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Dylan & Simon Online
© 1999 by H.B. Koplowitz

Even if you can't make it to one of the Bob Dylan/Paul Simon concerts, there are some excellent Web sites where you can find tour news, audio and video clips, biographies and discographies, wallow in their old stuff and, of course, buy their records. 

One of the best and worst of those sites is Columbia Records' official Bob Dylan Web site <www.bobdylan.com>. Columbia has been Dylan's record label since his first album in 1962, and its Web site has a complete catalog of all his officially released albums and songs, along with a searchable database of his lyrics. What makes it both the best and worst of sites is that there's samples of every track on every album. The key word is sample, which means only the first 45 seconds, so about the time you start grooving it cuts off, making you want to buy the album, which, of course, is the point.

But the site also has a growing library of unreleased live music, studio rarities and other hard-to-find recordings, including a baker's dozen complete live performances from his tour at the start of the year. Currently the site is promoting the release of "Live 1966," an official double CD set of what may be the most famous bootleg album of all time, the so-called Royal Albert Hall concert, actually performed May 17, 1966, at Free Trade Hall in Manchester, England.

One of the first Dylan Web sites is John Howells' "Bringing It All Back Homepage" <www.punkhart.com/dylan>. It maintains the Bob Dylan FAQ (frequently asked questions) for the Usenet newsgroup rec.music.dylan, and is a good starting point for other Dylan sites. Tucked away inconspicuously at the bottom of the site is a link to the complete audio of the camp classic "Hey Mr. Tambourine Man" sung by William "Capt. Kirk" Shattner.

Created by Karl Erik Andersen, who lives in Norway, "Expecting Rain" <www.expectingrain.com> has links to other Web sites with numerous Dylan audio files in various formats. The site also has playlists, fan reviews, schedules and other information on the latest tour. Another extensive Dylan site with tour information is Bill Pagel's "Bob Links" <www.execpc.com/~billp61/boblink.html>.

For information on the tour from the perspective of Paul Simon fans, there's "PaulBob '99," which is a part of Joey Berger's "Lasers in the Jungle Homepage," <paul.simon.org>. The site keeps up-to-date setlists and reviews of tour sites. It also advertises digital quality "rare/unreleased MP3 files of Paul Simon songs," although that section has been down.

Josie Taggert's "Simon & Garfunkel Resource" <home.att.net/~sandg>, has links to S&G sites, as well as the S&G FAQ from the alt.music.paul-simon newsgroup. Warner Bros. Records has a section on Simon <www.wbr.com/paulsimon>, but it has no information on the tour and focuses mainly on "Songs From The Capeman," Simon's first studio album in six years.

Swede Jean-Marc Orliaguet's "Acoustic Guitar Song Collection," www.medialab.chalmers.se/guitar, has an excellent collection of songs from Simon, as well as S&G, Leonard Cohen, Serge Gainsbourg and Cat Stevens. The site contains rare song and video clips from early television appearances, printed spoken introductions from concerts, a transcript of the only S&G TV special, "Songs of America,"  interviews, album notes, comments and reviews.

No review of Dylan-Simon Web sites would be replete without A.J. Weberman's "Parsley Sage Rosemary and Crime" <paulsimon.org>, a malicious satire that dumps on Simon's "Capeman." Weberman, who once gained infamy for inventing "garbology," the tabloid journalistic technique of rooting through celebrity trash, also operates several other satiric sites including "Dylanology" <www.dylanology.com>, which contains his spurious "interpretations" of Dylan's songs, and recklessly alleges on the flimsiest of evidence, i.e., his song lyrics, that Dylan is being treated for AIDS. Be warned, much of the content is offensive, and the entire site is what I call Java disabled, which means it makes heavy use of Java applets that are likely to crash your computer.
 

copyright 1999 by H.B. Koplowitz, all rights reserved.

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