But, I Made You a Cake Bob Dylan!
By Jeff Campbell
This story comes from across the border in Louisiana. I originally
heard it from Dee Davis (President of the Center for Rural Strategies)
at SFA's Heritage Development Summit in 2012. Dee recently shared that
he got the story from musician Dirk Powell. I love the story because I
think it says something about our culture in the south and I think it
also says a lot about Bob Dylan.
In the mid 1970's Bob Dylan was storming across the country on his
Rolling Thunder Revue. In 1976 there were two shows scheduled in New
Orleans and Baton Rouge. After the Louisiana shows the Rolling Thunder
Revue was heading west to Houston. On the trip to Houston, Bob Dylan had
planned to stop in Holly Beach (a.k.a the Cajun Riviera) and visit with
Bobby Charles was one of the innovators of "Swamp Pop". He wrote big
hits for Bill Haley and the Comets (See You Later Alligator) and Fats
Domino (Walking to New Orleans). Charles was also a big influence on Bob
Dylan's sometimes backing group The Band. In fact at The Band's farewell
show, The Last Waltz concert in November of 1976, Bobby played "Down
South In New Orleans".
As the Rolling Thunder Revue roared across Louisiana and headed to
Houston, Bob Dylan realized they were running late. Dylan stopped to
call Bobby from somewhere along I-10. Dylan told Bobby Charles that
since they were behind schedule they would not be able to stop and
visit. Bobby Charles replied; "But, I made you a cake". Dylan tells his
entourage that they really have to go see Bobby Charles. Dylan's manager
said there's no way because they will miss the show in Houston. Dylan
responded; "We have to, he made me a cake!"
Because of Bobby Charles's cake the Rolling Thunder tour bus headed to
Holly Beach. However when they arrived there was more there than just a
cake. Perched on the front porch was a cooler/ freezer type container that Dylan
thought was probably for fishing (after all they are in south Louisiana). Bobby Charles opened the freezer and it was filed with frozen beer mugs.
The show in Houston had to be rescheduled.
*In 2005 Hurricane Rita destroyed little Holly Beach. Bobby Charles relocated to Lafayette and that is where Bobby shared the Bob Dylan cake story with Dirk Powell. Bobby Charles passed away January 14, 2010 at the age of 71.