Jon Sievert (humblepress) Mon 15 May 00 14:51
A wonderful post, Marc, with lots to chew on. I couldn't agree more with your assessment of Dylan's singing and its influence. But I'm a bit unclear on the distinction you make between his "particular voice" and his "singing abilities." When you say his "particular voice" are you talking about his timbre and pitch as opposed to "singing abilities," which would probably include his phrasing? To me, phrasing is *the* critical distinction that makes a great singer. Either ways, it's a pretty interesting concept when you consider that the most common complaint from people who don't "get it" is that they can't stand his singing. As for Gary's comment in #23, he's right about the photo. I did take it. Is there anyone else out there who'd care to guess which one it is and who the real subject is? Interestingly, two reviewers have suggested it would be an appropriate format to look at other artists, but I'm not so sure, for just the reasons you suggest. It's precisely because we know so little about the private Dylan that it holds interest. Three other names that did come to mind, however, were Garcia, Springsteen, and Prince.
Marc Silber (marc-silber) Mon 15 May 00 15:39
HELLO AGAIN, it is me, and I am responding to Jon's questions about what I think the difference between someone's Voice, and their ability to sing is. Mr. Bob's voice is not what is usually considered a beautiful, soothing or nurturing voice. Write something back to me if you find it so. In fact my son thought that our appreciation of Dylan was a "grown-up trick" which grown-ups do when they want to fool kids, etc. He has since matured, become a DJ on amateur Radio and likes Dylan a lot "because of his words"... On a few albums like Nashville Skyline and New Morning it sounds like Bob's voice was adjusted using reverb, equalization or whatever, and so it sounds more like a normal, good recorded singing voice. I think he did not do this on any of his earlier recordings but just recorded his voice "flat" as they say. But on the matter of "being a great singer" I find it simple; when Dylan sings we listen to the words in the order that he sings them. Like a fine story teller. Why we do this for one individual and not another is a much grander subject, but when Dylan sings, we listen. Period! One example comes to mind, and it is one of my favorite tracks because of his singing. The song is called "The Boxer" and is by Paul Simon. Dylan chooses to sing the same lyrics on two different recording tracks and does two very different versions and then uses both...this adds to his story-telling ability and also shows his lack of fear of being different. I think it is terrific and never get bored with this one. Remember, there is a very fine line between boredom and style. So, I hope this clarifies my feelings about the voice and the ability to sing. When experienced in reverse, this becomes perhaps easier to understand as we haver all heard somebody with a beautiful voice and a boring style. Stay in touch everybody, and drop a thought into this conference. Then remember Woody Guthrie and you have another great example of an artist who downplays both the voice and the guitar playing on his songs. Woody wanted folks to listen to his words I guess. Peace, Marc Silber.
Phantom Engineer (jera) Mon 15 May 00 16:49
Re: the non-Dylan picture. I'm pretty sure I know who it is, 'cause I was at the (or one of the) concerts at which *she* did the impersonation, but I'm not about to give it away :-) I'm pretty much in agreement with Marc's assessment of Dylan's singing, though I'd probably put it a bit differently. For me, Dylan's singing is great primarily because of his unbelievable phrasing. One of the the things I *love* about his performances of the past few years is the way the phrasing of any given song changes so radically from performance to performance, yet remains *spot-on* perfect and revelatory. As Marc says, "we listen to the words in the order that he sings them." Which is not a simple matter. Actually, I'd probably even say that, given his mastery of phrasing, we attend to meanings syllable-by-syllable. Nobody does that better. It may even be that nobody attends to phrasing & the meaning of our language at the level of the syllable at all, other than Dylan
Earl Crabb (esoft) Mon 15 May 00 16:58
I haven't purchased this book, yet, but... the photo is sounding familiar...would it by any chance also be published in a different book, one about concert photography, by a famous concert photographer?
I Can Be A Complicated Communicator (dam) Mon 15 May 00 19:02
well, for what it is worth, ISIS gave it a good mini revieew last issue, I beleive.
Jon Sievert (humblepress) Tue 16 May 00 12:47
Oh,oh, I forgot Earl might turn up here. Busted! I should have asked you if you'd ever had an encounter with Bob. Did you? Actually, Dan, the book has had a few good reviews, most notably in Publishers Weekly and Midwest Book Review. I understand we also have very good reviews coming in the June issues of Pulse, Discoveries, and No Depression magazines. I hope to have some of the reviews up on the humble press web site in a few days. I'd like to ask the authors about any experiences they might have had regarding the book since it's come out. How do you personally feel about being part of it? After all, none of you knew who the other authors and their stories would be. Some of you had his or her e-mail address included. Has that had any consequences?
a condition of the soul... (heyjude) Tue 16 May 00 13:19
haven't read the book yet either...looks interesting i'll probably buy a copy. not to interrupt the flow of conversation here but Gary asked me to drop by and tell this story and this may be my only opportunity. Hi, i'm Jude and i cohost the Grateful Dead conference on the Well, which is a pretty good indicator of how my concert/road trip dollars were spent. my first ever Dylan show was marked with a brief encounter...it was the 3/26 Casper Wyoming show from his recent tour. my husband, Ed and i were ecstatic that someone like Dylan was actually coming to our part of the country...CSN and Bruce Hornsby played in Casper in the 80's but mostly the big musical talents that venture up here are either C&W or some old group on a reunion tour. and 3/26 being our granddaughter Willow's 4th birthday we decided to take her as well. Coming out of the show as we were passing the limosines, the window rolled down and Dylan asked Ed "Hey how are you?"...Ed was carrying a crashed Willow on his shoulder and just said "Fine, how are you doing ?" then Dylan rolled the window up...i was walking slightly behind and to the right. i could see Dylan had a slight smile on his face as the window went up. there wasn't much of a crowd coming out the doors we did, i saw the limos right away and figured they were waiting for Dylan...i was a little surprised when the window rolled down. Ed who bears a striking resemblence to Jerry Garcia [only slimmer and with a long ponytail] and tends to stand out in a crowd, and he was the only one carrying a sleeping child out of the venue...it was a snapshot of a grandfather. we talked about it later and we think that's what prompted Dylan to roll down the window and say something. he's a grandfather too. we went to Rapid City the next night without children and met one of the promotion guys after the show who gave us a backstage pass as a souvenir, it had a Western cartoon theme and the code was TBH for The Big Heads...he said Dylan was calling it the Forgotten Tour for all us people out of the concert loop...that speaks volumes about the man to me....Dylan doesn't need to come this way to make a living.
Earl Crabb (esoft) Tue 16 May 00 13:40
heh...Yup. I'm here. I really should get the book, and will, but meanwhile, I only have spent a few hours with him, on four or five different occasions between '61 and '65 or so. However, there's a bunch of people you might want to talk to, the following come to mind, maybe I'll think of more later: Chuck Champine, Hugh Brown, Jerry (Max) Uehler, Red Nelson, Mark Spoelstra, Melvin McCosh, David Morton, John Koerner, Tony Glover, Marcy Foreman, Charlie Frizzell, John Cooke, Rik Lloyd, Bonnie Beecher. Some are Mpls people, some from back east.
Timothy Chisholm (tchisholm) Tue 16 May 00 16:48
In response to Jon's question - #31, I've received e-mails from 4 different people who were responding to my story in the book. They've each been careful not to seem intrusive ("I hope it's okay that I contact you like this"), and they each seem to take some small delight in my story - not necessarily the way I wrote it, but the FACT of it. I have, of course, invited each of them to join us in this discussion, and I hope we'll hear from them. As far as my feelings about being in this book, I am thrilled at the idea of being some small part of the Dylan folklore. I've been collecting Dylan books for years - I have, and have read, all the ones mentioned by Complicated Communicator in response #20 plus many, many more. And now I'm actually in one of the books that are a part of my collection. Cool. I'd rather have my personal experiences in this book than my opinions in some scholarly research or critical review.
I Can Be A Complicated Communicator (dam) Wed 17 May 00 07:01
I should change my pseud here: My Name is Dan Marsh
Dan Marsh (dam) Wed 17 May 00 07:03
I also have read many books on Bob Dylan and I am able to ferret out information on him that ohters can't. I don't say this is a bbad book and it is a very easy read. I just don't know if I would have bought it, due to my personal tastes. It would be like "Encounters with Jerry Garcia" Now *that* is a story I could tell! %)
Gordon Taylor (warfrat) Wed 17 May 00 08:18
<scribbled by warfrat Wed 17 May 00 08:19>
Gordon Taylor (warfrat) Wed 17 May 00 08:19
Not all of 'em, Dan. If you did, we'd have to kill ya! ;-)
Dan Marsh (dam) Wed 17 May 00 08:58
Jon Sievert (humblepress) Wed 17 May 00 11:47
Hey Jude! Thanks for sharing your encounter. Steve Solomon checked in earlier with *his* account, which reminds me of something Tim Chisholm said in a greenroom discussion, i.e., that these encounters are not as rare as we might have suspected. He says that since the book has come out, he's heard of a number of people who have bumped into Bob on the street or in some other manner. Tim, do you want to expand on that?
Ron Hogan (grifter) Wed 17 May 00 12:54
Latirgue2@aol.com writes: " Jon Sievert interviewed me by phone for the section I contributed to this neat little book. I may have forgotten to tell him one of my favorite BD stories: I lived in DC in the early 60's and dated the daughter of Arthur Schlesinger Jr for a while. One evening he came to the sunporch where we were listening to records (I think it was the Kingston Trio--we were really into "folk music") and asked us to listen to a "folk" record he had to review for Esquire or something. Out came that whhaaa blhaa whaa sound. We could only listen, dumbstruck, for a few minutes. It was Dylan's first album; the musical inverse of the Kingston Trio. I said, "Mr Schlesinger, this guy is going nowhere. You can take my word for it." I always wondered if Arthur did take my word and write a negative review, hence so few Schlesinger music reviews since the 1960's. As for the thread going through this conference regarding Dylan's singing, here I am 35 years later (perhaps wiser) saying that I believe the phrasing of Bob's singing rivals that of all the great performers--including Billie Holiday's and Tony Bennett's. Even though Bob doesn't have the pipes, he has the soul."
Jon Sievert (humblepress) Wed 17 May 00 13:52
Since he didn't sign his name, I want to let readers know that firstname.lastname@example.org in #41 is Rowland Scherman, the photographer who took the wonderful cover photo and four other shots inside at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival. He also won a Grammy for his shot of Dylan a few years later that graced the cover of "Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits." He also gives a great account of the Folk Festival and a funny story about the photo he took a few years later that won him a Grammy for "Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits". His story (and those of all the other authors participating here) can be found at the humble press web site at www.humblepress.com/encounters/pages/Scherman.html
Jon Sievert (humblepress) Wed 17 May 00 13:57
Oops, sorry about that. That URL is http://www.humblerpress.com/Encounters/Pages/Scherman.html
Jon Sievert (humblepress) Wed 17 May 00 14:00
Third time's the charm: http://www.humblepress.com/Encounters/Pages/Scherman.html
Gordon Taylor (warfrat) Wed 17 May 00 14:02
There's been discussion in the Grateful Dead conference here on The Well about the deads influence on Bob. In particular, Jerry is pointed to as being THE influence on Bob that brought him out of his supposed "funk" for many years. The tour they did together (Dylan/Dead) back in the late eighites has been pointed to as the tour that brought Dylan "back" and made him open up a bit more. It'd be interesting to note the encounters of Bob before and after that tour and just how much it not only changed Bobs performance style (if it did) but his off stage persona and attitude toward the general public. The one and only "encounter" I ever had with Bob was while working as a stage hand at Laguna Seca Daze in Monterey, CA back in '96. While loading the trucks from the last act, Bob was about to take the stage. However, before he would even step off the bus, his manager had to insist that all 30 or so of us squeeze onto the back of an already fully loaded semi and, for lack of a better term, "avert thine eyes" as Bob walked by. Bob came up the loading ramp with a hooded sweatshirt (hood pulled over, of course), sunglasses on with his head straight down and surrounded by four bodyguards (I obviously did not "avert" my eyes!). We all got a chuckle out of it because A) we thought it overkill as we're all jaded anyway B) who was he trying to fool? We knew it was him. He looked like Rocky Balboa or The Contender, ferchrissakes, coming up to the ring to face his opponent. He *did* put on one hellava show that night, though!
David Gans (tnf) Thu 18 May 00 07:48
This week, coincidentally, I received the following piece of unsolicited email. > Had been a fan of Dylan ever since I could get the radio on my station. > Summer of 1971 worked for Clear Water Pools, a cleaning service. Went to > Woodstock to clean Bob's pool, he walked by and I said "Hi Mr. Dylan" he > looked at me like I was pond scum and kept walking! I went home that night > and smashed every album of his I owned. He is a conceded as- > shole!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wrote back to the guy and asked why he sent that to me (I am known to him as the host of the Grateful Dead Hour and maybe as a musician). He said he just wanted me kto know this about someone I obviously admired.
Timothy Chisholm (tchisholm) Thu 18 May 00 08:35
He smashed every Dylan album he owned because of the way Bob looked at him? You gotta wonder. It is interesting how much these 'encounters' tell us about ourselves as fans - our hopes & expectations. They're more about us than him. Another example of this may be the discussion regarding the Grateful Dead's influence - or Jerry's influence - on Dylan. That seems to me to be a Deadhead point of view. I think Dylan's tour with Tom Petty (mid 80s) saw him just as "open". And I personally didn't see that Dylan was in any special "funk" before that. He's always been moody. As far as the music he was making in that period, I absolutely love Shot Of Love, and consider it a great album - as is Slow Train Coming. I prefer to consider Dylan's influence on the Dead. That probably says something about ME.
Jon Sievert (humblepress) Thu 18 May 00 09:01
Hi Gordon, nice to see some old WELL friends here. Actually, I agree with you *and* Tim. The influence went both ways. I think the Dead covers of Dylan songs are the best ever made. Did the Petty tour come before the Dead tour? Got a kick out of Gordon's description of the hoops Bob's managers made the BGP stage crew jump through. All managers seem have a myopic view that their artist is the most important person in the universe and must be protected from the fans. BGP stage crews may well be the most jaded group in the music business when you consider the people who have crossed a BGP stage in the last 35 years. They are well aware that musicial heros are just people with plenty of flaws. Actually, anyone who has been in the music business very long develops that indifference. By the time I left Guitar Player, there were very few people who I felt would really impress me if I met them. But Dylan was somewhere near the top of the list.
Phantom Engineer (jera) Thu 18 May 00 09:58
Re: The Dead's influence on Dylan. Dylan himself has been pretty open about it in interview, saying that working with them made him rededicate himself to his music, so I don't think it's just a Deadhead's point of view.
Dan Marsh (dam) Thu 18 May 00 10:23
Bob also took a sudden twist last fall when he played with Phil. mising up setlists.....playing songs that were not played for ages. i saw 3 shows aned i think i heard 40 or so different dylan songs.
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