SPIN DOC­TOR

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music - IAIN SHED­DEN

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

Il­lus­tra­tion: Tom Jel­lett

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