Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, Ted Russell and Tulsa!

by Chris Murray on October 6, 2022

I was most fortunate to be invited to the V.I.P. opening of the Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. What an extraordinary three days it was. Hats off to the George Kaiser Family Foundation in Tulsa which acquired Dylan’s remarkable archive and built a brilliant museum to house and display it, as well as developing educational programs.

Govinda Gallery Director Chris Murray in Tulsa.


Tulsa Hotel Room.


The inaugural exhibition features Ted Russell’s photographs of Dylan from 1963-1964 in New York City in the first section titled “Chimes of Freedom”. The exhibition and the museum are beautifully curated. I was in awe.




“Chimes of Freedom” working draft. Written in Bob Dylan’s hand on stationary from Toronto’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel in late January/early February 1964.


Ted Russell’s photo of Bob Dylan in his apartment on 4th Street.



Exhibition label text for Ted Russell’s contact sheet.


The Kaiser Family Foundation had opened the Woody Guthrie Center in 2013 in Tulsa.  Guthrie was from Oklahoma. The Bob Dylan Center is next door to the Woody Guthrie Center, and with over 100,000 items from Dylan’s personal archive, it is well worth a visit to Tulsa to see the Dylan and Guthrie Centers.

The Dylan Center also arranged three concerts during four days of the opening celebration with Mavis Staples, Patti Smith and Elvis Costello. I got to see Patti Smith and her band open her show with a mesmerizing a cappella performance of “Chimes of Freedom,” and the next day Elvis Costello and his band put on a concert not to be forgotten, all as guests of The Kaiser Family Foundation.


The legendary Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, built in 1924.


Patti Smith reciting Bob Dylan’s song “Chimes of Freedom” to open her concert at Cain’s Ballroom.


Elvis Costello in concert at Cain’s Ballroom.


The legendary Charlie Sexton performing with Elvis Costello at Cain’s Ballroom.Sexton played in Bob Dylan’s band for many years.


Daniel Kramer’s photographs of Bob Dylan, used as publicity photos. Daniel Kramer’s first exhibition of his photographs was at Govinda Gallery.


Suit worn by Dylan in the film, Masked and Anonymous. Abigail Murray was the costume designer for Masked and Anonymous.


Andy Leach, the Director of the Library and Archive at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, with Govinda Gallery Director Chris Murray at Cain’s Ballroom.


Postcard from George Harrison to his friend Bob Dylan.


I was so glad to see Ted Russell’s book of photos, published by Rizzoli, in the library of the Bob Dylan Center, on the same shelf with Clinton Heylin’s remarkable biography of Bob Dylan.


Left to right, Chris Murray, Larry “Ratso” Sloman, Bill Pagel, Mitch Blank, and Clinton Heylin, outside Cain’s Ballroom.


The BOK Center in Tulsa lights up with “BOB”!


I would like to express my appreciation to Mark Davidson, Douglas Brinkley, Larry “Ratso” Sloman, Clinton Heylin, Bill Pagel, Bobby Livingston, Steven Jenkins, Jessica McKenzie, Mitch Blank, and Jeff Friedman. And to Bob Dylan.

All photos by Carlotta Hester and Chris Murray.

Category: Blog, The Back Room   

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