The man behind the Bob Dylan Band admits that impersonating a living legend can be more than a little daunting. John ‘J’ Black, who will bring his Dylan tribute act to the Alley Theatre next month, also remarked that emulating a Nobel Laureate is a challenge worth relishing.
Joining J Black on the Alley stage on Saturday February 3 will be two men who have actually worked with Bob Dylan in the past, namely Jason Duffy on drums and Jimmy Smith on guitar.
“They’re both worked with Dylan, did a few shows with him – which is more than I can say,” laughed J.
“It is daunting but I really enjoyed the first gig we did as the band. I’ve said since, that it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done. I know too that these guys are the finest band I’ve ever played with.”
Perfecting the Bob Dylan tribute for the past year, J previously worked with ‘Real Diamond’ to bring alive the music of Neil Diamond whilst also working on a Simon and Garfunkel project.
In 2007, he formed ‘The Stones’ who are now recognised as one of the best Rolling Stones tribute acts in Europe. After moving to Ireland in 2009, he came across a band working on the music of the Bee Gees and this resulted in ‘The Bee Gees Story – Nights on Broadway’. As musical director, he guided the band in performing the Gibb brothers’ music to packed theatres across Ireland, the UK and mainland Europe.
“Anyone coming to see this gig can expect a range of Dylan’s back catalogue, across 50 years of his work,” J continued.
“We start the show with a few examples of his solo work, ‘Blowing in the Wind’, ‘The Times They Are a Changing’ and ‘A Hard Rain a-Gonna Fall’. Then we move through his albums in a chronological order before doing some of his more modern songs. For the most part we follow the original arrangements of the songs but for others we also take as our guide some of the Dylan covers done by other artists like Bruce Springsteen. It’s a good spread of his work.”
He added, “Am I a fan? Absolutely. When I was 13, the epitome of cool was to go into a cafe, buy a coke and put a Bob Dylan song on the jukebox. The love of his music has stayed with me ever since.”
• Tickets to The Bob Dylan Band featuring J Black on Saturday, February 3 are £14, £12 (con) available from the Alley Theatre Box Office on 028 71 384444 or online www.alley-theatre.com