mp3s Bob Dylan and Studs Terkel in 1963
The above link is to tracks from this 1963 radio show where the great Studs Terkel is interviewing a young Bob Dylan, who also plays songs live on the show. Wonderful stuff.
In 'Chronicles', Bob describes his early style as "hardcore folk songs backed by incessantly loud strumming". Perfect. But he wasn't writing.
The template for his early songwriting style came together in New York in about 1961/2 and got him to move from obscure folk cover versions into producing his own songs:
- Woody Guthrie's "Hopped up union meeting sermons... There was so much intensity, and his voice was like a stiletto. He was like none of the other singers I ever heard, and neither were his songs... They had the infinite sweep of humanity in them..."
- Robert Johnson's "dark night of the soul". Bob's first
hearing came from an acetate given him by his produceer John
Hammond of the long lost RJ songs before thy were re-released
by Columbia, and before Dylan had recorded his first album.
- Robert Johnson - Preachin' Blues mp3 (thanks to bagofsongs blog, Keith Richards and Uncut magazine - or maybe John Hammond in the first place...)
- Arthur Rimbaud's french symbolist poetry, such as 'Je suis un autre'.
- Bertolt Brecht's Pirate Jenny, from an avant garde theatre
troupe performance he was taken to by his then girlfriend
Suze Rotolo.... "a wild song. Big medicine in the lyrics. Heavy action spread out. Each phrase comes at you from a ten foot drop... It demanded to be taken seriously."
Bob Dylan's first proper song was the song he wrote for Woody Guthrie, which was included on his first album.