(Where Music, Politics and the Law crossed over and, despite the obstacles, art finally beat out the law and the world was better for it.)
Flashback to 1975. Bob Dylan is rollicking through America on his Rolling Thunder Tour whereby a cavalcade of stars and hangers-on traipse along for some fantastic shows in a carnival-like atmosphere. (Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, Mick Ronson (Bowie’s lead guitarist), Joan Baez, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Kinky Friedman, playwright Sam Shepard, Allen Ginsberg, and Joni Mitchell among many others join Dylan’s merry pranksters). Dylan is back in the thick of things and his profile is as high as it had been in the mid-sixties. After years in hiding following his mysterious motorcycle crash he hit the road in 1974 for the first ever full tour with The Band, a huge money spinner that played large auditoriums. He followed this tour with the album Blood On The Tracks (1974) which beautifully and simply explored the complexities of love gone wrong. The songs were like windows into his soul, but Dylan felt the need to speak to the people through song once again. Perhaps something was missing for him. He had moved back for a while to the Village. Perhaps the ‘feel’ of Greenwich Village, a yearning for those heady days of the early 60s — that sense of improvisation, that can-do-anything youthful creative spirit — had flashed before him again and inspired him to write songs that explored public and not just private issues. Perhaps it was just a good idea at the time.