Bob Dylan to Return to Tanglewood in July Along with Mavis Staples

Saturday, March 5th, 2016

Bob Dylan(LENOX, Mass.) – According to the unofficial but always reliable Bob Dylan concert website BobLinks, legendary rock poet Bob Dylan will return to Tanglewood on Saturday, July 2 at 7pm, headlining a concert in the Koussevitzky Music Shed also featuring gospel/R&B legend Mavis Staples. The concert will mark the third time Dylan has played Tanglewood, where he made his debut in summer 1991 and performed again in 1997.

The date with Mavis Staples presages a U.S. summer tour by the two, who first met and performed together in the early 1960s when they played Civil Rights gatherings alongside each other. As the story goes, Dylan allegedly asked Staples’s father, Roebuck “Pops” Staples, for her hand in marriage, and was turned down.

Bob Dylan’s recording career began with the release of his eponymous debut album on March 19, 1962. Since that time, he has revolutionized folk music and rock ‘n’ roll, influencing everyone from the Beatles to the Rolling Stones to the Byrds, the Band, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, U2, Wilco, and the late David Bowie.

Dylan will be 75 years old when he performs at Tanglewood. His most recent album, last year’s “Shadows in the Night,” consisted entirely of songs associated with Frank Sinatra, was nominated for a Grammy Award. Dylan is said to have recently returned to Capitol Studios, where the album was recorded, to lay down tracks for a similar, follow-up album.

After decades of infrequent concert tours, Dylan fully committed himself to the road in summer 1988. Since that time, he has consistently played over 100 concert dates a year – more than anyone of his generation – on what has been called the “Never Ending Tour.”

After several albums produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Mavis Staples released “Livin’ on a High Note” just last month. The album, produced by rock songwriter M. Ward, features songs written specifically for Staples by Nick Cave, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), tUnE-yArds, Neko Case, Aloe Blacc, and others.





The Kabbalah of Bob Dylan Coming to Isabella Freedman on Dec 2, 2012

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

As part of the three-day retreat, “Blues for Challah: Second Set,” a “Grateful Dead Shabbaton” at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Conn., Seth Rogovoy will present his multimedia program, “The Kabbalah of Bob Dylan,” based on his book, Bob Dylan: Prophet Mystic Poet, on Sunday, December 2, 2012, at 10:30 a.m.

Seth’s program explores the rich, hidden (and not-so-hidden) Jewish themes infusing the life and work of Bob Dylan. Through recorded and live music, video, slides, lyrics, and spoken word, Seth traces the influence Dylan’s Jewish upbringing and lifelong studies of Torah, Talmud and Jewish mysticism on such well-known songs as “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “All Along the Watchtower,” and “Thunder on the Mountain.”

The Second Annual Grateful Dead Shabbaton at Isabella Freedman takes place on Friday, November 30 – Sunday, December 2, 2012. Registration information here.



Bob Dylan’s 10 Most Jewish Songs

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

by Seth Rogovoy

While Bob Dylan has, throughout his life and career, engaged in all sorts of mythologizing and playful biographical falsification, it has never been in the service of denying his heritage. While Dylan didn’t exactly grow up to be Shlomo Carlebach, the happy, guitar-strumming Hasid, he never strayed too far from his roots, nor did he deny them. One of his earliest original numbers, in fact, was a parody of “Hava Nagilah,” then and now (thank you, Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman) probably the best-known Jewish song in the world. Throughout his career, his songs have been peppered with biblical allusions and paraphrases and informed by Jewish themes and concepts. How much of this is the result of a conscious effort on Dylan’s part to address these issues, and how much is simply the result of magpie tendencies that see him draw variously from Shakespeare, French symbolism, movie dialogue, blues clichés and even obscure Japanese yakuza novels? Well, only Dylan can answer that — and even then, probably not.

Still, based on the evidence of the songs themselves, Dylan was actually paying attention in the Hebrew classes leading up to his bar mitzvah, and also in his adult life, which has at times reportedly included private studies with various rabbis, often from the Chabad movement. A cursory review of songs from the past 50 years turns up many tunes that are inflected with varying degrees of Yiddishkeit.

Herein is an annotated list of the Bob Dylan’s 10 Most Jewish Songs:



Bob Dylan: ‘Prophet’ and Medal of Freedom recipient

Monday, May 21st, 2012

On the occasion of Bob Dylan’s receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom and on the eve of his 71st birthday, Robert Gluck wrote this terrific article for the JointMedia News Service on the ways in which Bob Dylan’s Jewish background has colored his work.

Among those Gluck interviewed for the essay are historian Sean Wilentz, biographer Howard Sounes, and, extensively, yours truly.

You can read the article here at the website of the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles.

Benefit for Musicians in Need Honors Memory of John Herald

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

(WOODSTOCK, N.Y.) The second annual Concert for The John Herald Fund and Family of Woodstock at Harmony Music (52 Mill Hill Rd.), takes place on Saturday, January 7, 2012, at 7 p.m., to raise money for artists in need of funds for some of life’s essentials.

Hosted by Charles Lyonhart and Brian Hollander, the concert – rescheduled after a freak snowstorm caused a cancellation last October 29 — features the Sunburst Brothers; Seth Rogovoy; the Saturday Night Bluegrass Band; the Princes of Serendip; Charles Lyonhart with George Quinn, T.G. Vannini and Chris Zaloom; and surprise special guests.

With Hurricane Irene leaving many people homeless, without food, money for their medical bills and other necessities of life and with unemployment still rising, the fund memorializes bluegrass-folk legend John Herald, who unfortunately was plagued by poverty in the final years of his life, by raising money for musicians in need in his name.

John Herald, a native of New York City, was a fixture on the Greenwich Village folk scene of the late-1950s and early-‘60s. He was a founding member of the Greenbriar Boys, along with Bob Yellin and Eric Weissberg, and played lead guitar and sang lead vocals for the group. It was in a support gig for the Greenbriar Boys at Gerde’s Folk City in the Village in 1961 that first garnered Bob Dylan recognition in a New York Times review by Robert Shelton.

A noted songwriter, Herald’s songs were performed by Linda Ronstadt, Maria Muldaur, Joan Baez, and Peter, Paul and Mary. Herald lived in the Woodstock area for many years. He died at his home in West Hurley, N.Y., in 2005.

The concert begins at 7 pm.