Blues veteran Rory Block turns her attention to Dylan to create her first ‘Americana’ album

In the 1960s, Greenwich Village was at the epicenter of the burgeoning folk music boom and a young Rory Block had a ringside seat to this evolution. With the release of her new album on June 28th 2024, “Positively 4th Street: A Tribute to Bob Dylan” on Stoney Plain Records, she recreates and reinterprets the sounds of that era.

“In March of 2020, we took a leap into the great unknown and began broadcasting 90-minute shows every week from home,” This unexpected journey has lasted over four years, and led to countless informal forays into a broad range of material by numerous artists – current and past. Probably the most persistent and enthusiastic requests from viewers for anything outside of the blues genre has been the repeated calls to record a Bob Dylan tribute. But how would I, an artist associated almost entirely with blues for over 30 releases, suddenly switch to recording songs by one of the greatest songwriters who ever lived? Thinking wouldn’t help. It had to start, simply put, by plugging in the mics and pressing record. It’s always a mystery… As it happens, I grew up in Greenwich Village and was a teenager when Bob Dylan’s songs were becoming huge hits. We didn’t think it unusual to spot John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix or Bob Dylan walking down West 4th Street at a time when the area was overflowing with musicians of every description and level of fame. My father’s place of business, The Allan Block Sandal Shop, was a centrally located and well-known hub for local musicians, and West 4th Street, where it intersected the one block long street called Jones Street, became the center of my universe. By the time I was in my 20s, Dylan was one of the most famous names in the music business.” Block states and also recounts a personal encounter with Dylan that has stayed with her.

“It was during the 1960s that I walked into Dad’s sandal shop and saw an artistic looking man sitting and talking with my father. I remember the hat, and the youthful face. He was not yet famous, so at that point he was among the many interesting people stopping by. He may have recently been signed to a label, but I don’t think his first album had come out yet. When I walked in, he was sitting there talking to my dad, and I remember thinking that he had a very unique, artistic presence. After he left, Dad told me something about the conversation. He said that Bob was a poet first and foremost who really didn’t care for the ‘business’ side of things. His priorities lay in being true to his art.”

Look out for a review here on AUK next month.

“Positively 4th Street: A Tribute to Bob Dylan” Track List:

1. Everything Is Broken 3:28
2. Ring Them Bells 2:43
3. Like A Rolling Stone 6:27
4. Not Dark Yet 6:04
5. Mr. Tambourine Man 3:39
6. Positively 4th Street 5:05
7. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall 7:06
8. Mother Of Muses 6:39
9. Murder Most Foul 20:42

About Keith Hargreaves 376 Articles
Riding the one eyed horse into dead town the scales fell from his eyes. Music was the only true god at once profane and divine The dust blew through his mind as he considered the offering... And then he scored it out of ten and waited for the world to wake up
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Ryan Fox

Nice feature Keith. Must have been a very exciting time and place for creative folk. I enjoyed Rory’s cover, some nice Dylanesque vocal hints yet still a unique interpretation of a classic.