There’s a story to be told today but first I would like to remind everyone that URL for Be the Boy is now http://www.betheboy.com, please, please adjust your records accordingly. Now it’s story time.
Judas and The Broken Hearted
A few days ago I was writing about researching music at the library as a teenager, frequently this meant reading about Bob Dylan. I had already been thorough all of the biographies I could find (my favorite Behind the Shades had just been released) so I was spending my time going through thousands of newspaper articles when I came across something that blew my teenage mind; it was an article about bootleg Dylan albums and among the records mentioned were tapes from the 1966 Albert Hall shows where Dylan is called Judas by a crowd member and advises the band to “play fucking loud” to annoy the folkies (the insufferable hipsters of the day). Today it’s easy to find this show because it was officially released in 1998 and you know that it didn’t take place at Albert hall at all but when I was 16 I didn’t know that one day it would come out on CD so this became the holy grail of records for me. Someone had invented the internet by this time but I didn’t have access to it so at mysterious record shops everywhere I’d strike up conversations with the proprietor and then ask them if they had any “OTHER Dylan records I could look through…wink, wink”. Maybe because they really didn’t or maybe because despite my smooth style they thought I was sent in to bust them for selling bootlegs, they usually said no. By reading some more old magazines I discovered that The “Albert Hall” show was included on an Italian 10 LP bootleg called “Ten of Swords” but seeing as how I earned $4.50 an hour working after school it was unlikely that I’d get to Italy to search for it. In time, I stopped searching…remarkably this coincided with the time that girls starting to pay attention to me. I know, hard to believe but true.
Fast forward a few years to the fall of 1998, I’m 24 years old, still living on Long Island and had just been broken up with…I’m heartbroken but I think I’m handling well. On a Tuesday morning I’m buying the biggest cheapest bottle of gin I can find and one of those value three packs of old porn magazines from the liquor store in my neighborhood, it’s my day off and I plan on spending it forgetting. As I leave to go home I pass the Spanish language record store and I’m surprised to see a picture of a very young Bob Dylan on a promotional poster on the glass door; underneath it says The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert – On Sale Now. Underneath that it says “Be Back in 10 Minutes” Now I don’t know where you buy your Bob Dylan records but I had never considered that checking the Spanish language record store, mostly because Bob rarely sings in Spanish but there was my holy grail of records right there in the store. I sipped gin in the car as I waited for the guy to come back (kids don’t do this) and tried to remember the Spanish I’d taken in school. El Bootleggo?
When the guy came back I went through an elaborate series of pointing and gesturing before he said “Can I help you?” He owned the place and was a big Dylan fan, he had ordered it for himself and a few extra copies just in case, and it was officially released that very day. Needless to say I bought one and raced home to immediately put it on the second “electric” disc. I didn’t leave the house for the rest of the day. I played each song, listened for the crowd reactions and listened very closely just before Like a Rolling Stone when he turns to the band (soon to be The Band) and says “Play Fucking Loud”. Done and done and for that day there wasn’t a heartbreak in the world that could touch me. Play Fucking Loud indeed.