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 Post subject: Bob Dylan and Carbondale
PostPosted: Tue February 11th, 2014, 16:40 GMT 

Joined: Mon July 15th, 2013, 01:09 GMT
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Hi, I have very strong ties to Carbondale, Il and am now perplexed by an observation I've made. Bob Dylan must like the town. Some friends and I met Bob last summer (7/11/13) and, afterwards, we posted heavily about our experience on this forum. I'm not as big a fan as my friend, who I got Bob to agree to hang around and meet, but I am a rapidly growing fan, and can appreciate his mystique greatly. During our conversation I asked Bob which Carbondale he was referring to in Duquesne Whistle. He said it was Carbondale, Il, but we just kind of thought he said that to make our day. Now I'm starting to think he may have been serious. A few weeks back I stumbled onto Bob's fantastic artwork. In his 2013 "Drawn Blank" series he has released limited edition lithographs of a work called "Carbondale Motel." I almost fell out of my chair when I saw this. Moreover, during our conversation I told him I had seen him in 1999 when he performed in Carbondale and that he probably didn't remember the town or the show. He corrected me and said he remembered "hanging out there a couple of times a while back."

I guess my first question is: Does anybody know the specific date when the 2013 images were released? If it was after 7/11/13, then I'll fall out of my chair again, LOL. It just seems more than coincidental, our conversation and then seeing this. I've heard he does a lot of things based on his own personal experiences, or he will incorporate his experiences in to his work. I don't want to sound like I caused him to release the piece, but man, it is awfully coincidental. It was a top-shelf encounter for us, and Bob had a great time too. He was all smiles, and was never in a hurry or seemed put out. I wonder how often he spends 15-20 minutes talking with ordinary people. Probably not often.

Next, here is why I firmly believe the Motel in that image is in Carbondale, Il. It is know he did the sketches for the drawn blank series during the late 1980s through the early 1990s. It says on his website he has played in Carbondale, Il in 1990 (1978 and 1999, too), right in the middle of his sketching phase. He has never played in Carbondale, Pa or Carbondale, CO.

My second question: What is his interest in Carbondale, Il? It is on the Illinois Central rail route form Chicago to New Orleans. It was a major party school back in the day. A person I know who saw Bob's 1978 show there told me he remembered Bob really liking the crowd and telling them they were better than the folks in New York (sorry New Yorkers). My friend went on to say it was around Halloween and everybody in the crowd was in costume.

Any thoughts, ideas or other insights are more than welcome. Thanks!


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PostPosted: Tue February 11th, 2014, 17:47 GMT 

Joined: Thu December 9th, 2004, 16:38 GMT
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Location: Canadee-i-o
I don't know the answer, but I strongly suspect that if Dylan is mentioning Carbondale that's because one or more of his folks/blues old-timey templates does so as well. You wanna understand Bob, you gotta go to his sources.

You got to hang around with Bob??? What was he like????


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PostPosted: Tue February 11th, 2014, 18:10 GMT 
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MJC - well then, Bob is Santa Claus, like your friend's little girl told you all - ain't life grand?


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PostPosted: Tue February 11th, 2014, 19:41 GMT 

Joined: Mon July 15th, 2013, 01:09 GMT
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Ha, ha, life is grand, and unbelievably coincidental. I did a lot of fact checking and research and, man, it seems too good to be true. But, so is meeting him. . .

Lone Pilgram, I've thought about my meeting Bob a lot since it happened. I've read many many bad, or at least less than ideal encounters with him on the internet, and have wondered why mine went so well (sort of like when a plane crash survivor wonders why they lived and the others died). The best way I could describe him would be to say he is an ordinary superstar. Soft-spoke, polite and very humble. We met before a show and he said, 2-3 times, "I hope I do good for you," or, "I hope you like the show." He had a great way of phrasing things and never once made us feel like we were intruding his personal space. I noticed things about him that few others would ever know. He had short sleeves and I could see a rash on his right elbow. His eyes are piercing. His hand shake is soft and gentle. He is shorter than me. His accent is undeniably unique to him, even while talking. And, he is very full of life. He was much more alert and energetic than he leads on. Its easy to see why he can do the things he does and how he can write the lyrics he does. He may not always be so vibrant, and maybe that is why I had so much luck with him, but I would bet that vibrancy plays a big part of his creative genius.


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PostPosted: Tue February 11th, 2014, 19:43 GMT 
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MJC - awesome and lucky experience you've had!

I've always thought it was Carbondale, IL from the get go. It's proximity to the blues/jazz highway is reason enough for him to reference it, and it's staple midwesternness is another good reason. he hits a lot of places in the middle of nowhere in the midwest when on tour usually - i figure these places remind him of his old hometown. he's treated such places fairly well too - an occasional tour debut or one off usually happens...

travel north of Hibbing sometime - drop by a workers' tavern - you'll hear that same accent!


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PostPosted: Tue February 11th, 2014, 20:31 GMT 
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and too anytime one can get around a good man like Bobby Vee and his great family one is bound for joy, right? :)


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PostPosted: Tue February 11th, 2014, 22:41 GMT 

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It's Carbondale because when his back was turned, the whole world behind him burned.


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PostPosted: Tue February 11th, 2014, 22:52 GMT 
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MJC wrote:
Next, here is why I firmly believe the Motel in that image is in Carbondale, Il. It is know he did the sketches for the drawn blank series during the late 1980s through the early 1990s. It says on his website he has played in Carbondale, Il in 1990 (1978 and 1999, too), right in the middle of his sketching phase. He has never played in Carbondale, Pa or Carbondale, CO.


http://www.heritagemotelcarbondale.com/gal7.html
Compare this place to the drawing/painting. I came across this a few years ago when researching the Drawn Blank Series. I inquired and was told he did in fact stay there, so that's one of the few places in the drawings we can be pretty sure about the location.


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PostPosted: Wed February 12th, 2014, 00:13 GMT 

Joined: Mon July 15th, 2013, 01:09 GMT
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Johanna: Amazing! I know this place. The hotel under that name is long gone, I think, but the building and sign are still there. It further proves Bob preference with ordinary places. I think we can be certain this is the place and you can also be certain he stayed at the Marriott courtyard in Peoria.


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PostPosted: Wed February 12th, 2014, 00:32 GMT 
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Location: I'm in Bostontown in some restaurant.
He stays in all kinds of places.

When I was considering the Carbondale print, I figured it was a place Bob had stated at in his travels. I'm glad I bought the one I did, as it looks like he was viewing the scene from a hotel room in Stockholm, too. But I wanted one that had a relation to his travels - in my mind, anyway. I think I got one and you have a strong connection to that area. If/when you buy one, I'd go with Carbondale. It means something to you, too. JMO.


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PostPosted: Wed February 12th, 2014, 01:58 GMT 

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Not far from the site of his Mississippi River Festival performance in 1969. Maybe he likes salukis?


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PostPosted: Wed February 12th, 2014, 03:58 GMT 

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I remember reading somewhere he gave a guy a harmonica and took him backstage at the 78 show. Anybody else remember this story?


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PostPosted: Wed February 12th, 2014, 04:13 GMT 

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Here's the link to the story from 1978: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=71110&hilit=Carbondale


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PostPosted: Wed February 12th, 2014, 04:53 GMT 
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I heard that he sometimes stays at ground level motel rooms so he can smoke


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PostPosted: Wed February 12th, 2014, 06:34 GMT 
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Great post MJC!

Dylan did play Carbondale IL. in 1990. A show I kick myself for not seeing as a sophomore at SIU.

I also hoped DW referenced the Carbondale I know and love too; but Carbondale PA had a connection to Duquesne, PA. True to form, Dylan layers on the ambiguity. For the record, Du Quoin IL is 20 mile to the north, a potential Du Quoin Whistle "aural pun"?

Anyway, some Southern Illinois nuggets...

Highway 51 runs through Carbondale -- go roughly "40 miles (wide)" to the West-- one can revisit Hwy 61 in Missouri. Two metaphorical trains running side by side.

Speaking of trains, to piggyback your point:

Amtrak Train 59, the southbound City of New Orleans, departs Carbondale daily with service to Memphis, Jackson, and New Orleans
Amtrak Train 58, the northbound City of New Orleans, departs Carbondale daily with service to *Centralia, Effingham, Mattoon, Champaign-Urbana, Kankakee, Homewood, and Chicago.
*Centralia IL: Woody Guthrie wrote and recorded a song about the Centralia mine disaster entitled The Dying Miner.

Probably due to the presence of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale residents have a tradition of political activism. During the Vietnam War, and especially after the Kent State shootings, massive anti-war demonstrations took place on the SIU campus and on the streets of Carbondale. They resulted in the closure of SIU, more than $100,000 of property damage, more than 400 arrests, and the deployment of the National Guard to restore order.


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PostPosted: Wed February 12th, 2014, 09:17 GMT 
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BostonAreaBobFan wrote:
He stays in all kinds of places.

When I was considering the Carbondale print, I figured it was a place Bob had stayed at in his travels. I'm glad I bought the one I did, as it looks like he was viewing the scene from a hotel room in Stockholm, too. But I wanted one that had a relation to his travels - in my mind, anyway. I think I got one and you have a strong connection to that area. If/when you buy one, I'd go with Carbondale. It means something to you, too. JMO.


Someone familiar with Stockholm would probably know where he would have stayed when making that drawing, too. The concert dates from that time period would be either 28 May 1989 or 25 & 26 June 1991.


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PostPosted: Wed February 12th, 2014, 12:04 GMT 

Joined: Mon July 15th, 2013, 01:09 GMT
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I've also since heard there isn't a train stop in Carbondale, PA. The train just passes through. How could you stop in a Carbondale and then keep on rolling if there is nowhere to stop?


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PostPosted: Wed February 12th, 2014, 13:40 GMT 
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Anything's possible with Bob.


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PostPosted: Wed February 12th, 2014, 14:35 GMT 
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My tidbits.

Carbondale is way down there at the southern edge of Illinois about a seven hour drive from Chicago in what seems like the middle of nowhere and it's the home of Southern Illinois University.

John Belushi attended SIU apparently, his brother Jim graduated from there and from that connection the school is said to be the basis of the movie Animal House.

My son is studying there now and when we attended the parent's meeting one of the presenters, a pretty young lady, mentioned the fact that SIU is known as a party school, she had to discuss this to be honest with the parents: she assured us "party school" is incorrect, in fact they study very hard there, it is a serious school, but they also know how to have fun in their off hours or something, hence the term "party school" may have a basis in fact but is misleading in this case she maintained.

The SIU sports mascot is the Saluki, it is the Royal Dog of Egypt or Persian Greyhound, one of the oldest breeds of domesticated dogs which most people probably never heard of. It's a rare and strange looking dog that is said to have some admirable qualities.

The motel that Bob is said to have stayed at is all right I suppose but I generally stay at the Super 8 on the other side of town: it's near the strip malls and it's on the route back to Chicago, which is comforting.


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