It's all about Bob (Dylan)... or is it?

if you're trying to get a handle on just how much the Music Industry doesn't get people who love music, "About Bob" is a good place to start.

it is a site devoted to the music of Bob Dylan and no,
this doesn't mean you can go there and download all Bob's albums. what you will find there is an encyclopedia of Bob.

it's a place where people who really, and i mean really, care about Bob Dylan and his music. Bob doesn't know this much about his own life.

It is an amazing collection of information, assembled over i don't know how long...
No flash graphics, no fancy designs or annoying splash pages, just the skinny, collected and organized in ways that make sense and are easy to find.

What he did in any given year- the songs he wrote,
where he performed them for the first time, how many official and unofficial versions of each song there are in the world...

...when he recorded what song and who played on it... how many takes were laid down of that song...

it is amazing.


are you interested in transcriptions of the interviews Bob did, sorted by decade and available as PDFs? free?

ever wonder about what other artists have covered a song by Bob, or written one that referred to him, or even made fun of him? it's here...
there are listings of 5870 covers of 350 different Dylan songs by 2791 artists!


now i'm not a Bob freak. i like a lot of his music, and i'm still listening 40 years later. i saw him perform in Toronto with the Band in '74. a minute on this site, and i'm looking at the setlist for that night.

Maple Leaf Gardens,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada,
10th Jan 1974

1. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I‟ll Go Mine)
2. I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)
3. As I Went Out One Morning
4. Lay Lady Lay
5. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
6. Ballad Of A Thin Man

7. Stage Fright (The Band)
8. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (The Band)
9. King Harvest (Has Surely Come) (The Band)
10. This Wheel's On Fire (The Band)
11. I Shall Be Released (The Band)
12. Up On Cripple Creek (The Band)

13. All Along The Watchtower
14. Ballad Of Hollis Brown
15. Knockin' On Heaven's Door

16. The Times They Are A-Changin' – (solo)
17. Don't Think Twice, It‟s All Right – (solo)
18. Gates Of Eden - (solo)
19. Love Minus Zero/No Limit – (solo)
20. It's Alright Ma (I‟m Only Bleeding) – (solo)

21. Rag Mama Rag (The Band)
22. When You Awake (The Band)
23. The Shape I'm In (The Band)
24. The Weight (The Band)

25. Forever Young
26. Something There Is About You
27. Like A Rolling Stone

28. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I‟ll Go Mine)

Tapes: There is an Ex stereo tape of the show.
CD: Phantoms of my Youth (3, 19)

of course, like any good website, it has links to all sorts of variations on the theme of Bob. Dylan Stubs, for instance

here's what the tickets to the Gardens to see Bob and the Band that night looked like....

there's more information there, like posters
from over the years, set lists from his 2010 shows and of course more links.

if i wanted to know more about my night with Bob,
it would probably be in  Bob Dylan Live in Canada A Concert History, 1962-2000 by Brady J. Leyser and Olof Bj┼írner

but I probably won't. Like I say, I'm not hardcore.

if you want to really get your Bob on, there's also a bibliography of Bob, listing the titles of books about him, in 27 languages right here.

or how about an interactive database of Bob Dylan albums, official and bootlegs?
that's right over here...

if you want to stay current with Bob, and with what people are thinking and writing about Bob, the site you want is Expecting Rain.

every day, there are upwards of 20 posts with links covering Bob and where he fits in to history and the bigger world. there are hundreds of thumbnails
and links to art about Bob.

there is an atlas of places mentioned in Bob's songs,
a message board where you can discuss himself with other interested parties, and it's all carefully archived back to 1995, when the site started, i presume.

all of which is free. all you have to do is be interested...


Bob, of course, is a singular artist, with a music career spanning 50 years of activity...but there are all kinds of sites like this out there, for all kinds of artists and musicians.

there are people who could do PhDs in Lou Reed, or Trent Reznor or Britney Spears or Lee Scratch Perry. the list, like the beat, goes on, but what it speaks to is a profound level of interest in and engagement with the lives and work of musicians that is pretty special and unique.


these sites are worthy of mention and praise simply for what they are - incredible community-based scholarship. they are passionate testaments to how much music and musicians can mean to people around the world.

these are the kinds of gifts only true love inspires the giving thereof. only an idiot or a complete cynic could spend any time at all on sites like these and think that anyone involved would do harm to the subject of their fascination.

the people who pour so much time into creating sites like About Bob do so because they are profoundly moved by his music. they are not thieves, or pirates or anything as simple or as childish as 'fans'.

- tbc -


No comments:

Post a Comment