October 14, 2006

Six degrees of Bob Dylan

Last night I finally finished watching the final hour of the top-notch Martin Scorsese documentary No Direction Home, which follows Bob Dylan from his earliest beginnings, to his rise as a folk singer, through his controversial 1965 tour when he started to go electric. For someone who didn’t grow up seeing images of the young Dylan and the world he inhabited, I found it to be a fascinating character study and a look at how the world has changed in the past 40 years.

I can’t recommend this film highly enough. Scorsese unearthed a treasure trove of previously unseen film footage and audio recordings, and weaves it all together with honest reflections from Dylan himself. I thoroughly loved it.

Here are a few of my favorite songs from the soundtrack to No Direction Home, which is a fantastic double album just stuffed with rarities and alternate takes, part of the Bootleg Series:

Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” (Witmark demo) – Bob Dylan

Desolation Row” (Take 1) – Bob Dylan

Masters of War” (live at Town Hall) – Bob Dylan

It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry” (Take 9) – Bob Dylan
(alternate version they talk about in the film that is much more upbeat than the bluesy album version that Dylan came up with after recording this take)

Like A Rolling Stone” (live in Manchester) – Bob Dylan
(last song performed in the film, where the crowd calls him Judas — and he plays even louder)

And regarding the subject of this post, the six degrees of Bob Dylan; Online magazine Coudal Partners is hosting a very cool contest where you try to connect various famous people to Bob Dylan in as few steps as possible. Today’s is J. D. Salinger, but see how quickly uberfans have been able to connect Zimmy to past challenges like Mary-Kate & Ashley, David Beckham, and Bugs Bunny. If you win the day’s entry, you get a copy of his new album Modern Times. All of those winners are in the hat to win the complete catalogue of every single Dylan album on Columbia (47 of ‘em). Put on your thinking caps!

As for me, I am off to California this week on vacation (hurrah) and I have an early flight this morning into SFO. Hence the posting time (or maybe I’m just up *really* late on a Friday night doing something cool other than packing? Naah . . .)

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  • Thanks for the Post, I only managed to catch a bit of the first episode wheni t was shown last year, though I bought it for my Father on DVD and still havn’t gotten around to stealing it. I recommend (if you haven’t already) getting the Bob Dylan bootleg series vol 5, ‘Live 1975- Rolling Thunder revue’ absolutely incredible, I think it’s one of my favourite records.

    IWornMyElbows — October 14, 2006 @ 4:57 am

  • If you haven’t seen it already, check out the film “Don’t Look Back”, the mid-60s doc by D.A. Pennybaker. A lot of Scorcese’s footage came from that film, and it is a fascinating look at a very young, often very obnoxious Dylan. Watch it with the director’s commentary on – quite enlightening.

    Sybil — October 14, 2006 @ 6:46 am

  • Both of those films are great.

    If you ever get to Hibbing, Minnesota, stop into the local library and check out the ongoing Dylan exhibit there.
    I took a ride out there a few weeks ago. Just walking around town gives you insight on some of Dylan’s influence.


    Dylan Forums — October 14, 2006 @ 12:57 pm

  • Easy: J.D. Salinger wrote stories for the New Yorker. Bob Dylan was a New Yorker.


    The MERKIN MAN — October 16, 2006 @ 3:43 pm

  • nice, Merkinman. :)

    heather — October 16, 2006 @ 6:28 pm

  • Hiya!

    I’ve been skulking around in the shadows for a while after a friend introduced me to your blog, and I just wanted to post here to say thank you for all of the music. I’ve run out of space on my laptop so I’ve not been visiting so frequently recently… but I’ve found lots of stuff that I like from your site.

    I’ve not seen all of the Scorcese film yet, but I recorded it ages ago! Also, quick correction on your songs; Don’t Think Twice is from the Witmark demos! :]

    Thanks again!

    leavingfootprintsinthesand — October 18, 2006 @ 7:52 am

  • thank you leavingfootprintsinthesand! I was thinking about double-checking that the other day because I thought I mixed up a letter there. Thank you!

    heather — October 18, 2006 @ 9:08 am

  • Wow… I absolutely love the “Like a Rolling Stone” at Manchester recording. One of the best rock recordings, ever. If you listen really close, right after Dylan responds to the Judas comment with “I don’t believe you… you’re a liar!” you can hear him turn to the band and yell “Play f*ckin’ loud!” before they launch into it. Love it. Punk rock.

    Incidentally , there are two articles on Keith Butler, the man who supposedly cried Judas, located here.

    Dan — October 19, 2006 @ 2:21 am

  • there is a piece on music here that you might find interesting:


    Marco Estella — October 25, 2006 @ 12:07 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

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