Blind Willie McTell – Springtime in New Yrok

A couple of days ago I finally broke down and purchased a subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited. Of course, the first thing I did was search on Bob Dylan. I noticed a two-song sampler for the soon-to-be-released Springtime in NY Bootleg Series. I haven’t been super-enthusiastic about the last few releases in the Series, so …

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Scarlet Town Analysis – Part 3

Is it possible that Dylan is describing his hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota in this song? Perhaps I’m falling into the trap of assuming the lyrics of a song are necessarily autobiographical. Of course, that’s not always the case. However, I do think most everything an artist does is partly about themselves. It’s unavoidable. There’s really …

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Scarlet Town Analysis – Part 2

I going to do a little trainspotting In this post. Dylan has a delightful habit of tossing into his lyrics sly references to all sorts of things: songs, books, poetry, literature, and of course, the Bible. It’s a lot of fun trying to identify them. Songs I’ve already discussed the traditional folk song Barbara Allen. …

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Scarlet Town Analysis – Part 1

I’ve been listening to Scarlet Town a lot lately. It’s not a particularly easy song to digest. Perhaps an impossible song to really get to know. Dylan long ago stopped writing in a linear fashion, with often spectacular results. Think Desolation Row, to name one glorious example. Sometimes though, like with this song, this style …

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Crowdsourcing Transcriptions: “At the Library and in the Field: John and Alan Lomax Papers”

Most Dylan fans (over a certain age at least) are aware of John and Alan Lomax, the American ethnomusicologists best known for their recordings of folk music of the 20th century. Of course, many of the songs collected ended up on recordings that would influence Dylan. The Library of Congress is holding a crowdsourcing event …

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Shadow Kingdom Director – Alma Har’el

Shadow Kingdom was released this week to almost universal approbation. True, the Sony marketing department made a huge gaffe (or perhaps they did it on purpose to boost ticket sales) by advertising the show as an ‘intimate live performance’ when it really wasn’t. In reality, it was a film of Dylan and his “band’ mimicking …

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Johnny Cash – The Life by Robert Hilburn

I just finished a biography of Johnny Cash, written by Robert Hilburn, a long-time music writer with the Los Angeles Times. It’s a page-turner, highly recommended. Not surprisingly, the book has a plethora of Dylan-related material. Background on Cash Cash grew up a very poor country boy from Arkansas. When his family moved to a …

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