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Karmadillo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 08:30 AM
Original message
Bob Dylan: a poet and a poseur.
Even though this comes from the Telegraph, it's not bad. It serves as a reasonable balance to the abysmal Charlie Rose fawning that followed Part II last night. References to Madonna and Kylie Minogue await those who click on the link.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opin...

Bob Dylan: a poet and a poseur. There, I've said it...
By Mark Hudson
(Filed: 28/09/2005)

'Who wants yesterday's papers?" sang Mick Jagger in one of the Rolling Stones' more callous jibes. He was referring to the disposability of his own girlfriends. Yet the metaphor can serve equally well for the inherent ephemerality of all pop music - not only Jagger's own, but even that of the current sacred cow, Bob Dylan.

Dylan is current only in the sense that he's always been current. The adenoidal folk rocker's heyday may have been a good four decades ago, but his status has remained huge. Yet Martin Scorsese's marathon biographical documentary has created unprecedented excitement around the sixty-something singer-songwriter. The sense of awe it has generated and the apparently universal consensus on Dylan's "greatness" mark a new phase in pop's cultural dominance and in the unreality of the claims made for it.

Where once the fetishistic raking over of the lives and doings of 1960s pop icons was the exclusive province of the specialist music press, it now dominates the mainstream media to the extent that even my 86-year-old father-in-law - a lifelong loather of pop - is starting to wonder if he should take an interest in "this Dylan fellow".

Yet even the best pop music can sustain remarkably little in the way of critical analysis - let alone the endless reinterpretation to which the classics are subjected. But what's worst about the creeping monumentalisation of pop is not just its inherent absurdity, but the way it threatens to smother this music's fragile charms altogether.

more...
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wildhorses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 08:37 AM
Response to Original message
1. thanks for the link
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Wickerman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 08:50 AM
Response to Original message
2. Thanks Mark Hudson
for bringing nothing new to the conversation about Dylan. He calls Dylan a poseur and he complains that Like a Rolling Stone was his favorite song until critics fawned over it? Pot/kettle.

and this:

Dylan is undoubtedly a genius, but he's a pop genius. He's got more in common with Kylie Minogue than with Beethoven, and like all pop geniuses he has manifestly failed to carry his greatness into the starker territory of middle age.

Sorry, Blood on the Tracks was middle-aged and it was brilliant. He is now old, no longer middle-aged and his recent work is still lyrically tremendous and musically richer and more dense than ever.

That Hudson even needs to write about Dylan 50 years into his career belies the pretext of his article. I guess Hudson has now crossed off the "Slam Dylan" chit on his checklist to become recognized as a serious music journalist. Join the crowd, its been ongoing over 2 perhaps 3 generations of music critics.
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nothingshocksmeanymore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 09:31 AM
Response to Reply #2
18. He's just mad that Dylan could do more with three chords
than most can do with the entire litany of chordal possibilities
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Wickerman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 09:35 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. lol
You might be right. Wonder if Mark can recognize those three chords, let alone the influences behind them?
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Melodybe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:14 AM
Response to Reply #2
31. Masters of War is the greatest protest song written about
Edited on Wed Sep-28-05 11:15 AM by Melodybe
the shitheads running our country.

Jealousy much?


Dylan has been loved for this long for a reason.

The Stones can bite me.
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 08:51 AM
Response to Original message
3. Something's happening here & you don't know what it is...
Edited on Wed Sep-28-05 09:02 AM by Bridget Burke
Do you, Mr Hudson?



I remember when we analyzed every word of Dylan's for secret meanings. (Tommy Hall of the Elevators thought one of the "John Wesley Harding" songs was an answer to one of his; but he's still dropping acid in a grim San Francisco apartment.) The critics hailed every new songwriter as "The Next Dylan"--usually the kiss of death.

That was in the past; I've heard lots of fine songwriters since. The Scorsese biography didn't arouse my sense of awe but I was glad to see that Bob is doing so well. He's smart, funny & together, unlike so many others who were famous long ago. And I enjoyed seeing my old folky heroes--then & now. (Wonder what Jim Kweskin is doing nowadays?)

Hudson is as guilty of trying to make Dylan fit his categories as the most manic Dylanologist who ever pawed through Bob's garbage.

Edited to add: www.bobdylan.com/index.html

Edited again to correct spelling. (And to point out that the itinerary shown in the above link would exhaust a 22 year old.)



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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #3
25. I thought it came through very clearly that Dylan didn't buy his own hype.
That was what was so enjoyable about the film. If, like this reviewer, you approach the subject of a film full of fear and loathing as an ant to a god, you miss the reality under the celluloid sheen, that Dylan was truly disgusted with the idiocy of journalists and celebrity cultists. I was thinking how some things haven't changed. It almost reassured me about the present, to think there have always been incompetent, nitwitted assholes in the media (for all of my life, anyway).
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:21 PM
Response to Reply #3
38. LOL -- Good One!
:rofl:

Yes, Mr Hudson doesn't seem to realize what's going on here, does he?

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graywarrior Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 08:52 AM
Response to Original message
4. Dylan hates this shit. Dylan loves this shit.
Ha ha ha, another journalist who thinks he "gets" Dylan.
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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Just what does he pose to be?
He's a human being who thinks and writes songs. Many of them good, some of them great. He's a troubadour. I don't understand why anyone needs to go any farther than that.

Like all of us, he's searched on his path (remember his Christian conversion) and he's still searching.

It is his humanity that draws me to his work.
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graywarrior Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 09:04 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. He just is. You can't define it.
He's the greatest writer of poetry ever...he's just a man who appeared in the right place at the right time. He's many things to many people.

Love him or hate him or just not care whether he exists, he's still out there performing most of the year, year after year, drawing huge crowds and mesmorizing his fan base.
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classof56 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 09:12 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. Well put, TallahasseeGrannie.
I was a Dylan fan from the get-go. I have several of his albums (yes albums!) in my collection and on occasion listen to them on my aging turntable, scratches and all. Something about his songs, the words and music, touched my very soul 40 some-odd years ago and they still do. Bless him for doing so at a time when I really needed it. I hate having him called old, since he's actually a bit younger than I am, but that's okay--I'm learning that old isn't so bad, after all, and the times, indeed, keep on a-changing. To me, Bob was a poet and a prophet and his music still resonates "throughout the land."

Class of 56
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 09:25 AM
Response to Reply #9
15. My record collection goes 'way back.
I buy CD's nowadays, but still have a turntable.

But all the Dylan LP's were ripped off in my younger days, one by one. Time to get some "new" CD's.
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enough Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 09:12 AM
Response to Reply #5
11. You said it.
I was just about to try to respond, but you said it perfectly. Thanks.
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johnnie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 09:14 AM
Response to Reply #4
13. Hell, Dylan doesn't "get" Dylan
And like you said, here is another journalist who thinks HE gets it.

I'll tell ya this, standing there right next to the man and being acknowledged by him was very strange to me. Awesome is the only word I can think of and I hate that word. It's not often that I look eye to eye with a legend.
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Cats Against Frist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 09:31 AM
Response to Reply #4
17. I "get" him
and I think he's a shitty poet and a so-so musician. Of course, there's an audience, and a purpose for all that. Hear me out.

I agree with what the critic was saying. Bob Dylan is to music as Stephen King is to literature, basically. The disproportionate amount of praise lauded on Dylan is the product of a very narrow survey of "music" -- mostly contemporary/classical popular music, which, in the grand scheme of things, is hardly music at all, but some weird amalgam of poor lyricism and throw-away accompaniment. It's not really music, and it's not really poetry.

Dylan, of course, has his purpose. The critic is right: in his genre, he is a genius. In Stephen King's genre, he's a genius -- but "critique," when it comes to the arts, is something that usually takes into account the art, itself, in all of its various manifestations. That's why people who sit down to write a shitty poem write a shitty poem, or people who sit down to write a three-chord tune, write a three-chord tune -- they have no idea of what's come before them, or any idea that experimental/innovative poets and musicians have rendered their chickenscratchings an inane exercise in bullshit, or, at best, personal therapy.

The tragedy is that the "marketing" aspect of throw-away "art," keeps people from enjoying the masterworks of the genres. If I spent a lot of time thinking about how many people, in a day, fawned over Bob Dylan lyrics, as opposed to how many people sat down with the collected works of Wallace Stevens, or John Berryman, or Marianne Moore, or listened to Stravinsky, Schoenberg or, hell, even Frank Zappa, I'd either go mad, or kill myself.

It's not that Dylan isn't enjoyable, or that he isn't capable of eliciting an emotional response -- I happen to find that the tonality of college radio bands like "The Shins" and "Built to Spill," automatically produce some kind of maudlin fog in my mid-section, and quite like them, despite the fact that I KNOW that their music is simple, their lyrics are not shaded with the kind of subtleties and rhetorical mastery of "real" poems -- and that my time would be better spent listening to something more challenging.

The critic isn't saying that Dylan isn't good at what he does -- just that what he does is and will always be, in the grand scheme of art, sort of inconsequential, and undue focus on his music only highlights the fact that it really doesn't stand up to artistic critique. He could have went into it, a LOT more -- and that's unfortunate, because he only just touched on why this kind of "art" doesn't stand up to a truly critical eye or ear.
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 09:52 AM
Response to Reply #17
22. Zappa, Stravinsky, Schoenberg? Stevens, Moore?
Gosharoonie, never heard of those guys.

Actually, I have. And so has Dylan. I've got a BIG record collection and an even bigger library (which does not include Stephen King.) How would enjoying one artist prevent one from enjoying others?

People have different tastes, but why do you say "It's not really music, and it's not really poetry"? It's not up to you.






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Zomby Woof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #17
34. WEAK analogy
Dylan is more akin to Poe than King, because Dylan was a pioneer who MADE contemporary songwriting possible the way Poe made contemporary suspense and horror possible in literature. King pioneered NOTHING. You are equating Dylan's INFLUENCE with King's POPULARITY. After that fallacy, your essay is lifeless and hollow on its face.

Dylan has never been a big album-seller, compared to the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Eagles, etc, who all have albums in the Top 25 of all time... not Bob. But his influence is greater than all of them combined. He MADE the Beatles write something more consequential than love songs. In turn, everyone since has born the imprint of Dylan's lasting impact.

Even Zappa hailed Dylan as a genius. He said that if people had responded to "Subterranean Homesick Blues" or "Like A Rolling Stone" the way they should have, he would have QUIT composing on the spot. The people didn't, so Frank pressed ahead. THAT is influence beyond mere pop music.

"Shitty" poet? Highly subjective. Compared side by side with Yeats or Shakespeare, Bob holds his own, and will be remembered just as long.

That critic in the OP is the reason Zappa and myself have loathed critics, and armchair critics. What have THEY ever done for us?
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minkyboodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #34
47. as usual
speaking the zombytroof :) I love Zappa, Dylan, Waits, Stravinsky, Charlie Patton, Mingus and good Doo Wop with equal passion. One doesen't elimnate or negate the other.
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Cats Against Frist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 05:47 PM
Response to Reply #34
49. You lost me at "contemporary songwriting."
Edited on Wed Sep-28-05 05:51 PM by Cats Against Frist
I'll take your word, on Zappa, but it absolutely blows my mind that someone who is predominantly hailed for his musicianship could hold Dylan in such high regard.

In addition, I never said that Dylan isn't good at "what he does," just that "what he does," is an extraordinarily low and boring art form, and, because pop culture rules the day, is given a disproportionately high seat, at the table.

Generally, when I think of "music," it occurs to me that people should actually play their instruments, as in, like moving the fingers in different combinations, beating on numerous drums, pieces of wood, cymbals and bells, or manipulating the embouchure to create an interesting composition that sounds good.

I have a real problem with "pop" music (and yes, I think the term, for Dylan is appropriate), because if you strip either element -- either the accompaniment or the lyrics, rarely can either stand on its own, as interesting. I will defer, however, to anyone who wishes to make an argument for Dylan's musicianship, outside of pop songwriting, and would be interested to hear it -- but I'm not going to budge on my commentary on the lyricism: what many see as "deep," I see as shallow; what many may see as "insightful," I see as hearkening to the same tired confessionals. Perhaps it wasn't as tired, at the time -- in poetry, the Beats and the Confessional poets were commingling, making a drunken, messy, suicidal heartspill of the page, unfortunately spawning eons and eons of crappy poetry that has not subsided, to this day. In fact, it is bad beat poetry and confessional crap that is pretty much the hallmark of the amateur poet.

Much of Dylan reads, to me, like a cross between Gregory Corso and "Frankie and Johnny," and it truly bugs me when people call him a "poet," or a "great lyricist." So, he was influential at "songwriting." What's that? "Billie Jean?" Someone had to make the first infomercial that gave birth to hours and hours of rotisserie chicken and Christie Brinkley's abs. Where's his cherry pie?

I realize, too, that these things are subjective, and that this is my opinion -- though I'll jell-o fight you over the "holds his own," comment -- but I think the critic was simply trying to say that if you want to seat Dylan at the table with the big boys & girls -- under the critical eye of "musicianship," or "poetry," it all falls apart.

It is in that sense that I was comparing Dylan to Stephen King -- not popularity or accessibility -- but that the joyous turns that delight the "everyman," start to break down against the compositional, rhetorical and technical difficulties of higher art. I think that that, roundly, is what the critic was saying, and I, myself, as well.

*edited for spelling


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bryant69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #17
39. Those kids today with thier rock and roll
It's all just disposable crap - why won't they listen to more respectible music like Igor Stravinsky?

The Sun's Not Yellow IT'S CHICKEN!

Bryant
Check it out --> http://politicalcomment.blogspot.com
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bluedonkey Donating Member (644 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 06:22 PM
Response to Reply #17
50. To compare Dylan to King
is just plain stupid!
King is pure entertainment.Dylan is...what?You can't find a box he'll fit in.Never has never will! Dylan is Dylan! He touches you or he doesn't!
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FlashHarry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 09:02 AM
Response to Original message
6. This guy's an asshat.
The appeal of Dylan is his mischievous inscrutability. Not everything can be deconstructed and analyzed.

BTW, "Blood on the Tracks" is, as the person above stated, a middle-age masterpiece.
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jedr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 09:07 AM
Response to Original message
8. Is Dylan a poet? Yes.... Is he a poseur? we all are.
Is he current, only in the minds of we boomer's . Unfortunately the Poet of today ( that is a master of language) is Karl Rove....how sick is that?
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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #8
24. Karl Rove....Bob Dylan
I can't think of two more diametrically opposite Americans.
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jedr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:11 AM
Response to Reply #24
30. I know it's a stretch , but
My thoughts were that we have no Dylan today and that today, the master of the language is Karl Rove.....polar opposites
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fishwax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 09:12 AM
Response to Original message
10. I think it's a pretty weak analysis
I don't mind someone taking a stance against Dylan, though I'm a huge fan myself, but I think the writer does a pretty poor job of accomplishing his task.
I can relate to the writer's distaste for the tyranny of boomer aesthetics, but I think he picks a false target here, and he doesn't really offer much evidential support for his claims of, say, Dylan's "adolescent name dropping." (For the record, Bob Dylan was 34 when he mentioned Rimbaud on the album Blood on the Tracks, and in his recorded work he never actually mentions Dante, as the writer claims, though many think he alludes to him on the same album.)

Aside from the whole elitist (not to mention colonialist) trope of dismissing the "low" oral tradition, he doesn't seem to have much sense of history of the pop song. Irving Berlin and George Gershwin also wrote pop songs. Many of Dylan's greatest works, of course, bore no resemblance to pop, though it's telling that the writer digs Like a Rolling Stone. The three albums at the heart of Dylan's greatness include songs that clock in well over 3.5 minutes, some ten minutes, and that helped free rock and roll music (prior to Dylan almost exclusively the domain of the pop song) from some of the rigors of radio format. And, of course, Dylan's entry into the rock world in those albums elevated rock music lyrically as well.

The thing I think the writer gets right is Dylan's management of his persona. He used to make stuff up about himself and his music. Was he a poseur? I don't know. (Does being flamboyant make one a poseur? I don't really get his reference to Bowie as a poseur :shrug:) He was definitely a manufactured image, to a certain degree, but he's no different in that respect than other American literary voices like Twain or Hemingway.

Does popularity equate with disposability? I hardly think so. Chaucer and Shakespeare were from oral traditions as well. I'm not saying Dylan will be the equivalent of Shakespeare, I just take exception to the writer's mischaracterization of the nature of pop as well as the popular.
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Wickerman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 09:43 AM
Response to Reply #10
21. excellent take
:applause:

And quick, Mark, name all of Bob Dylan's number one hits. Quick.
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omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 09:14 AM
Response to Original message
12. That's what DU needs right now MORE PETTY CARPING!
.....speaking of poseurs...............
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jedr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 09:25 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. If you don't want to be in this thread,
Please move to an other...as for myself , I'm enjoying this discussion ... With all due respect.
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 09:28 AM
Response to Reply #12
16. We aren't carping, we're mostly agreeing.
Poseur-envy? How sad!
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Karmadillo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 07:32 PM
Response to Reply #12
51. LOL
nt
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omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 09:39 AM
Response to Original message
20. Oh yeah-- and more sanctimonious touchiness!!!
I was referring to the OP and the article folks, NOT YOU.

Why are ya'll so damn touchy? Haven't you noticed the negativity on the boards since what Might Have Been A Landmark Day (the March)?

Why drag Dylan down? Why drag Cindy down? Why drag each other down?

And for those who missed the point

WHY IS IT ALWAYS ABOUT YOU?

(if you are twelve years old, my sincere apologies) :hi:
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DemocratSinceBirth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 09:58 AM
Response to Original message
23. Dylan Is A Rorsach Test
As a result of his aura of mystery folks see in him what they want to see....


I am a huge fan of Dylan; one of the few who has actually seen Renaldo and Clara but I have always been amazed at folks who think other folks are gifted because their prose is so elliptical that nobody knows what they are talking about...
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shrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:34 AM
Response to Original message
26. The man is one hell of a talent
One of my favorite writers, ever.

Unfortunately, every great artist peaks, and Dylan has reached his peak, IMO. He may have done his share of stupid things since, but he is not the first artist to outlive his prime, and hardly the first to make a fool of himself in public. This, however, does not negate the greatness of his best work.

Fitzgerald was quite the sad sack when he died, but "Gatsby" is still one of the greatest American novels ever written.
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graywarrior Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #26
27. Have you caught a live Dylan show lately?
He's surging at another peak. Think he's had 3 or 4 over the past 40 years.
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shrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:03 AM
Response to Reply #27
28. No, I'm afraid I haven't
I'm such a Dylan fan that I avoid hearing him live, fearing I'd be disappointed.

My husband saw him perform some fifteen years ago. He came out in an Elvis-like white jumpsuit and began pumping out rock-n-roll. A portion in the audience walked out in a huff. Dylan grinned and said, "Now that we've gotten rid of the people we don't want here anyway ..." and went backstage to change, quickly returned in a simple outfit, with his harmonica and guitar. He put on a fabulous show.

Maybe I'll have to risk having my illusions shattered and go see the man.
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graywarrior Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:08 AM
Response to Reply #28
29. I saw him in Augusta Maine about 2 years ago
I was astounded. The band was so tight, they sounded like one instrument pounding into your skull. Dylan ruled the entire stage without doing much. One slight sway of the leg sent the audience into a frenzy.

He was strong, soulful and engaged with the crowd. I was high for days after. Whenever anyone says to me, think of a moment when you were the happiest, I think of that concert.

Amazing thing, the crowd was filled with people from 11 years old to their 80's. It totally rocked.
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RevolutionStartsNow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:48 PM
Response to Reply #29
46. I'm with you! He is amazing in concert these days
I saw him probably on that same tour you did, about 2 years ago. I went 2 nights in a row. It was just as you described, incrediby tight band, Bob ruling the stage.

Later, when I would tell people I saw Dylan, they would say "Oh, he's past his prime...old folks tour, whatever." but I just laughed to myself, because I knew I had seen one (2!) of the best concerts ever.

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graywarrior Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 03:02 PM
Response to Reply #46
48. Oh yeah. It's sure nothing you can describe.
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omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 08:02 PM
Response to Reply #29
52. Graywarrior is RIGHT-- don't nobody cheat yourself a chance to see BD Live
Actually, GW your description is very good. Including the tangible euphoria of the crowd after the show and the full-spectrum diverstiy of the crowd.

October 2001-- shortly after 9-11-01-- the songs fit-- helped the people release the breath they'd been holding for 6 weeks....

The best show of any style I've ever seen. Best produced, best staged, best lighting, best sound, best musicianship-- the absolute magic of live music-- and I wasn't even a Dylan convert at that point.

He is a consummate, inventive lifelong artist. Treat yourself, folks. In the film, he talked about an artist "must never think you've arrived somewhere." Bob Dylan is still taking his band and his audience on the journey with him.
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stopbush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:34 AM
Response to Original message
32. I never got the Bob Dylan adulation, but then,
most pop music - and its attraction to a wide audience - is a mystery to me.

At the end of the day, Mr Dylan's place in the musical firmament is assured. The writer is comparing apples and oranges. The pop acts that break out of the three-chord standard and write more "classically" oriented fare are few and far between. Even The Beatles later compositional efforts were largely the work of their producer. There should be no expectation that pop acts will evolve to something else, anymore than the more-classically centered artists should be expected to go pop.
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alfredo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
33. I have a source for the Triumph tee shirt
A friend uses the graphics to advertise his bike shop. Bob G is a good guy and a real motorcycle expert. He's a fan of Dylan.


Here's his site: http://www.brcycles.com /

to the page with the shirts:

http://www.brcycles.com/tshirts.htm

the guy is retiring soon, so I don't know how long the Tee shirts will be offered.



On the back of mine is the shop's name and logo. His site says the back is plain. I guess he decided to remove his logo.


I've been wearing one for a couple years.
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HappyMoonBat Donating Member (36 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:47 PM
Response to Original message
35. They said the same thing about jazz.
In fact, some people are STILL saying that about jazz.

Screw the nay-sayers.

Either you get it or you don't.

Those who do don't care when others don't.
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graywarrior Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. Amen to that.
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RandomKoolzip Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:13 PM
Response to Original message
37. Where Hudson gets it wrong is his use of the word "pop."
Edited on Wed Sep-28-05 01:14 PM by RandomKoolzip
"Pop" and "Rock" are two different things. One is a producer-driven, market-oriented music whose primary characteristc is that of the "persona" out front, backed by competent sessioneers, or in today's parlance, "ProTools." The music created is not an expressive product of four or five musicians coming together as a unit, but as a means of presenting the song and the persona.

Rock, on the other hand, is an expressive product of the combustion that occurs when a few musicians are playing together as a unit and using the guitar, bass, and drums as their weapons, with keyboards usually serving as coloration. One does NOT deserve "monumentalisation," as Hudson says, but the other does, since Rock is the most vital art form, the richest seedbed of aesthetic breakthrough, and the most potent form of aural art known to man. It is a hot form, and, although the themes of its lyrics are often pureile, Rock is quite definitely deserveing of "monumentalisation" ALONE due to its aesthetic worth, let alone its sociological worth (aesthetics and sociology meriting differentiation).

Rock can be a pop marketplace music, but pop cannot be rock no matter how "dangerous" or "controversial" its themes. If hiphoppers and "radical" media manipulators like Madonna are doing something cool, but are NOT playing music that is the result of the small band format utilizing guitar, bass, and LIVE drums, then they are NOT playing rock! And Dylan, although he evolved from a folkie into one of the greatest Rockers in the canon (and a galvanizing band leader; check out the ensemble sound on his underrated 1976 live LP, "Hard Rain:" unique, and definitley the aesthetic product of a combustible enterprise), he has never REALLY been a "pop" star. In the 60's, the two genres were often confused, so it really does bear seperating the wheat from the chaff so as not to promote further aesthetic dissembling like Hudson has done here.

It is typical of the British music press, when it's not hyping the new Pop flavor of the month, to go after "idols" of the past simply because...well, they're some previous generation's idols. "Yeah, man! Fuck the boomers!" I can almost hear Hudson say.... Sidestepping aesthetic considerations in favor of socilogical ones AGAIN.

Rock has been "moniumantalised" because its sheer WEIGHT and importance as an aesthetic experience ("The construction and stoking of a runaway train," in Joe Carducci's inimitable words) place it alongside jazz and folk as essentially American art form, whereas pop needs no such museum-izing, since its very essence is ephemeral: when technology changes, so does pop (Beyonce's last hit reqired NO HUMANS in the studio besides herself and the producer and his computers; this has been the pop producer/marketer's dearest wish ever since the creation of the first recording studio: low overhead, massive profit), but rock remains rock if it is the product of a specific musical process.

I expect critics, who are paid to write about this shit, to know better.
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Zomby Woof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #37
40. All those rock and roll writers are the worst kind of sleaze...
You delivered the goods, RKZ. Props for recognizing "Hard Rain". Have you heard the 'Rolling Thunder' set from the Bootleg Series? It's like an extended multi-disk outtake of "Hard Rain".

"Combustible" is the perfect word. I think of that when seeing the '66 footage with the Hawks.
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HappyMoonBat Donating Member (36 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #40
41. Selling punk like some new kind of English disease!
Ya! Da-da! Da-daaaah!

Is this the wave of the future?
Oh, spare me please!
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RandomKoolzip Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:40 PM
Response to Reply #40
42. Selling POP like some new kind of electronic disease....
Thanks, man. It bugs me when I see critics in major papers doing such disservice to such rich music. I don't write criticism myself anymore because of the atmosphere of []vigorous corporate fellatio that spews into and out of the average rockcrit's mouth which makes it hardeer to assess the aesthic worth of an object, as opposed to it's sociological "importance."

I have heard that disc and other actual bootlegs from the Rolling THunder tour; Dylan was definitley organizing an individual instrumantal voice via his band during this time...it's a shame that that kind of thing gets overlooked when critics "have a go" at Dylan, since it's usually his words that provide the locus of attention.

Taped the Scorsese-Dylan doc the last two nights and just finished watching part I....after reading this Brit hack job, I'm reminded of all those Brits in the audience on the 66 tour: "Go home Bob!" "Traitor!"

I know I keep quoting Carducci, but I can't help it; he once said "Rock is dead in America about as often as it lives in England."
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #37
45. Exactly -- Dylan is the Antithesis of Pop
and it was only because of the unique time and circumstances that he was even able to break through to the popular mainstream. He would be utterly obscure today because no one would sign him. He would be kicked off "American Idol" the first week.

What Dylan gave to listeners is a set of images and a sense of place of place and time (or maybe timeless). His music brings you to a different world, internal as well as external. And it's not primarily due to the stated subject matter -- often there is none -- it's due to the thought process, what's left out, what's between the lines. He is able to think like a drifter, a miner, or a roadhouse drunk and to write from that place with the proper phrasing and emotions. There's no need to even spell out the setting or the time. Many of his songs name no individuals and no locations, but the voice is utterly alien to middle-class America. The difference is as transformative as On the Road was in the 50s.

The Basement Tapes, for example, are about nothing. Most of the songs are utterly trivial. But they are uncanny. The narrators in those songs are right here in the US but are utterly off the map in terms of the everyday experiences of the listeners.

Dylan wrote a lot, and of course some of it was crap. But so was a lot of Steven Foster, Poe, and almost any historical writer, including the great ones.
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Karmadillo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 08:02 AM
Response to Reply #37
53. Is it really a matter of knowing better?
Edited on Thu Sep-29-05 08:12 AM by Karmadillo
Hudson simply seems to be using pop to refer to popular music. You would prefer to separate rock from pop and treat rock as something greater. Your choice, but hardly one not immune to debate. Robert Christgau, who does seem to know a fair amount, uses pop in the Hudsonian sense to refer to Dylan in the following:

http://www.villagevoice.com/music/0137,christgau,28023,...

BOB DYLAN
"Love and Theft" (Columbia)

...All pop music is love and theft, and in 40 years of records whose sources have inspired volumes of scholastic exegesis, Dylan has never embraced that truth so warmly...

And even if one wants to accept your terms, one doesn't need to ride the rock horn to monumentalism. In Revolution in the Head, Ian McDonald concludes, if I remember correctly, the Beatles' well-crafted pop is far superior to rock. One can disagree with him (if one wants to insist on being wrong), but one probably shouldn't dismiss him as someone who doesn't know anything.
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RandomKoolzip Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #53
54. But the Beatles used the Rock PROCESS to create timeless pop.
Edited on Thu Sep-29-05 06:04 PM by RandomKoolzip
Like I said in my post, Rock can be successful in the pop marketplace, and has at times (the 60's, the 70's, early 90's) been the dominant music of that marketplace. What I'm talking about is the process involved in the making of the music. If the music is the result of the small band format utlizing guitar, bass, and drums, with the four of five players playing expressively, then it is rock. After his first four albums, Dylan intentionally utilized the friction inherent in the small band format to his advantage. When he has strayed from this process ( Self-Portrait and other examples come to mind, like the big Vegas arrangements of Live at Budokan) his music has sufferred.

The Beatles, too, although they had retired from the stage, still largely used the small band format on their later records, although they increasingly relied on George Martin's expertise as a sound effects and comedy man (he worked on "The Goon Show") to flesh out their arrangements. Their later experiments in jettisoning the rock process ("Honey Pie," "The Long and Winding Road," "Revolution 9") were by turns corny, treacly, or intentionally provocative, but not great works of art in rock terms. That they also relied on studio hacks for their solo records (or in McCartney's case, the limited resources of his imagination and the imaginations of his immediate cadre of potheads) bespeaks failure in rock terms. The great exception to this, of course, was Lennon's first solo record, which was intentionally stripped down.

There might be confusion in that The Beatles wrote incredible Euro-rooted melodies to be sung sweetly on top of their rock arrangements; that it was also successful as Pop doesn't negate the impact of the rock process underneath the shiny surface, or their additional roots in R&B and Blues. The pop marketeers who succeeded in their wake largely left behind the small band format in favor of sessioneers and the producer's techonology fetish.

Whether pop is superior to rock is a matter of taste i suppose; what is not is that Rock is the result of a kind of process whereas pop is merely the dominant marketplace music of the time, and largely the aesthetic product of the demographicians and businessmen. Rock is an art, pop is a product (although sometimes it's a GREAT product....there's lots of pop I like).

Oh, and Christgau is a sad hack.
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Karmadillo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 01:21 PM
Response to Reply #54
55. I undertstand the distinction you're trying to make, but
I don't know that it holds up. The Beatles used the Rock Process to create pop that is art? Pop that uses the Pop Process to create pop isn't art? Bread produced potential art, not pop, because of the process they used to create their pop music? If the distinction clarifies things for you, great, but you shouldn't necessarily insist with such certainty the rest of us join you. There's plenty of room for reasonable people to disagree (the fact McDonald, hardly a person without music credentials, rated pop--not Rock Process pop but all pop--over rock shows this).

The point is, I'm afraid, that Hudson is hardly unreasonable in acknowledging Dylan's genius without putting him the same category as Beethoven. It's also reasonable to assume Dylan will be nowhere near as important to future generations as he is to the one that came of age in the Sixties (there's a review of the recent documentary that involves a father trying to get his kids interested in Dylan--the kids fled, unable to bear Dylan's voice--ouch). Call it rock, call it pop, call it art, there's no guarantee anyone will want to listen to it in the future. Doesn't mean it was great, but popular culture is cruel (Madonna? Si! Husker Du? Who?).

And Christgau, though one can certainly disagree with him, is hardly a sad hack. At worst, he's a happy hack and when it comes to writing about popular music, that may not be a bad thing.

Honestly, I don't see the justification for all the anger aimed at Hudson on this thread. He thinks Dylan is a genius. He likes his music. He just doesn't think it's high art. Not a big deal and far less grating than Charlie Rose's fawing praise of Dylan after part II of the documentary.

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RandomKoolzip Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 01:23 AM
Response to Reply #55
56. "Pop that uses the Pop Process to create pop isn't art?"
Yes, exactly.
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robertpaulsen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:40 PM
Response to Original message
43. Mark Hudson: pretentious and a phony.
He says it best himself: "...even the best pop music can sustain remarkably little in the way of critical analysis"; and then precedes to waste my time doing exactly that. What a fucking hypocrite. I guess when you have a cleft asshole you can't help produce stinky nuggets of shit masquerading as wisdom.
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minerva50 Donating Member (229 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:41 PM
Response to Original message
44. Dylan's work can (and will ) stand on it's own
I wasn't much impressed with the PBS shows, I think you can sum them them up with the Dylan phrase, "Nothing is revealed." But then I didn't expect otherwise, and for me his songs are enough. I don't need to see into his heart or his soul. Sure he's a poseur, but what of it?
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DanCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 02:10 AM
Response to Original message
57. Oh cmon examine Springsteen lyrics / albums
Born in the usa, nebraska, youngstown, devils in dust, the man is just incredible. Oh I forgot too mention the Ghost of Tom Joad is sure poetry and a vocal nose thumbing at the rich man's america.
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A-Schwarzenegger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 02:23 AM
Response to Original message
58. Idiot wind.
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