Monday, March 19, 2012

Bob Dylan's First Album Turns 50 Today

By Steve Evans

Bob Dylan's eponymous first album was released half a century ago today, March 19, on the Columbia label. The record contained only two original compositions; the rest were traditional folk songs. One of them -- Baby, Let Me Follow You Down -- was captured magnificently more than 14 years later (in an up-tempo electrified arrangement) by Martin Scorsese and his crew in the documentary The Last Waltz.

I always thrilled to the sentiment of this raucous song. Here is a take from Dylan's 1966 Royal Albert Hall concert:

Almost the equal of Dylan's living-legend status, Scorsese's The Last Waltz (shot on Thanksgiving Day 1976 and released theatrically two years later) still stands among the greatest of all rock-concert documentaries. Scorcese deftly blends insightful interviews with members of The Band, Dylan's former backing group, with astonishing concert footage captured with multiple cameras and shimmering, multi-channel sound. The film is a beautiful, bittersweet testament to the toll of rock and roll on the lives of those who live it.

Dylan celebrates his 71st birthday on May 24. Scorsese will be 70 in November.

And may you stay forever young.

Cinema Uprising copyright © 2012 by Steve Evans. All rights reserved.

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