Tag: Bob Dylan

The night Bob Dylan played for a single Swede

Saturday, 20 December, 2014 0 Comments

Fredrik Wikingsson went to a Bob Dylan concert. Not exactly newsworthy, that, except he was the only fan sitting in the auditorium of the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. Dylan isn’t known for doing cover songs, but he played three for Wikingsson: Buddy Holly’s Heartbeat, Fats Domino’s Blueberry Hill and Chuck Willis’ It’s Too Late (She’s Gone). The mini-concert was arranged by the Swedish TV show “Experiment Ensam,” which enables people to experience individually those things that are normally shared by large groups.

Bob Dylan did not win the Nobel Prize, again

Thursday, 9 October, 2014 0 Comments

Patrick Modiano? His best-known work is probably Missing Person (French: Rue des Boutiques Obscures), which won the Prix Goncourt in 1978 and is about a detective who loses his memory and strives to find it again. And now Patrick Modiano has has been named the 107th winner of the Nobel prize for Literature. The reaction of John Reed is somewhat cruel.

The win for Patrick Modiano means no win for Bob Dylan, again. In some ways, this is understandable as giving the prize to Dylan for his lyrics would be be an admission of the bankruptcy of literature. And that cannot be allowed. But there’s always next year. To keep the dream alive, here are three of the master’s masterpieces.

“Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.”

The Times They Are A-Changin’

“He’s taught in his school
From the start by the rule
That the laws are with him
To protect his white skin
To keep up his hate
So he never thinks straight
‘Bout the shape that he’s in
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game.”

Only A Pawn In Their Game

“Yes, how many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.”

Blowin’ In The Wind

The Times They Are A-Changin’ at 50

Wednesday, 12 February, 2014 0 Comments

The Times They Are a-Changin’, the third studio album by Bob Dylan and his first collection to feature only original compositions, was released in 1964. Speaking about the title track, Dylan told the film director Cameron Crowe, “This was definitely a song with a purpose. It was influenced of course by the Irish and Scottish ballads… Come All Ye Bold Highway Men, Come All Ye Tender Hearted Maidens. I wanted to write a big song, with short concise verses that piled up on each other in a hypnotic way. The civil rights movement and the folk music movement were pretty close for a while and allied together at that time.”

The Times They Are A-Changin'

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’

The Times They Are A-Changin’

The pivotal line of the final verse, “And the first one now will later be last”, has a Biblical ring to it and critics have connected it with the Gospel of Mark, 10:31, “But many that are first shall be last, and the last first.”

Françoise Hardy at 70

Saturday, 18 January, 2014 0 Comments

The story goes that on 24 May 1966 at a concert in l’Olympia in Paris, Bob Dylan refused to return to the stage unless Françoise Hardy agreed to meet him. Later that night, during his 25th birthday party celebrations at the George V Hotel off the Champs-Elysées, he took Hardy to his suite and serenaded her with I Want You and Just Like a Woman. She recalled that he looked like a vampire with yellow skin and long yellow fingernails. Françoise Hardy was 70 yesterday. Joyeux anniversaire!

Another Side of Bob Dylan, the singer-songwriter’s fourth studio album, was released in August 1964. The liner notes contained the following verse:

françoise hardy
at the seine’s edge
a giant shadow
of notre dame
seeks t’ grab my foot
sorbonne students
whirl by on thin bicycles
swirlin’ lifelike colors of leather spin
the breeze yawns food
far from the bellies
or erhard meetin’ johnson
piles of lovers
lay themselves on their books. boats.
old men
clothed in curly mustaches
float on the benches
blankets of tourists
in bright red nylon shirts
with straw hats of ambassadors
(cannot hear nixon’s
dawg bark now)
will sail away
as the sun goes down
the doors of the river are open
i must remember that
i too play the guitar
it’s easy t’ stand here
more lovers pass
on motorcycles
roped together
from the walls of the water then
i look across t’ what they call
the right bank
an’ envy

How does it feel to be on your own?

Saturday, 23 November, 2013 0 Comments

In all, there are 16 television channels to be surfed, from “The Price is right” to Pawn Stars. Others include a classic rock, a news and a sports station. There’s even video taken from a CCTV camera showing the pained victim of a mugging singing, “How does it feel…?” It’s Vania Heymann, the 27-year-old Israeli viral video director of Like A Rolling Stone, the latest visual masterpiece from Bob Dylan. This is not the first time, though, that Dylan has merged music with film to challenge convention. In 1965, in the “Dont Look Back” documentary by D.A. Pennebaker, he performed Subterranean Homesick Blues while flipping cue cards with words from the lyrics as the song plays. The potential of the music video clip was revealed and now Dylan is pushing the limits of the medium again.

Like A Rolling Stone is one of the most important of Dylan’s works and one of the greatest rock songs ever written. It tells of a young woman from a good family who immerses herself in the counter-culture of the 1960s but then falls from grace. As she questions her choices, Dylan appears ambivalent about her dilemma. It’s hard to tell if he has pity on Miss Lonely or is secretly pleased with her distress.

“Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people
They’re drinkin’, thinkin’ that they got it made
Exchanging all kinds of precious gifts and things
But you’d better lift your diamond ring, you’d better pawn it babe.”

Jesus time

Saturday, 26 October, 2013 0 Comments

A quick look at the New York Times Bestsellers earlier in the week — Hardcover Non-Fiction — showed Jesus topping and tailing the list. In first place was Killing Jesus, an account of the life, times and crucifixion of our Saviour by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, and in tenth position, Zealot, a biography of the revolutionary Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan. And there was even more faith in fourth position with I Am Malala, which is about a Pakistani girl who was shot by the Islamist Taliban, while in fifth place was My Story, in which Elizabeth Smart tells of being kidnapped from her Utah home in 2002 at age 14 by a couple noted for their “religious idiosyncrasy”.

All this brings us to Amos Lee, whose fine new album, Mountains Of Sorrow, Rivers Of Song has come into our possession via iTunes. Although the name may not be familiar to all, Lee has built a sterling reputation by touring with Adele, Willie Nelson, Van Morrison and Bob Dylan. Along with composing his own songs, he’s a superb interpreter and his version of Fred Neil’s A Little Bit of Rain is splendid. This is from the Mission Bell album.

The fourth and 23rd of Marling and Dylan

Saturday, 29 June, 2013 0 Comments

The thing about the new Laura Marling album, Once I Was An Eagle, is that it’s the fourth recording of her career, which is a remarkable achievement for a 23-year-old. The song Master Hunter has hints of It Ain’t Me Babe, a seminal Bob Dylan song that originally appeared on his fourth album, Another Side of Bob Dylan, which was released in 1964 by Columbia Records when he was, that’s right, 23. “You want a woman who will call your name? It ain’t me, babe,” sings Marling echoing Dylan’s:

“If you want a woman who will follow your name
It ain’t me babe.
No, no, no
It ain’t me babe.”

Bob’s never-ending tour

Saturday, 8 June, 2013 0 Comments

Applying some tasty licks of data-driven journalism, The Atlantic Cities pays tribute to our greatest living troubadour in “808 Cities, 2,503 Shows, and 1,007,416 Miles: The Staggering Geography of Bob Dylan’s ‘Never Ending Tour’“. Yesterday marked the 25th year of this musical odyssey and Eric Jaffe, rightly, celebrated the milestone. He added some lovely touches while doing so:

“He’s played Aberdeen in Scotland and Maryland, and Hamburg in New York and Germany, and Victoria in Canada and Hong Kong. He’s gone from Louisville to Nashville to Knoxville to Asheville to Huntsville in eight days. He’s toured Cork and Bordeaux, College Park and State College, Jean and Jaen, Dijon and Gijon, Nampa and Tampa. He played London, Canada, the same night a Dylan cover band played London, England. He once went straight from Assago to Zurich.”

And all along the road, Bob’s told the unvarnished truth:

You might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk
Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk
You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread
You may be sleeping on the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
It may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

Tangled points of view, and all of them blue

Saturday, 18 August, 2012

“Life is sad / Life is a bust / All ya can do is do what you must / You do what you must do / And ya do it well / I’ll do it for you, honey baby / Can’t you tell?” Buckets of Rain from Blood on the Tracks by Bob Dylan, released […]

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Bob Dylan receives Medal of Freedom at White House

Wednesday, 30 May, 2012

His country now has honoured him as highly as it can, and rightly so. Next up on the Never Ending Tour, after the White House, is the Hop Farm Music Festival in England at the end of June. Citation: “One of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century, Dylan released his first album […]

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What Can I Do For You?

Saturday, 5 May, 2012

YouTube is a treasure trove, perhaps the greatest treasure trove in human history. A recent browse revealed the 80 voices of the Melbourne Mass Gospel Choir performing the music of Bob Dylan. It’s inspiring to hear his songs of faith treated with such devotion. Here’s What Can I Do For You? from Dylan’s 1980 album, Saved. “You have laid down Your life for me / What can I do for You? / You have explained every mystery / What can I do for You?” The lead vocalist is the superb Lisa Shergold.