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Bob Dylan's 'Mr Jones' dies


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The figure who inspired the "Mr Jones" protagonist in Bob Dylan's classic 'Ballad Of A Thin Man' has died.

Jeffrey Owen Jones, a film professor at the Rochester Institute Of Technology, has been regularly identified as the subject of the song, which appeared on 1965's 'Highway 61 Revisited'.

Jones was 63 and died of lung cancer at the beginning of November.

According to the widely held theory, Jones inspired the song after interviewing Dylan while he was an intern at 'Time' magazine.

The pair spoke at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, just ahead of the singer's legendary performance where he went electric.

The opening lines of the song go: "You walk into the room/With your pencil in your hand/You see somebody naked/And you say, "Who is that, man?"/ You try so hard/But you don't understand/Just what you'll say/When you get home/ Because something is happening here/ But you don't know what it is/Do you, Mister Jones?"

Years after the song appeared, Jones told Rolling Stone he was actually honoured to have been written about by Dylan.

"I was thrilled - in the tainted way I suppose a felon is thrilled to see his name in the newspaper," he wrote. "I was awed too that Dylan had so accurately read my mind. I resented the caricature but had to admit that there was something happening there at Newport in the summer of 1965, and I didn't know what it was."

According to Editor And Publisher, Jones' passing has so far only been picked up by his local paper the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.

They reported that since his immortalisation in song, Jones had excelled an athletics before living Uruguay and Spain where he wrote and directed films. He then returned to America where he became a teacher and lecturer, and also worked for CBS producing award-winning educational films.

His sister Pamela Jones told the paper that "Dylan didn't paint a vignette of my brother that one would necessarily be proud of. But I think my brother was in the middle of history-making."

Although it is widely thought that Jones inspired the song, there have been other candidates for the protagonist, including a British journalist named Max Jones, who Dylan has mentioned himself.

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Dylan Reworks 'Hard Rain's' For Spanish Expo


Bob Dylan

Howell Llewellyn, Madrid

Bob Dylan has recorded a new version of his 1963 classic " A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" exclusively for the water-themed Expo Zaragoza 2008 world fair, to be held in the northern Spanish city of Zaragoza between June 14-Sept. 14, 2008.

And he has chosen multi-platinum EMI-signed band Amaral, from Zaragoza, to record a version of the song in Spanish.

The two versions will form part of a promo campaign for Expo Zaragoza 2008, which includes a TV spot which begins airing Dec. 17. More than 100 countries have confirmed their attendance at the Expo, which organizers expect will gather some 5 million visitors over three months.

It is unclear if either Dylan or Amaral will perform in Zaragoza during the world fair.

Expo Zaragoza president Roque Gistau says he was "delighted" that Dylan has offered his voice and face as the sound and image of the world fair, whose theme is "Water and Sustainable Development". He described Dylan's contribution, which includes the singer's spoken comments in English on the importance of clean water across the world, as "a gift of one of the songs that best reflects [Dylan's] vindicative spirit".

Dylan representative Johnna Jackson was at the Madrid presentation with Gistau and Amaral representative Manuel Notario, who said Amaral was already working on the recording. Amaral performed as the support band on a Dylan tour of Spain a few years ago.

Jackson says, "Bob Dylan chose the song personally and did a unique and original version for this project. He feels very proud to be able to take part." Dylan was this year awarded the Prince of Asturias award for the Arts, Spain's equivalent to the Nobel prize, although he was unable to attend the Oct. 26 award ceremony in the Asturian capital of Oviedo, northern Spain.


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From Paste:

Dylan, Jack White, others finish Hank songs

Writer: Josh Jackson

Bob Dylan is heading up a project to have several artists write music and record some of Hank Williams' final lyrics, according to Steppin' In It bassist Dominic Suchyta, who played on one of the tracks.

"This project started when Bob Dylan acquired the `lost' Hank Williams songs," Suchyta tells Paste. "Essentially, the lyric sheets Hank died with in his briefcase. Jack is my oldest friend, we talk on occasion and he asked me to come down and record. Dylan had contacted him to see if he'd like to finish some of these tunes."

White recorded the song at Blackbird Studios in Nashville with engineer Joe Chiccarelli, Suchyta on upright bass, Carla Azar (Autolux) on drums, Donny Herron (Bob Dylan, BR549) on 8-string guitar and Dean Fertita (Raconteurs, Waxwings) on acoustic guitar. "We did the session in one long day," Suchyta says of the secret taping, "live in a circle with some mics around—much like Hank would have."

They recorded an unfinished Williams song called "You Know That I Know." "No one has heard it as it was a Hank Williams lyric sheet that Jack put to music and edited a bit," says Suchyta. "Jack was sent most of or all of the unfinished tunes and picked this one to finish. We listened to quite a bit of Hank while I was down there and sat around the two of us playing our favorite Hank tunes, but the song was done when I got there. I think Jack just ingested a bunch of Hank Williams and this is what came out of him."

Suchyta says that Dylan didn't record with White that day, "but I wouldn't put it past either of them. They seem to be cut from the same cloth, sort of misplaced Midwestern brothers. I do know Jack has joined him on stage quite a bit and joined him for his XM radio show. When we were high school teenagers, we recorded quite a few Dylan tunes on our old 4-track reel machine. I remember having a nice version of `Masters Of War' on some cassette somewhere. Jack played drums and guitar, I played bass and guitar."

The entire participant list is still under wraps. "No doubt Dylan recorded a tune for it with the Modern Times sessions," Suchya posits. "I've also heard through the grapevine that Willie Nelson and Norah Jones are involved, but like I said this is a shot in the dark. It's been an interesting project in that sense. I'm a huge fan of Hank Williams and was moved to hear what Jack had to contribute."

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