Last month Bob Dylan spoke at a benefit in his honour, organised by the MusiCares Foundation, an offshoot of the organisation that puts on the annual Grammy awards which provides medical care for musicians in need. They were honouring Bob Dylan as their Person of the Year, and, unusually, he spoke at length about the formative influences … Continue reading Dylan’s American music history lecture – illustrated
James Karales, Selma-to-Montgomery March for Voting Rights,1965 Watching Ava DuVernay’s film Selma which takes as its subject the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches brought back memories of how, as a teenager growing up in a Cheshire village at the time, the Civil Rights Movement and the music associated with it played a key part in … Continue reading Songs of Freedom: the Selma playlist
Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait, 1986 Andy Warhol looks a scream Hang him on my wall Andy Warhol, Silver Screen Can’t tell them apart at all – David Bowie He was one of the stupidest people I’d ever met in my life. He had nothing to say. – Robert Hughes Walking around Transmitting Andy Warhol at Tate Liverpool, I … Continue reading Transmitting Andy Warhol: can’t tell them apart at all
Johnny’s in the basement Mixing up the medicine I’m on the pavement Thinking about the government Bringing It All Back Home was the record where most of us encountered Dylan electrified for the first time, dropping the needle onto the run-in track and hearing for the first time the strum of Dylan’s acoustic guitar rapidly joined … Continue reading 50 years today: On the pavement, thinking about the government
Llewyn Davis: he ain’t no Bob Dylan Inside Llewyn Davis is one of the Coen brothers’ bleakest films, a tragicomedy which places most of the emphasis on the tragedy. Against the backdrop of the Greenwich Village folk scene of early 1960s New York, it presents glimpses from a week in the sorry life of a … Continue reading Inside Llewyn Davis: a complete unknown
‘He’s gonna look like your granddad if your granddad can kick your ass.’ Four years ago, Pete Seeger celebrated his 90th birthday party with a sell-out concert at Madison Square Garden. Characteristically, it was a fundraiser for a campaign to which he’d dedicated years of his life: cleaning up New York’s Hudson River. That night, … Continue reading Pete Seeger: he surrounded hate and forced it to surrender
Well, knock me down with a feather! Dylan produces new album that’s not only melodious and beautifully sung, but revelatory, too, casting new light on a period in his career generally held in low esteem by fans, including myself, and deeply suggestive of something else that might have been. Plenty has been written in the … Continue reading Dylan’s Another Self Portrait: why did he throw it all away?