Dylan to Play Here Dec. 8 In a Rubin Carter Benefit

by John Rockwell
New York Times
November 27, 1975

Bob Dylan and his Rolling Thunder Revue will play in New York after all, headlining a benefit concert for Rubin (Hurricane Carter that has been partly organized by the boxer himself who has been imprisoned on murder charges.

The concert will take place Dec. 8 at 8 P.M. in Madison Square Garden, with tickets going on sale Monday at 10 A.M. at the box office only. Prices are $12.50 and $10 a ticket with a limit of two to a person.

Mr. Carter was transferred three weeks ago to the Clinton Correctional Institution for Women, a minimum-security facility in New Jersey that, despite its name, has 100 male inmates along with 300 women.

Although Mr. Carter says that he and one other prisoner have less freedom than the other inmates, being restricted to the building itself, Mr. Carter is allowed to use the telephones of the Inmates Legal Association office at the prison. It is he who made the first contact with Mr. Dylan, and who acts as liaison between Mr. Dylan's organization and the Rubin Carter Defense Committee. Mr. Carter has also played a leading role in attempting to get other celebrities to participate in the concert Dec. 8.

Sentenced in 1967

Mr. Carter was sentenced to life imprisonment along with John Artis in 1967 for the slaying of three men in Paterson, N.J., on June 17, 1966. At the time he was 29 years old and a leading middleweight contender. The principal witnesses in the case have since recanted their testimony, but Superior Court Judge Samuel A. Larner, who presided at the original trial, has refused to permit a reconsideration of the case. Mr. Carter, who has led the struggle for his own vindication and that of Mr. Artis, has since appealed to Governor Byrne of New Jersey for executive clemency.

Muhammad Ali will be the master of ceremonies at the Garden, and Roberta Flack is also promised as a guest. Mr. Dylan's revue includes Joan Baez, Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Bob Neuwirth, and such artists as Mick Ronson, Roger McGuinn, Joni Mitchell and Arlo Guthrie have also cropped up more or less regularly along the tour. Mr. Carter said yesterday that he hoped additional celebrities would also appear, although this was not yet confirmed. All performers are contributing their services.

No Complimentary Seats

Although the concert stands to gross about $200,000 (Mr. Dylan's tour office says there will be no complimentary seats), Mr. Carter stressed that its purpose was not primarily to raise money.

"Whatever money is raised has already been spent in lawyers' fees and other costs. What we want is attention."

Mr. Carter said that Mr. Dylan first came to see him last summer, and that the singer's current single, "Hurricane" grew out of that meeting.

"I've been trying to put together a concert for the last year," the boxer added. "I could never do it because nobody would make any commitments. The best I could do was Marvin Gaye, but then his wife got sick or something. Then Bob Dylan said, "I'll do it.' "

Mr. Dylan made his decision a month ago, Mr. Carter said, but in keeping with the secrecy that has shrouded the entire tour since before its first date on Oct. 30 in Plymouth, Mass., word about it has only been confirmed now.

The basic organization of the concert has been handled by Mr. Dylan's organization, Mr. Carter said, but the Carter defence committee and Mr. Carter himself have played an active role in it, as well.

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