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November 15, 2009


Fantastic post, Larry. Many thanks. I'd like to know more about Howie Richmond.

Thanks, David. I don't know much about Howie Richmond other than he started TRO (The Richmond Organization), a major force in popular music. I do know one more story. When The Weavers recorded "Goodnight, Irene" as a tribute to Lead Belly (and delicately replaced the line "I'll get her in my dreams" with "I'll see her in my dreams), it was Richmond who sent 1,500 copies to his many contacts who were disc jockeys. They loved it, played it, and helped make it a major national hit.

I think Dylan was trying to do exactly this--appeal to the youngsters--when he solicited Twyla Tharp to create a musical from his works. A successful Dylan musical could have taken its place as a regular production in high schools and little theaters. Too bad they weren't able to pull it off.

I'm doing my part. I teach first grade in a suburban public school and we celebrate Bob Dylan's birthday. We prepare for it by learning tunes by Gene Autry, Louis Jordan, Louis Armstrong, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry,and Woody Guthrie. Close to Bob's birthday,we learn Tambourine Man and Forever Young. We also listen to Bob sing Froggie Went A'Courtin' and This Old Man. The kids and parents get a big kick out of this musical history.

It's hard for me at 67 to imagine a world without Bob Dylan in it. My kids grew up around his music, as have my grandchildren, and two out of three are rooted in Bob's music just for the joy of it.

I think the world will remember Bob Dylan because his music is timeless, because we live in the age of instant everything and this music will be at their fingertips via the Internet.

I like the idea of getting a kid's attention when they're young, that's just a great idea. Perhaps it will be in the hands of the K-6 teachers - I hope so because I believe them to be the most caring about what to feed those young minds!

Thank You

As you observe, no one truly knows what will be fifty years from now. But I strongly tend to think that Dylan's already gotten past the critical mass necessary to be remembered. "Blowin' in the Wind" is one of the first songs most people learn to play on guitar, in a zillion songbooks and "How-To" books. And songs like "Tambourine Man" and "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" are not far behind in their familiarity even to non-fans. Very interesting history here, though, on Pete Seeger and Howie Richmond.

Bob's best (1964-66) will survive for reasons unfathomable to those who have only a superficial understanding of what he was attempting. the dross will fade as the real shines even more brightly.

Dylan's songs get under your skin. In coming years his work may need to be introduced, but there will always be those who hear it and feel it. Or can. I think. Love the comment from the teacher that celebrates Dylan's b'day with a lesson in roots music. That's literature, history, geography, culture... I bet you can get math and recess in there, too. It's our job to keep introducing his work. Mozart could have faded away, too. But, genius is infectious.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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