Saturday, September 24, 2005

Look Out...The Saints Are Comin' Through

Highly recommended this week is director Martin Scorsese's powerful new Bob Dylan bio/documentary "No Direction Home".

PBS will air "No Direction Home" over two nights [Sept. 26/27] as part of their American Masters series with Part 1 airing on Monday, Sept. 26 and Part 2 concluding on Tuesday, Sept. 27. This epic film is an absolute masterpiece and you don't need to be a fan of Bob Dylan to appreciate it either folks. A remarkable achievement and truly "must see" television of the highest order.

Don't miss it.

I have viewed the full DVD version just this past week and it absolutely blew me away as the definitive story connected with the early, essential years of my favorite singer/songwriter, the peerless Bob Dylan. In looking back, one is again reminded as to just how important Bob Dylan's impact has truly been on our collective consciousness and music culture. He's been an unfathomable enigma for many, but No Direction Home unravels the puzzle and makes a tight connection with Bob as a human being and as an artist.

That and so much very much more in fact, that rather than attempt to provide you here with only my own insights, kindly let me direct you to some great links for your browsing pleasure related to many things concerning Bob and No Direction Home.

Firstly, has a very interesting critical piece worth reading as does powerlineblog...but for a true wealth of review links and other related links, check out essential and daily updated Dylan site...Right Wing Bob will no doubt also be posting his comments in due course as well, so keep checking in with that site this week...and if you have any personal comments you'd wish to pass along, please feel free to forward them as I'd love to know what you think also about this fine documentary.

Your comments are always welcomed at FRANKtalk on this or any topic of related interest so don't think's alright!

You know it was always interesting living and working in Nashville in the mid 80's as I got to meet and know many high profile people in our industry. Two individuals whom I spent some time around also factor prominently in this new film as they were both important players in Bob Dylan's life and career. Artie Mogul and Al Kooper. Artie was the New York music publisher who brought Bob's early songs to prominence with several recordings by other artists. A real "tin pan alley" guy, Artie once described to me how he basically saved Dylan's bacon by buying back all Bob's song copyrights which had been given away by Dylan's manager Albert Grossman. Albert had naively sold publishing rights on Bob's songs for $500. When Artie found out, he flipped and made a deal with Albert that if he could get the songs back, he would get a cut on potential earnings. Albert, dubiously agreed and Artie simply went back to the publisher on Albert’s behalf and offered to buy back all the songs for twice what the publisher paid...$1,000. The publisher happily agreed and thus the copyrights reverted back to Bob Dylan. That catalog has since gone on to earn in excess of $100 million dollars. And people ask me why I'm in the songwriting/publishing business for the long run.

Perhaps this story may illuminate things in other than musically creative terms.

Al Kooper, a musician who played on many studio recordings of Bob's in the early years, [including organ on Like A Rolling Stone from Highway 61 Revisited], was living in Nashville during the same time I lived there and I also got to meet him and hang out at his house which was memorable mainly for his vast record collection. Al is a very important figure in rock music having discovered Lynyrd Skynyrd among other bands and having also founded Blood, Sweat and Tears. Add up his Bob Dylan history and you have one of the icons of the American rock 'n roll story. It was a pleasure and my true privilege to meet the great Al Kooper.

Al's wife Vivian, who I first met through Tony Joe White's wife Leanne, was a poet and we shared poetry back and forth on occasion as well. Vivian actually sent me one of the funniest postcards I've ever seen and so, on the eve of No Direction Home, I offer that postcard as my own reflection on how the music business has snagged me but good [chuckle, chuckle] see below.

You'll love this sweeping documentary folks...take my word for it.

It is absolutely fantastic viewing.

You'll be truly impressed.

Frank Trainor


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