A degree of symbiosis seems to be happening at present between this blog and John Baldwin's Desolation Row Information Service newsletter. The latter's reader Wiebke Ditmer has responded in detail to my earlier blogpost about Dylan's New Orleans Series of paintings - but on the newsletter rather than here. Meanwhile something I saw in a newsletter of a few days earlier prompted me to ask its contributor, John Morrison, if he would like to re-run it as a guest post on this blog. He agreed, re-wrote it slightly, and here it is:
On John Baldwin’s Desolation Row Information Service recently there was a reference to a painting by Theo Reijnders of Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie playing their guitars in front of a cabin where Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker sat:
|© Theo Reijnders, 2005-7|
The picture made me feel uneasy because Bob’s left foot, the weight-supporting one, seemed not to be in contact with the ground and indeed the dog which is just behind the two foreground figures also appears to be hovering just above the earth’s surface. Perhaps, I thought, this might be caused by some kind of ground-repulsion effect common to locations in the Deep South because if you look at the sleeve of John Hurt’s 1928 Sessions LP on the Yazoo label you can see the cow just behind John floating a good six inches above the surface of the pasture:
The cow doesn’t seem perturbed, but is probably used to it. It’s either a gravitational anomaly or faulty technique on the part of the artists.
Mind you, I think that if I had ever been lucky enough to hear John Hurt play live then I might have been seen to float a few inches off the ground too.
John Morrison has written a little about Bob Dylan in Judas! and The Bridge and done book reviews in the Times Literary Supplement. He has been entranced, but not uncritically, by Dylan since he was a schoolboy in the early sixties. He adds: “I was the person who persuaded Barb Jungr to record Man In The Long Black Coat and who was then mocked (gently) whenever she sang the song in public."
The picture credit on the sleeve of the Yazoo album is to a Robert Burger. An apt name, given the prominence of the cow.