The captioned volume has re-printed my classic -- if ignominiously ignored -- "Bob Dylan: The Man; the Moment; the Italian Meats Sandwich" (KARAMU Spring 1996). Other contributors include two Danes, a professor of pediatrics, a Brit, two English professors, one of Asian studies, and a poet/songwriter, so, hey, you can't say alternate viewpoints aren't covered.
Pick it up -- or have your library order!
Here's how mine opens:
Chickie Pomerantz was lit.
Opening night of the 1963 Brandeis Folk Festival had been lame. All those green bookbags and black turtlenecks. All those skanks and pears. Then this skinny guy with this scratchy voice came on singing about some farmer starving to death in South Dakota. Chickie and Kevin Cahill and Frannie St. Exupery and a couple other jocks tossed beer cans at the stage. "You shoulda seen the assholes run," he said, coming back to the dorm.*
I went the second night. Pete Seeger, the headliner, announced he would sing some songs by a young man who had performed the night before. WBZ was already playing the Chad Mitchell Trio's version of the first song. The second I had never heard. I had never heard anything like it. Sitting on a blanket on the floor of Shapiro Gym, on a first date with a girl whom, 3000 miles and a four-year separation later, I would marry, I had -- in a phrase that did not exist yet in my vocabulary -- my mind blown.
The first song was "Blowing in the Wind." The second was "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall." Three weeks later, back in Philadelphia after finals, I bought The Free-Wheelin’ Bob Dylan at Sam Goody's on Chestnut Street.
*This is a lie. I could get away with it in 1996 when this essay first appeared, but now that a tape of this concert has surfaced, I don't want any enhanced-audio freaks complaining they don't hear any aluminum landing. The jocks tossed beer cans at Joan Baez three years earlier.
Causes Bob Levin Supports
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, ACLU, PEN, Berkeley Emergency Food & Housing Project.