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Tuesday, May 24. 2011
Ol' Bob turns 70 today.
Pic: Not a recent photograph
I'll say. Most people I knew would have been happy to put a knife through his eye for dragging an electric guitar onto the stage. In the world of folk music, there can be no greater blasphemy.
On the flip side, if it hadn't been for electrics, we never would have been blessed with 'Blood On The Tracks', my personal fave Dylan LP*.
*For those of you under 50, 'LP' stands for 'Long Playing', as in "record album", as in "vinyl", as in "precursor to the frisbee", as in "the worst form of storage media ever used in the history of the universe after aluminum foil canisters." However, simply because they were so fragile, we treated them like gold, thus imparting a certain feeling of 'personal protection' over our music stars; a feeling you certainly don't get in the throwaway world of CDs and memory sticks.
The way I see it, the reason Dylan successfully pulled off the switch to electrics is twofold. The main thing was that, even with electric guitars and drum sets banging away in the background, they still sounded like Dylan songs. Credit his squeaky voice and simplistic chord structure if you will, but it was actually a little deeper than that. Maybe it would be more appropriate to say that, despite the guitars and drums, his songs were still Dylanesque. That 'intangible something' was still there. And that, in the final analysis, was all that mattered.
But another reason is, while he used electric instruments, he never 'went electric' like the way so many bands did, bringing in moog synthesizers and fuzz guitar and electronic sitars and all the rest. He was still, in that final analysis, the quintessential Dylan we had known and loved for years.
Squeaky voice, simplistic chord structure, and all.
Happy birthday, Bob. And many more.
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Tangled Up In Blue is probably my favorite Dylan tune - it's a great tune and story and a plus that it intersects with S. Louisiana so I feel a connection.
Yeah, you got electric guitars and such, but in "Queen Jane Approximately" the upright honky-tonk piano takes first chair.
Most people I knew would have been happy to put a knife through his eye for dragging an electric guitar onto the stage. In the world of folk music, there can be no greater blasphemy.
I think what we saw happen was that the folky hipsters who professed to be so open-minded and welcoming were quite a bit more judgmental, narrow-minded and intolerant than they would ever admit. They extended this prejudiced beyond "the man" and the "squares," and laid it onto Bob when he didn't conform to fit in their tiny folk music cubicle. The Left hasn't really changed at all since then, have they? Still as hypocritically intolerant as ever.
Where was it ever written that folk music couldn't be electric, anyway? Many forget that Garcia was primarily a banjo player. The Dead and Dylan were simply modern forms of American folk music.
What a crock of shit. You're acting as if there's no difference, whatsoever, between a non-electric (aka 'natural') instrument and one that plugs into a wall. Well, there was -- and is -- a HUGE difference, and your attempt to blend them together in order to make some off-the-wall political point is nothing short of insipid.
Anyway, no need to react so unmedicatedly, Doc. I appreciated your nod to Bob, and was making more a cultural than political observation, lamely, apparently. Sorry if it doesn't warrant a spot in your crock collection.
There is another fine and brief piece on Bob at the Cinch Review today... I'll spell it out lest the spam filter reject it...
Using a term like "is nothing short of insipid" is... "unmedicatedly"? You certainly have loftier standards than I do.
If one uses the term "The Left" in the context you did, then they've made the issue political. Period.
We don't have a spam filter for links. There's an error box that pops up occasionally that looks like a filter message, but it's just the generic message the software produces when it's confused. The site and the database with the email addresses are on different servers and occasionally they don't sync up.
That was an interesting article, but, personally, I think he should have moved on to something else decades ago. How can anybody do the same old thing one's entire life? It can't be an 'ego' thing after all these years (and his general disdain for the audience has been apparent for eons), nor do I see any 'message' he can deliver to the kids of today. And if there were? Today's kid would just as soon he tweet it.
Meself does enjoy the tenor of this family friendly site.
Bob's alright but what happened to rest of yall, yankee gentlemen?
In honor of Bob's birthday, here is Wierd Al Yankovic's palindromic tribute to Bob.
And speaking of palindromes, from the classic Monty Python dead parrot sketch:
C: I understand this IS Bolton.
O: (still with the fake mustache) Yes?
C: You told me it was Ipswitch!
O: ...It was a pun.
C: (pause) A PUN?!?
O: No, no...not a pun...What's that thing that spells the same backwards as forwards?
C: (Long pause) A palindrome...?
O: Yeah, that's it!
C: It's not a palindrome! The palindrome of "Bolton" would be "Notlob"!! It don't work!!
Here is a palindrome for ya:
I saw Dylan in 1967 at Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo, half plugged in and half not. So many wonderful songs playing in the background of my life. Probably right now (ask me next week) my favorite Dylan song is "Workingman's Blues #2" off of "Modern Times".
The first I ever heard his name was in late '65; he was playing a concert at SMU. I had no idea who or what he was, and didn't care. I kinda like some of his stuff now.
And I prefer Leon Russell's version of The Mighty Quinn. (Never heard Bob's until today.)
Here is a five minute audio slideshow via BBC that is time well spent...
First saw Bob in Boston in Fall, 1965, my freshman year at B.U. He played acoustic during the first set, then after a break came back with electric. It was electrifying to me, and I loved it, but many in the audience booed. Little did they know they had seen/heard the future of rock 'n roll.
Dylan, to me, is much larger than "belonging" to the '60's generation. He did not carry water for any length of time for any political views although the left certainly tried many times to expropriate him.
Over the years, Dylan has proven his bona fides as an artist who does not compromise his vision for anyone or any political view. Dylan's career proves that art is larger than any one political view; art is a universal statement with a message for all political viewpoints.
"but many in the audience booed. Little did they know they had seen/heard the future of rock 'n roll death of folk music.
Fixed that for you. :)
"Dylan's career proves that art is larger than any one political view; art is a universal statement with a message for all political viewpoints."
Very nicely put. One of the background themes that Bird Dog and I both like to push is getting people to shed their stereotypes (thanks to the right-wing propaganda machine) of these older artists being anti-war lefty nutcakes. A Dylan or Baez sings one damn anti-war song and they're branded forever. I did one on lefty hatemonger Arlo Guthrie here. It's all pretty ridiculous.