Leading article: Bob sleigh

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The Independent Online

Bob Dylan's charity album of Christmas songs has been released. And many of the critics have responded like Scrooge with a toothache. "Hark the throat-wrecked angel sings," scoffs one. "You don't know whether to wince or guffaw," seethes another. After hearing a few snippets on the Today programme yesterday, John Humphrys said it sounded "like a drunk had burst into King's College chapel on Christmas Eve".

Such an intemperate response will be familiar to anyone who has followed Dylan's career. Ever since he scandalised the folkies by picking up an electric guitar some four decades ago, he has had a knack of upsetting those who want to put him in a categorical box and seal it shut. But surely the only genuinely shocking thing about this album is its release in the middle of October. Everyone knows the marketing men are obsessed with dragging the start of the Christmas period forward. But why, oh why, did you go along with them, Bob? Is nothing sacred?

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