There’s no way to measure his greatness or magnitude as a person or as a player. I don’t think eulogizing will do him justice. He was that great – much more than a superb musician with an uncanny ear and dexterity. He is the very spirit personified of whatever is Muddy River Country at its core and screams up into the spheres. He really had no equal. To me he wasn’t only a musician and friend, he was more like a big brother who taught and showed me more than he’ll ever know. There are a lot of spaces and advances between the Carter Family, Buddy Holly and, say, Ornette Coleman, a lot of universes, but he filled them all without being a member of any school. His playing was moody, awesome, sophisticated, hypnotic and subtle. There’s no way to convey the loss. It just digs down really deep.
~Bob Dylan (Jerry Garcia’s Obituary – 10 August 1995)
Jerome John Garcia (August 1, 1942 – August 9, 1995) was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist, best known for his work as the lead guitarist and as a vocalist with the band the Grateful Dead, which came to prominence during the counterculture of the 1960s. Although he disavowed the role, Garcia was viewed by many as the leader or “spokesman” of the group.
Garcia has covered Dylan many times with both Grateful Dead & Jerry Garcia Band. Here are 5 Great examples.
Positively 4th Street
Jerry Garcia Band – November 17, 1975
You’ve got a lotta nerve to say you are my friend
When I was down you just stood there grinnin’
You’ve got a lotta nerve to say you got a helping hand to lend
You just want to be on the side that’s winnin’
Bob Dylan & George Harrison: August 1, 1971, New York
The Concert for Bangladesh (or Bangla Desh, as the country name was spelt originally) was the name for two benefit concerts organised by George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, held at 2.30 and 8 pm on Sunday, 1 August 1971, playing to a total of 40,000 people at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The shows were organised to raise international awareness and fund relief efforts for refugees from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), following the 1970 Bhola cyclone and the civil war-related Bangladesh atrocities. The concerts were followed by a bestselling live album, a boxed three-record set, and Apple Films’ concert documentary, which opened in cinemas in the spring of 1972.The event was the first-ever benefit concert of such a magnitude and featured a supergroup of performers that included Harrison, fellow ex-Beatle Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Leon Russell and the band Badfinger. In addition, Shankar and another legend of Indian music, Ali Akbar Khan, performed a separate set. Decades later, Shankar would say of the overwhelming success of the event: “In one day, the whole world knew the name of Bangladesh. It was a fantastic occasion …” ~Wikipedia
This was Dylan’s first live performance in two years. Harrison had to twist his arm to get him to take part in the benefit concert, and we can be very glad he did: it’s a stunning performance (both shows), modest, confident, richly textured, with Dylan feeling and communicating genuine love for the music he’s playing (in the case of” Blowin’ in the Wind” this was his first public performance of the song in seven years). Most of all, Dylan’s voice on this midsummer afternoon and evening has a rare, penetrating beauty that is immediately noticeable to almost anyone who hears it. This is, in a very real sense, the Dylan a large part of his audience dreams of hearing; this is the voice to fit the stereotyped or mythic image of Bob Dylan, guitar strumming poet laureate of the 1960s.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan Performing Artist I: The Early Years 1960-1973)
Madison Square Garden New York City, New York 1 August 1971 Rehearsals before the Bangla Desh Concert
A lot of people don’t like the road, but it’s as natural to me as breathing. I do it because I’m driven to do it, and I either hate it or love it. I’m mortified to be on the stage, but then again, it’s the only place where I’m happy. It’s the only place you can be who you want to be.
~Bob Dylan (John Pareles Interview, Sept. 1997)
I do a certain amount of concerts every year. But it’s not a constant never-ending tour. A part of me doesn’t wanna do it at all. Just want to quit right away. Playing is a job. My trade. Like you’re journalists. You are heading for the next news item, I’m heading for the next town.
~Bob Dylan (London press conference, 4 Oct 1997)
Never Ending Tour 1997
February 9, 1997
December 20, 1997
No. of shows
11 in Asia
78 in North America
4 in Europe
93 in Total
It is not a year remembered with great fondness by most long-term fans. In contrast to the innovation and stellar performing levels of most of 1995, it was all too predictable; same band, same set structure, and not many song debuts. Overall the shows were solid enough, but, as in late ’93 and periods of ’94, just not particularly special. More alarmingly, some of the overlong, uninspired, unproductive guitar instrumentals were reappearing too.
-Andrew Muir, One More Night: Bob Dylan’s Never Ending Tour
17 June 1996
Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
Bucky Baxter (pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar)
John Jackson (guitar)
Tony Garnier (bass)
Winston Watson (drums & percussion)
Shake Sugaree (Elizabeth Cotten)
I got a secret, and I ain’t gonna tell
I’m going to Heaven in a split pea shell
All of the songs from the Desire sessions are collaborations between Dylan (words and music) and Levy (words), with the exception of “Sara,” “Abandoned Love,” “One More Cup of Coffee,” and “Golden Loom,” all written by Dylan alone. It is of course uncharacteristic of Dylan to work with another writer-this marks only the first or second time he ever shared credit for the lyrics of a song, and still stands as his most extensive collaboration with another songwriter.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist, Vol 2: The Middle Years 1974-1986)
SongTalk: Your collaborations with Jacques Levy came out pretty great.
Bob Dylan: We both were pretty much lyricists. Yeah, very panoramic songs because, you know, after one of my lines, one of his lines would come out. Writing with Jacques wasn’t difficult. It was trying to just get it down. It just didn’t stop. Lyrically. Of course, my melodies are very simple anyway so they’re very easy to remember.
-From the Paul Zollo (SongTalk) interview with Bob Dylan – April 1991
This is a great interview from May 2004 uploaded to YouTube 2013. Sadly enough Levy passed away in September 2004.
Well my heart’s in the Highlands gentle and fair
Honeysuckle blooming in the wildwood air
Bluebelles blazing where the Aberdeen waters flow
Well my heart’s in the Highland
I’m gonna go there when I feel good enough to go
Madison Square Garden
New York City, New York
27 July 1999
Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
Charlie Sexton (guitar)
Larry Campbell (guitar, mandolin, pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar)