Monday, August 3, 2009

Who exactly was the 'Tambourine Man'?

The bass player on the right in this photo is jazz man Bill Lee, father of Spike Lee.

"Does anyone have an E-harp? Anybody?".

The Byrds, classic lineup - Roger McGuinn (lead gtr. vocals), Chris Hillman (bass), Gene Clarke(gtr. vocals), Michael Clark (drums) and David Crosby (gtr. vocals)

Bruce Langhorne in the Village days.

Recent photo of Bruce Langhorne.

A young Jack Ashford - Mowtown's tambourine man.

For some reason, when I was younger, I had always assumed that the 'Tambourine Man' referenced in Bob Dylan's masterpiece alluded to 'Black Jack' Ashford, the Mowtown 'Funk Brother' percussionist, who made the famous tambourine sound on countless hits and featured heavily in the 90s documentary 'Standing in the Shadows of Mowtown'.

In fact, much of Dylan's inspiration seems to have come from a young multi-instrumentalist called Bruce Langhorne, a singer/song-writer, from the early 60's Greenwich Village folk scene, who habitually carried around a giant Turkish hand-held percussion instrument (as one does). Langhorne played the delicate counter-melody lead guitar part on the original recording, but seems to have kept a really low profile since those days;

Mine is much bigger than yours.

THE Tambourine Man

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