Thursday, October 11, 2007

Newport Festival insights from Encyclopedia and Scrapbook

Gearing up for this weekend’s broadcast of The Other Side of the Mirror - Dylan at the Newport Festival (BBC Four Sunday 14 October 9.40pm), I checked out the coverage of Newport in some of the books in my Dylan library.

The most helpful sources were Gray’s The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia (Continuum, 2006) and The Bob Dylan Scrapbook (Simon & Schuster, 2005).

Gray’s informative article surprised me with its revelations – eg that in 1963 the festival was still in its infancy and that Albert Grossman had been a key player in establishing it. Gray’s killer info, though, is his detailed listing of all the performances at the various Newport events graced by Dylan.

(Oliver Trager’s competitive Keys To The Rain: the definitive Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, (Billboard Books, 2004), which I rely on for song and album info, doesn’t cover Newport, or many other people and places for that matter.)

The Bob Dylan Scrapbook (Simon & Schuster, 2005) surprised me with its wonderfully evocative collection of memorabilia – notably photographs, facsimile ticket stubs and festival posters.

If you don’t own these fine books, you’re missing out.

Thus armed, I’m now ready for what promise to be a very significant – and enjoyable – broadcast.

Gerry Smith