Bob Dylan – Ringo Kid & The Gunfighters (Mainstream MAST-107/8)


Ringo Kid & The Gunfighters (Mainstream MAST-107/8)
Les Arenes, Frejus, France – June 13th, 1989

Disc 1:  Hey La La, Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine), You’re A Big Girl Now, All Along The Watchtower, Just Like A Woman, I Don’t Believe You, Lakes Of Pontchartrain, Gates Of Eden, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, In The Garden

Disc 2:  Highway 61 Revisited (with Ringo Starr), Like A Rolling Stone (with Ringo Starr), Boots Of Spanish Leather, Peace In The Valley, Man Gave Names To All The Animals, Maggie’s Farm

Ringo Kid & The Gunfighters is sourced by a complete excellent stereo audience recording.  One song from this show, the cover of Thomas Dorsey’s “Peace In The Valley”, appears on Acetates on the Tracks 4  (Habeamus – Papam) released in 1998 and on disc three of the Scorpio collection Genuine Never Ending Tour Covers Collection 1988-2000 issued in 2001.  This track was included on both collections because it is the only known reference of Dylan playing this song in any known concert. 

Mainstream is the first to release the complete tape on a mainstream silver release.  This show was the third in Europe and is a transitional show for Bob Dylan.  The original NET bassist Kenny Aaronson left the tour after the June 8th show in London to be treated for skin cancer.  This is the third show with his “temporary” replacement Tony Garnier, who has never left the band and still plays with Dylan today.

The show begins with a cover-version of “Hey La La” (aka “My true La-La” and “La La La”) written by Ray Price and Leonard McRight and recorded by the country-western legend Ernest Tubb.  “Most Likely You Go Your Own Way (And I’ll Go Mine)” is given an experimental arrangement that is theoretically good.  Drummer Christopher Parker plays a wild drum rhythm off the beat that has no variation and sounds quite horrible and was dropped.  

“Lakes Of Pontchartrain”, and “Gates Of Eden” are acoustic with “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” begins acoustically but the band joins in to complete the number.  Ringo Starr joins the band for two songs, “Highway 61 Revisited” and “Like A Rolling Stone” although his presence isn’t announced and his contribution is negligible.  The set ends with “Man Gave Names To All The Animals”, a concert staple on the gospel tours from 1979-1981 but making its first appearance on the Never Ending Tour.

“Maggie’s Farm”, played in the rock arrangement favored in this period, is played as the encore to a very receptive audience.  Mainstream goes with a western theme on the artwork.  There are cameos of Dylan and Starr on the front and a six-shooter on the back and a cartoon on the insert. 

The Gunfighter is the name of a 1950 film starring Gregory Peck as Jimmy Ringo and is the movie described by Dylan in ” Brownsville Girl” on Knocked Out Loaded.  Since that song wasn’t performed at this show there is no connection, rhyme of reason for the western motif.  It is a strange non sequitur.  Whatever the case may be, this is a very strong release and very much welcomed by the label who issue excellent releases. 

The tapes from this period when G.E. Smith was playing with Dylan are all very exciting to hear and this show has an excellent recording plus the rarities making this recommended.

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