Friday, March 8, 2013

A Fan's Notes: Bob Dylan to Mumford & Sons

Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now

Killing time in a bookstore recently (not as easy as it once was) I thumbed through the latest Rolling Stone effort to make a few bucks off rock nostalgia, “Bob Dylan’s 100 Greatest Songs,” before putting it back on the rack. It was mostly old interviews and vintage photos of Bob when he was young and handsome. And the jury picking songs was all male.
Before I could pat myself on the back for resisting temptation, my daughter arrived with her delayed Christmas present. You guessed it: A book of photos by Daniel Kramer of Bob Dylan. It was a souvenir from the 2012 Paris show, Bob Dylan Rock Explosion, which tracked his career from 1961-66. Kramer spent a year on the road with Dylan from which he produced many of the iconic photos that fueled the Dylan marketing machine and mystique and you have seen them in magazines and on album covers. For more on Kramer’s story, here’s a link.

The gift got me thinking about fandom and how once it sets its hook, you are stuck for life whether it is reliving youth when listening or thanking friends and relatives for their gifts. And while I resisted Life’s 96-page paean to Bob, Forever Young: Fifty Years of Song, I did indulge myself in one Dylan 70th birthday souvenir. The clock pictured above was purchased from a shop dedicated to the music, clothing and lifestyles of 60's called IMAGINE in Mystic, Connecticut (

Whenever I start to chastise myself for such foolishness, I run across other examples of fan fanaticism like this passage from Walter Issacson’s biography, Steve Jobs.
Jobs and his pal Steve Wozniak spent a summer tracking down bootleg tapes of Dylan concerts. “I had more than a hundred hours, including every concert on the ’65 and ’66 tour, the one where Dylan went electric," Jobs boasted. “I bought a pair of awesome headphones and would just lie in my bed and listen to that stuff for hours.”

Then of course there is the 60’s counterpart to the Justin Bieber phenomenon, The Beatles. My sister was one swept up by that cyclone, covering the walls and ceiling of her bedroom with photos cut from magazines (something Dad would never let me do). She and her friends each had a favorite but I am not sure whether they drew straws or arm wrestled to get the one they wanted.

More recently, I have empathized with Governor Chris Christie’s uncontrollable fanatic behavior toward Bruce Springsteen. We’ve all been there and are likely to be stuck there as long as someone needs to get us something for a birthday.

News Note from Britain: An obituary of Bruce Reynolds who masterminded the Great Train Robbery in 1963 on the Glasgow to London mail train, noted that his son, Nick Reynolds was a member of the band Alabama 3. Their song, “Woke Up This Morning,” had the good fortune of being the Sopranos theme song. Wonder whether father or son got the bigger haul.

Program Note: Showtime cable will be rerunning next week its music documentary, The Big Easy Express. It features Mumford & Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros training from California to New Orleans. It is a high end production that won a Grammy with some fun moments (“we’ve come 2800 miles in a week and a half and had the time of our lives”) and none of the amateurish production issues noted in my last post on the Mellencamp doc. However, after watching the fans enjoy trackside concerts I was left wondering why people would rather make I-phone videos than listen to the music.

1 comment:

  1. Nice pondering and provocation of memories. As for the pictures you may have wanted to cut and put on the wall-I doubt if they were from cashbox or billboard. Perhaps some of Mr. Heffner's work?

    Thanks for the heads up on the Big Easy Express.

    And I agree, a young Dylan was more interesting-at least visually.