St. Paul City Council members last year co-named a portion of a city street in honor of a local musician who influenced Bob Dylan. Now, they’re ready to tip their cap to Dylan himself.
On Wednesday, the council will vote to tag E. 4th Street east of CHS Field as “Positively 4th Street,” the name of one of Dylan’s biggest hits in the 1960s. According to the resolution sponsored by Dave Thune, it’s a way to mark the opening of the ballpark “as a positive development for the citizens of St. Paul” and to “add to the positive experiences of fans and visitors.”
Although Dylan is a product of northern Minnesota -- born in Duluth and raised in Hibbing -- his late mother lived in St. Paul and he has performed in the capital city many times, including three sold-out shows at the old Midway Stadium, home of the St. Paul Saints before this season.
So it's not completely farfetched for the council to recognize him, even though the lyrics of the organ-driven song are bitter rather than positive and some music scholars think Dylan was referring to SE. 4th Street in Minneapolis, near the University of Minnesota, where he briefly went to school.
Last fall, the council voted to co-name part of Franklin Avenue after St. Paul blues singer and guitarist Dave Ray, who died of cancer in 2002. Ray, who grew up nearby and had an office on Franklin Avenue, was a member of the pioneering folk-blues trio Koerner, Ray and Glover, who were contemporaries of Dylan and counted John Lennon and David Bowie among their fans.