Last night I watched the first half of Martin Scorsese’s documentary on Dylan, No Direction Home. It trails Dylan from his upbringing in Hibbing, Minnesota through to his first appearance at the Newport Folk Festival. The second half covers his change to using The Hawks as a backing band and the outrage over ‘Dylan going electric’.
It’s a strange thing to observe now. When you think about the way music has changed and the fact that it makes little impact if an artist goes from acoustic to electric performances. A lot of bands have a couple of acoustic songs on an album or in Bombay Bicycle Club’s case an album of acoustic songs. It’s hard to imagine why people would get so bent out of shape over something that seems so superficial. I prefer Dylan with the band. The songs on Blonde on Blonde, Freewheeling and Bringing It Back Home are vastly superior to his self titled first album or Another Side.
I think it just shows the impact Bob Dylan had on people. Nobody else could do that and from what I’ve read of him he makes a habit of antagonising purists by constantly messing about with the format of his songs, something I’m completely aware of having seen him perform at Hop Farm in 2010.
I need to watch the second half when I get the time, to see him strung out on speed, a big tangled head of hair rocking back and forth on stage with the power of The Band behind him.