Bob Dylan

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Bob Dylan surprised fans late Thursday night with the release of the epic "Murder Most Foul," a long, delicate song about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

And now, a moment of appreciation for the under-assistant recording engineers and studio gofers who toiled in anonymity in the dimly lit studios of the past. They didn't just get coffee — they were on site, taking notes about who played what instrument on which track, writing down the dates of sessions, and making sure that those dates were clearly marked on the tape boxes. They did this for albums that became classics. And singles that never left the garage.

D.A. Pennebaker, a pioneering filmmaker who chronicled key moments in music as well as politics, has died at age 94. Pennebaker helped create the cinéma vérité, or direct cinema style of documentary.

He died on Aug. 1 of natural causes at his home in Sag Harbor, New York. His son, Frazer Pennebaker, confirmed his death with NPR.

In 2012, Pennebaker received an honorary Oscar, for being a filmmaker "who redefined the language of film and taught a generation of filmmakers to look to reality for inspiration."

Here's a thing you should know before watching Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story, Martin Scorsese's new Netflix documentary about one of the most notorious rock tours in the genre's history: Bob Dylan is messing with you. Dylan has been messing with people since his first braggadocio days in Greenwich Village, when his made-up tales of wandering the Southwest with a circus helped convince his friends in the folk scene that he was the real proletarian deal.

Phil Clarkin

Steve Ripley, guitarist, inventor and leader of the country rock group The Tractors, died Thursday evening at his Pawnee County home after a year-long battle with cancer. He was 69.

Ripley played in several bands during high school and continued to do so as a student at Oklahoma State University. He opened his own recording studio, Stillwater Sound, in the early 1970s.

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It works best if you think of it as a non sequitur, not (just) a commercial: A late-night talk-show host (The Tonight Show's

This week's sprint through the best new albums, out on Nov. 2, includes a collection of outtakes and rarities from Bob Dylan's Blood On The Tracks period, the Flamenco-pop of Rosalía, profoundly moving reflections from Marianne Faithful, the prepared piano of Kelly Moran, fuzz-pop from Stove and more. Host Robin Hilton is joined for this week's New Music Friday by NPR Music's Ann Powers, Lars Gotrich and Stephen Thompson.

Featured Albums:

  1. Rosalía: El Mal Querer
    Featured Song: "Que No Salga La Luna"

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.

Al Aumuller/Library of Congress

Join host Fiona Ritchie and guests as they explore selections from the American Folklife Center's collection of about half a million sound recordings, including songs from Woody GuthrieBob Dylan and Carrie Grover.

bobdylanarchive.com

Part of music icon Bob Dylan's once-secret 6,000-piece archive, including thousands of hours of studio sessions, film reels and caches of unpublished lyrics, has opened in Oklahoma.

More than 1,000 pieces of the collection spanning Dylan's six-decade career are available to scholars at the Gilcrease Museum's Helmerich Center for American Research in Tulsa.

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