Monday, June 8, 2009

Ringing True

Time passes slowly up here in the mountains,
We sit beside bridges and walk beside fountains,
Catch the wild fishes that float through the stream,
Time passes slowly when you're lost in a dream.

Time Passes Slowly - New Morning - 1970

I'm not usually one for flowery language that illustrates the setting - in music or literature - but with Dylan it all flows so naturally and contributes seamlessly to the picture of the song. In this case, that picture is a masterpiece as Dylan uses a bare bones arrangement to weave a powerful theme of love lost (what else with Dylan).

And who hasn't felt time passing slowly when they're searching for love, lost in a dream or living in the mountains?

The album sort of hits me as a Blonde on Blonde meets Nashville Skyline, but perhaps I'm giving it to much credit. Though I will contend it gets lost in the shuffle when talking about the great Dylan albums.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Same Old Rat Race

Insanity is smashing up against my soul
You can say I was on anything but a roll

If I had a conscience, well I just might blow my top

What would I do with it anyway

Maybe take it to the pawn shop

Highlands - Time Out of Mind - 1997

Although Dylan's career, in the qualitative sense, was revived in the early 90's with Good as I Been to You and World Gone Wrong both full of beautiful covers of traditional folk songs, this album really cemented Dylan's comeback and provided a kind of roadmap for his future endeavors.

In that vein these lyrics draw on my very favorite thing about Dylan. His talent for introspection. He's just wondering around the earth examining the world, looking for meaning and happiness, just like all of us - he just does it in the most beautiful and poetic way ever created. I can't imagine how much he was hurting writing this.

Highlands is over 16 minutes long but worth a full listen.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mrs. Henry, I'm ready for the broom

"City's just a jungle, more games to play
Trapped in the heart of it, trying to get away
I was raised in the country, I been workin' in the town
I been in trouble ever since I set my suitcase down"

Mississippi - Tell Tale Signs (Time out of Mind Outtake) - 2008

I recall the first time I left DC, I let out a huge sigh of relief on the drive up 95 to my hometown. "Glad I'm out of that mess, think I left just in time" I said to myself. And then a few years pass and as life goes, maggie moved me out of the cozy confines of new york city and back into the dreaded swamp of the district.

Somehow foolishly I thought maybe a few years older I'd take a better shine to the fear and loathing of politics. No dice, the depravity down here is at a sinister level never to be tempted by any sane person with less then 2 masters degrees and more then a shtickel of asshole repellent. The Douchebags, of course, love the place.

It's where the term inorganic probably originated, the city streets themselves designed and placed just so, not a stop sign out of place. But like the swamp the city was formed upon, the place just stinks of inauthenticity. The people are very fake, very unoriginial and utterly obsessed with themselves and their gooberific fight for the smallest curmodgeon of self importance.

In a recent interview Dylan noted, "Politics is for the well heeled and well groomed. The immacuatly dressed." Well, I'm none of those things. I pine for the long dusty road home. Til then, just gonna keep on keeping on.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bobby D

First post.  Thanks for the inclusion, Chach.  Believe it or not I am not listening to Bob as I type this here post.  Actually, Billy Joel's recount of recent history "We Didn't Start The Fire" blares from my apartment stereo bringing it all back home.
But more to the point--Bob Dylan.  What can I say?  Genius, reclusive hero, a gem in a barren pop cultural wasteland.  I posed a certain question to myself the other night drunk and more likely than not high.  Paul Simon or Bob Dylan?
Paul Simon's greatest hits careened from my midnight stereo at the time.  Funny, this is a Dylan blog so the answer is obvious in these friendly confines.
Billy Joel's "Down Easter Alexa" now off Storm Front.  Late 80s namesake of my sister.  I used to love this album.
Apologize I am slightly off the plot with this post.  Bob.  How can you blog about Bob?  Just the name itself calls to mind three legends.  Dylan (obviously), Marley, Deniro (in the acting realm).  Also not to be dismissed are Gibson, Feller and the inventor of the Delta blues himself, Robert Johnson.
In high school I actually played Bob Dylan in a history class mini-play.  I remember researching like a madman, trying to get into this elusive madman's head.  I remember distinctly that Bob would rummage through the newspapers, citing headlines, whatever, saying how the truth is crazier than fiction anyway and you couldn't make this stuff up.
Next post I'll throw on some Bob and dissect.  This is blogging warmups, preseason, hope I fit in and more to come.  Peace.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Simple Explanation

"I don't care about economy, I don't care about astronomy, 
But it sure do bother me to see my loved ones turning into puppets,
There's a slow, slow train comin' up around the bend."

Album-Slow Train Coming
Song- Slow Train

A few weeks ago I was driving around after work just clearing my mind. Slow Train came up on one of my weekly installments of mixtapes (cds) I make. The song is so relative on many levels. Of course vital lines elude to globalization and the wealthy diplomats, politicians, business men and royal families controlling the masses, especially the average citizen of the world. However, I believe the lines above are the best insight Dylan has ever given about his opinions and beliefs on his impact and legacy handed to him from the 1960's on. Simply put yet so in depth.
Many journalists, artists, educators and audiophiles obsess over the prophet like commentary Dylan has provided his whole career. Not many more guilty than myself. I ponder the question, " Is Dylan that intellectual in his analysis of current events? " I also ponder how aware he is of the specifics of events and situations that Dylan has been noted to be a spokesman for. 
I've starting to firmly believe that Dylan was not a genius for his commentary on life due to his knowledge, however the ability to observe and simplify human conditions. Over his career he's blown away many by philosophizing everyday occurrences into exceptional poetry and imagery. 
"I don't care about economy". Dylan eluding to the idea he's not educated on economics & social sciences ?
"I don't care about astronomy". Dylan eluding to the idea he's not educated in science?
"But it sure do bother me to see my loved ones turning into puppets" Dylan's loved ones are the human interaction and philosophical banter among souls.
"There's a slow, slow train comin' up around the bend" Dylan's new phrase confirming the Times Are A' Changin' ... Again.
Is this Dylan's explanation of his severed relationship in the 60's with the media ? Finally stating that he's no expert and poetically explains what he observes in basic human nature?

Very few times in Dylan's career has he explicitly stated the meanings of his songs, in addition very few times its been easy to pinpoint the exact event, person or social issue his songs are about. I consider two tracks "Masters of War" and "Tangled Up In Blue". "Masters of War" trancends generations and will forever. Dylan never confirms a specific country, war or conflict during the song. Instead the commentary can be generally understood to describe any imperialistic notions of the past present and future. He is the outward conscience of the masses who feel disgusted, confused, disillusioned and effected by the war. 
"Tangled Up In Blue" is a classic example in which Dylan seems to be writing exclusively about a romance. However, I think the romance involves actually divorcing his past and moving forward to with a new love interest possibly identified as the next era of experimentation. It may also be a reflection of the transition from folk icon to rock icon.

I'm not assuming that Dylan is ignorant and oblivious to history. I'm assuming he is more interested in discussing points of view as a storyteller rather than discussing the timelines and outcomes of instances he has observed. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Golden Rule

"Don't wanna judge nobody, don't wanna be judged,
Don't wanna touch nobody, don't wanna be touched.
Don't wanna hurt nobody, don't wanna be hurt,
Don't wanna treat nobody like they was dirt."

"But if you do right to me, baby,
I'll do right to you, too.
Ya got to do unto others
Like you'd have them, like you'd have them, do unto you."

Do Right To Me Baby (Do Unto Others) - Slow Train Coming - 1979

If you guys don't mind, I'll add one of my own.

Don't wanna to rule nobody, don't wanna be ruled.
Don't wanna to conquer nobody, don't want be conquered

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Talking to me?

"While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society's pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he's in."

It's Alright Ma, (I'm Only Bleeding) - Bringing it All Back Home - 1965

A friend asked me to send along some "angry" Dylan lyrics to help her escape and find some solace in a bitter twist of fate. Thankfully angry Dylan songs are like Dylan protest songs, that is, by his own account they're all protest songs (and I'd add they're all angry).

What hit me in unexpectedly was my second time reading through this verse and realizing it may just describe yours truly but perhaps that's just external pressure on all of us. Its OK to bend to society's pliers... just gotta make sure you don't break.

Friday, February 13, 2009

And The Locusts Sang

Its that time of the year again and here I am once again without a valentine, but its all good, as Bob would say, life sometimes must get lonely. Dylan provides some relief though, for anyone is ever felt that right feeling inside his words reignite that flame, and even if you don't feel towards someone at the moment you can capture the essence of love in your soul like a memory passed down from The Giver. Here's just two examples:

"If not for you,
Winter would have no spring,
Couldn't hear the robin sing,
I just wouldn't have a clue,
Anyway it wouldn't ring true,
If not for you."

If Not For You - New Morning - 1970

"To be alone with you
At the close of the day
With only you in view
While evening slips away
It only goes to show
That while life's pleasures be few
The only one I know
Is when I'm alone with you."

To Be Alone With You - Nashville Skyline - 1969

Friday, February 6, 2009

Desolation Row

After listening to "Desolation Row" about 6 times in a row I have concluded that I will never attempt to dissect, interpret, understand or decipher any part of this song because its way to heavy and sometimes it gives me nightmares of a freak show circus on acid in which Dylan is urinating on the "American Dream". Well I guess I just put one idea out there but that is it. For the sake of our sanity I think we should all leave it alone. Why am I so afraid of this song ? Am I sniffing drainpipes on...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Stop Pickin' on the Jews

After a long hiatus from society I am returning with a simple thought on a great tune. After being thrown into Ryan Adams complete catalog and solving and great dilemma by concluding "Wonderwall" by Oasis is my favorite song of all time, I feel it I can now refocus on Bob Dylan. Thank you.


Song-Neighborhood Bully

I won't lie, I never attempted to connect with this song until Al threw it out there one day. Interesting enough we are talking about the Jews here man. Leave them be. It will never cease to be an international debate and they will always be wrong.  Israel and Palestine are still in the gird lock they were in over 25 years ago when this record was dropped. Here we go again. Bob writing a timeless classic from a non-scholar point of view that will soak into the minds of any open minded human once they are exposed. I don't think the song is limited to just Israel. It's also a statement for Jews in the diaspora as well. Similar to Africans (which Bob also had incredible insight on) they have faced persecution no matter what they accomplish. Overcoming socio-economic and inherently racist and prejudiced institutions. Thanks to Bob for writing this tune. That's all I really have to say. I'll be getting back into the swing of things. Its "Blonde On Blonde" time again.