|The Cambridge Bob Dylan Society||Contact TCBDS: email John Nye email John Stokes|
In the Press - about The
Cambridge Bob Dylan Society
Click here to see the pdf of an article published in the Cambridge Evening News on 16 August 1989: "Superstar has superfan club".
Click here to see the pdf article about The Cambridge Bob Dylan Society published in the March 2005 edition of Our Time magazine, "Cambridgeshire's number one nostalgia magazine".
Click here for the pdf of the article about The Cambridge Bob Dylan Society published in the May 2005 edition of Cambridgeshire Life magazine: "Meet our Bob Dylan devotees".
TCBDS posters here
2004: The Cambridge Bob Dylan Society's 20th Anniversary Celebration, Holiday Inn, Cambridge - 24 September 2004
2009: The Cambridge Bob Dylan Society's 25th Anniversary Celebration, Holiday Inn, Cambridge - 29 May 2009
2011: Things Have Changed - The Cambridge Bob Dylan Society celebrates Bob Dylan at 70, Holiday Inn, Cambridge - 20 May 2011
Johanna's Revenge was the title of a series of audio cassettes put together by John Nye and made available to members of The Cambridge Bob Dylan Society over a four year period from September 1990 to September 1994. Every meeting John would bring along another one. Advance warning of its contents had been given in the Tight Connection newsletter he would compile and either mail out prior to each meeting or bring along with him. Some of the later JRs featured primarily live performances and were compiled by Chris Cooper.
The thinking behind the series was to make available hard-to-find Dylan rarities - studio outtakes and live performances - in the best possible quality. Cassettes generally available at that time at Record Fairs or in trade with other collectors were usually several generations down from their source, and often sounded like it. John had access to some top quality recordings and laboured long and hard over transferring these to cassette, using domestic equipment. Clearly a labour of love.
The first song on tape one and the last song on the last tape, tape 25, was Visions of Johanna [see pictures below], the song which inspired the title of the series. Many requests were made for a Johanna's Revenge mark 2, and indeed another series, called Series Of Dreams - with the first cassette having the memorable spine reference of SOD1 - was begun, but sadly didn't continue.
Click on pictures to make them larger
The Cambridge Bob Dylan Society - Stories In The Press
Below is the article (minus pictures) that appeared
in The Cambridge Evening News on Saturday 20 May 2006.
Pensioner Dylan is forever young
IN THE 60s, Bob Dylan was the voice of youthful protest, his songs soundtracking everything from the civil rights movement to a generation's outrage over Vietnam.
But even the voice of youth has to grow old some time and, this week, the man born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941 officially becomes a pensioner.
Not that he has any intention of settling down.
Dylan has been on a "never-ending" tour since 1988, and plays his
latest batch of live shows in the UK next month.
One fan who's already bought his ticket is John Nye, from Cambridge, who has seen Dylan more times than he can remember over the past 40 years.
"My first concert was the Albert Hall in '66, when I was 15," says John, now 55. "That was my musical awakening. I went home with my ears ringing, absolutely mesmerised."
That passion for Dylan never waned and, in 1984, John got together with friends John Stokes and Chris Cooper [and Chris Rolph (ed. by JN after publication)] to form The Cambridge Bob Dylan Society. Still going strong after 22 years, it is now the longest-running Dylan society in the country and regularly attracts between 50 and 80 members.
"We're a meeting place for Dylan fans," says John, who still runs the society with John and Chris, plus more recent recruit Keith Agar. "We fill a niche; Dylan's always been very secretive about himself and fans always wanted to get a little closer to him. They want to hear more about him and understand what he's up to and keep in touch with developments."
The society meets every two months at The Boathouse pub in Chesterton Road, Cambridge. Members swap Dylan anecdotes and opinions, watch rare video footage and, occasionally, welcome live Dylan tribute artists or authors who have written biographies of the great man.
"It's very informal - it's more like a friends' society, really," explains John. "Around 20 or 30 of the people have been coming along since the beginning, while others come and go.
"People come along to be entertained - Dylan described himself as a song and dance man years ago. He's there for entertainment, and so are we."
Sadly, the society has never had any contact with Dylan himself. "I don't think he even knows we exist," laughs John. "Dylan lives a very private life. He's not a great communicator."
Not in conversation, maybe. But through his music, Bob Dylan is one of the great communicators of the age.
"Dylan's big achievements are threefold - as a songwriter, vocalist and musician," says John. "As a vocalist, he tried to break the notion that a singer had to have a conventional good voice. He sings with a very natural voice, and that opened doors for other people to do the same.
"As a musician, he sparked several genres of music, including electrified folk rock and country rock. And as a songwriter he pioneered different schools of songwriting, from confessional singer-songwriting to the hallucinatory stream of consciousness type of songs. If it wasn't for him, you wouldn't have had Strawberry Fields Forever or a Whiter Shade of Pale or anything like that. He was a huge influence on The Beatles and his influence is still seen today, with bands like Coldplay and Oasis. He's still as relevant as ever."
As for turning 65, John doesn't think his hero will use the landmark birthday as an opportunity to look back.
"Dylan always looks to the future," he says. "He's still writing, still touring - and he's started presenting his own radio show. The famous documentary film about Dylan was called Don't Look Back, and he never does."
□The society meets on the last Friday of every other month at The Boathouse, Cambridge. The next meeting is on Friday from 8pm.