THE TWO RIVER TIMES - June 1, 2002
          
by Uncle Mike 
 
W hen Bob Dylan strapped on an electric guitar at the Newport Folk Festival in July of '65 he forever changed the face of American  popular music. Not only did he drag the folk / protest movement screaming and kicking into the 60's but he brought the moral and social consciousness of a poet to American popular music and thus its culture. And that was just the beginning.
Big Joe Henry - Bob Fest '02

      In what could very well be the single most important concert in the history of rock and roll Bob Dylan stepped onto the stage of the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, England on May 17, 1966, plugged in and confronted his audience with a musical vision that was nothing short of heresy. Accompanied by The Hawks (sans Levon Helm) and Mickey Jones on Drums, Bob Dylan blasted his way through the audience's shouts of "traitor" and "Judas" with a soaring rendition of Like a Rolling Stone. The rest is myth and history as Dylan opened the floodgates and led the way for the acceptability of the ever changing Beatles, as well as the likes of Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, and anyone else you care to mention. With this in mind and in honor of Bob's 60th birthday, I felt it only right that I attend the BOBFEST held at the Downtown Cafe' in Red Bank. Each of the last three years singer/guitarist Pat Guadagno and a group of friends celebrate Bob's birthday by performing all Bob Dylan all the time. This year Pat (lead vocals/acoustic guitar) joined by Dickie Thomas (mandolin/vocals), Phil Rizzo (bass/vocals), Rich Oddo (guitar/vocals) Rachel (a.g / vocals), Charlene (harp), Sandy Roesner (vocals) Mary McCrink (vocals), B.O.C's Buck Dharma (electric g.) and Big Joe Henry (MC) treated the audience to 36 Dylan Songs.

    Opening with the most appropriate "Shelter from the Storm ( it was a God-awful rainy Monday night) Pat led his various band mates through  inspired renditions of Idiot Wind (also most appropriate) , "Highway 61 revisited" (killer tune / never sounded better) "When I paint my Masterpiece" ( Dickie shines on mandolin) "The Mighty Quinn" (funky Quinn). Don't think twice (blused it up), "It takes a lot to laugh , it takes a Train to Cry" (brilliant). "Its all over now Baby Blue" (biggie), Subterranean Homesick Blues ( ripped it / huge) "Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat" (Pat soars on l.v). "Tonight I'll be staying here with you" (classic take), "Man gave names to all the Animals" ( wonderful Band jam) and "Just like a Woman" (raw and gritty). and that was just the first set of the show

    Look this was a terrific tribute to Bob Dylan. From Pat Guadagno right on through all of the musicians and the DTC's Tom Moog, everyone did a fantastic job. This is by far one of Red Banks better musical moments and hipper traditions!

    And as for Bob Dylan himself weather you love him hate him or despise him, you have to admit there is no ignoring him. Bob Dylan is the most influential musician of the last four decades. He has impacted every songwriter fro Lennon/McCartney to the the present. And there isn't a doubt in my mind that Bob Dylan will affect many of those who have yet to come. His vision, music and influence have become cultural constants. His words ring just as true today as they did in the 60's. For me Bob Dylan will forever be Blowin' in the Wind.