SPIN Doctor ’ s mailbox took a rather unexpected battering this week from an assortment of ‘‘ friends and acquaintances’’ of people who may or may not have enjoyed — or at least committed — acts of a nocturnal nature with the rock ’ n’ roll bard, Bob Dylan, during his numerous visits, dare one say it, down under. This followed my request for feedback last week on whether His Bobness is, at 66, a bit of a hunk, as one member of staff down this way claims. So vehement is she on this matter that one fears for Dylan’s safety when he gets here in August. Strangely, almost all of the emails received documented in rather too much detail the alleged sexual proclivities of the master songwriter at various points in his career, yet no two accounts were even remotely similar. Either Bob spends the considerable down time on his Neverending Tour reading the Kama Sutra or these second- hand correspondents are pulling my leg. One may be tempted to ask the ladies in question to verify the statements of their so- called friends, in complete confidence of course, but the prospect of becoming the agent for a Bob Dylan porn chat room is too awful to contemplate.
* * * RARE Dylan material of a more acceptable and rewarding nature is available in the just released package containing the collected output of the Traveling Wilburys. This supergroup to end all supergroups had a short career in the late 1980s and featured Dylan alongside luminaries George Harrison, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison. Orbison died shortly after the release of the group’s first album in 1988. The complete recordings and some rarities from the recording sessions come in two CDs in the Rhino set, but the real gem is the accompanying DVD which, aside from the videos for the band’s hits, such as Handle with Care , End of the Line and Last Night , includes a remarkable 24- minute documentary shot on Harrison’s video camera while they were making that landmark first album. What began as a day at former Eurythmic Dave Stewart’s house/ recording studio to put down a B- side for a Harrison single turned into one of the most spontaneous, goodnatured, star- studded recording sessions in rock history. The song that started it was Harrison’s Handle with Care , which he astutely broke up into vocal parts for each of his four colleagues. The film captures the five of them around the microphone as well as the vibrant mood of the session. Each of them seems incredulous at what is taking place. The relaxed scenario is captured perfectly by Harrison’s camera, while the reflections and observations of the participants offer an insight rarely seen into great artists working — and partying — together.
spindoc@ theaustralian. com. au