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Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:15 PM

Finally grokked Bob Dylan

Took several decades. Kept going back, every few years, or even a decade or more. Listening to a song or two - trying to identify what people thought was such a big f-ing deal. Was never really impressed - just wasn't doing it for me. (Similar to my reaction to the material of Miles Davis music from the 60s.)

Up until last week, that is. I listened to his JFK piece - Murder Most Foul. Something clicked - I finally got it. I had always been listening with the bias of expecting some sort of superstar musician. Wrong. The dude's a poet, who happens to set his work to musical notes. Went back to some of his early tunes, forgot about the music and concentrated on the lyrics.

Yeah... Dylan.

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Arrow 62 replies Author Time Post
Reply Finally grokked Bob Dylan (Original post)
zonemaster Mar 2020 OP
LuvLoogie Mar 2020 #1
misanthrope Mar 2020 #4
LuvLoogie Mar 2020 #10
zonemaster Mar 2020 #9
LuvLoogie Mar 2020 #14
zonemaster Mar 2020 #19
Hotler Mar 2020 #20
zonemaster Mar 2020 #30
johnp3907 Mar 2020 #2
thucythucy Mar 2020 #27
johnp3907 Mar 2020 #36
thucythucy Mar 2020 #38
johnp3907 Mar 2020 #39
thucythucy Mar 2020 #40
Hotler Mar 2020 #31
nolabear Mar 2020 #3
Cetacea Mar 2020 #23
PubliusEnigma Mar 2020 #5
cwydro Mar 2020 #7
lame54 Mar 2020 #8
gldstwmn Mar 2020 #12
Docreed2003 Mar 2020 #37
ZZenith Mar 2020 #6
gldstwmn Mar 2020 #11
rainy Mar 2020 #13
eleny Mar 2020 #15
Wounded Bear Mar 2020 #22
eleny Mar 2020 #26
zonemaster Mar 2020 #24
eleny Mar 2020 #29
Beausoleil Mar 2020 #16
ailsagirl Mar 2020 #42
MyOwnPeace Mar 2020 #17
Hotler Mar 2020 #25
zonemaster Mar 2020 #35
Hekate Apr 2020 #59
LineReply !
struggle4progress Mar 2020 #18
denem Apr 2020 #48
LineLineLineReply +
struggle4progress Apr 2020 #50
Wounded Bear Mar 2020 #21
Sunriser13 Apr 2020 #55
customerserviceguy Mar 2020 #28
struggle4progress Mar 2020 #32
Hoyt Mar 2020 #33
djg21 Mar 2020 #44
Hoyt Mar 2020 #45
djg21 Mar 2020 #46
mr_lebowski Apr 2020 #52
djg21 Apr 2020 #53
struggle4progress Mar 2020 #34
ailsagirl Mar 2020 #41
ElementaryPenguin Mar 2020 #43
pecosbob Apr 2020 #47
Happy Hoosier Apr 2020 #49
Ani Yun Wiya Apr 2020 #51
IADEMO2004 Apr 2020 #54
retread Apr 2020 #56
malaise Apr 2020 #57
Hekate Apr 2020 #58
SuprstitionAintthWay Apr 2020 #60
robbob Apr 2020 #61
burrowowl Apr 2020 #62

Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:20 PM

1. Dude...

Dylan and this...

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Response to LuvLoogie (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:24 PM

4. 1959

The poster was probably referring to Davis' late 1960s work, "Nefertiti" and later.

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Response to misanthrope (Reply #4)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:32 PM

10. Okay then...


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Response to LuvLoogie (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:31 PM

9. Oh, yes...

There's a saxophonist (Will Swindler) near where I live that transcribed the entire album of Birth of the Cool - every part - then put together a nonet and played the whole thing down at a Jazz Club in Denver (Dazzle). It was surreal. Afterword, I walked up to the band stand, which was about 12.2 feet away in this tiny place, and thanked him. Told him I never thought I'd ever hear that music played live in my lifetime. Such a thrill..

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Response to zonemaster (Reply #9)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:36 PM

14. Beauty.

Gotta love the human motive in some cases.

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Response to LuvLoogie (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:41 PM

19. I'll match your So What...

...and raise you a Footprints. Check Tony Williams. And Wayne. And Herbie. There was a quote in some liner notes from a Miles album which I can't seem to locate, where he said about Tony (whom Miles hired at 17 f-ing years old!): "The first time I head that little mother-fucker play, I knew I had to have some of that shit up in my band."


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Response to LuvLoogie (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:45 PM

20. I think they called him the Dark Prince. I watched this the other day.

It is not bad. Some good music and a bit of history and stuff I didn't know. I thought they might do some Sketches of Spain but, they didn't, still good.

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Response to Hotler (Reply #20)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 10:07 PM

30. And for the whipper-snappers...

Another Miles alum - Mike Stern

Check the pasty white dude on bass just f-ing destroy - effortlessly


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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:21 PM

2. I wish Jimi had done more Dylan songs.

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Response to johnp3907 (Reply #2)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 10:04 PM

27. Well, he covered

"Drifter's Escape," "Like a Rolling Stone" (at Monterey) and I think there's a version of "Please Crawl Out Your Window" as well.

All of these are amazing.

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Response to thucythucy (Reply #27)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 10:28 PM

36. Also All Along The Watchtower.

I posted the Monterey version of Like A Rolling Stone, one of my single favorite recordings of anything ever.

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Response to johnp3907 (Reply #36)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 10:31 PM

38. I love the intro

to Like a Rolling Stone, where Jimi stumbles over his words some, then just, "You'll excuse me for a minute while I play my guitar" and then rips off the most amazing riffs.

What an amazing talent.

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Response to thucythucy (Reply #38)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 10:33 PM

39. I also love how he skips a verse.

Then just says to his band “Yes I know I missed a verse. Don’t worry.”

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Response to johnp3907 (Reply #39)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 10:36 PM

40. That's another great moment.

And then, while he's playing "Wild Thing" he asks the audience to sing along.

As if his amps aren't putting out a hurricane of sound! And then, in the middle of "Wild Thing" he plays the melody to "Strangers in the Night" by Frank Sinatra. Only Hendrix would even think of that, let alone do it.

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Response to johnp3907 (Reply #2)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 10:10 PM

31. One Jimi not enough...

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:23 PM

3. Exactly. And Murder Most Foul is a masterwork.

It’s strange, hypnotic, an extraordinary paen to the immediate legacy of that incredible event, in music, in the surrounding and later connections made because of it, to an era.

I’ve loved him, ups and downs and warts and wings, forever. Yes, he’s a poet. No higher praise.

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Response to nolabear (Reply #3)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:52 PM

23. Instant Classic

And the manner in which he released it was special, too.

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:25 PM

5. You need some Blood on the Tracks. Then Zimmy'll have his hooks in you forever.

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Response to PubliusEnigma (Reply #5)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:26 PM

7. I love that album.

Dayum, memories.

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Response to PubliusEnigma (Reply #5)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:26 PM

8. Yes

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Response to PubliusEnigma (Reply #5)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:35 PM

12. Planet Waves did it for me.

The Band.

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Response to PubliusEnigma (Reply #5)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 10:31 PM

37. Great album

Love the outtakes as well...his official release bootleg series for that album is phenomenal.

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:25 PM

6. Well then, you have a lot of enjoyable discovery ahead of you!

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:34 PM

11. There's a lot to love about

Murder Most Foul. I listened for the first time on my solitary walk yesterday. I love the part at the end where he name checks a bunch of other artists that he wants people to check out. The verses are very Americana. You can feel the atmosphere of a studio late at night with musicians recording something to come back to later. The spaces between the words give the listener time to think about what was just sung or spoken. That's another thing. He starts the track singing almost like a crooner instead of his usual sing/speak.

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:36 PM

13. I'm a huge Bob Dylan fan. Have been since

I was 16 years old. It has always been about the lyrics. Bob Dylan and words....

So much treasured work from him.

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:37 PM

15. I saw him at a Joan Baez concert in August 1963

She brought him out to sing and the audience booed him.

A few weeks later I was asking for his album for my birthday.

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Response to eleny (Reply #15)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:51 PM

22. Was that maybe the time he brought out an electric guitar?

Early on, he was known for always playing acoustic guitar and folk fans were kind of traditionalists back then.

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Response to Wounded Bear (Reply #22)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 10:03 PM

26. No, she pretty much introduced him to the world at that concert

He did have a first album out before that. But he never had a formal concert of his own as far as I know. He played and sang in clubs in the Village, downtown NYC.

She introduced him and as he sang people actually booed and hissed at Forest Hill Tennis Stadium. A fairly small and intimate venue compared to concerts today.

The electric concert was a couple of years later, '65.

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Response to eleny (Reply #15)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:57 PM

24. Wow

That's some singular history, right there.

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Response to zonemaster (Reply #24)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 10:04 PM

29. Yeah. You don't think about it like that at the time

Then 50+ years go by.

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:37 PM

16. Dylan has always been about the poetry, for me.

I'm usually more about the music. But Dylan....

If you haven't yet, check out Desolation Row or A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall or All Along the Watchtower for mind-blowing lyrics.

Murder Most Foul is a masterpiece. I'm still recovering from my first encounter.

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Response to Beausoleil (Reply #16)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 10:39 PM

42. The imagery in Desolation Row is sublime...

I'll have to check out Murder most Foul...

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:38 PM

17. Do yourself a favor.........

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Response to MyOwnPeace (Reply #17)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:57 PM

25. ......

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Response to MyOwnPeace (Reply #17)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 10:23 PM

35. Great Pierce piece

Thank you!

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Response to MyOwnPeace (Reply #17)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 01:25 AM

59. That is breathtaking-- literally one of Charlie Pierce's best

Thank you

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:40 PM

18. !



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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #18)

Wed Apr 1, 2020, 12:50 AM

48. 100th anniversary commemoration of Duluth lynchings

 

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Response to denem (Reply #48)

Wed Apr 1, 2020, 01:12 AM

50. +

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 09:49 PM

21. Yeah, never had a great singing voice, but man could he write lyrics...

He's one of those guys whose songs were often better when covered by others.

His lyrics in many ways defined my generation.

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Response to Wounded Bear (Reply #21)

Wed Apr 1, 2020, 07:25 AM

55. Yet sometimes his voice made the song.

When his voice cracks and fills with gravel, you feel the emotion that much more. You feel his anger and his pain.

He had his finger on the pulse of society, and much of society didn't like it very much. Of course, that can be said of many of the artists of the 1960's.

Dylan very much shaped my youth too, Bear...



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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 10:04 PM

28. The Nobel Prize for Literature

is not just an honorary award. Glad to see that you're in tune with his message.

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 10:11 PM

32. Chimes of Freedom



Far between sundown's finish and midnight's broken toll,
we ducked inside the doorway, thunder crashing
as majestic bells of bolts struck shadows in the sounds,
seeming to be the chimes of freedom flashing

Flashing for the warriors whose strength is not to fight
flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight
and for each and every underdog soldier in the night

And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

In the city’s melted furnace, unexpectedly we watched
with faces hidden while the walls were tightening
as the echo of the wedding bells before the blowing rain
dissolved into the bells of the lightning

Tolling for the rebel, tolling for the rake
tolling for the luckless, the abandoned and forsaked
tolling for the outcast, burning constantly at stake

And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing ...

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 10:15 PM

33. Dylan's early stuff is magic and beautiful. One of those moments

I cherish was playing octave mandolin and singing “Blowin in the Wind,” at a bar celebrating his 60th birthday. You think Dylan’s vocals are rough.

I like some other singer/songwriters more, but it’s still the poetry put to song that I’m attracted to. Sometimes, I only really get a verse or two, but that’s OK.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #33)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 10:56 PM

44. He at times had a great voice.

 

I love the way he sang on his Nashville Skyline and John Wesley Harding albums. Girl from the North Country, with Johnny Cash, is one of my favorite Dylan songs. There are just too many iconic Dylan songs to list though.

I’ve seen Dylan perform countless times since the mid 70s, and I own every single piece of music he ever commercially released. The Band era stuff is the best IMO, but I also was/am a huge Robbie Robertson/The Band fan.

The last few times I’ve seen Dylan, he has been underwhelming. His current band is musically awesome, with Charlie Sextant on guitar (he always has great guitarists). But when he played his old standards, they weren’t recognizable. Occasionally you’d catch a lyric that you know, but much of the time he just mumbled along to totally new and unfamiliar musical arrangements. He switched back and forth between his re-worked Dylan classics and his attempts to croon covers of Sinatra or the “American songbook” (from his Triplicate album, which never did it for me). He also kept the stage unlit between songs, presumably so the audience could not see him shuffle between the piano to the center stage microphone. He is not young anymore, and my guess is that he isn’t so mobile and doesn’t want the audience to see him trying to move around the stage. He never has been one to engage an audience between songs. The highlight of the last show I saw definitively was the opening act — Mavis Staples, who is an American treasure.

Bob is supposed to play here again this summer, but my guess is there will be no live music this year.

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Response to djg21 (Reply #44)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 11:02 PM

45. I'm surprised how much he tours. Glad he does, but it has to be tough.

I saw him with the Band, Forever Young tour. And another show in 90s with an outstanding band at a grand old theater in Atlanta. I love acoustic music and singer/songwriters.

Enjoyed your comments.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #45)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 11:44 PM

46. I never got to see him with the Band.

 

I never got to see the Band(with Robbie). I wish I had. I was in 8th grade in 1978 when the Last Waltz premiered at the York Square Theater in New Haven, CT, and I begged my parents to drive me there, let me stand in line, and let me go to see the film. I couldn’t begin to count the numbers of times I’ve seen it since, and I actually have an old sound board recording of the show, which is much different that the commercially released version — no Staple Singers on the Weight and a good Georgia on my Mind that never made it to the commercial release. I did get to see Levon’s Midnight Ramble a few times, and I met Levon at a meet and greet following one of the shows. His daughter Amy is a great musician, and her current band is really, really good. Go take a trip to Woodstock and see a show at Levon’s Barn. It is a magical place.

There are two artists of that generation who I will pay almost anything and would travel cross-county to see. They are Robbie Robertson and Tom Waits. I don’t expect either to play on the east coast again, but I’m hopeful they will play in LA at some point over the next few years, and I will gladly travel for that.

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Response to djg21 (Reply #46)

Wed Apr 1, 2020, 04:04 AM

52. Probably know this but Staple Singers version of the Weight was recorded totally separately from

the Concert.

They wanted no part of the actual concert, so that version with them (I freaking love that video - Mavis and Pops kill it ... well, everyone kills it really) was recorded for the movie, but not at the actual show, there's no crowd.

Might've been the same venue, like before the show or the like, I forget the details.

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Response to mr_lebowski (Reply #52)

Wed Apr 1, 2020, 04:31 AM

53. Performed after the show.

 

In an M.G.M. Soundstage. In his book, Levon wrote that the film was too “lily white” and needed something more. The best part of the movie I think is Joni’s version of Coyote, but the whole thing is great.

This recent version of the Weight by Playing for Change has been circulating on the inter webs lately and is really special.



My golden retriever Miss Fanny is at the foot of my bed. Jack my dog passed a few years back. I suggested Danko for my new puppy, but was vetoed by my wife. I just won’t name a dog Chester.

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 10:21 PM

34. My back pages



Crimson flames tied through my ears, rolling 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 ...

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 ...

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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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 10:38 PM

41. Oh, yeah

Remarkable man

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 10:52 PM

43. Congrats! Enjoy...

Better late than never.

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Wed Apr 1, 2020, 12:23 AM

47. You can do what you want, Abe, but the next time you see me comin' you better run.

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Wed Apr 1, 2020, 12:51 AM

49. I still don't get it.

Terrible singer, and his songs don’t seem particularly “deep” to me.

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Wed Apr 1, 2020, 03:15 AM

51. Murder Most Foul

A master work from a master of words, a true american poet.
I have seen Bob Dylan at least once each decade from the early sixties onward and will certainly continue to do so when possible.
This 17 minute track is folk history for the United States...

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Wed Apr 1, 2020, 06:11 AM

54. Murder Most Foul too depressing for me to listen to again. Ever

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Wed Apr 1, 2020, 07:47 AM

56. Always thought his '60's stuff was transcendant, especially in the context of the time it was

written. Then shithead was elected and people started playing "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" !!!

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Wed Apr 1, 2020, 07:58 AM

57. This is a lovely thread

I have a friend who discovered Dylan while at university in the US. He brought up his kids on Dylan and Tosh.
I sent him a copy of Murder Most Foul after PCIntern posted it. His only grandson's first name is Dylan.
I fell in love with Dylan after hearing Like a Rolling Stone.


Thanks for this thread - well needed at this time.

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 01:15 AM

58. Bookmarking and Kicking...

Never could stand Bob Dylan's voice -- but would collect everything by him that was recorded by others. Amazing, amazing poet.

Bookmarking so I can come back later and listen, listen. Thank you Zonemaster and everyone who contributed.

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 02:09 AM

60. Blood On The Tracks, mentioned by others above, is my favorite Dylan album.

But I rank these albums from the same period very highly, too:

John Wesley Harding

Nashville Skyline

New Morning

the Soundtrack to Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid


Planet Waves also has some good songs, and one great one.


After that block of albums, though, his stuff lost me again, until decades later when he put out Time Out Of Mind.


Not much of his earliest, celebrated folk stuff ever did all that much for me.

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 02:42 AM

61. As a musician I love 2 things about Dylan that might not be the first thing you think about:

Last edited Fri Apr 3, 2020, 10:44 AM - Edit history (1)

1) The man has written some great tunes. Tunes like “Mr. Tamborine Man”, “Just Like a Woman”, “It’s All Over Now”. I mean, beautiful melodies and chord progressions, just genuine, catchy “hits”. This is complemented by his more predictable tunes that feature a basic chord change with many verses of mind blowing poetry, as per “Like a Rolling Stone”, “Stuck Inside of Mobile”, or “Tom Thumb Blues” (which also has a great melody and sound). To get a good idea of Dylan as a straight up song smith I would suggest Nashville Skyline. In a genre that is really outside his standard wheelhouse he crafts numerous country twinged gems.

2) Although much criticized for his raspy, some say whiny, voice, I find Dylan’s phrasing and timing, and for that matter pitch (singing perfectly in tune) is impeccable. Just try singing alone with your favourite Dylan tune. His unique phrasing takes the lyrics always slightly off the downbeat. I would even compare it to the Jazz phrasing’s Billie Holiday was famous for. It’s why I definitely prefer Dylan’s version of Tamborine Man to the Byrds. Sure, The Byrd’s have these great 4 part harmonies happening and they make the “whiny” singing of Bob into something rich and beautiful, but in order for the band to sing in perfect harmony they have to “square” the rhythms so it comes out more like “Hey mis-ter tam-bor-ine man play a song for me” (imagine each syllable in that phrase done perfectly evenly. They don’t do it that woodenly, but they DO have to simplify the phrasing). Another good example would be Mancord Mann doing “Quinn the Eskimo”. Dylan with The Band totally blows that version out of the water. Just so much more soul!

Just my 2 cents!

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Response to zonemaster (Original post)

Fri Apr 3, 2020, 03:07 AM

62. Kick

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