Decade of Dylan
Date: Sat, 1 Apr 1995 12:02:15 -0800
From: LARRY MEDCALF (lmedcalf@MERCURY.SFSU.EDU)
Subject: Decade of Dylan, Film at Roxie, SF
Here is my promised report on the Decade of Dylan film that was shown at
the Roxie Theatre last night(3/31/95), The film was introduced by its
producer, David Beck, who was introduced as "up from L.A." He is an
independent film maker who also has similar films on Jazz and one on
James Brown. He highlighted certain segments of the film and claimed
that some of the footage "has never been seen before" in other released form.
There were no credits on the film, before or after, and it is in rough
cut, but all the songs are in their entirity, and the quality ranged from
excellent to poor.
- The Times They Are A-Changin
- Talkin' WWIII Blues
- Girl of the North Country
- A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
- Restless Farewell
All taken from the QUEST television show from Canada in 1964. Quite
good, if you overlook that the set designer put Dylan in log cabin with
about 4-5 other guys dressed in Lumberjack shirts who sit around playing
cards and smoking while Bob moves around the cabin singing. Sort of like
your typical quiet night on the Yukon with the local minstrel boy. Even
Dylan is smiling during the entire show. Very good performances,Dylan
sings with sincerity and meaning. The Roxie audience gave a big hand for
the TV credits to the "set designer."
- The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
From the Steve Allen Show 1964. Steve sits next to Dylan on the
stage and introduces him as a folk and poet performer. Reads Ralph
Gleason review calling Dylan a "genius," at which Bob laughs aloud. Then
Steve does oral interpretation of Dylan poem from album cover, and then
tries to interview Dylan about Hattie Carroll. Asks Bob where does he get
his ideas for the song, Bob says he read the story in the newspaper and
just changed the words. This confuses Steve who doesn't understand what
"changed the words" means, so Bob tries to explain that he took the facts
from the story, but changed the words from the reporters interpretation
to his own, but Steve is still a little slow on the concept. So, Steve
shifts to discuss the topic itself, asks Dylan to tell us the story of
Hattie Carroll. Bob replies "Well, I could talk about it, but that would
take a very long time, or I could sing about it and that would only take
as long as the song lasts." Steve gets the clue and departs, Bob does
nice version of Hattie Carroll.
- All I Really Want to Do (Acoustical)
- Maggie's Farm (Electric)
Newport Folk Festival, 1965.
- Press Conference, KQED Archives, San Francisco, 1965
An hour long live press conference before the 5 shows in Berkeley,
which many fans considered to be brilliant concerts. Cut for this film,
but still interesting footage, as a young George Lucas tries to get Dylan
to talk about the "symbolism of the motorcycle in your poetry," and with
Alan Ginsburg and Bill Graham also in the audience. Many of the answers
Dylan gives to the questions appear to be non-sensical, but in reality
are probably very honest appraisals. ie, Who are poets you like, . .
Rimbaud, Ginsburg and Circus Trapeze Artists.
- Ballad of a Thin Man
Beck claimed this was filmed for the Eat the Document film but was
never shown. This is Dylan with the Band at Belfast on May 6, 1966, with
Dylan on Piano. Interesting footage, fairly good quality.
- I Threw it All Away
- Livin' the Blues
- Girl of the North Country, duet with Johnny Cash
Taken from the Johnny Cash TV Show, 1969. Vintage Bob in his
Nashville period, dark suit, thin beard, doing country-western just,IMHO,
to prove that he can do it if need be. NIce duet with Cash. There is a
story that I think is accurate that Columbia was thinking of dropping
Dylan after his first album, but Johnny Cash interceded and threaten to
leave Columbia if they dropped Dylan. Nice to see the relationship
between the two.
- Oh Sister
- Simple Twist of Fate
Taken from the Salute to John Hammond, 1975, which I believe was a
WGN special out of Chicago. Dylan with Scarlett Rivera, and a bass
guitarist and drummer, Dylan on Acoustical guitar. First verse of
Hurricane is changed, with "Sees three bodies lying there on the floor,
Patty cries out My God, they've killed my love." Marvelous version, very
intense of Hurricane. SToF is also remarkably different, with what I
think are at least three different verses than any other versions I have
- Just Like a Woman
- Knockin' on Heaven's Door
From Clearwater, Florida concert on the Hard Rain tour. Roger
McGuinn joins in on KHD and Baez joins Dylan on the chorus. Film is
grainy and not well shot, but still interesting footage. Hard Rains is
not one of my more favorite Dylan periods, so my own bias may distort my
appreciation of the footage.
- Like a Rolling Stone
Taken from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame show in 1988 when
Springsteen presented Dylan into the hall. (Beck acknowledges this
footage violates the "Decade of Dylan" motiff, but liked the footage and
decided to add it anyway). Opens with Mike Love's unfortunate rambling
about how great the Beach Boys were, and his putdown of Mick Jagger,
claiming that Mick is back in England and is a "chicken-shit" for never
getting on stage with the Beach Boys and how the BB's do over 100 shows a
year and he'd like to see Jagger do that. Of course, unknown to old
Mike, Jagger is sitting in the audience. Springsteen makes wonderful
introduction of Dylan (his speech is found on one of the Dylan cites on
the Web, maybe Ragged Clown Page?) and Then Dylan speaks. Pays homage to
Little Richard, and then thanks Love for "not mentioning me in your speech."
Then he reminds Love that while "peace and Harmony" (Love's theme during
his tirade) is good, "don't forget that forgiveness is a nice trait also."
Then Dylan, Springsteen and Jagger do Like a Rolling Stone, along with
Paul Schaeffer conducting, and I think I spied Stevie Ray Vaughn, Keith
Richards, Jeffrey Lynn and others jamming as well. Quality of the song
is not great, but interesting historical documentation.
Film runs about 100 minutes. Both shows were sold out, long lines
for buying tickets. Thoroughly wonderful historical document. I doubt
that the film is available anywhere, but perhaps Beck will prepare it for
video release or at least show it in other cities. Well worth the $6.