Monday, 5 December 2011

Bob's Broadcasts

Dylan on the Airwaves

Bob Dylan - Life and Life Only - Radio & TV 1961-1965 (Leftfield Media, 2011) is a handy mop-up of some Dylan appearances from the first half of the 1960s. The CD kicks off with Dylan's appearance at the Riverside Church, Manhattan, NY, as part of the 12-hour Hootenanny Special, on July 29, 1961. A hesitant, often stumbling performance, as Dylan attempts to fashion a harmonica holder from a coat hanger, his set includes Handsome Molly, Omie Wise, Poor Lazarus, support for Danny Kalb on Mean Old Southern Railroad and the ramshackle comedy doo-wop of Acne, on which he shares vocals with Ramblin' Jack Elliott.

Next up are two Dylan performances involving Oscar Brand, one featuring Sally Gal and Girl I Left Behind from October 29, 1961, and the second from a spring 1963 broadcast, where the songs are Girl of the North Country and Only a Hobo. There follows Dylan's strong reading of The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll from the Steve Allen Show on February 25, 1964. Finally, and most interestingly, there is Dylan on the Les Crane Show on February 17, 1965. Accompanied by Bruce Langhorne on second guitar, Dylan sings It's All Over Now, Baby Blue and It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding.) But Dylan's off-the-wall chat with Les Crane is of equal interest, sounding like a dry run for his later surreal Playboy interview. Asked by Crane to provide his main 'message,' Dylan shoots back: "Eat." Featuring a 10-page booklet of notes, a fairly rare cover shot, and selling for under a tenner in the UK, the CD is an attractive bargain.

Terry Kelly

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