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Bob Dylan Welcomes Guitarist Charlie Sexton Back Into His Band

August 26, 2009 5:21 PM ET

When Bob Dylan resumes his never-ending tour October 5th in Seattle an old friend will be back in the band. Arc Angels guitarist Charlie Sexton, who played with Dylan from 1999 to 2002, has rejoined his group. Earlier this month Sexton sat in with Dylan in Round Rock Texas, causing rumors that a reunion was imminent. "I love and respect Bob and am very happy to be reunited with my friend onstage," Sexton tells Rolling Stone. "I'm starting up with him for the fall tour and will carry on with him from there." He's unwilling to say any more about what brought him back. "I've never given an interview about Bob," he says. "Ultimately he is my friend, and it's not my place to talk about his business."

The reunion comes at a busy time for Sexton. Earlier this year he reformed the blues-rock trio the Arc Angels alongside Doyle Bramhill II and Chris Layton. They've played a bunch of gigs and he is currently putting the finishing touches on a CD/DVD set for release in October. Despite re-joining Dylan — who tends to play about 100 shows as year — the Arc Angels will continue to tour and record during Dylan's downtime. "Being a working musician or a producer or anything these days, being a fluctuating business, you gotta work, you gotta shape-shift," Sexton says. "You gotta do whatever it takes. Myself, the Arc Angels, most people I work with, we're all lifers. It's what we do. We just keep on going."

Sexton's tenure in Dylan's band is widely seen as a highpoint in the never-ending tour. Click below to watch Dylan and Sexton perform "Brown Sugar" by the Rolling Stones:

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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