TRAVELS WITH… BOB DYLAN

TIM COOPER goes travelling with the freewheelin’ American folk musician

Discovery - - EXPERT ITINERARIES - Tim Cooper與率性而不拘一格的美國民謠歌手踏上旅途

IN THE PANTHEON of American writers – comprising authors, playwrights, poets and songwriters – nobody epitomises the spirit of Americana, that mythic quintessence of the country’s culture, history and tradition, more than Bob Dylan.

It would take years to travel to all the places he’s name-checked in song: few artists write lyrics with such a strong sense of place. But we’re going to try.

If we were to plot a route for a tour that encapsulates Bob’s lyrical world, we would have to begin in the American heartland, in Hibbing, Minnesota. It’s a small town famous for two things: one of the world’s largest open-pit iron mines, and being Bob’s place of birth. From there we might move on, as he did, to New York City, where the tousle-haired teenage troubadour with an acoustic guitar and a harmonica first made his name in the folk clubs of Greenwich Village, and up again to Rhode Island where he was booed off for playing an electric guitar at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.

More likely we would head south from Minnesota, and reverse the migration of the blues all the way back to the Mississippi Delta that inspired New Orleans Rag. Bob’s a reclusive character (you may have heard that), which makes him a solitary sort of travelling companion.

But at the end of a long day he likes to drink whiskey and reminisce about the musicians who inspired him as a young man. Like the time when, aged 17, he got to see Buddy Holly play just three days before he died in a plane crash. Sometimes he’ll light up talking about how it all began, hearing Robert Johnson and Hank Williams on distant radio stations from Shreveport, Louisiana, and how Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis turned their blues and country music into rock’n’roll.

He’ll talk passionately about how his idol Woody Guthrie put political protest into folk music and how Elvis Presley injected it with the sex appeal that made girls go wild. Bob never quite did that; that wasn’t his thing. But he took what they all did and made it his own.

By now our paddle steamer has reached Mississippi so we’ll hop off for Bob to visit Oxford. It was here, in 1962, that one of the defining moments of the Civil Rights Movement took place, when James Meredith became the first black student to enrol at the segregated university – commemorated in Oxford Town on Bob’s breakthrough album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, the following year.

Staying in the South, where so much music began, we’ll move on to Alabama, where Bob was once Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again, and across to Nashville, where he recorded some of his greatest albums, including Blonde On Blonde and, of course, Nashville Skyline

itself, before heading further south. We’ll cross the border at El Paso and head into Mexico for Romance In Durango,

where Dylan once went on the run with Magdalena on the album Desire.

We’ll travel to Europe, too. No tour would be complete without a trip to Manchester’s Free Trade Hall, where a disgruntled folk fan famously yelled out ‘Judas!’ when Bob picked up his

electric guitar in 1966. And we’d go to Asia, stopping off in Tokyo, where he recorded the classic live album Bob Dylan At Budokan in 1978. And to China, where the tireless performer – at 77, he still does more than 80 concerts a year, including one this month at Hong Kong’s Convention and Exhibition Centre – performed in Beijing in 2011.

Our return leg could only end in one place: Stockholm, where Dylan was honoured in 2016 as the first songwriting recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature

– a fitting award for a writer and musician whose influence has travelled to every corner of the world.

縱觀美國的著名作家、劇作家、詩人及唱作人,沒有能人比Bob Dylan更能體現美國精神,他可說是美國文化、歷史及傳統的精髓。

若要逐一遊遍他在歌曲中提及的地方,需恐怕 花上好幾年時間。,可是像他這樣方對地 有如此強烈感受的唱作人,相畢竟當稀罕,所以,我們盡力而為吧。

若想以Bob Dylan歌曲中的世界為藍本構思一條旅行路線,首先從國地要美 腹 明尼蘇州達的Hibbing市出發。這座小城因兩件事而聞名:那裡的露天鐵礦場規模全球數一數二,而是且 Bob Dylan的家鄉我。 們跟隨他的腳步,離開家鄉前往紐約市闖天下。當年那個頂著頭一 亂髮的小伙子,帶著木結他和口琴在, 格林威治村的民歌酒館初試啼 聲,不久就脫穎而出,受人注目。其後前他往島羅得 州繼續音樂生涯; 1965年在,他新港民謠音樂節中用電結他伴奏,被觀眾報以噓聲。

之後我, 們從明尼蘇達州一路南下,朝藍調流傳相的 反方向走,來到密西西比河三角尋洲,找〈New Orleans Rag〉曲一 的靈感之源。想你 必知道, Bob Dylan是個喜歡離群索居的人,所以沿途即使有他同行,感覺亦有如一人獨行。

當漫長的一天將盡時,他總喜歡飲威士忌和緬懷年輕時經曾 啟發過他的音樂人。譬如17歲那年,看他去 Buddy Holly的演唱會,三日後,這位歌手因飛機失事逝世。有時候,他又會興高采烈地談論從遙遠的路易斯安州那 Shreveport的電台收對聽 藍調及鄉響謠影 深遠的手歌 Robert Johnson及Hank Williams的聲歌 ,從此展開對音樂的追求,還論有暢 Little Richard和Jerry Lee Lewis如何將藍調和鄉謠化作滾搖 樂。

他會滔滔不絕地講述傳奇民謠歌手Woody Guthrie如何憑歌曲宣示政治立場,又或者貓王Elvis Presley如何借民歌發揮性感,魅力 迷倒萬千少女。Bob Dylan的表演從來沒有效法兩人的作風,但他卻集百家之大成融, 會貫通,發自展出 己的風格。

說著說著,我們乘坐蒸的 汽輪船已抵達密西西比州。下船後,我們訪將探 對Bob Dylan別具意義的牛津市。1962年非,美裔國人民權運動其中一個關鍵時刻在地這個方出現; James Meredith打破種族隔離主義,成為首位註冊入讀只供白人就讀的大學的人生黑 學 。Bob Dylan翌年發行的突破性

大碟《The Freewheelin’Bob Dylan》中就,收錄了〈Oxford Town〉歌這首 ,紀念這件重要。事件

美國南部是個音樂搖籃,這裡是Bob Dylan的靈感。泉源 我們首先前往在〈Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again〉曲一中將Bob Dylan「困住」的拉阿巴馬州Mobile市,然後再前往他曾灌錄不少精采之作的方什維爾,包括專輯《Blonde On Blonde》,以及與城市同名的《Nashville

Skyline》。我們隨後在德州El Paso越邊過境,前往墨西哥的Durango州,感受一下專

輯《Desire》〈裡 Romance In Durango〉曲一中, Bob Dylan與Magdalena私奔的浪漫。我們當然前也要 往歐洲,因為行程若缺了曼徹斯特的Free Trade Hall音樂廳,那就不算滿圓。1966年, Bob Dylan在這裡拿起電他結 表演時一, 名對此舉極為滿不 的民謠樂迷喊出那著名的一句「叛徒」。然後我們來到亞洲在, 東京稍作停留,因為Bob Dylan於1978年在這裡灌錄經典現場表演專輯《Bob Dylan At Budokan》。接著再追隨位這 永不言倦的歌前在年手, 往他 2011 舉行演唱會的北京遊覽一番寶。 刀未老的Bob Dylan每年仍舉行80多場演唱會包, 括本月在香港會議展覽中心為樂迷獻唱。

來到旅程尾聲,終站當然是斯德哥爾摩。2016年, Bob Dylan成為首位榮獲貝諾爾文學獎的唱作人。對這位在世界各地留下深遠影響作的 家兼音樂人而言,這個獎項可謂實至名歸。

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