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Bob Dylan’s Two Tempests

Dylan has a new album on the way. Now, the question is, does he still have his most famous guitar?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - 02:05 PM

News of the forthcoming Dylan album is jockeying for position with a TV show that claims to have found the electric guitar Dylan famously plugged in at Newport in 1965. First the new album: it will be called Tempest, and will be his 35th full-length release and his first album since the puzzling Christmas record he did in 2009.

Then there’s this: the PBS show History Detectives, in an episode airing tonight, is claiming that they’ve found the Fender Stratocaster guitar that launched a thousand cries of “Judas!” when Dylan plugged it in for his epoch-making performance at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. Where is it? With a woman in New Jersey, who says she inherited it from her dad.

Dylan’s camp fired back a few days ago with the claim that Dylan himself is still in possession of that instrument.

The producers of History Detectives then issued a statement standing by their research and their program.

As tempests go, this one may be teapot-sized, but still… that instrument is important to a lot of people (apparently including Dylan himself) for a lot of reasons.

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Comments [4]

Marcellus from manhattan

Regarding Dylan's song 'Tempest'(a song that, admittedly, i haven't yet heard in its entirety), where Dylan narrates the story of the Titanic and mentions "Leo" Dicaprio who starred in the film, it might be useful to listen to Woody Guthrie's 'Tom Joad' parts 1 and 2. In 'Tom Joad' Guthrie narrates the John Steinbeck novel "The Grapes of Wrath" without a chorus but he bases his lyrics mainly on the film starring Henry Fonda. I would venture that Dylan regards this song highly and likely was conscious of the similarity to his song 'Tempest.'

Sep. 20 2012 10:26 PM
Pennywhistler from Central Jersey, near Princeton

1) Please read my posts in the reverse order that they are presented. That will make more sense.

2) Yes, I know Dylan played with the Hawks. Most of the hassle was about the BBB's volume in the afternoon while workshops were going on nearby.

3) Yes, there were a few people BACKSTAGE with their hair on fire about Dylan's volume, because they were responsible for the success of ENTIRE festival.

These were the same people that signed up Mr. Dylan and his band for the Festival Main Stage evening concert.

4) Yes, some people in the audience booed Dylan. So far as anyone can tell, they were upset that the premier political songwriter in the country had "sold out". That is a topic to discuss another day.

But no one yelled "Judas".

5) Life is easier if you don't conflate three different events into one glib phrase.

Jul. 17 2012 10:30 PM
Pennywhistler

But one person -- ONE PERSON -- shouted Judas at Dylan. In England.

During the end of the May 17, 1966 concert at the Manchester Free Trade Hall, Manchester, Dylan was called "Judas!" by audience member John Cordwell, between the songs "Ballad of a Thin Man" and "Like a Rolling Stone".

When interviewed by the BBC's Andy Kershaw he explained:

"I think most of all I was angry that Dylan... not that he'd played electric, but that he'd played electric with a really poor sound system. It was not like it is on the record [the official album]. It was a wall of mush. That, and it seemed like a cavalier performance, a throwaway performance compared with the intensity of the acoustic set earlier on."

Jul. 17 2012 10:21 PM
Pennywhistler from Trenton

No one shouted "Judas" as the 1965 Newport Folk Festival ... much less a thousand people. No one.

However, some people were upset that the Butterfield Blues Band was amped too high on the Main Stage, and that bass-heavy sound was overwhelming some nearby workshops in nearby tents. Which was true.

I was there. Where were you?

Jul. 17 2012 10:13 PM

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