Sunday, June 22, 2008

Why ‘Expecting Rain'?

There are only two websites I regularly look at. By regular I am talking at least once a day – the Guardian and ‘Expecting Rain’. Most people would know about the former, but I wonder if many Dylan fans know about the latter. I only found it myself late last year. I tripped over it by accident. Why is it so good? Well, 3 reasons really..

1. News
2. Discussions
3. Boots (no, not chemists or footwear but the other type)

More of that in a mo first the name. It is from a line in Desolation Row...

All except for Cain and Abel And the hunchback of Notre Dame Everybody is making love Or else expecting rain And the Good Samaritan, he's dressing He's getting ready for the show He's going to the carnival tonight On Desolation Row

The News page lists any item related to Dylan or his linked contemporaries, as posted in by fans around the world. So if an obscure newspaper in Latvia or Peru has some snippet of news related to Bob’s gig there the night before, it will appear here. Likewise, the up-to-minute set lists and reviews of the Never Ending Tour, posted as soon as the gig finishes.

The Discussion pages are illuminating. I downgraded myself in my own eyes to a mild Dylan fan when I read how engrossed and engaged a lot of others are. A lot of the discussion around the meaning of songs. For example, many pages were written in response to an enquiry whether the ending of Desolation Row that goes :

“Yes, I received your letter yesterday (About the time the door knob broke)”
Meant the letter was about the door knob or that it broke as he received the letter!!

There is a ‘Visions of Bob’ thread that has generated approaching 9000 replies and 589,000 views. It is where I found this one, for the gals…

There are threads which are ongoing games, such as ‘Conversation using only Dylan lyrics’, another where we post Dylan lyrics put through a language translator such as Babel Fish and back into English and the challenge is to identify the song. eg …
“One formulate professor' the s tongue is too serious to the fool spouts that
freedom is the equality in school " Equality, " I spoke the word, probably wedding ceremony pledge. But I then am very older, I' m young ratio now that.”

Then there are the bootlegs, many hundreds of files have been uploaded by generous fans willing to share the music. Since discovering this treasure trove I have downloaded about 50 shows spanning the early days e.g. 1963 at Carnegie Hall (a ‘trophy’ taping that only surfaced in 2008), through the gospel years (great music) right up to Bob’s gig in Warsaw last week. The quality ranges from poor to amazing. I just bin the bad ones. The good ones make it well worth while.

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