It must have been around 1990 or 1991. Ot was the SECC in Glasgow and visiting the city was Bob Dylan. It was the only time (until now) I have ever bothered to go and see him play. To be honest, even then I was a little half hearted. As I remember it wasn’t much of a gig. Realising half way through a song that you are listening to Rainy Day Woman wasn’t my idea of a great night out at that time. Years later I chatted it over with my companion that evening, the venerable Swan, who knows a good deal more about Bob and gigs than I will ever do. He mentioned that, contrary to my opinion, he’d rather enjoyed himself.
Reflecting on it now I often wonder whether I and many others have taken the wrong approach with listening to Dylan live. In our heads are these great recordings and all we want to do is hear them again with some years and a little gusto. In Bob’s head – well who knows – but from what I’ve read it seems as if he remembers nothing of the recording and much about the song. As someone from the folk tradition that is wholly correct and wholly believable. So rather than a willful maverick tearing apart his back-catalogue we perhaps now see a balladeer remembering and passing on the song. What more can you ask?
I say all this as we’ve come to 1990 and a fairly difficult record by the most ardent fan’s admission – “Under The Red Sky.” It must have been the album Dylan was ‘promoting’ at the time of that show. Yesterday I drove up to my old home town of Dundee and listened to the album from beginning to end. I can’t say I’ll be playing all of it again soon but there are real moments of insight which help build the picture of the artist. For that alone it’s worth talking about and playing. We’ll do all of that on Friday.
I’m also pleased to say we’ll be broadcasting the Jim Jones Revue session and interview.
They came in to the AC recently and I’m delighted to say they were the first band ever I’ve heard booming out of the studio a good 100 yards before I got to the door. That was overdue. A great session, a wonderful chat with the band about the joy of roots music and some choice songs in the spirit of rock n roll. What else? New things from Emmylou and The Low Anthem, Ben Glover and Alison Krauss. All the usual treats and more on The Another Country Movie Club’s next gathering. All from five past 8 on BBC Radio Scotland.