Bruce, the Bob Dylan Fan since 1965

Bruce Slutsky
2 years ago

n the Summer of 1963 I went to Camp Wel-Met in Narrowsburg, New York. One of the counselors taught the group the song “Blowin’ in the Wind.” At that time I only knew that Peter Paul and Mary had a hit version of it. I certainly did not know who wrote that song which was an anthem of the civil rights movement at that time. By the spring of 1965 I was following Top 40 radio very closely. There was a hit Mr. Tambourine Man by the Byrds. Again, I didn’t know who wrote the song. In the Summer of 1965 I went on a cross-country bus tour with Camp Wel-Met. For this 6 week period, I didn’t have a radio and could not keep up with the hits. When I returned at the end of August I heard Like A Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan for the first time. Slowly but surely it swept me off my feet. Back in those days I had to scrape up my allowance to buy records. Even though an LP was only $2 or so at that time, it took a large chunk of my allowance. I bought the single of Like a Rolling Stone for about 79 cents at Alexanders. A few months later Positively Fourth Street was released on a 45 RPM and I went to Alexanders to buy it. The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan was the first LP that I bought. In the Spring of 1966 the double LP Blond on Blond was released. Since it was a double LP, it was quite expensive. In late June I worked at my Dad’s store to get the money to buy it. After I came home on a brutally hot Saturday, I ran to Alexanders to buy it. On July 30, 1966 Dylan was in a motorcycle accident near his home in Woodstock., NY. There were all kind of stories on how seriously he was injured. All of his fans were worried. In September of 1967 I went to Manhattan to see the film Don’t Look Back the day it was released. In January 1968 John Wesley Harding was released. After my last final exam at the City College of New York, I took the subway to the House of Oldies in Greenwich Village on a bitter cold day to buy it. As the years went on I maintained my interest in Dylan. I bought every vinyl LP that was released as soon as I could. It is beyond the scope of this blog for my to discuss my opinion of Dylan’s specific works. Perhaps I will discuss that later. Let’s skip ahead to the 1990s with its newer technologies including the Internet. I purchased many VHS tapes of Dylan. I also taped Dylan specials from the radio. When I first go onto the Internet, I discovered the Use-Net group where the Dylan enthusiasts put me to shame. I was able to trade dubs of my radio tapes for bootleg Dylan concerts. I was even interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine about my thoughts on the legality of trading concert tapes. I realize that I was breaking the copyright laws. Over the years I have amassed a collection of tapes (audio and video), CDs (regular releases and bootlegs), books, mp3 files, and DVDs. I also collect a lot of cover versions of Dylan songs. There is still the big excitement when Dylan material is being released. As an adult I have the money to buy all of this stuff. I don’t have to scrape up allowance money J After I was married in 1983, I converted my wife into a Dylan fan though not with my degree of enthusiasm. My biggest fight with her was over Dylan. On September 30, 1997, the long awaited Time Out of Mind was released. I asked her to buy it for me so I could listen to it when I returned from my work. When I got home I was all smiles, waiting to play it. She told me she didn’t buy it because it was not on sale!!! There are things in this world that do not have a price tag. I threatened to divorce her. I went to buy it at a local music store. She apologized profusely for this. She made up for it a few years later. Dylan’s next CD, Love and Theft was released on September 11, 2001. After the tragedy, she went to the local music store and bought it. I couldn’t get home that night. My boss was very gracious and invited me to stay at his house that night. I listened to Love and Theft with a heavy heart on September 12th. My son Lee became a Dylan fan at birth. Back in the 60s and 70s, I could not afford tickets to a Dylan concert. As soon as a Dylan concert is announced, I run to the Internet and buy the tickets. The three of us go as a team. Lee’s first concert was at age 9 at William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ. Dylan usually comes to the New York Metropolitan area once a year. When Lee was 12 we went to a concert at Madison Square Garden. There were some NYU film students doing a feature on Dylan. I brought Lee over to them to be interviewed for that project. We even played some Dylan music at Lee’s Bar Mitzvah reception in May 2001. His favorite is Tangled Up In Blue which was played there. Every May 24th, Dylan’s birthday, there is a celebration in our household. We always play his music on the CD player. WFUV always features his music on his birthday. I am writing this blog entry listening to XM Radio’s Deep Track channel via Radio@AOL. In March Dylan will be hosting a radio show on that channel. It is quite phenomenal for someone to be active in show business for over 40 years.


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