No Direction Provides a Compass
There's a new documentary about Bob Dylan, No Direction Home, running right now on PBS (in the US). Even if you -- like me -- find Dylan to sound like nails on a chalkboard, see this film: he is one of the premier artists of our time and the film gives new insight – recent, lucid, interviews of Dylan himself – about his musical and cultural influences between his late-1950's start and 1966.
The film was put together by Jeff Rosen (Grey Water Park), Nigel Sinclair (Spitfire), Anthony Wall (BBC) and Susan Lacy (Thirteen/WNET New York); Martin Scorcese merely helps it along. Notably it includes unseen footage from the DA Pennebaker film archives of Dylan performing live in Belfast, Dublin and Newcastle.
Cognoscenti know the immortal Pennebaker/Hegedus documentary catalog -- the rest simply don't remember that Jimi Hendrix lighting his guitar on fire is a Pennebaker image. Some highlights include:
“Daybreak Express” (Duke Ellington, 1953)
“Don't Look Back” (Bob Dylan tours England, 1966)
“Monterey Pop” (Jimi Hendrix, The Who, et al., June 1967)
“Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” (David Bowie's last Ziggy apperaance, 1973)
“Depeche Mode 101” (1989)
“The War Room” (Clinton, Stephanopoulos, Carville, 1993)
“Only the Strong Survive” (Soul Greats Club Dates, 2002)
No Direction Home answers the perennially myth-muddy questions for new generations, “Where on Earth did Bob Dylan come from; and why does music sound like it does?”