Lost interviews shed light on withdrawn singer-songwriters


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William J. Kole

For almost half a century they blew in the wind: lost interviews that contained surprising new insights into the celebrated singer-songwriter Bob Dylan.

Transcripts of the 1971 interviews with the late American blues artist Tony Glover – and letters the two friends exchanged – have appeared in a Boston auction house. They reveal that Dylan changed his name because of concerns about anti-Semitism and wrote “Lay Lady Lay” for the actress Barbra Streisand.

Some of the 37 pages typed contain handwritten notes in Dylan’s own scribble, said RR Auction, who sells Glover’s treasure trove to Dylan Archives. “My work is moving,” Dylan scribbled at one point. Elsewhere, he used a blue marker to stroke through passages he obviously didn’t like.

“In many cases, the deletions are more meaningful than the additions,” said Bobby Livingston, executive vice president of the auction house.

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Dylan, 79, was close friends with Glover, who died last year. The two men broke into the music in the same Minneapolis coffeehouse scene. Glover’s widow, Cynthia Nadler, put the documents up for auction with online bidding from November 12th through November 19th.

Reclusive Dylan, who won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature after giving the world “Blowin ‘in the Wind,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” and other hymns from the 1960s , was born Robert Zimmerman in Duluth, Minnesota. And his extensive conversations with Glover help explain the name change.

On March 22, 1971, a conversation began with Dylan, who joked, “I mean, it would not have worked if I had changed my name to Bob Levy. Or Bob Neuwirth. Or Bob Donut. “

But in handwritten additions, the tone got more serious when Dylan spoke about his Jewish identity. “Many people have the impression that Jews are just moneylenders and merchants. Many people think that all Jews are like that. Well, they used to be because that was all that was open to them. That’s all they were allowed to do, ”he wrote.

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In the interviews, Dylan also recalled becoming famous at the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island in 1965 when he was booed in the crowd by folk purists. “Yes, it was a strange night,” he said.

There’s also a letter Dylan penned in February 1962, a month before he released his debut album, quoting folk legend Woody Guthrie: “Sometimes I feel like a piece of dirt walking.”

After visiting Guthrie in May of this year, Dylan wrote these texts that were never published:

“My eyes are cracked, I think I’ve been framed // I can’t remember the sound of my name // What did he teach you? he teaches you to reveal, respect and repent of the blues // No Jack, he taught me to sleep in my shoes. “

Lay Lady Lay is believed to have been long written for the 1969 Oscar-winning Midnight Cowboy, but Dylan told Glover he wrote it as a melody for Streisand. He didn’t go into the nature of their relationship.

The interviews were originally for an article Glover wrote for Esquire magazine, but Dylan lost interest and the piece was never completed, RR Auction said.

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