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Thursday, August 15. 2013
Here's the article: In Defense of Dylan’s Voice
I've always felt that his singing voice - or rather voices, because he has tried a few over time - never was either pretty or beautiful. At this age, he mostly croaks like a frog. Many or most male folk singers and rock singers are the same. What his voice has is character, expression, remarkable phrasing. I've never heard anybody cover a Dylan song more effectively than he sang it - even songbirds like Joan Baez and Emmylou.
The Band got closest, but even then, not quite the real thing.
I don't think "beautiful" is the point. Expressiveness is the point. I can appreciate Sinatra's polish, Pavarotti's mastery, but it's not them. What's your opinion?
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As a music blogger, I wrote about Dylan's singing some time ago. To make it more pointed, I compared his singing to that of Celine Dion. Here is that post:
But I have to say that much as I like Bob Dylan, I prefer Leonard Cohen.
KT Tunstall was born to sing Dylan:
IMHO, She sings Dylan better than Dylan.
The point, I think, is whether you like it. It's not whether or not he's particularly 'good', which is always subjective anyway.
Dylan's voice matched what he was trying to convey.
Unfortunately, I'm afraid his voice may not be what it used to be. I have not seen him recently, but a good friend saw him in the last month over in Hoboken. He left after two songs saying "I don't know why he's bothering, unless he needs the cash."
I can certainly understand that. I'd also be likely to go see him anyway, because it is Dylan after all.
I saw Chuck Berry several years ago for the same reason - why not? It's Chuck Berry. I was happy I had the chance, though I felt embarrassed for him. Missed chords, repeated lines, repeated an entire song...it's something I'll get to say I did, but I am sure it was a much better experience years ago.
Dylan is Dylan and nobody else is him. I don't think there needs to be another.
Oh brother. Fortunately for all of us, Bob Dylan, like all of us, is mortal, and the Never Ending Tour will some day end. It appears that death is the only thing that will get him off of the stage and out of the studio. Good grief.
Not just the stage. Still writing the occasional fascinating song.
"Not just the stage. Still writing the occasional fascinating song. #4.1 BD on 2013-08-15 14:05 (Reply)"
Hey, he can write songs all day long, no problem with me. I just can't stand listening to him. Rod Stewart and Bob Dylan performing - YUCK!
"Just because Dylan's voice sucks eggs doesn't make his expression more authentic." Yes! Thank you Rebecca.
Bob's singing voice has gone through many, many changes. His most creative period, and his best singing, tapered out in the mid 1980's, though he still writes some very cool songs. The last fifteen years or so it is painful listening to him sing, and even his speaking voice on his SiriusXM Bob Dylan's Theme Hour can be tough to take after a while.
I still remember how shocked most people were at Nashville Skyline and "Lay Lady Lay" voice after everyone kind of expected the Blonde on Blonde voice to be their memory of Dylan singing. There were lots more changes to come, but I really have a soft spot for his singing on "New Morning", it seemed to me to be very personal and nuanced and just doing the songs the way he was capable of at the time, without any kind of affectation, no expectation.
Not sure why someone would rejoice at the end of the Never Ending Tour, anybody with the accomplishments and artistic value of Dylan should be appreciated and celebrated, even if the singing doesn't sound good to our ears anymore. His bands are always capable and interesting, and the aging is just a fact of life we all have to deal with.
Don't get me wrong, I do like some of his work, but I always thought his singing voice was an affectation. It did separate him from the crowd most certainly
Isn't all singing an affectation?
Nobody talks the way they sing.
True, I just don't think we've ever heard his natural singing voice, only his idea of what a folkie fan of Woody Guthrie would sound like. My .02$
Always thought his voice sucked but loved his singing and especially his songs.
Musicians improve with age, singers get old.
I think that there are some covers of Dylan's songs that are better than his versions, but it doesn't have anything to do with his voice. Hendrix's All Along The Watchtower and Emmylou Harris's Every Grain of Sand are better than the originals. IMO.
Mr. Zimmerman never could sing. He could turn a phrase or two.
"Keep a clean nose
Watch the plain clothes
You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows"
Anyway, he's just a song and dance man.
First time I heard of him, I'd never heard of him. Some folks really excited he was doing a concert there. First time I heard one of his records, wasn't impressed. Did kinda grow on me over the years, though.
I think Bob Dylan writes incredible lyrics. I think his singing is atrocious.
Seems to me there are 2 types of people out there:
1) Those who like music because it has a message or deep meaning in the words or the music is complex with a lot of talent to play it
2) Those who like music because of the tunefulness, beat or ability to sing along with it.
I would be in category number 2! When good lyrics combine with good music, I am very very happy. I can be satisfied, however, with a tuneful melody and crummy lyrics. Thus, my acceptance of some top 40 music that is created for 'catchiness' rather than deepness. What I cannot stand is horrible singing. No matter how deep or meaningful the words. Or horrible sounding melodies (like some of the metal my stepson listens to).
I'm a musical person. I don't have perfect pitch or anything, but I can carry a tune and harmonize. So I'm always drawn to a good melody.
I must say, BD, that Leon Russell sang Hard Rain's Gonna Fall and mastered it like Dylan never could. But, maybe I'm just biased towards the Master of Space and Time, being an Okie and all.
His voice is an American original like Johnny Cash or Iris Dement. They don't sing like anybody else, but there's 500 miles of real in those gravelly roadhouse voices
Local radio call the style lyrical talking.
Cash and Nelson.
I think I heard Mr. Nelson himself say one time in his own defens he was not a singer.
I am a classically trained singer. I have sung for over 30 years.
Yes, of couse, Sinatra's and Pavarotti's voices were "them." excellence does not imply lack of authenticity. Just because Dylan's voice sucks eggs doesn't make his expression more authentic.
Don't put too much store in Good Sir Robert's live performances; I know from experience that vocally they can be wildly uneven. But so what?
I have seen him several times when it occurred to me more than once that if it was anyone else up on that stage, I would have walked out. I stuck around because I realized the whole point was that it was not anyone else.
Now, in his (and in my) maturity, it seems to me his voice is more like Ralph Stanley's; more idiosyncratic, more personal and more like the sum of all those years of song and performance. Like any great artist, he demands that you approach his music on his terms - through his lyrics and through his voice.
I have carried the colors for Good Sir Robert for many years now. I intend to do so for as long as I am able.