Posts Tagged ‘bob dylan’

“All I can do is be me, whoever that is.” ~ Bob Dylan

Hey, hey! Today is Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday!!

We could celebrate by listening to 70 of our favorite Dylan songs, singing “Like a Rolling Stone” seventy times, or by letting out 70 WooHoo’s! for this brand new picture book biography, When Bob Met Woody: The Story of the Young Bob Dylan (Little, Brown, 2011). (I vote for all of the above.)

Honey Babe, I was soooooooo excited when I first heard this book was coming out, but disappointed when I couldn’t get my hands on a review copy — until the ever thoughtful and generous Jules of 7-Imp offered to share hers (kiss kiss hug hug love on that beautiful woman). Now, I’m no longer a sad-eyed lady of the lowlands, because I’ve devoured Gary Golio’s wonderful words and pored over Marc Burckhardt’s crackerjack illustrations.

Though there are several middle grade Dylan biographies, and two recent picture books illuminating his song lyrics — Man Gave Names to All the Animals illustrated by Jim Arnosky (Sterling, 2010), and Forever Young illustrated by Paul Rogers (Atheneum, 2008) — Golio’s is the first trade picture book biography featuring the iconic music legend.

Even a casual fan knows there are tons of books published about Dylan (latest count: approximately 1000 titles in English), including biographies and retrospectives, songbooks, photo albums, graphic interpretations of his lyrics, collections of articles and interviews, academic analyses of his ouevre by hardcore Dylanologists, even an encyclopedia containing every bit and bob about Bob. And of course, there’s Dylan’s own critically acclaimed memoir, Chronicles, Volume One (S&S, 2005). So Mr. Golio’s task must have been quite daunting, sifting through the available resources and creating a narrative captivating enough to interest young readers who’ve probably never heard of our favorite Archbishop of Anarchy. And then there’s that little matter of Dylan fabricating parts of his life, especially his early years.


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Look what just came out this Fall!

I was so excited when I first heard that artist/naturalist Jim Arnosky was going to create a picture book based on one of Dylan’s songs. I liked and reviewed Peter Yarrow’s Day is Done (illustrated by Melissa Sweet, also published by Sterling) last year, so I was confident this new book would be equally as beautiful.

Dylan’s song, “Man Gave Names to All the Animals,” a personal interpretation of Bible scripture (Genesis 2:19-20), was included on the first of his spiritual albums, Slow Train Coming (1979), produced soon after he became a born-again Christian.


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“In the jigsaw that is Bob Dylan, ‘The Witmark Demos’ are crucial pieces, and it’s easy to get lost in the depths, the sheer audacity and beauty, of this music.” **** ~ UNCUT

             (2-CD set released October 2010)

Just when you think you can’t love Dylan’s music any more than you already do, along comes “The Witmark Demos.”

Many of you already know about my passion obsession  unabashed worship of this man, whom I consider to be the greatest American songwriter of our time. I admit I’m not one to flat out love everything he does, nor am I familiar with every single one of his 500+ compositions. But I thought I pretty much had the early part of his career covered, being familiar with the definitive recordings of his trademark anthems and some of the Bootleg albums containing alternate arrangements, out-takes, etc.

Well. “The Witmark Demos” are something else again. 

Think in terms of historic milestone. The birth of the singer-songwriter movement. A monumental shift in the music publishing industry. A young artist/musician on the cusp of fame, already displaying flashes of genius. To all the naysayers who still can’t see what the big deal is about Bob Dylan, I say, “Just open your hearts and listen.”


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happy birthday, bob!

 photo source.

The one-and-only self-proclaimed Archbishop of Anarchy is 69 years old today!

And there simply is no stopping him. After a two-month break, Dylan will launch yet another overseas tour, opening on May 29th in Athens, Greece. 

  “Backyard” and “Dad’s Restaurant” from the 2010 Drawn Blank Series.

On May 22nd, his 2010 Drawn Blank Series was officially unveiled in the Castle Galleries, U.K. This is the third collection of limited edition graphics available for purchase following unprecedented worldwide acclaim and demand. The series is limited to 295 pieces signed by the artist (more info here), and are impressions of people, places, and things he encountered while on the road. How much do I love that he sketched the exterior of a restaurant?!

Meanwhile, stumbled upon a couple of fascinating old photos.

Here’s Dylan with one of his sons and George Harrison. You idolize someone and judge him by his public persona, oftentimes forgetting he’s a family man doing “ordinary” things.

 from dag’s photostream.

And okay, let’s just stand around and shoot the breeze with Neil Young and Eric Clapton. *swoon*

 from dag’s photostream.

I’ve noted that Sony Entertainment and others have removed hundreds of Dylan videos from YouTube.com — amateur videos of concerts, fan-made compilations, bootleg copies of official videos, etc. They’re cracking the whip on copyright infringement and now there are only a handful of videos available for public viewing and sharing (prefaced by annoying Vevo ads). I like this one from 2000, “Things Have Changed”. Dylan shows off his dramatic flair (love the way he holds a sandwich, and the bits in the coffee shop), and there are some fun cameos by Katie Holmes, Michael Douglas, and Robert Downey, Jr., among others. Enjoy!

Now, go forth and crank up your fave Dylan song. Just for today, your response to all questions: “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.” Alternately, if you’re feeling especially frisky, approach a stranger with, “How does it feel?”

Connect, engage, cherish the humanity!

View all posts tagged Bob Dylan here.

Copyright © 2010 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.

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dylan at the white house

Last week, PBS aired, "In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement." This special program was hosted by President and Mrs. Obama in honor of Black History Month, and featured readings from famous civil rights speeches and writings in addition to songs performed by such luminaries as Smokey Robinson, Yolanda Adams, Jennifer Hudson, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan.

Bob was in fine voice that evening with "The Times They are a Changin’." It’s a softer, more subdued acoustic version, quite poignant in these difficult times. I thought about where we were as a nation when the song first came out in the 60’s. These days, we have an African American President in the White House listening to it with his family. I wonder what he was thinking, and whether Dylan was at all nervous. If you missed the original broadcast, you can view it in its entirely at the PBS website. Well worth your time!

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