Our writers

Untold Dylan seeks to explore the compositions of Bob Dylan, and the influences upon his creative work.   Details of how to contact us are given at the end.

At present we have two main contributors: Tony Attwood and Larry Fyffe.  Here’s some background on each.

Tony Attwood has spent his working life as a musician, as a university lecturer, in the theatre and as a writer of both fiction and non-fiction.  He gained his research degree at London University Institute of Education and his first engagement with  the work of Bob Dylan (aside from being a fan) came when he negotiated the rights to arrange some Dylan songs for use in schools in the series “The Pop Songbooks” published by Oxford University Press.

Tony also runs a blog on his favourite football (soccer) club: Untold Arsenal, and runs the Arsenal History Society.  His hobby, beyond Dylan and Arsenal FC, his three daughters and eight grandchildren, is dancing modern jive.

You can read more (if you really want to!) about Tony on his web site which also a few examples of his own (commercially unsuccessful) music.

Larry Fyffe, a fan of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen from time out of mind, has an honours BA degree in Literature and Sociology from the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Canada.

He has researched the history of chess for the authors of a number of books thereon, and written published articles on the subject.

Larry’s mother was born in England and she moved to Canada as a war bride of a Canadian soldier. (May they both rest in peace.) Larry’s older brother was born in England; Larry and his identical twin were born in Cornhill, NB; he has a younger brother and three sisters. His bewitching better half is Carolyn, and Margaret, his beautiful daughter.

Joost Nillissen grew up in Amsterdam and was educated by Jesuits who made him loose his faith. For almost 30 years he lived and worked in Israel where he discovered the history of the Bible. Tourism was his trade and ever since he bought his first album in 1971 Bob Dylan was the soundtrack of his life.

Painting and writing were his serious hobbies and in the late nineties his stories were published in literary magazines in The Netherlands and Belgium.

After his divorce in 2004 he returned to the Netherlands and decided to take writing seriously. Hundreds of advertorials on any subject imaginable flowed from his pen. He wrote and published three novels and a collection of short stories.

Joost is semi-retired, wears a brand new suit, has a brand new wife, a son in Israel and a daughter in Amsterdam, no grandchildren that he is aware of and loves working on the retelling of some of Dylan’s songs, to be published in a book.

If you want to write to Untold Dylan with a view to submitting an article or a series of articles, or indeed on any matter that you don’t want to appear as a comment, please email Tony@schools.co.uk and send a copy to TonyAttwoodofLondon@gmail.com (just in case I am on the road).

The site is owned and operated by Websites and Blogs Ltd., 9 Home Farm Close, Great Oakley, Northants NN18 8HQ, UK.

18 Responses to Our writers

  1. Agueda says:

    I think that is one of the so much vital info for me. And i’m happy studying your article.
    However should statement on some common things, The web site style is ideal, the articles
    is actually excellent : D. Good job, cheers

  2. Kev Hodgson says:

    Can’t believe I’ve just discovered your site – really great, and some brilliant interpretations of songs. Duequese Whistle led me here.

  3. Lee Hitchen says:

    Just stumbled upon your site whilst listening to ‘Dark Eyes’, final track on Empire Burlesque.

    Have thouroughly enjoyed reading your interpretations of Dylan’s (and others) lyrics that the great man has performed/recorded over the years. I now find myself going back to those songs and rediscovering them from a wholly new and different perspective.

    Do you intend to cover his entire back catalogue? 😉 Keep up the good work.

    Regards

    Lee

  4. doug says:

    I think we can all agree that we at best are having educated guesses at what all the lyrics mean.

  5. dexter says:

    I’ve just discovered your site because I was looking for an article that discusses the structure of the song Spanish Harlem Incident in detail . I was listening to it and I was trying to learn to play it in the guitar by ear and I notice how unusual his guitar parts are in that song. I usually don’t go to ultimate guitar to learn to play songs because I can usually learn easily how to play songs by myself but this song in particular is complex or unusual I think. I think the guitar tab by maguri in ultimate guitar site is good and I think he got almost everything correct. There are parts there I think that just stays in one bass note while changing a couple of notes thus changing chords but stays in one bass note. I think in some parts of the song he’s playing a C major with a bass note of E so when he plays the usual G major to C major progression it sounds a little different than the usual. I think he really listened to it very closely. Even though I know something about chord progressions and some scales I really needed some guide on how to play this song hehe. Anyways, you have a very cool site Mr. Tony Attwood. I’m a really big fan of Dylan and I think fans of Dylan around the world can really enjoy and have a really good time reading your articles.

  6. Margie Stevens says:

    Very much appreciate your research on Dylan. I’ve been haunted by “Too Much of Nothing” figuratively and literally. Understanding the connection to T.S. Eliot enriched my experience. I even found my anthology with Waste Land and read it again after 40 plus years! Keep up your posts. I’ll be looking for your book!

  7. TonyAttwood says:

    Margie, thank you for your very kind comments.

  8. Youngmi Sohn says:

    How are you, Mr. Attwood?

    Thank you for your excellent work on the bard. It is always exciting and comforting to find still another admirer (and researcher) of what the great man did and said. Your site will be of much help when I listen to his songs and think and write about his lyrics. Look forward to your book!

  9. Thanks – just discovered this site. Your writing om Dylans lyrics set my mind going. A Dylan fan since 1970 but first and foremost his music – now at last descending into the “mysteries” of his texts. (By the way listening to his early monorecordings triggered my interest in the lyrics alone). Enjoy reading your comments on Dylan. First one was about As I Went Out One Morning. Really enjoyed that one.

  10. Ron Levao says:

    I also just “discovered” your wonderful site, while browsing around for comments on “Sign On The Window.” As I wrote there, thank you! I hope to read much more of you once the semester calms down, and this nightmarish USA election is over. . .

  11. Tom Palaima says:

    Thank you, Tony. I just read your critical essay on “Long and Wasted Years.” It rings true through and through. One of the best pieces of Dylan criticism I have read.

    I will be teaching a course at the University of Texas at Austin this spring “Bob Dylan: History Imagination” I imagine now there will be quite a few students I send to your takes on Bob’s songs.

    If you have an email I’ll send you some of my writings of reviews and commentaries on feature pieces on Dylan in places like Times Higher Education.

    Tom Palaima

  12. I have learned so much from your thinking about this song, Tony. Thank you! I marched during the 60s singing, “Blowing in the Wind,” but “Hard Rain” hit me
    hardest and still haunts me most. In this Age of Trump, we must all stand on the ocean until we start sinkin’ and REALLY know our song — because “the answer, my friend,” is STILL blowing in the Wind. And Dylan can help us listen for it.

  13. TonyAttwood says:

    William thank you for your kind comments.

  14. TonyAttwood says:

    Tom, that is so kind, I really appreciate it. Tony

  15. Neil Ruddy says:

    Great stuff. Keep on keeping it on.

  16. andy talbot says:

    I always thought The Times They Are a Changin was in 3/4 time NOT 12/8?

  17. TonyAttwood says:

    Andy, it depends how you hear the song. You can write it out as either, and Bob would never have written it down himself in conventional notation. For me writing it in 3/4 makes it very fast and loses the feel that is inherent in Dylan’s own performance of the song. Better put, I think if someone who had never heard the song picked up the sheet music with the song in 3/4 they would produce a performance that didn’t have the feel of Dylan’s recording. If they saw it as 12/8 they are more likely to produce a rendition much closer to that on the record.

  18. Mathew Jones says:

    I’ve just read your piece on Jokerman. I’ve long seen this song in a way which I find wholly satisfying.

    This is Bob’s life story being told in the verses, from a third person perspective. From the start of his journey as an artist, feeling immensely powerful as he surveys his options. The ‘idol with the iron head’ is surely a train, glowing in the night, an alternative to the ships that might carry him away across the great lake.

    The chorus is an appeal, an invocation, to that part of himself that could once write without thinking about it. Because he’s been in a dry spell, he’s not been feeling it for a while, he doesn’t know if he can get there again. He’s ready and waiting. The Jokerman is the character Shakespeare called the fool – the one person at the court of an all-powerful king given a licence to speak truth to power – and that’s what Dylan has been. He’s had to make an entertainment of it, of course, like any other jobbing jester. Provided he kept on delivering, he was in a unique and privileged position.

    The verses tell the story of how Bob Dylan managed that, seen in flashes. The years are necessarily compressed, but the order is strictly chronological. I could go into approximate dates and partial explanations for each verse, but maybe this isn’t the best place to do that.

    Anyway, what’s satisfying about the whole recording in that light is how the the feeling of the words and the music do work as one, bass and drums propelling the thing forward like ambition, the uplift of the choruses soaring like a bird. By the final verse, his story has reached the present, and he is full of self-confidence again. And he’s going to ride out and take up arms against the foe – Mystery, Babylon the Great, personification of wickedness in the fallen world.

    And in the meanwhile, his prayer got through, and it was answered. Because he made this recording of this song.

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