Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Bob Dylan is the essential Baby Boomer

Mr Jones mate states he wants to be Bob Dylan in the Counting Crows song, my favorite Dylan tribute.. The New York Times editorial written by David Hadju makes what I see as a weak case for Dylan being a product of history along with a very solid group of peers who were in the right place at the right time. Bob Dylan leaves behind a very solid place to spend time. I feel truly sorry for those who were not in the right place at the right time to catch his train and ride it to a better place.

I discovered Dylan in my post university years. Supertramp was my signature band, and the Beatles were the force that lead the world to revolution. Then one day a sound came my way from Blood on the Tracks (1975). Sometime in the early 80’s I became Tangled up and Blue. (sorry for the Ad but the quality is primo)

Here was Bob Dylan at the height of his powers. To those who say he can not sing, I say you can not listen. Consider the lyrics from this single song. “I helped her out of a jam I guess but I used a little to much force” (she got a divorce).  My all time favorite Dylan phrase

I had a job in the great north woods

Working as a cook for a spell

But I never did like it all that much

And one day the axe just fell”

This song turned me on to Dylans voice as artist. His words, vocals and music formed so perfectly the only description is sublime genius. Then I started moving backwards. Desolation Row was my next totem.  
Every time you turn around, there’s another hard luck story your going to hear; well desolation row (1965) could have been written yesterday, and I am always touched by its exposure. Listening to the pre electric Bob Dylan, its hard to imagine there is any controversy about his vocal ability. Next came Maggies Farm; “ I aint going to work on Maggies Farm no more” Something most of humanity hums every day even if they don’t realize it. Idiot Wind may be his high perspective. Pundits and politicians talking so stupid Bob wonders “how they even feed themselves” Well that idiot wind has blown climate change our way, proving not enough people really listened to Bob.

Bob Dylan was the first global singer songwriter. Without Dylan or someone like him there are no Beatles, and everything that came later.

May your hands always be busy 

May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation 
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful 
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young 
May you stay forever young. 

A very happy birthday to you Bob Dylan: it has been one of the great pleasures of my life to experience the joy of your existence.

For your amusement

I have been thinking about the story of Bob's Heroin addiction coming to light on the eve of his birthday. I cant count the people who more or less dismissed his birthday by saying he was a heroin addict. This was a 1966 interview, it would have been a huge story at that time, why did it not come out then. I just wonder who hates Bob so bad they tried to ruin his 70th birthday?


  1. That Tangled Up in Blue performance is one of my faves of all time. He so kills it.

    Nice piece Steve. I couldn't really discuss this "over there", but I am a Dylan fanatic. 20+ shows (I think) and some real memorable ones. For posterity, my 5 fave Dylan tunes (if narrowing it down to 5 is possible):

    1. Hurricane
    2. Blind Willie McTell
    3. Don't think twice it's alright
    4. Shelter from the Storm
    5. Visions of Johanna

    Honourable mention: See that my grave is kept clean. Not his, but he kills it.

  2. @29, wow 20 Dylan shows, I have never seen him live, and I have seen many of the big ones, your a lucky man. I always do Dylan when I am live, Knockin of Heavens door and Like a Rolling Stone.(if you watch Factory Girl its seems Edie Sedgwick may be the subject) If I had to pick five

    1)Tangled up in Blue
    2)Its all right ma, I am only bleeding
    3)Maggies Farm
    4)Lilly, Rosemary and the Queen of Hearts

    Honorable mention to duet with Johnny Cash
    Girl from the North Country