WHEN MEDGAR EVERS’ BROTHER WANTED TO MEET BOB DYLAN

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On May 17, ten years ago, Bob Dylan performed at the Jackson Mississippi JAM – the city’s arts and music festival. (Yes, when Freddy Koella was on lead guitar.) What I missed at the time was an account in the Jackson Free Press on June 12, which concentrated not on the music, or the rain and mud, but on the attempt by Medgar Evers’ surviving older brother, Charles Evers, to meet Dylan to thank him for the song ‘Only A Pawn in their Game’. I wasn’t aware of this story the following year either, when I arrived by train to spend Martin Luther King Jnr. Continue reading

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Here’s my entry on Rodgers in The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia:Rodgers, Jimmie [1897 - 1933]Jimmie Rodgers was born in Meridian, Mississippi on September 8, 1897, disproving General Sherman’s post-march announcement of the 1860s that ‘Meridian no longer exists!’ Rodgers, looking in his publicity pictures like a cross between Bing Crosby and Stan Laurel, was ‘the father of country music’ yet was mesmerised by the blues, a genre to which he contributed and with which he became familiar from working alongside black railroad labourers. Hence his other appellation, ‘the Singing Brakeman’.(The railroad line, and even the train, still runs through Meridian, which is built on a rise. The track crosses a wide street that climbs to tall, elderly buildings, some of which must have gone up during Jimmie’s childhood.)Rodgers, the inventor of the Blue Yodel, had a short life and a brief career. Continue reading

TEXT AND DRUGS AND ROCK’N'ROLL?

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I don’t have a copy of this, and don’t know the author, but it sounds interesting – and has a title that gets itself noticed:This is the publisher’s blurb, not mine:Text and Drugs and Rock’n'Roll explores the interaction between two of the most powerful socio-cultural movements in the post-war years – the literary forces of the Beat Generation and the musical energies of rock and its attendant culture.Simon Warner examines the interweaving strands, seeded by the poet/novelists Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and others in the 1940s and 1950s, and cultivated by most of the major rock figures who emerged after 1960 – Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Bowie, the Clash and Kurt Cobain, to name just a few.This fascinating cultural history delves into a wide range of issues: Was rock culture the natural heir to the activities of the Beats? Were the hippies the Beats of the 1960s? What attitude did the Beat writers have towards musical forms and particularly rock music Continue reading

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photograph © Sarah Beattie, 2012Let me declare an interest. Sarah Beattie is my wife. That said, let me also declare that she deserves far wider recognition as an innovative, pioneering cook Continue reading

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Here’s its composer, Eric Andersen, performing ‘Thirsty Boots’, assisted by Roger McGuinn:Eric’s harmonica playing here makes his version sound more of a Bob song than Dylan’s own (albeit charming) version. And a note to Bob Dylan’s record company: it’s Andersen, not Anderson. Continue reading

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‘You Can Have Him’ by Cake, 1967; thanks to @JacksonWylde guesting on Neglected Nuggets (@TheLostRecord ) on April 30, 2013; there are many other versions of this strong song – I was first struck by it in my youth when I heard Roy Hamilton’s version, a single from 1961 that sounded quite soulful and mysterious at the time. I can still hear that quality in his vocal Continue reading

TWO FINE SAX PLAYERS DIED 20 YEARS AGO TODAY

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By coincidence, two sax players who defined the rock’n'roll sax sound between them, died on April 19, 1993: Clifford Scott and the more famous Steve Douglas. They were 64 and 54 years old respectively.Clifford Scott played with Jay McShann, Amos Milburn, and Lionel Hampton before joining Bill Doggett’s memorable group and co-writing & recording, most famously, their 1956 hit ‘Honky Tonk’ Continue reading

MAP 14: US RAIL SERVICE REDUCTIONS

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The UK has been marking the 50th anniversary of the notorious Beeching cuts to her railway network. Lord Beeching was the Fat Controller lookalike hired by Harold Macmillan’s government at the then enormous salary of £24,000pa to turn an obviously important public asset, the national rail network, into a profit-making business. Continue reading

JELLY ROLL MORTON’S SMOKEHOUSE BLUES

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This isn’t at all my usual kind of music, but an enthusiast played me this track as we were sitting in his pleasant French farmhouse the other week, and it sounded terrific  -  full of life and sunshine, despite its title:I don’t know what Robert Crumb would feel about this rare British reissue from the 1950s; maybe he owns a copy.Jelly Roll Morton died in 1941, 20 years before his lookalike was born.White House / Smokehouse Continue reading

JELLY ROLL MORTON’S SMOKEHOUSE BLUES

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This isn’t at all my usual kind of music, but an enthusiast played me this track as we were sitting in his pleasant French farmhouse the other week, and it sounded terrific  -  full of life and sunshine, despite its title:I don’t know what Robert Crumb would feel about this rare British reissue from the 1950s; maybe he owns a copy.Jelly Roll Morton died in 1941, 20 years before his lookalike was born.White House / Smokehouse Continue reading

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There’s a terrific 2013 interview with Robert Crumb, about collecting & obsession in general and old 78rpm records in particular, here at Discaholic Corner. It comes with this comic self-criticism from 1977:and, at the end, this quote: “We humans with all our intelligence and cleverness are helpless creatures driven by forces over which we have very little control and which we barely understand. Who can fathom the collecting compulsion? Continue reading

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photograph © Birgitta Olsson Today (March 26, 2013) is the 85th birthday of Israel Goodman Young, widely known as Izzy Young. Here is the substantial entry on him in The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia: Young, Izzy [1928 - ]Israel Goodman Young was born in New York City on March 26, 1928 Continue reading

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Teitur performing one of the strongest, sweetest songs from his 2nd album, here live in Bonn, 2011: Read this post in its entirety:TEITUR: GREAT SONG & FINE PERFORMANCE