Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bob Dylan, Newport and the Stratocaster

Bob Dylan and the guitar that he reportedly played at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 have been in the news this week. A show called History Detectives aired a segment last night about a Fender Stratocaster now owned by a New Jersey woman that may be the guitar that Bob played that historic night in Newport when he turned the folk world upside down. Of course Bob's people dispute the claim.

This much is known for sure: on July 25, 1965, Bob took the stage with Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper and the rhythm section from the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. They played a loud, raucous three song set that showcased the new direction of Bob's music and signaled the death of the folk music movement. Here is Maggie's Farm from that night:

If Bob's leather jacket and new look didn't blow the folkies' minds,  I'm sure the sound of the band, particularly Mike Bloomfield's leads, must have sent them over the edge. It sounds pretty raw and edgy today. Can you image it at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965? Oh my.

How about the choice of Maggie's Farm? I wonder if Bob was sending a message with the these lyrics:

                             Well, I try my best
                             To be just like I am
                             But everybody wants you
                             To be just like them
                             They say sing while you slave and I just get bored
                             I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more.


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