Fats Domino, Bob Dylan and Baron Wolman, Happy Thanksgiving!

by Chris Murray on November 20, 2017


Bob Dylan, Trouble No More: The Bootleg Series Vol. 13, 1979-1981.

I saw Bob Dylan in concert last week at The Anthem in Washington, DC, and it was a remarkable show. Just the week before, I bought Bob Dylan: Trouble No More, the latest in The Bootleg Series, the day it was released on November 3rd. The deluxe box set contains seven CDs and a DVD film that covers 1979-1981, when Dylan was featuring gospel music both on tour and in the studio. This box set features unreleased live performances. I love Dylan’s gospel music. Songs like Pressing On, Every Grain of Sand, When He Returns and others are some of the best songs Dylan wrote. It was a controversial time for Dylan, as often is the case, as most music critics didn’t get it…it usually takes the critics a few years to catch up on what Dylan is about. One thing for sure is Dylan has always enjoyed gospel music and has often featured biblical themes in his work, in songs such as Highway 61 Revisited.

The New York Times published a terrific review of the box set on November 1st, and I was delighted to see the Times use a photo of Dylan by Baron Wolman on the front page. It’s a photo of Baron’s that I had never seen before and it beautifully captured Bob in one of his gospel concerts.

Bob Dylan, San Francisco, CA, 1979. Photograph by Baron Wolman.

Just the other day, I was reading the November 16th issue of Rolling Stone magazine and was delighted again to see Rolling Stone use another Baron Wolman photo of Fats Domino on its title page. Rolling Stone published a tribute to Fats, who had passed away on October 24th.

Fats Domino, Las Vegas, 1968. Photograph by Baron Wolman.

I first started exhibiting Baron’s photographs at Govinda Gallery in 1994 in an exhibition called Woodstock, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the festival and the launch of a book that featured Baron’s photos along with Lisa Law, Henry Diltz, Elliot Landy and Joseph Sia. Baron came to the opening at Govinda and we hit it off. He is a true gentleman. I went on to feature his photos in a one-person exhibition at Govinda called My Generation in 1996, as well as in my tribute exhibition and book to the Rolling Stones, 40 x 20 (Insight Editions). Baron was also featured in the groundbreaking museum tour of large-scale images, Sound & Vision: Monumental Rock & Roll Photography, co-organized with the Columbus Museum of Art and curated by Chris Murray, which took place from December 2011-September 2013 and went to museums in Columbus, GA, Chattanooga, TN, Charleston, SC, Huntsville, AL, and Laurel, MS. I also joined Baron in Salamanca, Spain at Domus Artium, where he was part of their tribute to rock & roll that Govinda Gallery assisted the museum with, and which also featured a one-person exhibition of Alfred Wertheimer’s photographs of Elvis Presley. Baron’s work can also be seen on permanent display at Hamilton Live in Washington, DC, which features Baron’s extraordinary photo of Frank Zappa as part of their permanent collection.

Frank Zappa, Laurel Canyon, 1968. Photograph by Baron Wolman.

With Thanksgiving approaching, I am grateful for musical artists like Fats Domino and Bob Dylan, whose music has lifted our spirits so many times in so many ways. Dylan plays piano in his concerts now..he always was a terrific pianist, as seen in some clips from the great documentary film, Don’t Look Back. As a young man, he played piano in his rock band while growing up in Hibbing, MN. Little Richard was a hero of his. He surely admires Fats Domino as well, a foundation stone of rock & roll whose piano playing still resonates as an influence on musical artists.

I was fortunate to see Fats Domino play once. I was walking down M Street in Georgetown in the early ’70s, and there in the window of a club called The Crazy Horse was none other than Fats Domino singing and playing piano. I went into The Crazy Horse and I’ll never forget the big rings on his hands as he played the keyboard. And I can see one of those rings in Baron Wolman’s photograph of him. Baron’s photographs are available through Govinda Gallery.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Baron Wolman and Carlos Santana at Woodstock, 1969. Photograph by Bill Graham.

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