Stroud Celebrates Dylan’s 80th

YouTube version for those without Spotify

– but some specific versions are not available in the UK for YouTube so there are some variations substituted.

Bob Dylan’s 80th Birthday : 24 May 2021 

Sorry for making this so hard (and straying from the brief myself)! 

How do you choose between invective, sarcasm, tenderness, storytelling, anger, atmosphere and much, much more?

Thank you for rising to the impossible task and sharing your choices, thoughts, memories and stories.  

I hope you enjoy listening to our resulting collaborative playlists as much as I’ve enjoyed putting it together.
much love 

Ella Fantasia aka ione/ionella


01_Bob Dylan’s 80th Birthday 24 May 2021


02_Covers of Bob Dylan songs 24 May 2021

Chosen to celebrate Dylan’s 80th birthday 

PDF document attached and text of it copied below…..

01_Bob Dylan’s 80th Birthday 24 May 2021

Blowin in the Wind : The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

Chosen by Pat: “I was overwhelmed at the thought of picking a favourite, I love them all and wasn’t sure how to express why it’s special. I’m sure loads of people have chosen Blowin’ in the wind (No!), it was the first time I heard him on the radio when Annie Nightingale said you will be hearing a lot more of this young singer with the gravelly voice of an old man! How prescient was that! 

Corrina, Corrina : The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

Chosen by Gaye
Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right : The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

Chosen by Rick: “This is special for me cos it was the first Dylan song I learned to play on acoustic guitar……brilliant harmonica too”.

It’s alright Ma (I’m only bleeding) : Bringing it all Back Home
Chosen by Cavan: “The line about being bent out of shape by society’s pliers seemed to chime so much with the tensions and idealism of the sixties and a yearning for a better society. To think we had student protests across the western world, black people in the states rising up against racism and now so little has changed.”

“But then there’s “It’s all over now Baby Blue”, “Like a Rolling Stone”, “Black Diamond Bay”, “Visions of Johanna”, “Desolation Row”, “Forever Young”, “Tangled up in Blue”…and so many more!”

Chosen by Tim: “When I first heard this song I was a teenager. 
I recall thinking, all they say about Dylan being a great poet is true.”
Highway 61 Revisited : Highway 61 Revisited

Chosen by Don: “Dylan has been so provocative and so important when i was first exposed to him in the early 60s.  He has always raised questions I couldn’t even form yet. He always niggled under my skin and helped when I listened, got me to face new problems …still does.  Blonde on Blonde with Stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again, and with the title song from Highway 61 Revisited and Ballad of a Thin Man.   The Freewheeling…. Don’t think twice, it’s all right…..”

Ballad of a Thin Man : Highway 61 Revisited
Chosen by Don: 
Maggie’s Farm : Live at Newport 1965

Chosen by Marion: “Not yet born when this happened – but looking back I think the whole acoustic/electric controversy is hilarious. 

The lyrics of the last verse sum up Dylan’s view….
‘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’”
Visions of Johanna : Blonde on Blonde

Chosen by ione: “Every note and inflexion of this album is ingrained in me in the way that only music from your early teens listened to over and over and over and over and over can be. This album is more personal than political telling fantastic stories, words painting pictures of both familiar and unknown worlds. The music is hypnotic and still has power to evoke that yearning.”

Stuck inside of a mobile with the Memphis Blues again : Blonde on Blonde

Chosen by Don

She’s Your Lover Now : Bootleg Series Vols 1-3

(If you want to skip the pre-amble, start at 3’44” in)

Chosen by James: “an unfinished song from the Blonde on Blonde sessions.  

a dramatisation in which the singer is trying to unravel a tangle of complex emotions.  all of my songs rolled into one.  now your eyes cry wolf / while your mouth cries I’m not scared / of animals like you. . .”

Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands : Blonde on Blonde

Chosen by ione: “Still no idea what it’s really all about, this is purely teenage uninterrupted snogging backdrop – a slow, flowing rhythm for one whole side of the LP before you had to get up to replace the stylus at the beginning or change the record”
Hurricane : Desire

Chosen by Fred: “Picking a special Dylan song depends on the day and the time of day, there are so many. But here’s the thing. When Lynn and I first got together Desire had just been released and we listened to it over and over again. It seemed to be a return to his epic story telling and that violin of Scarlet Revira was out of this world. I don’t think it was so eye watering as Blonde on Blonde and Highway 61 or as kicking down the door as Rolling Stone – but for personal memories it’s Hurricane.”

New Morning : New Morning

(Missing – unavailable on YouTube in the UK)

Chosen by Lynn: “It’s what we listened to on the morning I decided my future was with Fred.” 

Chosen by Pat: “I also love New Morning because however awful things are, that always happens”

Forever Young (concert version with The Band)

Chosen by Lynn
Lily, Rosemary & the Jack of Hearts : Blood on the Tracks

Chosen by Marion

Chosen by Pete: “A great track from a favourite album”

Chosen by ione: “What a story, I have a fast crayon animation of this running through my head each time I hear it.  I always want to bring that to life, but suspect I never will as it couldn’t do it justice.”
Idiot Wind : Bootleg Series Vols 1-3

Chosen by James: “pain and sadness exemplified…..and within the recording process his initial sadness turns to anger it seems”
Watching the river flow 

(Live. No studio version available on YouTube)
Chosen by Philip
“In our last week, the boss came down one afternoon with a visitor.  He said there was someone he wanted to introduce to us:  Bob Dylan, who stood there in jeans and a denim jacket, suffused in deep blue light, and nodded gruffly.  If ever a nod had a smoker’s cough it was Bob Dylan’s nod when he was introduced to us.
How are you doing, Bob?  the boy asked.  He was doing very well.  Just over for a few days.
The boss said he’d leave his visitor with us, and come back in a while.  Dylan lit up and sat backwards across one of the chairs that were lying around.  It was that kind of basement.  The girl sat back, and fetched a cigarette from her bag.  They puffed away, while we carried on slowly with our work.
He asked us what we were doing.  We explained briefly.  He wondered whether they couldn’t get a machine in.  It was surely a waste of human endeavour.  It paid, we said, but he sniffed at this.
We asked what he was doing.  He’d been working on a film – this must have been Pat Garret and Billy the Kid –  and had been preparing a book of his lyrics for publication.  He seemed to sneer at this as an idea.  He always wrote the lyrics before the melody.  He used a battered typewriter which he carried with him everywhere, though, no, he didn’t have it now;  it was at the flat he was using in London.  He liked employing traditional blues forms.  It’s good enough, it works, why change it, he said.  Like John says, he added.  He meant John Lennon.  
The boy stopped even making a pretence at working.  He began asking questions.  Dylan said, for example, that he didn’t care whether people took his work seriously or not.  For him it was his life, of course, and nothing could be more serious, to him.  He was just a song and dance man, though.  He wasn’t Verlaine or Rimbaud.  You are, said the boy, but he faded away as Dylan gave him a look.  A look which said, No, don’t push it.
We asked him about the Beatles.  Would they ever get back together again?  What for, they’d said everything.  Did he see them at all now?  George was a mate, they’d written some stuff together and tried for an album, but it hadn’t come off.  I’m a draughtsman, he said, and the Beatles work in oils.  You could hear that he’d said this kind of thing before.  Wouldn’t he like to make an album with the Beatles?  They’re a good little band, he said, non-committal.
We asked about the film  Why was he making a film?  What was it about?  He was making a film, he said, because he wanted to be Elvis Presley, like the rest of them.  He smiled and looked younger, much younger.  It was about death and silence, the film, he said.  Again, he added.
We sniggered politely.  I could see the boy wanted his autograph;  I could see him start fidgeting as time went on, and looking, apparently idly, through papers on the desk.  He was looking for a blank sheet, I was sure.   The boss came in, said something to Dylan about the time and about someone called Neil who was now waiting.  Dylan put out his cigarette in the ashtray he’d been sharing with the girl, stood up and smoothed his jeans.  He didn’t look very tall.  In fact, he looked every bit a young, angry poet, next to our conservative boss there.  He felt in his back pocket and pulled out a scruffy, folded bit of paper which he gave to the boy, saying, This is for you.  Then he nodded to us all, quite chummy, and went off with the boss.  We heard them walking away along the corridor and shutting the door which led to the stairs.”
Beyond the Horizon : Modern Times

(Live. No studio version available on YouTube in UK)

Chosen by Sharon: “Beyond the horizon … across the divide …For obvious reasons! “

(Sharon & Don have been separated by 5,350 miles across an ocean and two continents for nearly 18months now due to COVID-19)

I shall be released : Bootleg Series Vols 1-3

(Different version on YouTube)

Chosen by Jeff (who happened on unwanted tickets and saw Bob Dylan at a moment’s notice in December 1962, Dylan’s first trip outside of USA, aged 21. If you haven’t heard Jeff’s story of this day, ask him!)

“I once had
(I gave it to James Dick)
a bootleg LP 
in white cardboard cover
of ‘The basement tapes’ 
recorded by Dylan & The Band
in 1967
it was given to me by
the tattooed wild man of St Albans 
Ginger Mills
in the late 60s
in 1969 I bought
The Band’s debut album
‘Music from Big Pink’
which also has a lovely track
of ‘I shall be released’
and is a great cover itself
my chosen Dylan track is 
‘I shall be released’ 
recorded in the basement
with its extraordinary
mythic atmosphere
I don’t know what
the song is about
have never tried
and don’t care
to understand
I just love the words
and love its
sinuous tune –
and The Band is 
Dylan’s best ever support”
(NB from ione: Not quite sure which version Jeff had, but we’ve agreed to put this one in mainly because of The Band.)

Make you feel my love : Time out of mind

Chosen by ione:

No-one does a love song like Dylan.  This is incomparable, in both lyrics and delivery.  Dedicated to the man who has swept me off my feet 🙂

02_Covers of Bob Dylan songs 24 May 2021

Chosen to celebrate Dylan’s 80th birthday 

All along the watchtower : Jimi Hendrix : Electric Ladyland

Nominated by almost everyone, (yep incl me) even by those who don’t like covers generally.  

Chosen by Jeff who cited Dylan himself:
“It overwhelmed me, really,” Dylan said. “He had such talent, he could find things inside a song and vigorously develop them. He found things that other people wouldn’t think of finding in there. He probably improved upon it by the spaces he was using. I took license with the song from his version, actually, and continue to do it to this day.”


“as for my actual favourite
cover of a Dylan song
there’s no contest…
like ‘I shall be released’
I’ve never bothered
to try and understand
what this wonderful
song is about
but Jimi Hendrix’s version
of ‘All along the watchtower’(1968)
takes it into
another dimension
it’s a four minute work
of magic realism and 
– if push comes to shove –
I prefer it to Dylan’s version
because Hendrix somehow
transcends it via  
his intuitive interpretation
and its brevity
after JH died in 1970
an EP disc was
quickly released with
‘All along the watchtower’ on it
and I rushed out to buy –
I had it for years
until it mysteriously

Lynn: “All Along the Watchtower, Jimi Hendrix, though would always go for Dylan for preference, but as covers go, it’s brilliant. No real story except a reminder of Jimi’s brilliance as a musician and Dylan’s brilliance as a composer and lyricist.”

Cavan: “This album was one we played over and over when I was in a flat in my second year at uni in London in 1972. The cover has varied but the one we had was outrageous at the time, decorated with naked women calmly holding images of Hendrix himself.

(All along the watchtower, continued)

Fred: “I’m not a big fan of covers but Jimi Hendrix and All Along The Watchtower is monumental.”

Mr Tambourine Man : The Byrds

Chosen by Gaye and Sally

Simple Twist of Fate : Joan Baez

Chosen by ione : “mainly because Joan Baez is pretty much the only person on the planet who can get away with mimicking the man himself”

Born in Time : Eric Clapton

Chosen by Rick
Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right : Eric Clapton

Chosen by Sally 

Dear Landlord : Janis Joplin

Chosen by ione – for Don who said “…..these are my continued listening …all cheap thrills, Oh wait, that’s Janis….” 

Chimes of Freedom : The Byrds

Chosen by ione: “the definitive version for me, something about the plaintive voice and that distinctive Rickenbacker”

What was it you wanted : Bettye Lavette, Trombone Shorty
Chosen by ione: “I’m a sucker for a lazy jazzy number and this one has great beats too, her delivery is very different from Dylan but retains his grit”
Positively 4th Street – Johnny Rivers

Chosen by ione: “I’m not sure you can have a cover of this one but I’ve included it because it’s the only version Dylan said he preferred to his own.”
Tomorrow is a Long Time by Rod Stewart 

Chosen by Philip: “Rod Stewart does marvellous Dylan covers and this is up there with the best.”

Girl from the North Country : Passenger

Chosen by Rick: “This is special for me cos it’s part of a long musical chain interaction with a wonderful, beautiful friend of mine who I am starting a relationship with, I am so in love with her.  This version is beautifully sung with a soft emotional voice and is such a contrast to Dylan’s original.  Very interesting accompaniment, particularly the piano part.”

Senor (Tales of Yankee Power) : The Bob Porter Project 
Chosen by Tim

“They are a band who live locally. I’ve seen them perform this song numerous times around Stroud. They do it very well. 
It is my favourite song from the Dylan album Street Legal.”
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2 Responses to Stroud Celebrates Dylan’s 80th

    1. Hello, I’m doing research on Dylan’s album ‘Blood on the Tracks’ for a book with Routledge Publishers. I was searching through the IT archive for reviews from 1975-1976, but it was extremely time consuming (as fascinating as it was!). Is there a way to do a word search on your archive? Or is there another way to search the articles more quickly?

      Many thanks!

      Comment by Caleb on 2 February, 2024 at 4:27 pm
    2. try this link Jeff cloves

      Comment by on 3 February, 2024 at 6:48 pm

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