Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Bringing It All Back To Einstein Disguised as Robin Hood -- Duluth Does Dylan as Dylan Does Nottingham Castle

I love catching glimpses of double rainbows, visual echoes that reveal unexpected interconnections and the wonder of it all.

Yesterday morning I was listening again to Bringing It All Back Home To Duluth Does Dylan, the fourth in a series of CDs by local musicians inspired by the Northland's Native Son. It's interesting that the liner notes on this CD, produced in conjunction with Dylan's 75th birthday celebration, were written by Bill Pagel, the publisher of Boblinks.com who is this year again sharing a portion of his personal collection of Dylan archives and artifacts in an exhibition at Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum titled Einstein Disguised As Robin Hood.

Do you hear the echoes?

On a CD with so many great songs performed in original and inspired ways, it seems wrong to single out one that especially moves me, yet I must: Mary Bue's Desolation Row, a remarkable rendition that nearly causes me to levitate. There's on this line in there that hums like an arrow, "Einstein disguised as Robin Hood with his memories in a trunk, passed this way an hour ago with his friend a jealous monk..."

Coincidentally, while listening to this very line I was reading a review of Dylan's Friday night performance in Nottingham, England. That's right, Nottingham where the historic Robin Hood story took place, this hero who stole from the rich to help the poor, friend of the downtrodden. Once Dylan arrives on a scene everything becomes symbol. Dylan, who began his career as a mouthpiece for social justice, winds up here in the Nottingham forests more than half a century later.

Here's an concert review excerpt from the Nottingham Post:

What he did was confound and delight. As he nears his 76th birthday he shows little sign of slowing down or embracing predictability. Quite the opposite. In an hour and 50 minutes he sprinkled a handful of his old classics among a string of half a dozen standards from the Great American Songbook, no fewer than five songs from his most recent album of originals, 2012's Tempest, and other selections from his late 1990s/early 21st-century repertoire, eccentrically waddling between a piano and a centre-stage microphone to do so.

And here's the setlist from Friday's concert. Desolation Row is right there in the thick of it. "They're selling postcards of the hanging," it famously begins, followed by a montage of scenes and characters, actresses and actors in a tangled knot of plots.

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To read another account of the Nottingham visit, check out Johnny B's Blogg post titled
"Einstein, disguised as Robin Hood, with his memories in a trunk" - Bob Dylan extending the lines in Nottingham, 17/5/5

See what I'm talking about? Echoes.

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So May 20 the exhibition will open at Karpeles in Duluth. You can get a feel for what to expect by reading my review of last year's Einstein Disguised As Robin Hood. Much of the show this year will be new, along with many of the highlights from last year.

Duluth Dylan Fest will be underway, running through to Sunday the 28th, and like the song we also have our own cast of characters. I won't name them here, but after six or so years the personalities have become vivid enough that I could theoretically re-arrange them and give them other names. Maybe I should try it sometime.... Instead of Desolation Row I will call it Bob Dylan Way.

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This is your invitation to join us. All the information is here.
Meantime, life goes on... all around you.

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