We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
For those who feel that they do not have enough Bob Dylan in their lives, there is always Dylan Radio. All Dylan, all the time. A bit of an overdose, in my opinion. They never mix it up with any Schubert concertos.
It brought to mind an interview with the late great Lena Horne which Mark Simone replayed on the radio the other day. She was saying that she approached a song as a short play, and that she focused on telling the story more than on the music. She said she talked the song-story before she ever added the music. Simone told Horne that Sinatra had once told him something similar; that he wanted to distinguish himself from other singers by making the the words more important to him than the tune or the notes. He disparaged other pop singers as note-hitters wedded to the tune, rather than good story-tellers. Of course, Horne and Sinatra could do both.
You obviously cannot compare Dylan's singing to those two masters, but you can compare his phrasing, word-handling, and story-telling to anybody's. Plus he writes his songs himself. Writing a good song that sticks to the soul is lots tougher than writing a good poem - which is plenty tough itself.
But I don't know what I am talking about...I truly do not.
Bird Dog ... Thank you for the lovely video and for your comments. To great singers, whether they sing classic jazz, folk songs, or opera, the words are crucial to the artistry of the song, and its emotional pleasure for the listener. Ella Fitzgerald was another master of the lyric, as was Mel Torme, who was a beautiful musician.
Two things, I think, made the middle twentieth century a golden period for music: we had songs that told stories, and lyricists who wrote touching, beautiful lyrics to go with lovely melodies. Great songs like The Nearness of You, and almost all of Cole Porter's music survive and thrill us still because of the stories they tell.
I wish there was a Youtube rendering of Porter's Miss Otis Regrets, which has a real folk song feel about it, and Every Time We Say Goodbye, which is a tour de force all of its own. If there is one, could you please post it, Bird Dog?
Yes, that was a golden period - but there are a lot of great songs being written today by young artists. It's not all shake-yer-boogie rap or dance music.
People 40 or older find it difficult to navigate the new, electronic distribution networks where this stuff is found. But it's out there, and the new media make it easier than ever for singer-songwriters or others to launch their works.
Ben-David ... Interesting comment. I find that being at war brings out some of the most moving songs from the hearts of those in the conflict. This present war [or wars] has brought out some beautiful songs like Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up," and Beccy Cole's "Poster Girl from the Wrong Side of the World." In our American Civil War, we had "Tenting Tonight on the Old Camp Ground" a song my father taught me when I was just a sprout. Also the song "Lorena" was sung by soldiers on both sides of the conflict, and it was so popular that Elvis Presley borrowed the melody for one of his own songs.
When one contemplates the thought of dying every day, it brings forth a passion in the heart for living, and living the best one can be.