In the current issue of the British music magazine Uncut, various musicians talk about working with Bob Dylan. Guitarist Robben Ford, who has toured with Joni Mitchell, talked about the first time he worked with Dylan for the 1990 release Under the Red Sky, and their conversation about Joni:
I had met Dylan a couple of times over the years. I had met him when I was working with Joni Mitchell, and again when I was working with George Harrison. And on both those occasions, I didn’t really meet him. He was there, he was hanging out with Joni, or hanging out with George, but he really avoided all contact with other humans if he could.
On the Under The Red Sky album, the concept was kind of, each day of the sessions, the record would have a different band. The bass and drums remained the same, but beyond that, the players changed every day in the studio. An interesting concept. The day they brought me in, when I got there, I was the first person to arrive, and other people started filing in about an hour later, so it was really kind of loose. Bruce Hornsby was there on that session, playing the piano.
Anyway, finally Bob arrived, and he had on like a sweatshirt with a hood, a baseball cap, these kind of jogging pants. And motorcycle boots. Kind of an odd combination. I found myself in the studio tracking room with him, and it was just him and me for a few moments, so I said, “So, Bob, I met you some years ago, with Joni Mitchell. I was touring with her, and you came on the trip for a little.”
And he hadn’t said a word, and then he just goes, “Awww, Joni, man!”
Nothing else. That was it. Not another word about her.
So, a moment later, I said, “Also, with George Harrison. I was on the road with him on that Dark Horse tour, and you were on the plane there for a couple of days.”
And he goes, “Awww, George, man!”
And that was it. Not another peep. I mean, the guy just wouldn’t speak. But he obviously really loved Joni and George, and he liked the fact that there was some connection – but he had nothing to say about it.
Pretty funny story.