1981: The Last Really Great Dylan Tour?

1981: The Last Really Great Dylan Tour?

It was Flag Day 1981, and I found myself driving south on I-95, taking a friend to see Bob Dylan at some place called the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland.  It was her first Dylan concert and my tenth.  During the ride, I was trying to explain to my...
Merle Haggard at 78

Merle Haggard at 78

When I heard that Merle Haggard was going to play the Keswick Theatre just outside Philadelphia, I knew I had to go. I’m a firm believer in seeing the greats as many times as possible and at 78, and a lung cancer survivor, it is possible he might not make...
Another Halloween Concert

Another Halloween Concert

45 years ago right about this time on this day which also was a Friday and also obviously Halloween, I found myself seated in the back seat of a rather large Oldsmobile departing the land of the Basement Tapes for the city of Boston. It was my first trip to...
Halloween at Philharmonic Hall 50 Years Later

Halloween at Philharmonic Hall 50 Years Later

After 50 years, it might be the concert and the weekend of music I remember best. It was Halloween and a Saturday and until that day Halloween meant costumes and going for blocks trick or treating. And Halloween on a Friday or Saturday meant an extra long night of trick...
Another Side of Bob Dylan at 50

Another Side of Bob Dylan at 50

In my memory, Another Side of Bob Dylan appeared at the end of August in 1964, not at the beginning as various books and web sites proclaim. Another Side would prove to be a pivotal album, one that signaled various beginnings and ends at the same time, though at the...
My 50th Anniversary as a Bob Dylan fan

My 50th Anniversary as a Bob Dylan fan

  So 50 (yikes) years ago this day, which was also a Monday was for me a life defining moment. The entire summer I’d been at a camp in Maryland on the shores of the Chesapeake day where I learned to water ski (imagine that) and shoot a rifle. Some...
Van Morrison Gets Political

Van Morrison Gets Political

For Van Morrison, first and foremost, it’s always been about the music, and finding that magic place inside the music that takes you someplace else, outside yourself to the nameless realm beyond.  What many see as an aloof taciturn stage presence that at times seems more eccentric the older he...
Bob Dylan's Sly Trip To Hell On Earth

Bob Dylan’s Sly Trip To Hell On Earth

Tempest is Bob Dylan’s 34th studio album.  He has now been recording for half a century and if this album is an indication, he has no intention of slowing down.  It is an album that is like everything he’s ever done and at the same time like nothing he’s ever...
Bob Dylan at Forest Hills, 40 Years Later

Bob Dylan at Forest Hills, 40 Years Later

[This article was written in 2005 and posted to various Bob Dylan forums for the 40th Anniversary of Dylan’s first live appearance following the Newport Folk Festival.] Forty-five years ago today, I got off a bus from camp at Union Square in New York City, handed my Dad my duffle...
Of Doc Watson

Of Doc Watson

For the first half of my life that she was alive, my grandmother showed little interest in music except for watching the Lawrence Welk Show.  When we were very young and she would sit for us, it was a given that that she would watch the Lawrence Welk show and...
In Memory of Donald “Duck” Dunn

In Memory of Donald “Duck” Dunn

If you own the rights to this photo, please contact and we will be happy to make arrangements. Late last night I logged onto Facebook, and was shocked to find out that legendary bass player Donald “Duck” Dunn had died in his sleep while on tour in Japan.  Dunn was...
Willie Nelson Country Music (Rounder Records)  by Peter Stone Brown

Willie Nelson Country Music (Rounder Records) by Peter Stone Brown

Willie Nelson has recorded, and continues to record, so many albums at what seems like an incredible rate of speed that it is not only difficult to keep up, but discern which albums are worth it.  However, every once in a while and sometimes more than once in a while,...
Robbie Robertson Returns

Robbie Robertson Returns

Robbie Robertson Returns Review : How to Become Clairvoyant by Peter Stone Brown When Robbie Robertson finally returned to recording more than a decade after the original lineup of The Band played their last show, it was obvious he had moved on in terms of sound.  Co-producing with Daniel Lanois,...
Bob Dylan - A Young Man With An Old Man's Voice

Bob Dylan – A Young Man With An Old Man’s Voice

Bob Dylan – A Young Man With An Old Man’s Voice by Peter Stone Brown Originally featured at Bob Dylan’s Official Website – http://www.bobdylan.com   My first conscious remembrance of hearing a Bob Dylan song was in June of 1963, about a month before my twelfth birthday, at a Pete...
Johnny Cash: Haunting Past the Grave

Johnny Cash: Haunting Past the Grave

  It is now almost six and a half years since Johnny Cash left the planet, and not surprisingly, he still remains a vital force, not only as a singer, but as an inspirational figure who’s reach extends far beyond music.  Cash was an American giant, and the designation of...
Who wrote “Blowin’ in the Wind”? Not Lorre Wyatt

Who wrote “Blowin’ in the Wind”? Not Lorre Wyatt

(Ed. – Peter Stone Brown wrote this remembrance in response to a previous article of mine in Muddy Water, about the song “Restless Farewell.” In that piece, the issue of Lorre Wyatt was brought up, as well the Newsweek article claiming Dylan bought “Blowin’ in the Wind” from Wyatt, who...
The Levon Helm Band, The Electric Factory, Philadelphia, 02.15.2008

The Levon Helm Band, The Electric Factory, Philadelphia, 02.15.2008

Last night Levon Helm finally brought his Ramble to Philly, playing the Electric Factory. It was Helm’s second Philly appearance in the 21st Century, the first being a show by his blues group The Barn Burners at a River Jam, where following his surgery for throat Cancer, Helm did not...
The Art Behind the Man: Bob Dylan and America (Sean Wilentz)

The Art Behind the Man: Bob Dylan and America (Sean Wilentz)

  Historian, professor and writer Sean Wilentz’ new book Bob Dylan in America is neither biography or critical assessment though it is a bit of both.  Comprised largely of previously written though updated articles, the book isn’t so much about Dylan as it is about some of his influences, and...
"Together Through Life" Dancing with Dylan

“Together Through Life” Dancing with Dylan

  If Bob Dylan’s previous studio album,  Modern Times was about (among other things) finding love or maybe just romance, in a world, where some sort of impending doom lurked waiting around the next corner, on the new, Together Through Life, he’s decided, well there’s nothing much you can do...
John Fogerty Makes Peace with His Past

John Fogerty Makes Peace with His Past

On Revival (Fantasy Records), John Fogerty comes to terms with and maybe even makes peace with his past. In doing so he’s created one of the best albums I’ve heard this year, and maybe in the past several years. Fogerty’s history has been one of pop music’s legendary nightmares, involving...
"I Had to Rearrange Their Faces and Give Them All Another Name" The Re-Packaging of Bob Dylan

“I Had to Rearrange Their Faces and Give Them All Another Name” The Re-Packaging of Bob Dylan

The autumn of 2007 saw the marketing of Bob Dylan by Sony/BMG like no previous year. Of course promotion has happened every time Dylan releases anything, but this year smacked of product with a corporate touch. Sometime around the end of the summer, visitors to Dylan’s official website, BobDylan.com were...
Dylan’s Swing Time Waltz in the Face of the Apocalypse: Modern Times (2006)

Dylan’s Swing Time Waltz in the Face of the Apocalypse: Modern Times (2006)

Sometime 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...
Hubert Sumlin and Howard Tate: Farewell to Two Blues Greats

Hubert Sumlin and Howard Tate: Farewell to Two Blues Greats

  It was sometime in 1975, and my friend Richard and I were leaving our job which happened to be in a record store when Richard said, “Let’s go see Howlin’ Wolf.”  I was somewhat reluctant at first because various people had told me Wolf’s show was a comedy act...
Where is Phil Ochs When We Really Need Him?

Where is Phil Ochs When We Really Need Him?

I’m pretty sure it was in the ’80s when Reagan was president that these buttons appeared in the remains of head shops, probably in what was once the hip sections of certain cities that said: “Where is Phil Ochs now that we need him?”  Those buttons would be equally relevant...
Bob Dylan - Tell Tale Signs (2008)

Bob Dylan – Tell Tale Signs (2008)

Notes by Peter Stone Brown 2008 It was the late summer of 1989, and one day a package with a cassette inside appeared in the mail. The cassette was an advance copy of the new, as yet, unreleased Bob Dylan album, Oh Mercy. All I knew was the album was...
Interview: John Lee Hooker, October 1977, at the Main Point, Bryn Mawr, PA.

Interview: John Lee Hooker, October 1977, at the Main Point, Bryn Mawr, PA.

October 1977, at the Main Point, Bryn Mawr, PA.   John Lee Hooker was one of my all-time favorite blues singers. This interview was done between shows in the basement of the Main Point, a legendary music club in the Philly suburbs. This was my first time seeing Hooker, and...
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...
Bob Dylan -  You Only Had To Feel Them

Bob Dylan – You Only Had To Feel Them

Originally featured at Bob Dylan’s Official Website – bobdylan.com   Inthe early spring of 1965, I was listening one night to Jerry White’s folk show on WJRZ when hesaid, “We have a new single from Bob Dylan.”  White sounded kind of hesitant, the tone of his voice implied that we...
Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball

Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball

Full article at Counter Punch Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball by PETER STONE BROWN In 1944, writing a script for a radio show Woody Guthrie wrote: “I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good.  I hate a song that makes you think that you are just...
Farewell to Levon Helm

Farewell to Levon Helm

And the Band Played On Farewell to Levon by PETER STONE BROWN It was in the spring 47 years ago that my brother brought home an album by blues singer John Hammond called So Many Roads.  It was Hammond’s third album and his second with a band.  The names of...
Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash

Like a lot of people my age, Johnny Cash was someone who was always there, and in some crazy sense I thought he would always be there.  The first Cash song I truly remember was “Ring of Fire” which was a big hit when I was a kid, but there...
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East Meets Vest

East Meets Vest

The first thing that really hits you listening to David Vest’s new album, East Meets Vest is how brilliantly the piano is recorded.  The crystal clear impact of it hits you with an immediacy as if there was no distance, as if you were right there in the studio or even better a living room. ...
Bob Dylan: Maybe Just a Musician - Glastonbury 1998

Bob Dylan: Maybe Just a Musician – Glastonbury 1998

(Written for a U.K Newspaper to coincide with the 1998 Glastonbury Festival)   Maybe you know Bob Dylan as someone your parents listened to and wonder what the fuss is still about.  After all, the guy’s been around forever and why should he be different than any other oldies act, singing songs he wrote 30...
Garland Jeffreys: The King of In Between

Garland Jeffreys: The King of In Between

  It was sometime in the first few months of 1970, I was living in some sixth floor walkup on the Lower East Side, and late one night, listening to Bob Fass’ “Radio Unnamable,” when this mysterious song came on that sounded like something from The Basement Tapes but the recording quality was too good...
40 Years of Self Portrait

40 Years of Self Portrait

On June 8th, 1970, Bob Dylan released his tenth album (not counting Greatest Hits), and his second 2-Lp set, Self Portrait.  It was the first Dylan album to be unabashedly and resoundingly panned by virtually every music critic in the country, most notably by Greil Marcus, who led what amounted to an assassination squad of...
Bob Dylan: Prophet, Mystic, Poet by Seth Rogovoy (Scribner)

Bob Dylan: Prophet, Mystic, Poet by Seth Rogovoy (Scribner)

First, a disclaimer in the interest of open journalism.  Seth Rogovoy is a friend, and during the course of writing this book, he’d occasionally run ideas, questions or facts by me.  As such, I am thanked in this book. One of the reasons Bob Dylan’s entire body of work has been the subject of discussion...
Songs of Freedom at the White House  Well, sort of…

Songs of Freedom at the White House Well, sort of…

In June of 1963, my parents took me to a Pete Seeger concert in Lambertville, New Jersey.  I’d seen Seeger twice before, but this concert was different because he sang a bunch of new songs, introducing me to the music of Bob Dylan, with “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” and “Who Killed Davey Moore,” and...
By The Cold Grey Sea...

By The Cold Grey Sea…

We knew we we’re in for a special night when they rolled the organ on stage. Then Bob came out wearing, jeans, Beatle boots, an old sports jacket and his black wayfarer shades accompanied by none other than Jim Dickinson on keyboards! A guitar-less Bob blew one wailing note on the harp and they launched...
Hard Rain : by Tim Riley (Alfred A. Knopf)

Hard Rain : by Tim Riley (Alfred A. Knopf)

Hard Rain : by Tim Riley Alfred A. Knopf $23 Reviewed by Peter Stone Brown Tim Riley starts this book, (subtitled “A Dylan Commentary”) with such a rush of words — much like his subject — describing the layers of meaning Dylan’s voice gives to his songs that I had high hopes for it.  But...
Garth Hudson - Biography

Garth Hudson – Biography

Of all the musicians in The Band, the most interesting and intriguing is Garth Hudson. The Band was a special group of extraordinary musicians to begin with, but Hudson’s keyboard work took them even higher. Hudson’s unique gospel-oriented sound partially came from his use of the Lowrey organ. But it was his amazing technique as...
Revisiting The Band

Revisiting The Band

  Early in the summer of 1968, a very unassuming and somewhat strange album appeared. On the cover was what appeared to be a child’s painting. On the rear cover was a small picture of the back of a fairly ugly, somewhat suburban-looking pink house and in large bold letters were the words: Music From...
Rick Danko

Rick Danko

This article was written in December 1999, just after the author found out that Rick Danko had died. It originally appeared in the newsgroups alt.music.the-band and rec.music.dylan.     Rick Danko The first time I saw Rick Danko was in 1965 in Newark, New Jersey. He was a member of The Hawks and was backing...
Richard Manuel

Richard Manuel

This article was written in 1986, the night when the author found out that Richard Manuel had died. It originally appeared in Peter Stone Brown’s regular column, The Other Side in a paper called the Welcomat in Philadelphia, in the March 12, 1986 issue. Copyright © Peter Stone Brown, 1986, 1998. It was many years...