Trouble In Mind

by Neil Watson

A few days ago I received the latest cdr Tree package from Chris. This contained a nice recording of the Dallas 22/2/02 show. There was bad news enclosed in Chris’ letter stating that ‘I feel compelled to STOP the trees forthwith as the present system is simply not working and proving too time consuming now’. Well, I can understand it being too time consuming knowing Chris as I do and the constant workload he gets through in this Dylan world. What was disturbing was the reason why Chris felt he had to quit the cdr trees.

‘Sadly of all the cdrs I have sent most have failed to return and only two have been paid for. Some members seem unable to grasp the fact that I get nothing from this, so the charge of the cdrs was meant to pay my postage and cdr costs, several have commented that ‘they can get cdrs for less than I am charging’ which of course is true… of blank discs. But I have to record them, buy the packaging and pay the postage and I am afraid much as I cherish the memory of John (Green) I cannot continue to subsidise this system’. Quite right too. I couldn’t believe that people could not be bothered to return the discs or to pay for the one’s they wanted to keep. This is just not keeping in the spirit of what the project was intended for. Which was to keep the memory of John Green alive by sharing in his vast collection of rare Dylan material. Personally, I think that when Chris progressed from the ‘Tape Tree’ to the present ‘CDr Tree’ and offered the copied discs at £1 each was a very good deal. When you consider it used to cost at least twice as much when we collected all the shows on tape. How much for say two TDK Sas for one show? Which would you rather have, a show on cds or tapes. No contest. Bearing this in mind Chris was offering a very good deal. We all know that if you buy blank discs in bulk they can work out as little as 25p each but costs have to be covered. Obviously if you have a cd writer you could simply make your own copies of the shows when they arrive via the cdr tree. How cheap is that? This was growing into an excellent service – but looks now like it could be over. Shame. John deserved better than this. Much better.

The time is nearly upon us again to see the man who has no stage fright. Bob will be here with us on these shores in the early part of May in all the usual spots. I’ve had good reports from friends who attended one of the recent Paris shows. Lots of changes in the set-lists and good performances I’m reliably informed. What else could we ask? There will be loads of the usual press coverage. But is there really anything left to say about Bob Dylan? Can we really review a Dylan concert anymore after SO many? What we need is the view from the other side. What Bob Dylan has to say on Bob Dylan. The first instalment of the autobiography would do nicely! Sometimes it happens that you meet history. Also outside the museum. Bob Dylan is there, he comes into the room dressed like a gentleman from the Old West. Black and Grey. ‘Love And Theft’ it all fits together. Will the sixty year-old Dylan tour indefinitely?

Answer, ‘I don’t see myself doing anything indefinitely. I see myself fulfilling the commitments at the moment. Anything beyond that, …time will have to tell’.

Question, So, how do you feel personally? There’s a lot of spirit in the new album. Do you feel pretty good about things?

Answer, ‘Any day above the ground is a good day’ (Robert Hilburn Interview, L.A. Times Sept. 2001)

Question is, will Dylan give us his ‘I am the spokesman for a generation’ line this
time around? Meanwhile to close, here is this months Dylan poem.

Everything cloudy, fuzzy, out of shape.
Dull thudding in head, images of Bob Dylan’s false teeth float towards me
Like satanic frizbees, think I may emit.

Nearly done, dogs all gone, run free. Spirits high though, in spite of
Damned howling gale of pop mediocrity all about us.
Last stretch now, can hardly wait for the feel of a real bed and a woman’s
Soft moustache.

No, I don’t think it is a Tarantula out-take.