Given that this blog got its very name from a Bob Dylan lyric there hasn't been much of him here over the years. This is partly because I figure that like a strong single malt whisky (probably an Islay one) you either love him, in which case you will have a cupboard full of his stuff already - and maybe even a few bootleg distillations besides - or you can't abide him, in which case all the proselytising in the world isn't going to change your mind; it's also partly because Dylan is signed to Sony (once Columbia) and they seem to stamp on any 'unauthorised' use of his music (even things on YouTube) pretty sharply, in what I would argue is a thoroughly unenlighted Old Testament sort of a way, but hey, that's up to them.
The first Bob LP I bought was the old Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits
, when I was 17 (and he was 42); it was the 'protest' stuff and obvious hits that drew me in. Then I heard Highway 61 Revisited
and 'Desolation Row', a whole strange, brilliant Beats world of surrealism opening up, Bringing It All Back Home
and a new album Shot Of Love
(6th Form), Blood On The Tracks
and an even better new one Infidels
(University), The Freewheelin', At Budokan
, Street Legal
and then the vast back catalogue of unreleased stuff courtesy my small Welsh friend Stevie, who really is
a Dylan obsessive.
Now, with me
in my mid-late 40s and His Bobness at 70, his 21st century material sounds as good to me, better even, than anything he's done. A grizzled old ex-gunfighter with a burdensome past, 'living on rice and beans', Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven
(Western analogies always work with Bob, and for him) looking wrly out (and in) on human fallibility, his recent songs are shot through with heart and warmth and gallows humour and as packed as ever with quotable lines from the best screenplay that never existed, as well as a few that did.
He's the best writer rock's ever produced; he's just 'a song and dance man'.
Happy Birthday Mr Zimmerman.
[No music, for the reasons given. I'm happy to make recommendations if you think you can handle yer liquor x]