bob dylan and the ‘big boo’

Bob_Dylan_in_November_1963-2Jeremy Kearney at The Dublin Review of Books:

Following his enthusiastic reception the previous year, it was not surprising that Dylan was the star attraction at Newport in 1964 and had become the idol of the folk community. Such was the extent of his fame at that time that Ronnie Gilbert, a long-time member of the radical folk group The Weavers, felt confident enough to end her introduction to his set by saying to the audience: “And here he is, you know him, he’s yours – Bob Dylan.” But what she and the fans didn’t realise was that Dylan had moved on at great speed since his 1963 appearance. He had been on a revelatory road trip across the United States and made a drug-fuelled visit to the Mardi Gras in New Orleans that led to the writing of “Mr Tambourine Man”, the song which signalled the new artistic path he was on. By then he had also noticed the chart-based success of the Beatles electric guitar-backed harmonies and heard the Animals’ rock version of “House of the Rising Sun”, a song he had recorded on his first album. His artistic vision was now directed towards a different kind of music rather than the protest songs his fans expected. At the time of Ronnie Gilbert’s gushing introduction Dylan was only able to hint at his changed position by leaving some coded messages in the new songs he played from his yet unreleased Another Side of Bob Dylan – “All I really want to do / Is baby be friends with you” and “It Ain’t Me, Babe / It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for”. Even though the festival audiences were still delighted with his performances, the folk establishment was considerably less impressed and he received plenty of criticism in Sing Out, the main magazine of the folk movement, for having lost the political “edge” in his songwriting.

more here.

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