The Sunday Edition

Mail on Dylan and dope

Listener response to last week's conversation about the 50th anniversary of Bob Dylan going electric at the Newport Folk Festival.
Bob Dylan goes electric at the Newport Folk Festival on July 25, 1965. (Getty Images)
Listen4:54

It's been fifty years since Bob Dylan went electric at the Newport Folk Festival - and it's still causing controversy. Last week, we spoke to Rob Bowman, who is a musicologist at York University in Toronto about that legendary event. Rob explained that folkie purists were angry at Dylan's treachery at Newport when he turned to rock.  

John Cook in Tottenham Ontario writes:

"Being a professional engineer I completely disagree with the artsy-fartsy philosophical take on Bob Dylan's first electrified tour. I attended his concert at the Masonic Temple in Detroit. The problem was the sound system. We had all come as fans of Dylan who bought his first electrified record and were prepared to enjoy his newest songs. Having his lyrics completely drowned out angered his audience.  So yes we felt ripped off, not by our idol Bob Dylan, but by his stupid sound system."

Then there's Kevin Mooney, who noted this online:

"I was at the Bob Dylan concert at The Agrodome in Vancouver in '66, on the tour where Rob Bowman says everyone booed every night in every city. Well, he's dead wrong in the case of the Vancouver show...there was rapturous response. It was a love fest."

David Frank of Fredericton had this to add: 

"Two notes on the interview with Rob Bowman. He is right to say that the booing became a kind of media invention. At the first of the November shows at Massey Hall in Toronto, I don't recall any booing at all, though I am told that at the second show the next night there was a coin tossed on the stage. The other point is that, even with the rock backing, Dylan was still playing a kind of folk. 'Maggie's Farm' itself was a protest song, and I can recall rehearsing and rewriting all the verses while I was in high school and returning on the bus from work on weekend nights. No wonder Maggie's Farm later had a new life under Margaret Thatcher."

Jim Hassinger posted this comment online: 

"One of the great moments of my life was that I saw Bob Dylan's very next concert - at the Forest Lawn Tennis facility on August 28, 1965. The first half was acoustic, had 'Gates of Eden' and 'Desolation Row,' and ended with 'Mr Tambourine Man.' ''Highway 61' came out the next week, when I got back to Montreal. I wore that record out. People like this only come around a few times in your life. Be there to hear them." 

And moving from Dylan to dope: last week we also rebroadcast an update of our special feature, "How Medical is Medical Marijuana?" about the legal and health issues related to the use of the drug.
 On that story, James Kuracina from Windsor Ontario writes: 

"What concerns me is that our governments don't seem to be interested in cost effective medical protocols. You quoted 33,000 studies on medical marijuana. I wonder home many prescription drugs have gone through that kind of rigor?" 

And this is what Gerald Thomson of New Westminster BC had to say: 

"Cannabis not a medicine? Just look to the history. Cannabis tinctures were sold in drug stores from the mid 1800s until the late 1930's. It was a common pain relief treatment like opium. Drug companies as Eli Lilly, Parke Davis, Frosst and Squibb made cannabis tincture. Why not ban all forms except the tinctures and have drug companies manufacture it again with strict quality control? Then the medical studies on its uses can begin".

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