Me and Bobby D



Dr Robert


Last month I went to see Kris Kristofferson give a solo acoustic evening at the Palace Hotel in Manchester .He is now a grizzled 68 years old and, like Dylan, his voice is less than it was but he still has some great songs as well as a few stories. You may know his big country hits but he is rather different to most of the other Nashville artists. His most recent records have included songs such as “Third World Warrior” and “Broken Freedom Song”. 

This is only about the sixth or seventh concert that he has done on his own and he is clearly a little nervous. However he soon settles down and after a few songs including “Me and Bobby McGhee (and Janis)” and “Broken Freedom Song” he puts on a harmonica harness and plays a solo on harmonica after “Best Of All Possible Worlds”. When he ends he laughs and says, “well it ain’t Bob, but it ain’t bad!” He then goes on to tell us that his first gigs the previous week were up in Scotland and asked if we saw any of the coverage of Bob getting his degree from St. Andrew’s University. He said did you see that picture of Bob looking at the rector? (see above)“Bob just kills me I think he must be the funniest guy on the planet. Come to think of it Bob cut this next song” and he goes on to play “They Killed Him”. 

Later in the concert he dedicates a newish song “Here Comes The Rainbow” to Dylan saying “ ‘the heart is all that matters in a man’ I think Bob Dylan said that.” For an encore he gives us a song based on the advice he gave to Sinead O’Connor at Bobfest “Don’t Let The Bastards Get You Down”. 

A few weeks later just when the term was ending I got back from the End of Year Leavers’ Disco at which I had been “DJ Lewis” playing such gems as “YMCA”, “Saturday Night”, and “The Locomotion”. I ran a bath, grabbed a beer and lay down to soak having first switched on Peter’s waterproof radio. What should greet me but “what’s the matter with me I don’t have much to say”. It sounded so good with that wonderful rolling piano. Anyway it was part of a musical quiz on Mark Radcliffe’s Radio 1 show where he plays three tracks and you have to guess the connection. At the end he told us that was Dylan’s “Watching The River Flow” and that the first song, which I had missed was The Crystals “He’s A Rebel” featuring Darlene Love. Radcliffe then said he would play just the opening bars of the third song and if you could identify it you could have a go at naming the connection between all three tracks. Well the opening bars were unmistakeable featuring the distinctive guitar riff of Jimi Hendrix as he launches into “Crosstown Traffic” with its memorable couplet “tyre tracks all across your back / I can see you’ve had your fun”. 

Any ideas on the connection? Well it was “influences on Patti Smith”. The rebel in the first track being her husband Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith of the revolutionary MC5. Radcliffe then played a live acoustic track by Patti Smith called “In My Blakean Years” written in Manchester a few weeks before after seeing a BBC documentary on William Blake. Well it has given me something to say as having missed the shows again I was not sure what I was going to write this time. 

Sticking to the radio I was listening to Andy Kershaw as he had Teddy Thompson (son of Richard) in session. At one point he was reading various listeners’ e-mails including one from someone who loved his show and wanted to hear more of Richard Thompson or Loudon Wainwright or Bob Dylan. Kershaw then played “To Ramona” from “Live 1964”. Afterwards he mentioned he had another e-mail from someone in New York who had “met Dylan lots” at around the time that Dylan was supporting The Greenbriar Boys at The Gaslight (1962?). This correspondent also says he has a recording of Dylan live doing “T for Texas”.

not dylan

Not Dylan but I thought you might like to see this!