This is a continuation of a thread which I kinda hijacked at: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=70345
and I was feeling a guilty about doing so, thus the new thread. In the course of discussion I noted...
Actually out of the three incidents I cited, I have my gravest doubts about the Buddy Holly story*. As I noted in my blog annotation of the TTRH "Weather" show... http://www.dreamtimepodcast.com/2010/01
Bob Dylan: The Spaniels, with their lead singer Pookie Hudson, were on that ill-fated tour with Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens, Link Wray, and a bunch of others… which means probably I saw them. Winter Dance Party, February, 1959. The day the music supposedly died.
Dreamtime: For reasons known only to the prankster, The Spaniels’ Wikipedia entry is regularly vandalized to include the falsehood that the group was part of the 1959 Winter Dance Party tour. It’s likely that the TTRH research team stumbled across the faked “fact” there.
While it’s entirely possible that Bob Dylan was in attendance at the Winter Dance Party show in the Duluth Armory on January 31st 1959, as he’s claimed on several occasions, he didn’t see either The Spaniels or Link Wray during that show. Neither the group nor Wray were part of the `59 tour either before or after Holly’s death. Dylan is careful to note that he “probably” saw the group, possibly ad-libbing off-script while wondering why he didn’t remember seeing them.
I'm more cynical about Mr. D.'s claims now than I was in those more innocent times. As I said, he's careful to note that he "probably" saw The Spaniels, even though even the most cursory research on the Winter Dance Party would have shown they weren't part of the tour, nor was Link Wray. So why would Eddie Gorodetsky write something - why would Bob Dylan say something - that they both probably knew was wrong. Personally, I think Dylan either deliberately or accidentally confused the dates, as he has a tendency to do, and actually saw Holly, Link Wray and The Spaniels two years earlier on the 1957 "Irving Feld Biggest Show of Stars" tour, where they indeed all toured together. Of course, that tour name doesn't have the resonance of the `59 "Winter Dance Party" but it makes a better story to conflate the two. I think Dylan has told the story to friends more than once (heck, he even told the story to Link Wray himself, which must of confused the hell out of ol' Link ), told it to Eddie G., who in turn used it on TTRH, inserting a "probably" since he knew that whether Mr. D. had actually been at the Winter Dance Party, the Spaniels and Link Wray definitely had not.
A lot of text expended on a minor thing, but I'm that sort of guy.
The "Buddy Holly story" refers to Dylan's claims at various times that he attended the January 31, 1959 "Winter Dance Party" concert at the Duluth Armory, which he may well have done. However, Dylan also has said at least twice that he also saw Link Wray at the same concert and implied during the first episode of Theme Time Radio Hour that The Spaniels were also part of the same show. I did some research at that point and found that neither Wray nor The Spaniels were on the WDP tour, probably one of the better-documented of the rock-and-roll package tours that criss-crossed the country during the `50s. As noted above, I speculated that Dylan might have been remembering the 1957 Irving Feld "Biggest Show of Stars" tour where it appears The Spaniels and Holly were both on the bill.
As often happens, I was wrong
as another researcher gently pointed out in an email. First, the 1957 Feld tour never entered Minnesota. It appears Dylan would have had to travel to Nebraska in order to catch the show. Second, while The Spaniels were indeed part of the tour, there's no evidence that Link Wray was there. In fact, again as was gently pointed out, it's unlikely that Wray would have been part of any
tour in `57, as "Rumble" was still a year from release.
So again, we're back to the same questions:
Could Dylan have seen Buddy Holly in concert? The answer is "Yes." If Dylan saw him in Minnesota, he could have seen him prior to the Winter Dance Party tour in April 1958 (Alan Freed "Big Beat" tour, Minneapolis) or July 1958 in Duluth (Summer Dance Party - Duluth Armory, much more likely), or for the Winter Dance Party in January 1959 (Duluth and the Armory again).
Did he see Holly with Wray on the same bill? Possible. The best candidate is the Summer Dance Party in Duluth on July 11 1958. I've uncovered no evidence that Wray was on the bill, but the timing feels right. "Rumble" had been released in April of that year and was on the charts. The package tours routinely switched acts in and out based on what was charting. At various times, the Summer Dance Party featured Frankie Avalon and the Tommy Allsup Western Swing Band as well as Holly and were supported by a variety of lesser acts. Wray, who was a one-hit wonder in `58, could have been brought in to fill the bill for one or more shows.
It'll be interesting to see if more can be uncovered.