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ARTS DIARY: FOLK Bob Dylan and the Poetry of the Blues/Pacific Road Theatre.

Byline: DAVID CHARTERS

FROM his soft-soled brown shoes to the fastened top button on his tieless white shirt, the man looked the cool dude - with turn-ups on his blue jeans and a red lining peeping from a longdraped coat in the Teddy-Boy style.

But he has the head of a professor with abundant white hair flopping over his spectacles.

Then you notice a perfectly modulated voice, sugared by the company of intellectuals.

Michael Gray, who now lives in France, was performing near the gorgeous cinemas and the lower dives, where he first heard the rock and rollers, who would become his heroes.

But one towered over them all - Bob Dylan, the poetic troubadour, his head filled with dreams, cunning rhymes and beautiful melodies, drawn from open pastures and unyielding streets.

Gray, 62, became an authority on Dylan's work, writing the books, Song and Dance Man and later the Bob Dylan Encyclopaedia.

During his performance, Gray prowls the stage speaking of how Dylan absorbed the blues and, with genius and trickery, turning it into his own work.

The act is called Bob Dylan and the Poetry of the Blues, and it was much appreciated by a respectful audience.

From time to time, Gray pointed to the men in the balcony running the lighting and sound. They showed film or played records, which explained how Dylan had blended old blues into his songs.

Gray appears in Southport in June. On May 1, Dylan himself is performing at the Echo Arena, Liverpool.

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Michael Gray
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 9, 2009
Words:253
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