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YET ANOTHER TOP TEN

BY CHRIS COOPER


I have to say that I am sometimes at a loss to know what to put here. I can rattle on forever about non Dylan things and some of you even seem to like that but really it isnít entirely cricket is it? Then I often think that matters that have some importance to me in the year, things that maybe will affect me for the foreseeable future are not necessarily my ďTop TenĒ material. For example I am currently holding a very expensive battle with DVD burners that I see to finally be winning but whilst that has been a serious issue to me there have been many times I was ready to toss it out the window. Hardly rates as Top Ten does it?

I know, lets begin by looking at what I considered my Top Ten last year.

LOVE AND THEFT
Was first last year, an album of maturity and humour that I find, amazingly for me that I am still playing today. So it was a good choice last year. I think its fair to say that new Dylan official material usually makes my top ten so I guess that predictable. On that level but in no order I would say that.

LIVE 1975
Would be one of this year top ten. I was fully expecting this to be a dead loss but itís far from it. The intimacy of the shows has been brilliantly preserved , oh sure I can think of some criticismís but they are minor gripes on a major album. I play this in the car quite a lot (always a good sign with me) but it does change places with Love And Theft a lot so I would say that these two constitute the first two items. Now there i s that a first for me?

Same thing two years running.

Well then the next thing holds true too.

THE FIRST JOHN GREEN DAY
Was in there last year so I can say that No 2 was even better in some ways. Better because we had more of an idea what we were going to do this time. I certainly enjoyed it more. We had a new band in Cold Overture who took the place by storm. I really enjoyed Julie Felix also. She had a warm friendly approach and I think she really enjoyed the day also. We had more people we had more fun, it was good. I can imagine some of the group read this and wonder why I get so tetchy then say it was good. Itís the old problem, not enough hours and too much to do. That feeling that your life is starting to revolve around this obsession and welcoming the involvement whilst hating the responsibility that it brings. I have not found the answer yet, but hell at least I am still motivated to look. But lets keep this on an up, ok?

STEVE GIBBONS SET was in there last year but I donít think I would place Julie Felix in its place this year, she was good but Gibbons was better. Curiously I donít think a lot of people will agree with me on that. Well I am usually contrary you know. However for my fourth choice I would pic a small gig we (Dizzy and I) went to in October (no not those) It was the Stan Tracey Quartet doing ďUnder Milk WoodĒ in Milton Keynes. Full of life and vitality it was marvellous to hear the skill of the old quartet again. You know, there really is no substitute for hearing and seeing music live, and when you get to it, no music has more life in it than jazz. (Pause for complaints) Sorry, I just think thatís how it is. But of course that brings me too.

BOBíS UK VISIT
Now this got in in 2001 on the strength of Liverpool and Stirling. Both great shows in their own way. This year was an odd one. Bob in kianky mood and so-so voice at times. But you always enjoy him donít you. Wonít say these were the best shows, but Iíll go see him as long as he can make a noise and I can drag myself to the gig. Oh yeah, I did Ďem all again of course!

OUR MATES
So we continue with last years repeated because this was in for sure. As time goes by, and after losing a few mates I find I appreciate the others more than ever. IF I had to chose the most amusing part of the tour it would be spending some bizarre conversations with the Crystal Cat and sharing some drinks earlier than expected with Dave H in Brighton. The day we cannot have a laugh at ourselves is the day we stop. Well I will anyway. This stuff donít make sense to me no more. That used to feel like me, but the truth is itís the fact that it all doesnít make sense that keeps me going!!!

FREEWHEELINí
Always true for me I guess, good to see so many new people in after a pretty bad previous time. Freewheelin-on-line a reality now and blossoming all the time. My most earnest wish is that we could get you all involved much more than you are. Maybe someday. (I just wish that one day I can look round and not see JRS standing there saying ďnow we got this to doĒ.)

Next time the next thing was:

VIDEO DEVELOPMENTS
I made that statement about VCDís taking over in this area. Twelve months later I have already abandoned them and moved into DVDís! One area that has proven correct is that the general quality of circulating videos is now starting to improve again. But no, this is not included as a top ten this year.

THE OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2001 CONCERTS was there last year. Now thatís really spooky as again in 2002 we saw an uplift for these shows as Bob returned to the keyboard and has produced I would suggest the best tour this century. He sounds and looks so animated. Co-incidentally the first video footage from this year is featured in Magnetic Movements this month so check it out there.

THE OSCARS
Well we cannot repeat that one this year, though itís still fun to watch isnít it. Now last year we ended with:

BOB ON THE NET

ďThis has to be the big new thing. So much information out there now just waiting for us. News gets around so fast. Then thereís our own rapidly developing website. I can see the world as a much smaller place since the net. I cannot begin to imagine how much it has changed my collecting habits. Certainly this is the communication medium now.ď

And then we had FW-On-Line. I obviously thought it was the way forward then and even more so now.

SO:

1. Love And Theft
2. Live 1975
3. John Green Day 2
4. Stan Tracey Quartet and live jazz
5. The 2002 UK Tour
6. Our Mates
7. FW
8. FW-On-Line
9. Winter 2002 Shows

Leaves me with one last choice.

I could probably think of something more dynamic if I tried but I think I would just plump for family life here. I had a bad year in 2001, it would have been disastrous if my family had not rallied round me. But they did and I am still here because of that. So thanks to them all, especially my Dizzy who remains my best friend an inspiration now and after more than 30 years thatís a record even Bob canít beat Have a happy new year.

Till Next Time.

 

Bob Dylan and band

 
 
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