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Dylan an’ a muffin…

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The Grauniad picks up on the new Dylan albums, including the new one Starbucks is selling.

Now, I could be wrong but doesn’t the Judas! cry originate from the 1966 Manchester gig (the famous and misnomered “Royal Albert Hall” concert that was released as Bootleg Series Vol4)? I’m no Dylan nut but isn’t that where the Like A Rolling Stone electric switchover thing happened.

Now, certainly there’s a version of the song on the new No Direction Home album but I can’t find out when it’s from. That means, if I’m right, that either whoever wrote the story has no basic Dylan knowledge (or Googling ability) to see that the correct year was 1966. Or they just asked someone in the office and they got it wrong. Or they didn’t listen to the CD to check and it’s actually a completely different (though feasibly electric) ’65 version from the Judas one. Or it’s not actually from 1965. Or the Judas thing happened quite a lot.

All of which makes me pretty pedantic regardless.

As for the furore over selling CDs in Starbucks, how’s that any different from selling them in HMV, Virgin or iTunes. Just another multinational flogging CDs, so don’t try and tell me it makes a blind bit of difference who your 15 quid goes to. Arguably, given the standard Starbucks folkie soundtrack, it’s a much more savvy and niche market oriented selling environment. I’m guessing that the percentage of impulse buys of a Dylan album in Starbucks far outways the percentage of impulse buys in HMV or somewhere similar. Sure, if you already want to buy a Dylan album you’ll probably go to HMV but that was a sale already in the bank regardless.

Arguably, this widens Dylan’s appeal to people who probably think he’s either too difficult to get into or too whiny. Just think how many copies Starbucks shifted of that dreadful Peyroux woman off the back of a really shitty jazz-club version of You’re Going To Make Me Lonesome When You Go.

Then ask yourself: if you were Dylan, what would you do?

Less ranting, more reviewing at Swing Batter Batter!

About Greg Smyth