Pretty lucky to coax Bob into my Fiesta but once he'd settled down and realised that I wasn't going to ask him to sing we trucked along nicely on our road trip and I have had the best time listening to The Chronicles of Bob Dylan.
Robert Zimmerman's life through the eyes of Bob Dylan and so much that I had been unaware of.
Don't tell him but I was never really a huge Bob fan, Tom Paxton was the U.S.troubadour for me if Paul Simon was busy, so I just dipped in and out of Bob's music when something good came along but didn't slavishly buy the lot.That said his guitar chord sequences were easy enough to follow for a learner (better not tell him that either) so I could do a pretty good rendition of The Times They Are-a Changin' with G-Em-C-G etc.
I was aware that Bob "went a bit funny" but I had been blissfully unware that he had struggled with his meteoric rise as the considered voice of young American protest, becoming public property and stalked by his own fame at every turn. He spent a great deal of time protecting his wife and family from all the unwelcome publicity and even more time trying to create several completely different public personae, even causing outrage if that's what it took to make people leave him alone.
It seems that which he had unintentionally built had to be destroyed every so often.Nothing about fame sat comfortably with Bob.
Each time he had almost succeeded, almost dropped out, the music and his need for it would draw him back so it's all quite confusing. Here's a troubadour, a songwriter and a musician who just wants to be allowed to make music and write songs, you can keep the rest...except the rest does all have its benefits and those are quite helpful too.
Particularly poignant are Bob's descriptions of his visits to an ailing Woody Guthrie in a mental hospital where he was confined with Huntingdon's Disease and where Bob would sit with him and play his songs.Woody, one of the revered elder statesman of the folk music scene.
You forget just how many well-known songs Bob Dylan has written, Mr Tambourine Man and The Mighty Quinn just two of thousands that suprised me.
This six CD set was admirably read by Sean Penn whose dulcet tones were magic to listen to.
Sean didn't get bored by Bob and neither did I, not a bit of it, and on the way back to base Bob relented and we had a little rendition of Blowin' in the Wind.
I did my Peter, Paul and Mary harmonies which Bob thought were smashing and unusually in tune with him for a bookaholic sock-knitting quilter from Devon who happens to be a community nurse in her spare time (in fact a Public Health Community Nurse I am now informed) and he felt I may have been wasting my talents in the NHS all these years, which was kind.
I said I wasn't sure how I'd have coped with being a prophet like him and Bob groaned (bit excessively I thought) because apparently he's never wanted to be one at all, and though the pay's been good and he's very famous and written some of the best songs ever, the job specification and the annual performance reviews with management have been very demanding.
Quit your moaning Bob said I, because I bet your pension's better than mine.
He pulled himself together, said that it had all been very inspiring and to look out for The Public Health Community Nurse Blues on his next album.