Saturday, September 24, 2016

Phil Fitzpatrick's Dylan Hour (Plus Fitz's Fave Fives)

Last week I mentioned Phil Fitzpatrick's presentation on Bob Dylan during last week's Libations at the Library. I gave the talk short shrift knowing that I would later return to this theme later in the week. That "later" is now now.

Mr. Fitzpatrick is himself an interesting character. In addition to his career in teaching (Marshall School in Duluth, Mesabi Range College in Virginia), he has been a lifelong poet, Dylan fan and author of A Beautiful Friendship: The Joy of Chasing Bogey Golf.  He's also been a volunteer on the Duluth Dylan Fest Committee this past few years, which is how I came to know him. He's modest, considerate, intelligent and a very fine poet. He opened last week by stating "I'm not a Dylanologist, but I will be your tour guide for the next hour." The premise he aimed to defend was that though Bob Dylan is a citizen of the world, he's never forgotten his roots.

The first section was titled Seven Signals that Dylan Keeps the Northland in His Heart.
1. Nature's healing power is a theme that runs through many of his songs. (e.g. Huck's Tune)
2. He still performs here in Minnesota. (11 concerts in recent years.)
3. When receiving a Grammy he gave a nod to his encounter with Buddy Holly here at the Winter Dance Party concert at the Duluth Armory. (January 31, 1959)
4. He still has family connections here, including his brother David who lives just west of the Twin Cities on the Crow River.
5. His parents are buried here.
6. There are local landmarks here with which he is associated. (His childhood homes, the Armory)
7. References to his father we also cited.

Dylan inherited a number of qualities from his family, including a tireless work ethic, a penchant for showmanship and a fascination with rambling.

The IBM commercial featuring Watson last year noted that two major themes running through Dylan's songs are that (1) Time Passes, and (2) Love Fades, two theme interwoven in the song Red River Shore, Fitz noted.

At the Newport Folk Festival Dylan sang about the hardships of life on the Iron Range, and when Hollywood filmed North Country (starring Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson) the film used Tell Ol' Bill in the soundtrack to overlay the feel and descriptions of the region.

As time ran out Phil shared more examples, including one character that is distinctively Northern Minnesotan: authenticity.

Phil also produced  handout with resources that one could use as a foundation for their own Dylan Quest, as well as a three page trivia quiz and bibliography. What follows here is Fitz's Favorite Fives.

Fitz’s Favorite Fives
Four Sets of Five Resources to Use as Foundation for Your Own Dylan Quest

Novice Set
Highway 61 Revisited, KUMD 103.3 FM, Saturdays/Mondays, 5-6 pm
The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan Live @ Newport Folk Festival (film)
Just Like Bob Zimmerman’s Blues: Dylan in Minnesota (book)
Bob Dylan: No Direction Home, A Martin Scorsese Film (film)
Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits (CD)

Intermediate Set
Chronicles, Volume One (book or audio CD)
Oh, Mercy (CD – with/after/before “Oh, Mercy” in Chronicles, Volume One)
The Mayor of MacDougal Street (book)
Bob Dylan: Don’t Look Back (film)
No Direction Home: The Life and Music of Bob Dylan (book)

Advanced Set
Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan (book)
Bob Dylan: Tell Tale Signs, Rare & Unreleased 1989-2006 (2 CD- boxed set)
Inside Llewyn Davis (film)
Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews (book)
Song of the North Country: A Midwest Framework etc. (book by David Pichaske)

Dylanologist Set
I’m Not There (film)
Bob Dylan: 1965-1966: The Best of The Cutting Edge (2 CD- boxed set)
Alias: Bob Dylan Revisited (book)
Time Out of Mind, Love and Theft, and or Modern Times (CDs)
The Dead Straight Guide to Bob Dylan (book)

* * * *
Here's another reminder to mark your calendars for the October 15 celebration of John Bushey's KUMD radio show Highway 61 Revisited. Don't wait to the last minute to get your tickets. (Follow the link below the poster.)



Purchase tickets here. Special thanks to KUMD, the Duluth Dylan Fest Committee, the Rex Bar and everyone else who is helping to make this event happen.


If you were introducing new fans to books, films or albums, what would you add to Fitz's Fave Fives if it were your presentation? Share it here in the comments.

Meantime life goes on.... 

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