As was done in 2016 and 2017, rare Bob Dylan film clips were shown at the Asbury Park Music and Film Festival, Sunday afternoon at House of Independents, with commentary by Dylan’s manager Jeff Rosen (who is on the festival’s board).
This amounts to an annual, much anticipated feast for New Jersey Dylan fanatics — an opportunity to see and hear things they would never otherwise get to experience, from throughout Dylan’s career.
Rosen explained that while some of the 15 clips had never been shown in public before, others had – or have been circulating among fans, but usually with inferior resolution and sound.
Among those he identified as never before seen (or never seen in their entirety) were a live version of the rarely performed “Tell Me, Momma,” from 1966, with Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson (all, later, of The Band) plus drummer Mickey Jones; a mesmerizing solo acoustic version of “Visions of Johanna,” recorded on the same tour; and a ferocious “Isis” and an aching “You’re a Big Girl Now,” both outtakes from the 1976 “Hard Rain” television special. (The audio for this version of “You’re a Big Girl Now” was used on Dylan’s Hard Rain concert album.)
In an outtake from the D.A. Pennebaker’s “Don’t Look Back” documentary, Dylan sings “She Belongs to Me” in a London hotel room while Donovan and others looked on. In a rare glimpse of Dylan in the studio, he’s shown with David Bromberg (on guitar), Charlie Daniels (on bass), Al Kooper (on organ) and others recording “The Man in Me,” which was released on his 1970 New Morning album.
One of the session’s most fascinating clips was “Simple Twist of Fate,” recorded for a television show paying tribute to record executive John Hammond. The song is from Blood on the Tracks, but with backing by violinist Scarlet Rivera, bassist Rob Stoner and drummer Howie Wyeth, it sounds as if it came from Desire.
A fiery concert version of “Solid Rock,” from 1980 (embedded below), can also be seen in the recent “Trouble No More” film. More recent clips showed Dylan singing “The Times They Are a-Changin’ ” at The White House in 2010, and covering Woody Guthrie’s “Do Re Me” with Ry Cooder, on guitar, and Van Dyke Parks, on piano, in 2009.
The clips were shown in chronological order with the exception of the final one, taken from a show that was supposed to be broadcast on the “Midnight Special” television series, but never was. (Dylan was reportedly unhappy with it.) The short clip shows Dylan trying to make it through a solo acoustic “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” but forgetting the words. He sheepishly tells the audience he hasn’t played it for years, they break into applause, and he takes a deep bow.
Here are the clips that were played:
“Only a Pawn in Their Game,” July 26, 1963 at Newport Folk Festival, Newport, R.I.
“She Belongs to Me,” May 8, 1965, in a room at the Savoy Hotel, London.
“Tell Me, Momma,” May 5, 1966 at Adelphi Theatre, Dublin, Ireland.
“Visions of Johanna,” May 6, 1966 at ABC Theatre, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
“The Man in Me,” June 5, 1970 at Columbia Recording Studios, New York.
“Simple Twist of Fate,” Sept. 10, 1975, “The World of John Hammond” taping, WTTW-TV Studios, Chicago.
“Isis,” May 23, 1976 at Hughes Stadium at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo.
“You’re a Big Girl Now,” May 23, 1976 at Hughes Stadium at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo.
“Solid Rock,” April 30, 1980 at Kleinhans Music Hall, Buffalo.
“Heart of Mine,” 1981.
“Jokerman,” March 22, 1984 on “Late Night With David Letterman” at NBC Studios, New York.
“Train of Love,” 1999, taping in unidentified studio for the “An All-Star Tribute to Johnny Cash” broadcast.
“Do Re Mi,” January 2009, recording at Malibu Performing Arts Center for the soundtrack of the documentary, “The People Speak.”
“The Times They Are a-Changin’,” Feb. 9, 2010 at The White House, Washington, D.C.
“Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” April 22, 1976 at Starlight Ballroom of the Biltmore hotel in Clearwater, Fla.
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