Bob Dylan in ‘White Face’

In January of 1974 Bob Dylan played at Crisler Arena on the University of Michigan campus. It was one of the dates on his tour where he put on white make-up before some of the shows. A few of my friends and I went up to Ann Arbor to see him.

Heidi, my girl friend at the time and James my house mate and promotion man for Capitol Records and his girl friend hopped into my 1968 baby blue Mercedes 220 and headed for A2.

We thoroughly enjoyed the show. I was afforded an opportunity to shoot some photos from the stage by one of my old roadies who was then working for Dylan. That pic is included here.

All Along the Watchtower

The next best part of the evening came when we were on the expressway headed home. I got pulled over by a state police car, the trouper told me one of my taillights was out. The other trouper noticed a six-pack of Molson beer on the floor between my legs and asked that I remove it to the trunk. One of the beers was open and in my buddy James’s hand. I was thinking that by the officer telling me to put the beer in the trunk that we were off the hook. Not so! The other officer noticed weed in James’s lap and he asked James if he “rolled his own”? James said he did. I thought our luck had run out! Just then the police were summoned (via police radio) to a serious crime being committed a short distance from where we were. They ran off without giving me a ticket. As luck shifted, relief came quickly! We all arrived at the house James and I rented in Birmingham safely and proceeded to a night of even more fun.

Bob Dylan Ann Arbor 1974.

“Well ask me why I’m drunk alla time”

Lyrics are funny things they convey a certain sentiment sometimes worth thinking about and sometimes not. This is why many of us who grew up in the 1960s fancied the songs of Bob Dylan. Even today I can blurt out part of a song by him and I’ll get the next part told to me from another person my age that heard me right quick. The words meant something and they still do to us ‘Baby Boomers’.

Bob Dylan and his music helped us through those trying times that carried the world to the brink of destruction and back more than once. The title above is from a song called: ‘I Shall Be Free’ from the album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.

At first listen this album is great and it gets greater the more you hear it.

Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright

This story is not just about this album but the music of Bob Dylan across the board in my life as a place to go when needed, often too.

He made sense to me all the time, I mean that! I heard what I wanted to hear and dug it; got through to me he did without any thing in the way. For instance: “There’s nothing in here moving and anyway I’m not alone”. That lyric from ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’ made it quite clear to the ‘babe’ he was talkin’ to that he wasn’t gonna be her boyfriend. I guess that goes without saying but I got it and wished I could have used it from time to time but I didn’t. You just can’t use lyrics to help you through the tuff stuff that comes up from time to time, or can you? Back and forth I go pickin’ the lyric that saves the moment or not.

Sometimes the world at large needs to pick a lyric and use it maybe like:

“Come Senators, Congressmen please heed the call don’t stand in the doorway don’t block up the hall.” That from ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’ could fit in right now or most anytime. This guy had the grip on poignant lyrics for every occasion. That’s why those old Bob Dylan songs aren’t that “old” ‘cause they are fresh answers to questions that don’t get old.

Once in a while you hear him drift off into tunes like ‘Just Like A Woman’ where tenderness flows over it and the tuff stuff ain’t right there but so what? It’s still a great song.

Tomorrow Is a Long Time

“Abe said: where do you want this killin’ done? God said: Out on Highway 61”. Strange what a motorcycle accident can do to someone, I had one and it had a strange effect on me but I never wrote a song about it.

Highway 61

Bob Dylan and his country upbringing seemingly had a hold on his song output. In New York he met some Columbia Records guys that set him on the right path and boy was that path right!

That music era was in some cases the most important to my friends and I because the songs, tunes and compositions of that era were genuine and bred by the conditions we all lived under.

Later came lyrics from Hell. Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Sympathy for the Devil, Gimme Shelter all written by the Glimmer Twins Mick and Keith and put out by The Rolling Stones. Nuff said.

The songs of the 1960s brought about much change in the young person’s world. As protest became the order of the day songs like: ‘For What It’s Worth’ Buffalo Springfield, ‘2+2=?’ Bob Seger, ‘Eve Of Destruction’ Barry McGuire all were strong proponents of getting rid of the Vietnam War.

Time and time again people turn to music to help with life and life always needs help.

It’s Alright Ma

Tom Weschler
Tom Weschler
Tom Weschler is a professional photographer known for his photography of entertainment and music bands and singers. He studied at Oakland University and taught photography at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Tom was Bob Seger’s road manager and photographer in the 1960s and 1970s. Weschler published a book named Travelin’ Man, a photo collection on Bob Seger’s career, which includes a foreword by John Mellencamp and an afterword by Kid Rock. A new book of Tom’s is soon to be released, In the Blink of an Eye: Photographs 1964 -2014, as well as future books on music, art, and fashion models. He is also currrently working on two movie projects.

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