June 2021: not really an update. I have been too busy planning and effecting my escape from fortress Britain to France to spend much time on updating Salut! Live. So a simple reminder of a contentious preference, published 10 years after it first appeared here.
The Bob Dylan and Joan Baez Facebook groups are full of interesting contributions but the members of both can be absolute in their tastes: Dylan is a great writer but cannot sing, says one side. Baez's voice is just wrong, too pure, for this or that Dylan song, insists the other. Take your pick or, like me, judge selectively (and of course subjectively).
In the year when both of these exceptional artists have had their 80th birthdays, I will offer links below to some of the highlights that have graced our pages ...
(From June 2011)
I may be on autodrive at the start of this little series.
Rest assured it won't last. But while I am thus engaged, the songs will come thick and fast. Then, it is fair to assume, it will become occasional rather than daily.
Time for a little controversy. I was a great admirer of early Bob Dylan. In that context, most people who use the adjective - early, not great - are probably "sneaking regarders"; they wouldn't necessarily have tossed coins themselves on the tour when Dylan went electric, but they understood the sense of betrayal of those who did.
But I never lost sleep over the purity or otherwise of his career choices.
How could I object to him plugging in when I was drooling over Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention? Indeed, I was the proud owner of the Blonde on Blonde double album until a pressing financial need forced me to sell it to a colleague for ten bob (50p).
But from soon after that period, I found I no longer cared for much of what Dylan was doing; my problem, not his.
What I did always think, and still think now, is that a lot of his songs sounded better when interpreted by others.
He has never been a great singer; that is not what Dylan was about. Often, this didn't matter, but I do feel some of his compositions have inspired others to find ways of improving them. It is a subjective judgement and also highly selective; for example, I prefer the Stones' version of Like a Rolling Stone, but believe no one has bettered Dylan's own Mr Tambourine Man or The Times They Are a-Changing.
Joan Baez is a glorious singer. When the author of a YouTube comment described her work as "not music but magic", he or she had in mind my choice for today's song.
Her voice, even as it has undergone change as she has aged, suits it to perfection, as it did other items of early Dylan, and I was disappointed that it formed no part of her playlist when I saw her recently in concert in Marseille. Perhaps you will disagree ...
Dylan at 80 - a comprehensive series of reminiscence and assessment - all items found at https://www.salutlive.com/dylan-at-80/Baez in Marseille: https://www.salutlive.com/2011/04/joan-baez-1.html
Baez in Monte Carlo: https://www.salutlive.com/2011/10/joan-baez-from-marseille-to-monaci-nuit-et-jour.html
* Don't Think Twice It's All Right appears on a few albums, if perhaps fewer than I'd thought. Explore my Amazon record shelf by clicking on this link taking you to one example or scrolling down the list of albums in the right-hand sidebar.