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Blowin ‘in the wind: Lost interviews contain new Dylan insights

ByReiss Bowler

Oct 27, 2020

They remained in the wind for almost half a century: lost interviews with surprising new insights about the celebrated singer-songwriter Bob Dylan.

Transcripts of the 1971 interviews with the late American blues artist Tony Glover – and letters the two friends exchanged – have surfaced at an auction house in Boston. They reveal that Dylan changed his name over concerns about anti-Semitism and wrote “Lay Lady Lay” for actress Barbra Streisand.

Some of the 37 typewritten pages include handwritten notes in Dylan’s own scribble, said RR Auction, which sells Glover’s wealth of Dylan archives. “My work is something moving,” Dylan scribbled in one place. Elsewhere, he used a blue marker to punch through passages he apparently didn’t like.

“In many cases, the deletions are more telling than the additions,” said Bobby Livingston, the auction house’s executive vice president.

Dylan, 79, was close friends with Glover, who passed away last year. The two men broke into the same coffeehouse scene in Minneapolis. Glover’s widow, Cynthia Nadler, submitted the documents for auction, with online bids running from November 12 through November 19.

The reclusive Dylan, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016 after playing the world ‘Blowin’ in the Wind ‘,’ Like a Rolling Stone ‘,’ The Times They Are a-Changin ‘and other folk songs from the 1960s was born Robert Zimmerman in Duluth, Minnesota. And his troubled conversations with Glover help explain the name change.

On March 22, 1971, the conversation started with a joke from Dylan: “I mean, it wouldn’t have worked if I had changed the name to Bob Levy. Or Bob Neuwirth. Or Bob Donut. “

But in handwritten additions, the tone became more serious as Dylan discussed his Jewish identity. “Many people have the impression that Jews are just moneylenders and merchants. Many people think that all Jews are like that. They used to cause that to be all that was open to them. That’s all they were allowed to do, ‘he wrote.

In the interviews, Dylan also recalled when he became famously “going electric” at the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island in 1965, where folk purists in the audience had booed him. “Yes, it was a strange night,” he said.

There is also a letter Dylan wrote in February 1962, a month before he released his debut album, quoting folk legend Woody Guthrie, “Sometimes I feel like a piece of dirt walking.”

After a visit to Guthrie in May of that year, Dylan wrote these lyrics, which were never made public:

My eyes are cracked I think I’m framed / I can’t remember the sound of my name / What did he teach you I heard someone scream / Did he teach you to roll out and wind yourself / Did he teach you reveal, respect and convert the blues / No Jack, he taught me how to sleep in my shoes. “

“Lay Lady Lay” is said to have been written long for the 1969 Oscar-winning movie “Midnight Cowboy,” but Dylan told Glover he wrote it as a tune for Streisand. He did not elaborate on the nature of their relationship.

The interviews were originally for an article Glover wrote for Esquire magazine, but Dylan lost interest and the piece was never completed, RR Auction said.

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Follow AP New England editor Bill Kole on Twitter at http://twitter.com/billkole.