SECTION THREE

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COLUMN NINETY-THREE, JUNE 15, 2003
(Copyright 2003 The Blacklisted Journalist)

GIANT:
A BOB DYLAN FAN'S MUSICAL EVOLUTION

[Steve Shorrock put his evolution on his own CD-ROM. Below, you can read which cuts he put in his collection and why. For further details, you can contact him at sauceman7@yahoo.com .]

Bob Dylan (1962) 
bobdylan.jpeg (6265 bytes)   Ten years before this record's release I was born during an icy blizzard on a thirty-five degree hill in the north- west of England,  tucked just outside of nineteen fifty-two. Someone handed me a horoscope proclaiming me to be an unfortunate amalgam of Capricorn and bleeding Scorpio. Just keep your mouth shut and do the best you can, that's what it said.     

I was a very short-sighted kid and a bit backward because of this but my ears were well screwed on. I was a solid gone rock and roll fanatic by the time Buddy copped it in "59 and at the tender age of six I learned to mourn my first idol.  'snow was snowin?, wind was blowin? when the world said goodbye Buddy". 

'sixty-two and I'd never heard of Bob Dylan like everyone else outside of New York. We were all having to put up with Bobby Vee and Susan Maughn. Oh and Elvis was back and Cliff would't even go away. Was that the year Kennedy died? Probably not. (All songs)                              

 * * *

The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1963) 
The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan   

My father's work leads to a move down south. It was quite an upheaval to leave my home at ten years old and have to attend a school where no-one understands a fucking word I say, mainly because of my accent. I see this group of northerners performing Love Me Do on the telly the very week of it's release, I'm hooked and will be screaming alongside all the little girlies for a glimpse of their mops six months hence.

My father and elder brother share a motorway caf? with the Fab Four on a trip back up north and I won't barely speak to them for weeks. How dare they share the same oxygen as the Beatles without me.

Thirty years later I discover that my father then had a nervous breakdown which was the reason he decided to sell the house in favour of five year lease on a record shop. Whooppee! Right on Dad! Let's get a record shop. Never yet heard of Bob. (All songs)

 * * *   

The Times They Are A-changin' (1964)
The Times They Are A-Changin'      We settle into the record shop and the flat above. I work eagerly every evening after school and on a Saturday. It is like Christmas every two days when I open the delivery boxes and become the first kid in town to get his grubby hands on the new Beatles single, E.P. or L.P. or whatever, and this thrill was only just beginning. Now we had the Rolling Stones amongst us and it was all getting jolly exciting.  I queue all night with my mother for Beatles tickets and we attend the riotous show together at Bournemouth's Gaumont Cinema. Still no sign of Bob. (All songs.)                                                

* * *

Another Side Of Bob Dylan (1964)  
Another Side of Bob Dylan  I don't remember the exact moment I first heard Bob Dylan but it was sometime not long after this album's release. My elder brother worked full time in the record shop and a friend of his who attended Manchester University began to order and recommend Bob Dylan records. At the time Dylan was not to be heard on any commercial radio in England, his underground following only having leaked through exclusively to University Campuses and folk clubs.

Now I was twelve years old and I was completely gone on this guy.  I had a back catalogue of three whole albums to discover now. I was too young to know what he was even singing about half the time, I knew nothing of civil rights but I parroted every word in front of the mirror during my lunch hour, how I hated to go back to school, always late. 

At school I was the only person who had ever heard of him.  One time I invited a friend back to my house to turn him on to 'the Times They are a-Changin?   Unfortunately I was forced to bloody his nose after he dissed my hero (it's shit, sounds like an old man etc.) First time I hit anyone though. He was Welsh as I recall.

In our morning House class  which was run by a frigid crab called Hession, I was told to stand up and explain why I hadn't done my weekends homework. "I've been learning a song Miss"  "And is this song more important than your homework"? "Yes Miss"  I replied. "Well Let's hear it then" she said skeptically. After some embarrassment I burst into an a capella  Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll (a song about the highly unjust murder of a negro maidservant by one of the landed gentry  from the album 'the Times They are a-Changin?) I knew instinctively it was about social injustice and I sang it word for word from the heart. There was a stunned silence and eventually someone started clapping. Later that day we were all going into gym class and the master says, "I hear you're a bit of a singer Sauceman, lets hear it then." So with even greater embarrassment I sing the whole thing again squashed in a doorway with twenty other pimpled twats. A lot of words in those songs.

I go to see the Beatles again with my mum, this time at Bournemouth Winter Gardens. We camp out all night for tickets.

The Animals release House of the Rising Sun  for which they acknowledge Dylan even though it is not one of his songs. They, like most others, heard it first on his debut album. The pop world suddenly starts to talk about Bob. The Peter, Paul and Mary's, I believe, started to have hits in England around this time--- Blowin? in the Wind and stuff and maybe Johnny cash with It aint me Babe, Joan Baez, Stevie Wonder and who the hell else? I don't know, I don't bloody remember. The whole pop scene in England is getting really good, anyway. My brother sees the Stones in a local club and I am green with envy again.

Dylan's first non-directly-political-self-composed album. Loved it! Look at those jeans. Look at those liner notes. I would gaze for hours at the cover and worked myself quickly backwards through four albums of sheer mystique. He was magic, the abstract things he made me think about.  (All songs)

* * *

Bringing It All Back Home (1965)
Bringing It All Back Home   Somewhere I still have a ticket stub that reads, "May 1965 Royal Albert Hall." Somehow in the last year Bob Dylan had gone from a virtual unknown (outside university) to top of the fucking pops. Like many others of his slightly older narrow-minded folk devotees I felt at first betrayed by Subterranean as I  had so recently fallen in love with his first four albums. It felt like a lover's betrayal. I loved pop music still but I didn't quite get it coming from Dylan, I loved him because he didn't play pop music like everyone else. Now the newspapers were saying he sounded like an old man and what a rude person he was. No one had ever challenged the press the way he did in interviews, he was just sensational.

 

The folkies were more assuaged by the folksier humour of side two however. We kind of wanted to have him back like any deserted cult---damn! I was too young to be in a bloody cult. Nevertheless it is with great excitement I allow my father to please two sons with one stone and chauffeur us to London to see our hero Bob Dylan. This album was out that very week and the songs were just planted in our brains. Fresh and beautiful, straight from the factory. Mods and rockers abound. Mister fucking tambourine man.

         

My father couldn't bear the sound of Bob's voice so he elected to wait outside for the duration whilst within an aristocratic audience of sorts all buzzed and quivered in excitement and anticipation? then came out one man " three harmonicas". one harmonica holder? one guitar? one glass of water".one suit? one shirt? two winklepickers".one spotlight? four Beatles". five Rolling Stones?me and my brother? 2000 breathless people? guitar tuning and nervous sips and rapt applause? and fresh and beautiful song'tambourine and Baby Blue? and She's An Artist" and huge, huge sales and love and goose pimples and eventually a great film called Don't Look Back  was released to commemorate the event.

         

I was such a stupid ungrateful adolescent that I didn't speak to my father all the way back home. He'd only shaken hands with Paul McCartney as the boys were skipping out of the hall early. That made two times he'd betrayed me with them. That's how many holes it takes. Now everyone was singing and recording Bob Dylan songs. Away from Bob there is lot's of great music happening in England and it's stirring things up in America. Brilliant. (All songs)

 

* * *


Highway 61 Revisited (1965) 
Highway 61 Revisited    I was just catching up with the last album when, boom! Like a Rolling Stone came blasting out from everywhere, a six-minute single to boot, completely unheard of with a sound that didn't exist before. A shirt that had never been seen.

 

He was wailing his new rock and roll poetry with all the confidence and arrogance of an eighteen-year-old Rimbaud. He ascended like an amphetamine rocket out of his folk past to become in a way the most unlikely of pop icons.

        

My young brain falls in love with Desolation Row and works it's way backwards through the album until I'm hooked. Every one is taking their hat off to him (apart from the folkies who will wait another two years to make their first electric albums.) The cover versions start hitting thick and fast changing the face of American pop along with the war and the drugs.

 

Dylan delivers three of the most influential records in rock and roll history within the space of fourteen or so months. He becomes the coolest man on earth (until Jimi Hendrix came along by which time Bob would be busy eating country pie.) He is working like a dog and they are working him like a dog. (All songs + 2  singles)

 

* * *

Blonde on Blonde (1966)
Blonde on Blonde     Now he's top of the world but he doesn't look very happy here and neither does he sound very happy as he delivers surrealism full of feeling, grace and paranoia there on a platter, the first pop double album I can remember.  Over the next few years every asshole in the world made one. He has always set trends and never ever followed them. What a guy! Even more brilliant.

He plays in England and gets booed for his electric second half (this by the way is superbly documented on the only non-included album I can thoroughly recommend, that's Live in Manchester "66 issued officially only a few years ago.) I don't get to see him this year, however I do get to see the Who, The Kinks, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Geno Washington, Alan Bown, Simon Dupree and countless others . 

I had started to smuggle myself into clubs and started to smoke dope and do pills. There was so much music around that year and Dylan was the drugged abstract figurehead. People began to read anything they wanted to into his words as his words were so plasticine. Everyone a gem. Eat that Document. (A film never released properly which I would still dearly love to see. It was the document actually.)

 

During what must be one of the most punishing touring schedules in the history of popular entertainment whether he liked it or not, he preached night after night all over the world and the world was duly converted. It couldn't go on. America was beginning to explode.

 

Suddenly we are informed that our leader has had some kind of mysterious motorcycle nightmare and remains incapacitated for the immediate future. The revolution is blossoming and it's adopted figurehead just disappears. I don't exactly forget about Bob but there is so much going on and the music is changing, soul starts to go out of fashion and the first hippie things are going around. The guitar sound is changing and things are melting all around. Syd Barret will attempt to drown himself in Brylcreem & Mandrax (or is it Mandrakes?). All sorts of people will be busted. Empty minded people folk begin to whisper the king is dead. (All songs)

 

* * *

The Basement Tapes (1967)

basement.jpg (7434 bytes)  Rumour is rife and his legend grows. There is no news from Bob's camp but then the bootlegs begin to trickle through our shop.  Strange mixtures of early Dylan and this badly recorded new stuff all mixed up with no explanation. Heavy black acetates with heavy white covers.

 

Then suddenly everyone was having hits in England with these great new songs that he hadn't released but appeared to be given away like a gift to London. There is however no news that I heard about Bob outside of these bootlegs. (He is the most bootlegged artist anywhere in history and he even started that.)

 

Now I'm fifteen and on acid and there's a man called Jimi Hendrix playing in a theatre in my town for ten bob. On the bill beneath him are Pink Floyd, the Nice, Amen Corner.

 

John Lennon was swimming in acid and Bob was a hillbilly recluse or was he? Great songs. Official record issued years later. (All songs)

 

* * *

John Wesley Harding (1967) 
  John Wesley Harding   The year of love and psychedilia and suddenly a new official album. The first since the great silence. No fuss about it and it takes everyone by surprise. Here we are before the great age of Woodstock and the real heavy music still to come, he delivers the most mysterious country album ever made and virtually invents/inspires country rock single-handedly.

Turn the cover upside down and see the Beatles in a tree, Wow!  I could see them in the tree with their moustaches (I doubt you can see them on a C.D. though) what could it all mean? Was it possible to be a Walrus? John made it seem so.

But what had exactly happened to Bob? I wondered.  Not only the material but his voice had changed drastically. This brilliant record bore no audible relation to its official predecessor or to anything else on earth. The pop world picked up it's ears but carried on it's bombastic,  peppered way all the way until it crashed into a wall of cream, all apart from the Byrds who follow Bob's lead.

The following year Jimi Hendrix delivers a cracking version of All Along the Watchtower (from this album) Bob continues to lie low. He splits with his manager and all his hippie fans chase him out of Woodstock. (All songs)

* * *

Nashville Skyline (1969)
Nashville Skyline  Like half the world, I was, to say the least, slightly disappointed in this record after such a long wait and with the music going in such another direction. I believe I liked these tracks at the time, although I was still being cut up by Visions of Johanna---now that I fully understood it. I take a trip over to the Isle of White, although I do sense some kind of disappointment coming up so I don't get as excited as I did for the Albert Hall---in fact by the time the crooner in the white suit came on, I could barely keep my eyes open anymore. It was a good weekend. Ah Bob!  James Brown here we come! The first album I chose to edit. Great playing.  (4 tracks )

* * *

Self Portrait (1970)
Self Portrait  I guess he's always been a little perverse, but here is where it really starts to manifest itself  (I recommend reading about the making of this---possibly his least significant album.) It was received as a direct insult by the counterculture though I'm sure it was never intended as such. They were still calling the poor bastard Judas and almost so was I.

I might have liked five or six of these songs if they were made by someone else at some other time but Bob was on the way out for me and it was sad. Save it for the birds.

I go and see Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis and Leonard Cohen over on the Isle of White that summer and they were much better than Bob although he was another kettle of fish. (4 tracks + 1  ( sometime later)

* * *

New Morning (1970)
  New Morning   The first press releases said he's back in form, best album for years etc. I was hopeful but this turned out to be the very last Bob Dylan record I ever bought in my life (that doesn't mean I didn't tape a few.)  Looking back it seems like very good music. I think in his hibernation he'd done some music diploma or some such thing and the songs are more musically adventurous than ever before, the lyrics are interesting too. Great musicians. I liked it a bit at the time but for me a bit wasn't enough with Bob. This was the year that Tim Buckley released Starsailor. How far apart can you get? Riots Going On, Bitches Brewing and now a weird crooning Bob in the middle of it all.

I left off One More Weekend and The Man in Me as I remember liking them least, Bob started to la la la on The Man in Me and for me he's not really a la la la person and neither am I, unless it's the Shirrelles. I understand it was popular in some film or other not too long ago but I know nothing about that.

We lose the record shop. We lose jimijanisbrianandjim.

Love that Winterlude (10 tracks+1 outtake)

* * *

Greatest Hits, vol. 2 (1971)
Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2
A curious and devious inducement to make Dylan freaks buy this double album,  three tracks they don't have and only one of them something new. (1 track + 2 singles from around the time)

* * *

Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid (1973)
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid  Another two year gap. I catch this one in the cinema and despite a great sundown death scene to the perfect accompaniment of Heavens Door and then the pleasant enough Billy Themes I was bitterly disappointed by his acting role. I just felt we were drifting further and further apart. I was still crazy about Johanna.

Go to see Bowie at the L.S.E great,  just before he went gold. Glam rock all over the place. Beans anyone? (3songs) 

( For the real dirt on Pat Garret check out a song called Durango by John Stewart)

* * *

Planet Waves (1974)
Planet Waves They say it again that he's back on track but the sound of the thing and his voice doesn't do it for me and I think I hear this album once all the way through. These included songs sounding pretty good to me in retrospect, missed them at the time except for Forever Young which I like much better now that I'm old. Note Bob begins to leave out better songs than many of those he decides to include. First signs of marriage breakup documented in his songs. ( 3 songs +1 outtake )

(Dylan releases a double live album called Before the Flood which sells about a zillion and brings him back to the fore. I don't include any tracks however because they're all here in original versions and because I really didn't like it at all. Weird self parody.)

Van Morrisson makes one of the best live albums ever and no one notices. Van is not one for too much make up, and he dosen't look so hot in latex.

* * * 

Blood on the Tracks (1975)
blood.jpg (4623 bytes)  It sparkles, great sound. I had this theory that Bob has been pretending with this new voice of his he'd had since his resurrection, but I could almost feel the old feel here. He was becoming like a distant cousin to me now but this was pretty damned good, cuz. Of course now I think it's even better (I hear there's an alternative version some of which is apparently better still.)

Great Album. Very personal. Paves his way back to the pop mainstream. Regains many old fans and finds new ones,   (All Songs)

 * * *

Desire (1976)
Desire  A big seller, it lay on everyone's turntable except mine. I just couldn't get into it at the time. I love it now though, all except Mozambique. How could he leave off Catfish?  It's beautiful. Bob seemed to start wearing wearing make up around this time and I don't think it flattered him too much. (8 tracks + 3 outakes)

 * * *

Street-Legal (1978)
Street Legal  I move to Paris and begin to earn a living playing music and more or less forget all about Bob. I think I heard this one once. I didn't like the sound and I didn't like his voice, which sounded like even more parody. It was even worse on those horrible live albums that began to appear. His delivery, his phrasing and intonation had actually begun to make me squirm.

I couldn't find all the songs from this disc but I liked this one best. (1 track)

 * * *

Slow Train Coming (1979)
Slow Train Coming   Bob finds Jesus and expects everyone else to like him too. He becomes the sole subject matter for this and the following album. This one has Mark Knopfler on it I believe.

On a trip back to England I witness my uncle Ken in his frilly shirt playing that silly animal song on his organ by the bar. Something is drastically wrong if Ken is playing Dylan. The Titanic sails at dawn indeed. At least the ferry does.  (2 tracks)

 * * *

Saved (1980)
Saved  I don't even know if I like this at all but it's here just to show where Bob was at at the time, although not me and not millions of others. He began to get booed all over again. (1 track)

 * * *

 

 

Shot of Love (1981)                              Infidels (1983)

 

Shot of Love  (2 tracks + 1 outtake)    Infidels  (5 tracks + 3 outakes)

Empire Burlesque (1985)                Knocked Out Loaded (1986)

Empire Burlesque  (2 tracks)                            Knocked Out Loaded  (1 track)

I was well weaned off Bob by now and didn't even hear the preceding three albums until I moved in with an Irish Dylan freak called Paul Butler. He was ten years my junior and had got into Dylan in "73. We would argue constantly old Bob against the new. I would not budge an inch as we abused his credit card.  Apparently Bob was now Jewish again, well fuck that!

That is until I heard the epic Brownsville Girl from Knocked Out Loaded.

Then I picked up on Lenny Bruce from Shot of Love in Paul's collection and now Bob's my uncle again. We later find that he casually forgot to include one of his best songs ever called Blind Willie Mctell from Infidels.

I couldn't find the original album recording of Dark Eyes from Empire Burlesque which I remember liking (it was the last song on the album) Instead I include the only non-original-album version in this section. This is a very cute live effort with Pattie Smith.

 * * *

Down In The Groove (1988)
Down in the Groove    Paul drummed these songs into my head while we were driving around in Paris. As far as I remember they were the only ones worth listening to. "Not the end, Not the end." There's even a Dutch schlager version of that. (4 tracks + 1 from The Travelling Willburys Vol.1)

 * * *

 

Oh Mercy (1989)
Oh Mercy  They got Daniel Lanois in New Orleans for this one. Definitely the best sound he's had for yonks. It's a new sound and a new Dylan. I hate those bloody list-songs though hence the non-inclusion of Everything is Broken. Loved Most of the Time at the time. He will wait eight years to resume this lyrical and musical tone until Time Out of Mind. I think I missed another one here too. Interesting. (8 tracks+ 4 outtakes)

Dylan's next album Under the red Sky I couldn't even listen to and I don't remember these two songs from the time but I thought they sounded O.K. now, only to discover they were both outtakes from Oh Mercy (In my opinion Dylan has no need at all to write a song called Wiggle Wiggle)

 * * *

Good As I Been To You (1992)
Good as I Been to You   He delivers a reasonable selling album for the cost of two bottles of Jack Daniels. As far I can perceive it this album gave thrust to the whole cheapo-cheapo concept of The Unplugged Devil so they slappin? Bobby on the back again.

I found it quite a charming album despite his weirder and weirder voice. Bob Dylan revisits himself in "61 with only a guitar for company. Froggie went a Courting was a bit too charming though and the Diamond Joe I had was missing the end. (11 tracks)

* * *

World Gone Wrong (1993)
World Gone Wrong  More of the same. Old Childe ballads and blues and such, doesn't sell as well. These were the only songs I could find. Don't think I missed any classics. You never know though. Great cover and also great liner notes as I recall. Heard this one in Denmark. (3 tracks)

* * *

Time out of Mind (1997)
Time Out Of Mind    A four year recording silence during which I'm sure he'd been touring in his regular maniacal fashion. First time I heard this I was in a situation where the last thing I wanted to hear was some millionaire griping.  I found it a really depressing record.  I can like most of it now though if I'm in a bad mood.

The main omission here is one of his longest songs ever. A dreary big thing by the name of Highlands where Bob finally falls of his stool. I suppose I should have included it as it has a great sound but I can only take it for five minutes. Album gets good reviews. He resumes a full sound. (8 tracks)

Things Have Changed  apparently from some film called Wonder Boys I know nothing about, not bad.

 

* * *

Love And theft (2001)
loveandtheft.jpg (13138 bytes)  I heard the single from this and I just thought, "oh, dear!" Then recently I began to get these tracks through on the net and I must say I find it one of the more intriguing albums of the last few years from anyone, both lyrically and musically (except maybe Olu Dara). I don't know if I heard all the tracks yet. I left a couple of boogie things off but I think Highwater is great and Mississippi too. A man of his age still pumping it out in music and from a new down and dirty romantic perspective, I mean who else! What a guy!

 

I am again curious to see what the man will do next after all these years. Maybe it will be an album of pizza covers like the last selection. . . thank you, folks. . . thnk you. Bob. . . goodbye now and see you soon. . .  Sauceman is rotting away in his room. . . Inhollandfebruarytwothousaandthree... (6 tracks)

* * *

 Giant   a personal best by Sauceman    

Quite simply this aspires to be the ultimate Best of Bob Dylan ever produced. Forty years of recorded history scroll before your very eyes in glorious low-tech, all corresponding chronologically with the lyrics (which also scroll.) Every officially-released track is included from 1962 until 1969, from which time I begin to edit, all the way to 2001 (Included is a personal commentary on my mental relations with Dylan over roughly the same period, plus my reasons for editing.)

This project came about solely because of the fact that I now suddenly have use of a computer. It actually started because on this machine, with the sound and the text, my girlfriend was suddenly able to sing the whole of Desolation Row. I started matching more lyrics to music for her and when she sang every word of  It's alright Ma (I'm only bleeding)  I couldn't believe it.

It began six months ago (collecting and arranging songs and texts) and was completed this week (writing.)  I do not own a single c.d. by Mr. Bob Dylan and in fact I have never owned a  c.d. player in my life and only ever used tapes (somewhere up a French mountain lie ten lonesome, mouldy vinyls as testimony to the fact I did actually pay for his music one time.) The whole thing would have been so much simpler had I access to the cds but I found this stuff all arse-about-tit through a friend and the rest was painfully fished out of the net. It just kind of took me over and turned out to be a real trip back through the past and I just had to put all this shit in order and no one can seriously read lyrics off a cd without a magnifying glass.

I could have chosen any one of a hundred sites dedicated simply to Bob's lyrics, not possible it seemed. I chose to nick the greater part of the texts (with quite a few small exceptions and corrections) from  www.dylanchords.com  (simply the most amazing non-commercial site run by Eyolf 'strem.)

This site is biased toward guitar players and is absolutely essential for anyone who wishes to play any of these songs. Unfortunately all these guitar symbols confused my girl's concentration so I removed all of Eyolf's pains-taking work and ferreted out each song alphabetically, one by one, before de-chording it (then of course I realised I could easily have gotten them all chronologically simply by clicking on the album list on the left) I cannot recommend this site highly enough, especially for anyone who wants to play.

It's all simply a personal homage to someone who drove me insane for some reason when I was only twelve years old. All I hear around here nowadays is fucking techno and some of these people are twenty-five and the rest. Only cotton wool. I think Bob would like it.

What I went about in the most dyslexic and complicated of ways has turned out to be so beautifully simple, with no face and no name. It is not intended to make people stop buying Bob Dylan albums as it goes out only either to people who will never buy an album of his, or those who already have every track, hopefully not arranged quite like this.

If anyone can tell me who took the cover photo that would be great as I would like to send him a copy? Also any lyric corrections welcome and any classics I may have missed. (sauceman7@yahoo.com)

What did I forget to say about Bob? That he never deigned to put his lyrics on an album cover, that he became a progressively worse harmonica player. It doesn't matter, he is one unique son of a bitch.

A Giant. The most consistent and prolific songwriter of the last half of the last century.

One of the only other sites I have looked at in any depth is http://www.interferenza.com/bcs/interv.htm if you wish to hear it from the horse's mouth. Great.

May I state from the outset that this project was not done for any monetary gain whatsoever and in all likelihood will not be seen by more than a dozen or so people. I am aware of the illegality of the thing (lyrics and music together) but I have nothing to loose and I may well be on the street in some weeks time. Love Sauceman. 5.3.2003. ". Ye Masters of War You Ain't Worth the Blood "..

* * *

[A self-styled "Musical Sponge," Steve Shorrock says he is no ordinary singer/guitar player, but he claims to be the owner of a truly staggering repertoire, the result of an insatiable appetite for music which he says began as soon as he was able to hear. He says he has been honing that repertoire consistently over the last twenty-five years, playing round Europe in every situation imaginable from restaurant to the festival stage, and from luxury liner to the penitentiary. He says he sings and plays Blues, Rock and Roll, Country and sixties pop with natural conviction and authenticity, and manages to give them all the distinctive 'Shorrock' stamp. As Brian Downey (Thin Lizzy) once said to him "Ya make yer blues sound like rock & roll, and your rock & roll sound like blues, I like dat! "

Steve was born into a musical family in the industrial north of England, in the eary fifties. He received his first instument (a ukelele) at the age of five. Absolutely everyone in his vicinity sang, either in the Music-hall/Hollywood traditions, or else in the styles of Frank Sinatra and Frankie Laine. It wasn't long however before rock and roll made it's indelible impression on the child's brain as he discovered Elvis and Buddy Holly on the magic waves of Radio Luxembourg.

His family moved to the south coast at the beginning of the sixties and opened a record store just as a new group called the Beatles were beginning to cause quite a stir. The music revolution had begun and the young Shorrock had his ears wide open to all the wonders it (and the shop catalogues) were to reveal. He had also begun to play guitar and piano. For the rest of the decade he was spoilt for choice as to the artistes and bands he could see just by jumping on a number 23 bus downtown; The Beatles live in a cinema, and later the Who or the Kinks in ballrooms, Hendrix in a theatre or Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac in a small sweaty club. The music was everywhere and had become a way of life.

In 1969 he left school and attended Bournemouth College of Art where he 'studied' blues and pop in the great English tradition of Lennon, Clapton and Townsend. Needless to say this did not stand him in good stead for any kind of career and after he left Steve drifted through some forty-five places of employment (including a stint as a dancing bear) before he accepted that his fate was to entertain. He began to forge an opening and a following for himself in the pubs and clubs along the south coast. At one of these he somehow fell in love and felt no choice but to chase his quarry to Paris in 1976.

Steve remained based in the city of light for the next twelve years and all the music he had stored in his head began to pour out. He began making a living with regular spots in cabarets and cafes, learning to adapt his musical vocabulary to the tastes of very diverse audiences. By now he was performing and writing songs in fluent French and was being invited to perform in Brittany and the South of France (as well as in Portugal, Ireland, Denmark and Czechoslovakia). Whilst in Paris he crossed musical paths with Didier Lockwood, Alpha Blondy, M.C. Solar, Champion Jack Dupree, Mungo Jerry, Guy Clarke and most notably, the legendary Serge Gainsbourg (of 'Je T'aime, moi non plus' fame, who later became the basis for a novelette that Steve would write in the nineties. The story, entitled Me and Serge, has now been translated into both French and Dutch.) One French newspaper urging readers to 'see this Englishman' describes him as having 'stepped right out of a Bob Dylan song or a Wim Wenders film.'

In 1988 the road led him to Munich where the work was more plentiful. Shorrock toured Germany continuously for the next six years, both as a solo act and as part of the popular duo 'Devil's Dilemma ' with virtuoso fiddler Peter Corbett. During this period he recorded his first album of entirely original material. The album, called So Long My Broken Heart, sold well with press notices comparing him favourably with Van Morrison and Tom Waits. Whilst there he also published a book of poems called My Wild Bavarian Love and completed the soundtrack for A Walk in the Woods by German film-maker Eva Gabriel.

Following an invitation to play the Raindance festival in the south of France, Steve again felt the urge to settle there. He did so for the following three years earning himself the title 'Le Bluesman fou d'Aveyron'. Whilst there he composed the incidental music for the play Casement by Jack Yeats, performed at the Quays Theatre in Dublin. Work was increasingly difficult to come by in the mountains however, and he headed for Belgium and Holland where he is now establishing himself as a top-class entertainer all over again. As his thousands of fans will testify, no one does it with more warmth, humour and sincerity than Steve Shorrock, modern day troubadour.

"I believe there is a song for everyone, just as there is a person for everyone. Song is the most perfect form of communication, it can transform a person's mood in a split second and take them away from their everyday cares before they know it, it can 'soothe the savage breast.' "]  ##

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