moderntimesSometime back in the era of Nashville Skyline, but long before Self Portrait I was talking with a friend of mine who was heavily into Dylan, and had just written a paper for some course at Columbia University on “Time and Space in Bob Dylan songs.” We were in a little hamlet called Shady in upstate New York, about seven minutes from Byrdcliffe, when he said, “I think Dylan reached a place where his dreams and reality are all one.”

Fast forward 30 years to the early spring of 2000, Bob Dylan goes on tour with Western Swing band, Asleep at the Wheel as his opening act. In Reno he says they’re the best band he ever toured with. Six months later in Indiana, Dylan does a Sons of the Pioneers song with pre-swing overtones, “Blue Bonnet Girl.” The lead singer of the original recording was one Roy Rogers. When I was a kid, I once had a set of cowboy tunes on little 45-size 78s by Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers. It came in a little box with a handle. I wonder if “Blue Bonnet Girl” was on it. A few months after that I’m sitting in a delicatessen in New York with Asleep at theWheel’s leader and founder, Ray Benson, who I’ve known longer than I’ve been listening to Bob Dylan and ask him about that tour. “He only listens to old music,” he tells me.

At the same time I’m engaged in heavy duty email correspondence with another friend. “He’s moving back to becoming the guy who made the first album,” he writes me.

Article at CounterPunch