DYLAN BEFORE HIS LIVERPOOL GIG IN 1966
I'm indebted to Simon on the No Rock And Roll Fun blog for highlighting a truly, & typically, inane piece in the Oldham Echo regarding the chart success of Bob Dylan's new album (http://xrrf.blogspot.com/2009/05/bob-dylan-get-local-angle.html ).
Simon is bemused to find that the piece appears to claim that the album's success has something to do with his Liverpool gig last Friday (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2009/05/05/liverpool-hero-is-top-of-the-album-chart-with-together-through-life-100252-23544308/ ).
There's no byline for the Echo piece & no wonder when you read this breathless & self-congratulatory piece of crap:
"Just days after his sell-out appearance at the Echo arena, superstar Bob Dylan leapt straight to the top of the album chart --almost 40 years after his last number one record."
Ah, so it was Dylan's gig at the Echo (yes, get the plug in, guys) arena which prompted thousands to buy the CD or download it, eh? Well, well, well, the power of a Liverpool concert to shift units in the rest of the UK is truly something to behold!
The Echo notes that Dylan "now holds the record for the longest gap between solo number one albums."
But wait, there's a little bit more:
"The previous record for the longest gap [was] held by Welsh crooner Tom Jones, who appears in Liverpool in October."
Got that? That gig is also at the Echo-sponsored arena. If his album doesn't storm to number one in the days to follow, heads will roll on Old Hall Street; editor Alastair Machray will be seen marauding through Liverpool One, demanding that everyone there goes to HMV & buys the album.
Jade Wright's review of the Dylan concert both plumbs the depths of lazy journalism & raises the question of her attendance at the gig. Her "review" (http://musicblog.merseyblogs.co.uk/2009/05/post-40.html ) starts ominously:
"HE EPITOMISED [her capitals] the sound of sixties unrest."
It gets worse. Much, much worse:
"But somehow, almost against his will, the music world clasped him to their collective hearts, and nowhere more than here in Liverpool.
"His parties in the Adelphi in the 60s have fallen into legend, the heady nights drinking Beaujolais with the beatniks and Mersey poets.
"He always said one day he'd come back to settle down in the city he loved so well."
It's difficult to decide where to begin in dissecting this wretched example of junk journalism. So, Jade, affection for Mr Zimmerman was at its greatest in Liverpool, was it? Right, & I suppose John Lennon was actually a native of New York after all, his proclaimed Liverpool origins being just a front due to the popularity of Merseybeat at the time.
As for Dylan's supposedly legendary parties at the Adelphi in the 60s, he appeared in the city just twice during that decade, 65 & 66. On both occasions he was self-medicating on substances a little stronger than French wine.
Dylan's love of Liverpool? Oh yes, that's always been well-documented. He even went out of his way in his book Chronicles to declare his undying affection for the place & that he'd soon be buying a place near Sefton Park. Didn't he?
The comments on Wright's piece don't seem to share her gushing enthusiasm for the performance. One takes issue with Wright's statement that Dylan played "Spirit on the Water" & asks, "Were you at the same gig?"
Another asks of Wright, "Was she actually there?"
Irony is neatly deployed by a poster who quips, "Great review from a real music lover. Well done to the Echo for not going soft."
So, Jade, were you there? If not, it's very much a case of It's All Over Now, Baby Blue.