We Bob Dylan fans are like battered wives. We know we’re in for a pasting but we keep coming back for more. For some, the abuse began when he went electric. For me it was much later, when he became a born-again Christian. But still we carried on buying his albums, in the hope that amongst the range of blows there would be one sweet kiss. This is what has kept us together over 40 years when I, together with hundreds of thousands of poor deluded souls have bought every album as it came out, in the hope of that one sweet kiss.
Dylan’s release of his 47th album, “Christmas in the Heart” is the final blow. I’ve bought 46 Dylan albums on the trot , but I won’t be buying this one. The album consists of covers of Christmas “favourites” such as The First Noel and Little Drummer Boy. 30 seconds of each track on iTunes was enough. When I was playing it my eleven year old daughter, who is partial to a Christmas record, shouted across the room “Turn it off- it’s torture”.
And so I couldn’t believe it when I read a review in The Times today of a single from the album, “Must be Santa”, which the reviewer describes as “the best Christmas single since Fairytale of New York”. He says the video on Youtube is a sensation and the record is tipped to be the Christmas Number 1. As it turns out, the video is hilariously funny not least because Dylan appears in a long blonde wig, and the song is rather catchy. The old devil’s done it again. By the way, the best ever version of Dylan’s “Wheel’s On Fire” is by the Heroes of She. They played it at the Dylan Festival in Manchester last year. They haven’t recorded it yet, so the only way to hear their version is at a live show.