Bob Dylan to play White House

by Roger Catlin

The Hartford Courant (MCT)

28 January 2010

 

Bob Dylan will play the White House next month as part of a concert marking the Civil Rights movement.

Morgan Freeman and Queen Latifah will host “In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement” on Feb. 10, a show that will be broadcast Feb. 11 on PBS.

Other performers at the event will include Jennifer Hudson, Seal, Smokey Robinson, Natalie Cole, John Legend, John Mellencamp and the Blind Boys of Alabama.

But it will be the appearance of Dylan that will be most notable.

Dylan, who was given a Kennedy Center Award in 1997 (where he didn’t sing), notably sang “Only a Pawn in their Game” and “When the Ship Comes In” at the Washington, D.C., rally where Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech in August 1963.

He also sang “Only a Pawn in Their Game,” about the murder of Medgar Evers, at a smaller rally in Greenwood, Miss., earlier that year in a performance that became part of his film “Don’t Look Back.”

What will he play before Obama? Maybe something like “Blowing in the Wind” or “The Times They Are A-Changing.” But probably not “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding),” in which he sings “even the president of the United States sometimes has to stand naked” (though if he changes it to “the new senator from Massachusetts,” it would be more timely).

And maybe not “Quit Your Low Down Ways” in which he sang:

“Well, you can run down to the White House,

“You can gaze at the Capitol Dome, pretty mama,

“You can pound on the President’s gate

“But you oughta know by now it’s gonna be too late.”

Maybe he will be like “Ramblin, Gambling Willie,” of which he sang:

“He gambled in the White House and in the railroad yards,

“Wherever there was people, there was Willie and his cards.”

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