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.
On the week of the release of Dylan's new record, a review of his career, and a book on Bob's (largely uninformative) interviews, by Menand in the New Yorker. A quote:
Dylan’s words—he has said as much—are often placeholders, devices to fit the melody and fill out the line, which is why dutiful efforts to extract a message or a meaning are largely beside the point. If you want a message, buy a newspaper. “Songs are songs,” Dylan says in one of his early interviews. “I don’t believe in expecting too much out of any one thing.”
Sloppy or not, Dylan is astonishingly prolific; he has written more than five hundred songs. Most of them are lovely (or angry or joyous or wickedly sly or all of those things together). Many of them are unforgettable. (A new album, Dylan’s forty-fourth, called “Modern Times,” is being released this month. The songs are simple riffs, with laid-back arrangements, and all feature prominently Dylan’s gorgeous late-period croak. It sounds a little the way “Buena Vista Social Club” might have sounded if Cuba had been the birthplace of the blues.) The only comparable pop songbook from the era is Lennon-McCartney—and there were two of them. Dylan is also, despite the silly things people said about his voice when he started out, one of pop music’s greatest vocalists. His chief weakness is a tendency to shout, particularly in performance (and he is, let us say, an inconsistent performer); but, when he is in control of the instrument, no one’s voice, with that kind of music, is more textured or more beautiful.
Ninety per cent of musicianship is phrasing, and the easiest way to appreciate Dylan’s genius for phrasing is to listen to him, on bootlegs or on the late albums of traditional songs, perform songs that he didn’t write—“Folsom Prison Blues,” or “People Get Ready,” or “Froggie Went A-Courtin’.” He gets it all. When my children were little, we used to have a cassette around the house of songs for kids by pop stars, on which Dylan did “This Old Man” (“With a knick-knack paddywhack, give the dog a bone”). That performance had the weight of the whole world in it. I listened to it a hundred times and never got tired of it. You can refute Hegel, Yeats said, but not the Song of Sixpence.