Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back 65 Tour Deluxe Edition

Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back 65 Tour Deluxe Edition
Antonio G. Pereira © 2013 Antonio G. Pereira

        This is the mother lode of the mother of them all. D.A. Pennebaker's Cinema Verite film of Bob Dylan's 1965 concert tour of England. Beautifully packaged, containing two DVDs, the first one, a digital transfer of the original film, the second one a wonderfully put together collection of previously unseen and unreleased outtakes from the original documentary. A reproduction of the original 1968 companion book with all of the dialogue from the film, and a wealth of photographs, and finally, a thumb sized Flipbook with frame by frame pictures of the Promo film of Dylan's early Folk Rock hit 'Subterranean Homesick Blues'; that was on his LP, Bringing It All Back Home. This Box Set is put out by Docurama.
Throughout are appearances and cameos by Dylan's Manager Albert Grossman, Joan Baez, British Promoter Tito Burns (who unintentionally has you in hysterics by his deportment and antics), Dylan's Producer Tom Wilson, Road Manager and close friend Bobby Neuwirth, Beatnik Poet and Writer Alan Ginsberg, Donovan (Go to the Internrt Archive:  Type  , into the Wayback Machine, click Search, then choose Dec. 7th, 2014.), a recently departed from The Animals Alan Price who is already showing signs of the beginnings of a bad drinking problem, along with maybe a guilty conscience concerning how he ended up with all of the Royalty Money for The Animals' arrangement of their biggest hit 'House Of The Rising Sun', British Folk legend Derroll Adams, a strikingly beautiful Nico (after having appeared in Frederico Fellini's influential masterpiece, 'La Dolce Vita' (the term 'Paparazzi' was coined in that film), and who at that point, was gravitating toward the Dylan/Grossman sphere (but subsequently ended up as a Chess Piece in the bizarre world of Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground) as recounted in Andy Warhol's somewhat twisted autobiography, 'PoPism: The Warhol '60s' by Andy Warhol & Pat Hackett Published by Harper & Row Publishers New York), London Evening Standard journalist Maureen Cleave, who in the beginning of the film has a warm and playful exchange with Dylan while interviewing him, and there are occasional mentions of that elusive Pop Group, The Beatles.
The first DVD is a pristine transfer of the original documentary with great sound. Additionally there are Bonus Features of the Film Trailer for the movie, and an alternate Promo of  'Subterranean Homesick Blues'; as well as outstanding uncut Audio Recordings from the '65 British Tour of: (1) It Ain't Me Babe, (2) It's All Over Now, Baby Blue, (3) Love Minus Zero/No Limit, (4) The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, (5) To Ramona.
The second DVD is a specially put together collection of previously unseen outtakes from the film. And D.A. Pennebaker has done a magnificent job. There are snatches of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez singing beautifully together on several Traditional Songs. Tom Wilson listening to Dylan composing, 'It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry' on Piano. That version sounding almost like a Gospel Song. {An obvious influence from all the time Dylan was befriended and mentored by Victoria Spivey, during his early days in Greenwich Village as a struggling Folk Artist. Check out Anthony Scaduto's illuminating biography on Bob Dylan for THAT story.} A very clear picture of how essential Bobby Neuwirth was to the team as Road Manager. We catch a glimpse of how deeply moved Dylan is when some teenage female fans accompany him and Bobby Neuwirth to Newcastle Train Station to say goodbye, and run along the platform as the train is pulling out; while Dylan is waving goodbye to them. Among the live in concert (and performed in their entirety) outtakes are, a beautiful 'Don't Think Twice It's Alright', a riveting 'It's Alright Ma, I'm Only Bleeding', a boisterous 'If You Gotta Go, Go Now', a lovely 'To Ramona' and a gorgeous 'She Belongs To Me'. Finally, there is another version of the Promo for 'Subterranean Homesick Blues', filmed on a roof with Tom Wilson (wearing a Fez) and Bobby Neuwirth in the background, both with canes.
It should be mentioned regarding the reproduction of the original companion book to the movie, which is included in this Box Set, that there is a photograph of George Harrison, taken during the latter part of 1968 at Apple Headquarters, reading a copy of the original version of the 'Don't Look Back' companion book, in Derek Taylor's (sort of) autobiography 'As Time Goes By'.
Lastly, the thumb sized Flipbook included in the Box Set (a novel and thoughtful idea), is a lot of fun to use.
And I must mention with delight in closing, that the wonderfully and immensely talented Photographer Don Hunstein, who took so many very well known photographs of Bob Dylan (e.g. from the same session that produced the Promo Film for 'Subterranean Homesick Blues', as well as the album cover photo of Dylan and Suze Rotolo on 'The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan'), has a new book out is having a Special Exhibition showing of his photographs through the month of December and has his own website

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