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  #31  
Unread 09-17-2021, 06:30 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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One of the few blogs I read religiously is Maria Popova's Brain Pickings. A recent edition was devoted to Bob Dylan. It seems (like all her blogs) well-researched and true to Dylan the artist, the songwriter, the poet. Worth reading, I think. Here it is.

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  #32  
Unread 09-29-2021, 05:46 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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https://youtu.be/rGEIMCWob3U


Crimson flames tied through my ears, rollin' high and mighty traps
Pounced with fire on flaming roads using ideas as my maps
"We'll meet on edges, soon," said I, proud 'neath heated brow
Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now

Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth, "rip down all hate," I screamed
Lies that life is black and white spoke from my skull, I dreamed
Romantic facts of musketeers foundationed deep, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now

Girls' faces formed the forward path from phony jealousy
To memorizing politics of ancient history
Flung down by corpse evangelists, unthought of, though somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now

A self-ordained professor's tongue too serious to fool
Spouted out that liberty is just equality in school
"Equality," I spoke the word as if a wedding vow
Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now

In a soldier's stance, I aimed my hand at the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not that I'd become my enemy in the instant that I preach
My existence led by confusion boats, mutiny from stern to bow
Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now

Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms quite clear, no doubt, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then I'm younger than that now
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  #33  
Unread 10-06-2021, 07:53 PM
Simon Hunt Simon Hunt is online now
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Visions of Johanna, anyone?
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  #34  
Unread 10-07-2021, 06:56 AM
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Claudia Gary Claudia Gary is offline
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Interesting that this question keeps coming up. A few years ago at the West Chester University Poetry Conference— shortly BEFORE Dylan won the Nobel Prize— I chaired a panel on poetry and music. The focus of the panel was on what happens to a poem when it’s set to music. One of the things that happens, of course, is that it has the potential to reach a wider audience.

During the Q&A, someone asked whether Dylan’s lyrics could be considered poems. My off-the-cuff answer was yes, they are poems, but that if he hadn’t set them to music, probably few if any of us would have heard of Dylan.

I’ve always thought of setting poems to music as an alternate method of publication/distribution. Dylan not only mastered that, but—through his quirky way of singing his own songs—gave other artists an incentive to sing and publish covers. Because after all, who in the world could NOT sing them better, or at least more pleasingly, than he could—-or would? I can’t help suspecting that his annoying voice or intonation has always been a deliberate challenge in that direction. In any case, it has worked, hasn’t it?

Claudia
PS: I think it’s worth adding that one of the reasons his songs are such an effective means of distribution is that they are TONAL, and have memorable melodies. All the contemporary fads in the world can’t substitute for that.

Last edited by Claudia Gary; 10-07-2021 at 07:01 AM.
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  #35  
Unread 10-07-2021, 07:38 AM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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Claudia, in 1961 Woody Guthrie said about Dylan, "That boy’s got a voice. Maybe he won’t make it with his writing but he can sing it, he can really sing it.”

And here's Dylan in a speech he once gave:
Quote:
Sam Cooke said this when told he had a beautiful voice: He said, “Well that’s very kind of you, but voices ought not to be measured by how pretty they are. Instead they matter only if they convince you that they are telling the truth.” Think about that the next time you are listening to a singer.
I agree with Dylan/Cooke completely, and it's why I love Dylan's singing. Dylan's singing always convinces me that he is telling the truth. That's the main quality that attracts me. But he's also quite musical. He doesn't miss notes, for the most part, though he often gives greater priority to how he says a word or a phrase than he does to how the melody wants him to say it.

The other day I came across a song of Dylan's that I didn't remember ever hearing before. It's not his best song, but it's a very good song, and I offer it up as a random example of what I consider to be very solid, musical, expressive singing. Here it is.

Last edited by Roger Slater; 10-07-2021 at 07:48 AM.
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  #36  
Unread 10-07-2021, 07:54 AM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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Thanks for the link, Roger. I'd never heard that song either. Dylan's voice is another instrument and sometimes it is dissonant, which is a tool he uses the same way other composers do. Yes, there are other versions of his songs by different artists that are brilliant. The song at the top of the thread is an example. But his skill at using his voice to emphasize what is happening in the song instead of diverting our attention from the song is genius.
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  #37  
Unread 10-07-2021, 08:16 AM
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Claudia Gary Claudia Gary is offline
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John and Roger, good points about the effectiveness of Dylan’s voice. I only meant that if others wanted to sing his songs with a more “pleasing” voice, he certainly left room for that, which may have added an incentive for covers.

Roger, Thanks for the link you posted. It seemed to be recent, and I wondered how old the song was. A search turned up a performance in 1986. I do think he sounds better in the recent one.

Claudia
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  #38  
Unread 10-07-2021, 08:30 AM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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It seems to be recent, on the one hand, but Dylan looks quite a bit younger than he does now so I can't figure out when it was recorded.

To belabor my point about his singing, take this song. The refrain of "you left me standing in the doorway crying" is sung several times to the same tune, yet as the song develops Dylan's intonation and phrasing continually evolve to fit different underlying emotions. At first he says it with resignation, almost wistful, perhaps with self pity, but later on it turns into indignation or anger or astonishment and other shades of emotion that are hard to specify. It's a person saying important stuff with appropriate emotion as well as a singer staying within the confines of the melody.
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  #39  
Unread 10-07-2021, 02:33 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Further case for the defence of Dylan being a "good" singer. How beautiful is this?

https://youtu.be/uSdVOEKW5YA

And as far as Dylan the poet, I offer these snippets:



(from "Tombstone Blues")

Well, John the Baptist after torturing a thief
Looks up at his hero the Commander-in-Chief
Saying, "Tell me great hero, but please make it brief
Is there a hole for me to get sick in?"

The Commander-in-Chief answers him while chasing a fly
Saying, "Death to all those who would whimper and cry."
And dropping a bar bell he points to the sky
Saying, "The sun's not yellow it's chicken."

The geometry of innocent flesh on the bone
Causes Galileo's math book to get thrown
At Delilah who's sitting worthlessly alone
But the tears on her cheeks are from laughter.

I wish I could give Brother Bill his great thrill
I would set him in chains at the top of the hill
Then send out for some pillars and Cecil B. DeMille
He could die happily ever after.

Where Ma Rainey and Beethoven once unwrapped a bed roll
Tuba players now rehearse around the flagpole
And the National Bank at a profit sells road maps for the soul
To the old folks' home and the college.

I wish I could write you a melody so plain
That could hold you, dear lady, from going insane
That could ease you and cool you and cease the pain
Of this useless and pointless knowledge.


(from "Every Grain of Sand")

In the time of my confession,
in the hour of my deepest need
When the pool of tears beneath my feet
flood every newborn seed

There's a dying voice within me
it's reaching out somewhere
Toiling in the danger
and in the morals of despair

Don't have the inclination
to look back on any mistake
Like Cain, I behold this chain
of events that I must break

In the fury of the moment,
I can see the master's hand
In every leaf that trembles,
in every grain of sand

Oh, the flowers of indulgence
and the weeds of yesteryear
Like criminals, they have choked the breath
of conscience and good cheer

And the sun beat down upon the steps
of time to light the way
To ease the pain of idleness
and the memory of decay

I gaze into the doorway
of temptation's angry flame
And every time I pass that way
I always hear my name

Then onward in my journey,
I come to understand
That every hair is numbered
like every grain of sand

I have slipped from rags to riches
in the sorrow of the night
In the violence of a summer's dream,
in the chill of a wintery light

In the bitter dance of loneliness
fading into space
In the broken mirror of innocence
on each forgotten face

I hear the ancient footsteps
like the motion of the sea
Sometimes I turn, there's someone there,
other times it's only me

I'm hanging in the balance
of a perfect finished plan
Like every sparrow falling,
like every grain of sand


(From "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands")

The kings of Tyrus, with their convict list
Are waiting in line for their geranium kiss
And you wouldn't know it would have happened like this
But who among them really wants just to kiss you?

With your childhood flames on your midnight rug
And your Spanish manners and your mother's drugs
And your cowboy mouth and your curfew plugs
Who among them do you think could resist you?

Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands
Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums
Should I leave them by your gate,
or sad-eyed lady, should I wait?
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  #40  
Unread 10-07-2021, 02:43 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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I mean, I could go on and on. And of course they're meant to be heard with music. That's part of the package and part of the poetry. I, for one, wouldn't be writing poems if it weren't for Bob Dylan.
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