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Monsters of Folk: Dylan, Simon Might Tour

Tentative tour not set in stone, but likely, sources say

March 10, 1999 12:00 AM ET

Could Rhymin' Simon and Illin' Dylan be planning to hit the road together this summer? Although a spokesperson at Bob Dylan's management says nothing's written in stone ("The two of them are talking about it, but haven't had contracts drawn up yet,") a high-level source confirms that the bard will be touring with Paul Simon this summer.

This would be Simon's first tour since 1991, and it couldn't come at a more propitious time since the singer is still licking his wounds after his Broadway musical The Capeman failed so spectacularly last year.

Although the two have never performed together, no one in Dylan's inner circle is surprised about the possibility of a tour. Back in 1966, on "A Simple Desultory Philippic" from Simon and Garfunkel's Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, Simon ended the song with his own personal in-crowd message to the singer: "I dropped the harmonica, Albert." He was referring, of course, to Dylan's former manager and father figure, Albert Grossman. Dylan later recorded Paul Simon's "The Boxer" for 1970's Self-Portrait, and the two have maintained a three-decade long friendship.

Dylan and Simon are expected to share the stage during each other's sets, according the L.A. Times. No word yet on whether Art Garfunkel has been offered an opening slot.

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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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