COLUMN NINETY-THREE, JUNE 15, 2003
(Copyright © 2003 The Blacklisted Journalist)
A BOB DYLAN FAN'S MUSICAL EVOLUTION
[Steve Shorrock put his evolution on his own CD-ROM. Below, you can read which cuts he put in his collection and why. For further details, you can contact him at email@example.com .]
Ten years before this record's release I was born during an icy blizzard on a thirty-five degree hill in the north- west of England, tucked just outside of nineteen fifty-two. Someone handed me a horoscope proclaiming me to be an unfortunate amalgam of Capricorn and bleeding Scorpio. Just keep your mouth shut and do the best you can, that's what it said.
* * *
* * *
Times They Are A-changin' (1964)
We settle into the record shop and the flat above. I work eagerly every evening after school and on a Saturday. It is like Christmas every two days when I open the delivery boxes and become the first kid in town to get his grubby hands on the new Beatles single, E.P. or L.P. or whatever, and this thrill was only just beginning. Now we had the Rolling Stones amongst us and it was all getting jolly exciting. I queue all night with my mother for Beatles tickets and we attend the riotous show together at Bournemouth's Gaumont Cinema. Still no sign of Bob. (All songs.)
It All Back Home (1965)
Somewhere I still have a ticket stub that reads, "May 1965 Royal Albert Hall." Somehow in the last year Bob Dylan had gone from a virtual unknown (outside university) to top of the fucking pops. Like many others of his slightly older narrow-minded folk devotees I felt at first betrayed by Subterranean as I had so recently fallen in love with his first four albums. It felt like a lover's betrayal. I loved pop music still but I didn't quite get it coming from Dylan, I loved him because he didn't play pop music like everyone else. Now the newspapers were saying he sounded like an old man and what a rude person he was. No one had ever challenged the press the way he did in interviews, he was just sensational.
folkies were more assuaged by the folksier humour of side two however. We kind
of wanted to have him back like any deserted cult---damn! I was too young to be
in a bloody cult. Nevertheless it is with great excitement I allow my father
to please two sons with one stone and chauffeur
us to London to see our hero Bob Dylan. This album was out that very week and
the songs were just planted in our brains. Fresh and beautiful, straight from
the factory. Mods and rockers abound. Mister fucking tambourine man.
father couldn't bear the sound of Bob's voice so he elected to wait outside
for the duration whilst within an aristocratic audience of sorts all buzzed and
quivered in excitement and anticipation? then came out one man " three
harmonicas". one harmonica holder? one guitar? one glass of water".one
suit? one shirt? two winklepickers".one spotlight? four Beatles". five
Rolling Stones?me and my brother? 2000 breathless people? guitar tuning
and nervous sips and rapt applause? and fresh and beautiful song'tambourine
and Baby Blue? and She's An Artist" and huge, huge sales and
love and goose pimples and eventually a great film called Don't Look Back was released to commemorate the event.
was such a stupid ungrateful adolescent that I didn't speak to my father all
the way back home. He'd only shaken hands with Paul McCartney as the boys were
skipping out of the hall early. That made two times he'd betrayed me with
them. That's how many holes it takes.
Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
I was just catching up with the last album when, boom! Like a Rolling Stone came blasting out from everywhere, a six-minute single to boot, completely unheard of with a sound that didn't exist before. A shirt that had never been seen.
was wailing his new rock and roll poetry with all the confidence and arrogance
of an eighteen-year-old Rimbaud. He ascended like an amphetamine rocket out of
his folk past to become in a way the most unlikely of pop icons.
young brain falls in love with Desolation Row and works it's way
backwards through the album until I'm hooked. Every one is taking their hat
off to him (apart from the folkies who will wait another two years to make their
first electric albums.) The cover versions start hitting thick and fast changing
the face of American pop along with the war and the drugs.
delivers three of the most influential records in rock and roll history within
the space of fourteen or so months. He becomes the coolest man on earth (until
Jimi Hendrix came along by which time Bob would be busy eating country pie.) He
is working like a dog and they are working him like a dog.
* * *
on Blonde (1966)
Now he's top of the world but he doesn't look very happy here and neither does he sound very happy as he delivers surrealism full of feeling, grace and paranoia there on a platter, the first pop double album I can remember. Over the next few years every asshole in the world made one. He has always set trends and never ever followed them. What a guy! Even more brilliant.
plays in England and gets booed for his electric second half (this by the way is
superbly documented on the only non-included album I can thoroughly recommend,
that's Live in Manchester "66 issued
had started to smuggle myself into clubs and started to smoke
dope and do
pills. There was so much music around that year and Dylan was the drugged
abstract figurehead. People began to read anything they wanted to into his words
as his words were so plasticine. Everyone
a gem. Eat that Document. (A film never released properly which I would still
dearly love to see. It was the document actually.)
what must be one of
the most punishing touring schedules in the history of popular entertainment
whether he liked it or not, he preached night after night all over the world and
the world was duly converted. It couldn't go on. America was beginning to
we are informed that our leader has had some kind of mysterious motorcycle
nightmare and remains incapacitated for the immediate future. The revolution is
blossoming and it's adopted figurehead just disappears. I don't exactly
forget about Bob but there is so much going on and the music is changing, soul
starts to go out of fashion and the first hippie things are going around. The
guitar sound is changing and things are melting all around. Syd Barret will
attempt to drown himself in Brylcreem & Mandrax (or is it Mandrakes?). All
sorts of people will be busted. Empty minded people folk begin to
whisper the king is dead. (All songs)
* * *
The Basement Tapes (1967)
Rumour is rife and his legend grows. There
is no news from Bob's camp but then the bootlegs begin to trickle through our
shop. Strange mixtures of early Dylan and this badly recorded new stuff
all mixed up with no explanation. Heavy black acetates with heavy white covers.
suddenly everyone was having hits in England with these great new songs that he
hadn't released but appeared to be given away like a gift to London. There is
however no news that I heard about Bob outside of these bootlegs. (He is the
most bootlegged artist anywhere in history and he even started that.)
I'm fifteen and on acid and there's a man called Jimi Hendrix playing in a
theatre in my town for ten bob. On the bill beneath him are Pink Floyd, the
Nice, Amen Corner.
John Lennon was swimming in acid and Bob was a hillbilly recluse or was he? Great songs. Official record issued years later. (All songs)
Self Portrait (1970)
I guess he's always been a little perverse, but here is where it really starts to manifest itself (I recommend reading about the making of this---possibly his least significant album.) It was received as a direct insult by the counterculture though I'm sure it was never intended as such. They were still calling the poor bastard Judas and almost so was I.
Love that Winterlude (10 tracks+1 outtake)
* * *
vol. 2 (1971)
A curious and devious inducement to make Dylan freaks buy this double album, three tracks they don't have and only one of them something new. (1 track + 2 singles from around the time)
They say it again that he's back on track but the sound of the thing and his voice doesn't do it for me and I think I hear this album once all the way through. These included songs sounding pretty good to me in retrospect, missed them at the time except for Forever Young which I like much better now that I'm old. Note Bob begins to leave out better songs than many of those he decides to include. First signs of marriage breakup documented in his songs. ( 3 songs +1 outtake )
of Love (1981)
They got Daniel Lanois in New Orleans for this one. Definitely the best sound he's had for yonks. It's a new sound and a new Dylan. I hate those bloody list-songs though hence the non-inclusion of Everything is Broken. Loved Most of the Time at the time. He will wait eight years to resume this lyrical and musical tone until Time Out of Mind. I think I missed another one here too. Interesting. (8 tracks+ 4 outtakes)
apparently from some film called Wonder Boys I know nothing about,
* * *
And theft (2001)
I heard the single from this and I just thought, "oh, dear!" Then recently I began to get these tracks through on the net and I must say I find it one of the more intriguing albums of the last few years from anyone, both lyrically and musically (except maybe Olu Dara). I don't know if I heard all the tracks yet. I left a couple of boogie things off but I think Highwater is great and Mississippi too. A man of his age still pumping it out in music and from a new down and dirty romantic perspective, I mean who else! What a guy!
am again curious to see what the man will do next after all these years. Maybe
it will be an album of pizza covers like the
last selection. . . thank you, folks. . . thnk you. Bob. . . goodbye now and see
you soon. . . Sauceman is rotting away in his room. . .
Inhollandfebruarytwothousaandthree... (6 tracks)
Giant a personal best by Sauceman
Quite simply this aspires to be the ultimate Best
of Bob Dylan ever produced. Forty years of recorded history scroll before
your very eyes in glorious low-tech, all corresponding chronologically with the
lyrics (which also scroll.) Every officially-released track is included from
1962 until 1969, from which time I begin to edit, all the way to 2001 (Included
is a personal commentary on my mental relations with Dylan over roughly the same
period, plus my reasons for editing.)
This project came about solely because of the fact
that I now suddenly have use of a computer. It actually started because on this
machine, with the sound and the text, my girlfriend was suddenly able to
sing the whole of Desolation Row. I started matching more lyrics to music
for her and when she sang every word of It's
alright Ma (I'm only bleeding) I
couldn't believe it.
It began six months ago (collecting and arranging
songs and texts) and was completed this week (writing.)
I do not own a single c.d. by Mr. Bob Dylan and in fact I have never
owned a c.d. player in my life and
only ever used tapes (somewhere up a French mountain lie ten lonesome, mouldy
vinyls as testimony to the fact I did actually pay for his music one time.) The
whole thing would have been so much simpler had I access to the cds but I found
this stuff all arse-about-tit through a friend and the rest was painfully fished
out of the net. It just kind of took me over and turned out to be a real trip
back through the past and I just had to put all this shit in order and no one
can seriously read lyrics off a cd without a magnifying glass.
I could have chosen any one of a hundred sites dedicated simply to
Bob's lyrics, not possible it seemed. I chose to nick the greater part of the
texts (with quite a few small exceptions and corrections) from
(simply the most amazing non-commercial site run by Eyolf
This site is biased toward guitar players and is
absolutely essential for anyone who wishes to play any of these songs.
Unfortunately all these guitar symbols confused my girl's concentration so I
removed all of Eyolf's pains-taking work and ferreted out each song
alphabetically, one by one, before de-chording it (then of course I realised I
could easily have gotten them all chronologically simply by clicking on the
album list on the left) I cannot recommend this site highly enough, especially
for anyone who wants to play.
It's all simply a personal homage to someone who
drove me insane for some reason when I was only twelve years old. All I hear
around here nowadays is fucking techno and some of these people are twenty-five
and the rest. Only cotton wool. I think Bob would like it.
What I went about in the most dyslexic and
complicated of ways has turned out to be so beautifully simple, with no face and
no name. It is not intended to make people stop buying Bob Dylan albums as it
goes out only either to people who will never buy an album of his, or those who
already have every track, hopefully not arranged quite like this.
If anyone can tell me who took the cover photo that
would be great as I would like to send him a copy? Also any lyric corrections
welcome and any classics I may have missed. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
What did I forget to say about Bob? That he never
deigned to put his lyrics on an album cover, that he became a progressively
worse harmonica player. It doesn't matter, he is one unique son of a bitch.
A Giant. The most consistent and prolific songwriter
of the last half of the last century.
One of the only other sites I have looked at in any
depth is http://www.interferenza.com/bcs/interv.htm if
you wish to hear it from the horse's mouth. Great.
May I state from the outset that this project was not done for any monetary gain whatsoever and in all likelihood will not be seen by more than a dozen or so people. I am aware of the illegality of the thing (lyrics and music together) but I have nothing to loose and I may well be on the street in some weeks time. Love Sauceman. 5.3.2003. ". Ye Masters of War You Ain't Worth the Blood "..
[A self-styled "Musical Sponge," Steve Shorrock says he is no ordinary singer/guitar player, but he claims to be the owner of a truly staggering repertoire, the result of an insatiable appetite for music which he says began as soon as he was able to hear. He says he has been honing that repertoire consistently over the last twenty-five years, playing round Europe in every situation imaginable from restaurant to the festival stage, and from luxury liner to the penitentiary. He says he sings and plays Blues, Rock and Roll, Country and sixties pop with natural conviction and authenticity, and manages to give them all the distinctive 'Shorrock' stamp. As Brian Downey (Thin Lizzy) once said to him "Ya make yer blues sound like rock & roll, and your rock & roll sound like blues, I like dat! "
Steve was born into a musical family in the industrial north of England, in the eary fifties. He received his first instument (a ukelele) at the age of five. Absolutely everyone in his vicinity sang, either in the Music-hall/Hollywood traditions, or else in the styles of Frank Sinatra and Frankie Laine. It wasn't long however before rock and roll made it's indelible impression on the child's brain as he discovered Elvis and Buddy Holly on the magic waves of Radio Luxembourg.
His family moved to the south coast at the beginning of the sixties and opened a record store just as a new group called the Beatles were beginning to cause quite a stir. The music revolution had begun and the young Shorrock had his ears wide open to all the wonders it (and the shop catalogues) were to reveal. He had also begun to play guitar and piano. For the rest of the decade he was spoilt for choice as to the artistes and bands he could see just by jumping on a number 23 bus downtown; The Beatles live in a cinema, and later the Who or the Kinks in ballrooms, Hendrix in a theatre or Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac in a small sweaty club. The music was everywhere and had become a way of life.
In 1969 he left school and attended Bournemouth College of Art where he 'studied' blues and pop in the great English tradition of Lennon, Clapton and Townsend. Needless to say this did not stand him in good stead for any kind of career and after he left Steve drifted through some forty-five places of employment (including a stint as a dancing bear) before he accepted that his fate was to entertain. He began to forge an opening and a following for himself in the pubs and clubs along the south coast. At one of these he somehow fell in love and felt no choice but to chase his quarry to Paris in 1976.
Steve remained based in the city of light for the next twelve years and all the music he had stored in his head began to pour out. He began making a living with regular spots in cabarets and cafes, learning to adapt his musical vocabulary to the tastes of very diverse audiences. By now he was performing and writing songs in fluent French and was being invited to perform in Brittany and the South of France (as well as in Portugal, Ireland, Denmark and Czechoslovakia). Whilst in Paris he crossed musical paths with Didier Lockwood, Alpha Blondy, M.C. Solar, Champion Jack Dupree, Mungo Jerry, Guy Clarke and most notably, the legendary Serge Gainsbourg (of 'Je T'aime, moi non plus' fame, who later became the basis for a novelette that Steve would write in the nineties. The story, entitled Me and Serge, has now been translated into both French and Dutch.) One French newspaper urging readers to 'see this Englishman' describes him as having 'stepped right out of a Bob Dylan song or a Wim Wenders film.'
In 1988 the road led him to Munich where the work was more plentiful. Shorrock toured Germany continuously for the next six years, both as a solo act and as part of the popular duo 'Devil's Dilemma ' with virtuoso fiddler Peter Corbett. During this period he recorded his first album of entirely original material. The album, called So Long My Broken Heart, sold well with press notices comparing him favourably with Van Morrison and Tom Waits. Whilst there he also published a book of poems called My Wild Bavarian Love and completed the soundtrack for A Walk in the Woods by German film-maker Eva Gabriel.
Following an invitation to play the Raindance festival in the south of France, Steve again felt the urge to settle there. He did so for the following three years earning himself the title 'Le Bluesman fou d'Aveyron'. Whilst there he composed the incidental music for the play Casement by Jack Yeats, performed at the Quays Theatre in Dublin. Work was increasingly difficult to come by in the mountains however, and he headed for Belgium and Holland where he is now establishing himself as a top-class entertainer all over again. As his thousands of fans will testify, no one does it with more warmth, humour and sincerity than Steve Shorrock, modern day troubadour.
"I believe there is a song for everyone, just as there is a person for everyone. Song is the most perfect form of communication, it can transform a person's mood in a split second and take them away from their everyday cares before they know it, it can 'soothe the savage breast.' "] ##
CLICK HERE TO GET TO INDEX OF COLUMN NINETY-THREE
CLICK HERE TO GET TO INDEX OF COLUMNS
The Blacklisted Journalist can be contacted at P.O.Box 964, Elizabeth, NJ 07208-0964
The Blacklisted Journalist's E-Mail Address:
THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST IS A SERVICE MARK OF AL ARONOWITZ