ in hell with his Stetson on!”
Neither of these early versions contains the ‘lectric car verse or the “been on the job too long” refrain.
The earliest known recording of the song is by Wilmer Watts & The Lonely Eagles who recorded it on October 29, 1929. The recording was issued in 1930 under the title of ‘Been On The Job Too Long’ (Paramount 3210). The other main early source is Lead Belly, who recorded the song twice in 1947; one version was a-capella while the other was on twelve-string guitar. Both these cuts can be found on the Smithsonian Folkways album “Where Did You Sleep Last Night: Leadbelly Legacy Vol 1”. Lead Belly’s version has no ‘lectric car and also omits the “been on the job too long” refrain.
Below are the first and final stanzas of Wilmer Watts’ version, which is perhaps the earliest rendition to include the ‘lectric car verse. This version also has a twist in the Devil’s tale because when corrupt and apathetic police officer Brady tells the Devil that he will soon be out of there, he is informed by the Devil that no “sucker” has ever got away from him because he’s “been on the job too long”.
Twinkle, twinkle like this star,
Yonder goes Brady on a ‘lectric car,
Makin’ his way to the freedom land,
He’s gonna kill him a sucker like a bullnose man,
Been on the job too long.
Brady went to hell with a crutch under his arm,
Says, “Mr Devil, well I ain’t here long”,
Devil says, “Brady, just this-a way,
Well, there’s never been a sucker here that ever got away,
Been on the job too long”.
As is common with folk songs, especially murder ballads, the lyrics to this tune have been changed and added to over the years, often to fit with different events and locales. In the book “On The Trail Of Negro Folk-Songs” – Dorothy Scarborough 1952 – Mrs. Tom Barret, a resident of Marlin, Texas, identifies the place of the shooting as being Waco, Texas.
According to Mrs Barret, the version(s) she knows are from “a genuine ballad” that celebrates the final adventure of a ‘bad Nigger” who shot up the town … “Waco was the scene of the fray”.
Although Waco is not the setting for our version, Mrs Barret lists two fragments of lyrics which are of interest. In one song, “Brady come down on – Gabriel car”, while in another, “Brady come home on a cable car”. One version also mention’s someone by the name of “Diamond Joe” ( a popular name in American folk songs).
It has been written elsewhere that after Brady’s death the women in the song all dressed in red either to celebrate the fact that the corrupt officer was dead, or that the women might have been prostitutes who, with Brady out of the way, were able to work without hindrance. It should be noted, however, that wearing red was an accepted dress for funerals in some African-American traditions. The bright colour was perhaps a celebration of the deceased’s life rather than a mourning of his or her death.
Several blues numbers have the women dressing in red for funerals. Jim Kweskin’s ‘Ella Speed’ contains the line: “The women all heard that Ella Speed was dead / And they all went home and re-ragged in red”.
Even more interesting is this verse from Jesse James’ 1936 recording of ‘Southern Casey Jones’.
When the news reached town Casey Jones was dead,
Women went home and had it out in red,
Slipping and sliding all across the streets,
With their loose mother hubbards in their stocking feet, stocking feet, stocking feet,
loose mother hubbards in their stocking feet.
Extremely popular in the1880s, the Mother Hubbard was a full, loose, unbelted cotton dress with long sleeves and a high neck. The dress was introduced by missionaries to the South Seas islands (to cover the semi-naked “savages”), but became popular with African-Americans who originally wore it for cool comfort around the house. The name of the dress comes from illustrations made for Sarah Catherine Martin’s nursery rhyme character Mother Hubbard who wore a similar dress.
It seems that the women in the song were so eager to discover what had happened between Harry Duncan and James Brady that they were still wearing their indoor clothing and hadn’t even bothered to put on shoes!
Barker, Derek, first published in “The Songs He Didn’t Write: Bob Dylan Under The Influence” (Chrome Dreams 2008). Updated in ISIS Magazine issue 141 (December 2008).