Gadfly
Dylan in Concert - 2001

Dylan in Concert – 2001

“Things should start to get interesting right about now.” —Bob Dylan, “Mississippi”   It’s been happening once or twice annually for about 13 years now. The Bob Dylan road show comes around and almost always seems to hit the East Coast in autumn. Carnival time, when there’s a slight chill in the air and the...
Positively 4th Street The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña and Richard Fariña

Positively 4th Street The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña and Richard Fariña

A Simple Twist of Fate might have been a more appropriate title for this book, which is essentially a biography of Richard Fariña in disguise. But it is more than that. As entwined as any Dylan epic song, it is a look at crazy poet/hustler conmen conniving their way to the top; a behind-the-scenes glimpse...
A Circle Still Unbroken: Doc Watson and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

A Circle Still Unbroken: Doc Watson and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Thirty years before T-Bone Burnett gathered a bunch of excellent musicians in a Nashville studio to re-create early country music for the O Brother soundtrack, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band enticed such legendary country artists as Mother Maybelle Carter, Roy Acuff, Merle Travis, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, and Jimmy Martin to join them in the...
John Lee Hooker: An Appreciation

John Lee Hooker: An Appreciation

  John Lee Hooker’s death is tragic not so much for the loss of one of the greatest blues artists, but because there are so few of the original blues masters left. Yes, there will be blues bands across the country and the world playing his songs whether “Boom Boom,” “Dimples,” “One Bourbon, One Scotch,...
Bob Dylan: "Love And Theft" (Columbia, 2001)

Bob Dylan: “Love And Theft” (Columbia, 2001)

Love and Theft Bob Dylan Columbia, 2001 “Some day everything’s gonna be different When I paint my masterpiece” ––Bob Dylan, 1971 Last May, when it seemed like every newspaper and magazine in the world was remarking on how the rebel rock poet of the ’60s had turned 60, Bob Dylan was in a recording studio...
A Family Thing: Sara Lee Guthrie and Shana Morrison

A Family Thing: Sara Lee Guthrie and Shana Morrison

  Music can be a family thing. Throughout the history of popular music there have been all kinds of family groups, going all the way back and all the way up, from the Monroe Brothers and the Carter Family to the Beach Boys, the Kinks and Oasis. However, for some reason, once someone’s children get...
Mississippi John Hurt, Live (Vanguard) John Lee Hooker, Live at Newport (Vanguard)

Mississippi John Hurt, Live (Vanguard) John Lee Hooker, Live at Newport (Vanguard)

Early in 1963, two blues collectors, Tom Hoskins and Richard Spottswood, pulled into a town in Mississippi that wasn’t on the map, called Avalon. All they were going on was a 1928 recording. “Avalon Blues” by an obscure singer, Mississippi John Hurt. They were in luck. People at the general store gave them directions to...
Howard Tate: The Return Of a Soul Music Master

Howard Tate: The Return Of a Soul Music Master

  Last I heard about him he was in New York, and Jerry Ragovoy used to produce him. He made all these demos with the guy and I asked Ragovoy, “Where in the world is Howard Tate?” And he wouldn’t tell me. So he’s either in jail or dead or just not working in music...
Down The Road And On The Tracks: Van Morrison and Steve Earle

Down The Road And On The Tracks: Van Morrison and Steve Earle

For about the past ten years, when not doing special project albums with other artists, Van Morrison seemed to be making the same album again and again. It seemed that one could almost write the generic Van Morrison song the way one could write the generic country song. Van has three types of songs: The...
The Life (and Death) of Dave Van Ronk

The Life (and Death) of Dave Van Ronk

The Life (and Death) of Dave Van Ronk By Peter Stone Brown The headline February 10 announcing Dave Van Ronk’s death in Reuters said, “Folk Pioneer,” but I always thought of him as more than that. First and foremost I thought of him as a blues singer, even though he did old traditional ballads, and...