Tuesday 12 December 2017

We hold our breath and pray to hear 'Blind Willie McTell'

Dylan and Knopfler perform at Dublin's O2 later this year -- Barry Egan examines their shared work

It's a question perhaps up there with, 'who will rid us of this recession?' When Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler play at the O2 Arena in Dublin will they play -- deep intake of breath -- 'Blind Willie McTell'?

Dylan is so wilfully obtuse about his music and even more so about the wants and needs of his millions of fans that I wouldn't bet on the bashful bard of Robert Allen Zimmerman satisfying the desires of the many by playing 'Blind Willie McTell' at his sure-to-be-sold-out show in Dublin.

In any event, the song was recorded in 1983 on the sessions for Dylan's Infidels -- which Knopfler co-produced and played on -- but bewilderingly (to confidantes of Dylan's who heard the sessions especially) was left off the record. The song gathered a certain mythic momentum through bootlegs of the outtakes. It became almost famous as the best track Bob Dylan never released (a solo version is on his very first album).

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