Showing posts with label bob dylan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bob dylan. Show all posts

Wednesday 30 November 2022

Bob Dylan on Good Voice Ovo Armadillo Glasgow

Dylan held us inspired with his voice, the master of his song craft, and the unforgettable storyteller. Our iconic bard held sway with his top-rated band – Bob Britt’s flying-V guitar solos, multi instrumentalist Donnie Herron on lapsteel, mandolin and fiddle, the dynamic, unconventional drummer Charlie Drayton, Tony Garnier on upright bass. 

Dylan was centre stage and he stood at times behind his wooden piano: he’s worked to get the sound just right and though he’s mostly in shadow, he appeared upbeat. Dylan digs deep into the American and the more distant European songbooks –and he states both the Scots and Irish folk ballads as influences, along with the classics. He mixes up with Chicago blues, blistering rock n roll, new Orleans flavoured knockabouts and stately melodic reflections.

*Tonight Dylan sang his new album, Rough and Rowdy Ways, 

Bob is proud of his new album which has had top reviews, his first of new songs since Tempest in 2012. Dressed all in black, the band are silhouettes and as the songs begin they are illuminated by the brightly lit squares beneath them, backdropped by deep red velvet – as if floating to that promised land Dylan’s’ words and songs offer us. He’s the true prophet of our times, even though he asks not to be! 

We’ve entered slower paced past times before mobile phones, before flashing lights, to inhabit the moment and be free of burdens. The band are strung as one, emphasising the rush and flow – asking, questioning, apologising, and quiet searching of our souls. Dylan’s been through many doorways, seen many distant shorelines. At 80 he’s given us another classic album.


Now at 80 he continues as the journeyman going strong – His band are on top form with surging guitars, to subtle, gentle, backing rhythms surrounding the deep power of Dylan’s words. He savours the live experience, that exchange of song and audience, sharing his voice with his long standing and admiring fans. He seems more at ease with himself, and certainly the new album is slower tempo, chilled and intimate: while still offering the questioning and grit we expect. His songs don’t come easy and they get under your skin. 


**Dylan sang 17 songs tonight – 9 from his 2022 album Rough and Rowdy Ways

He began his show with Watching the River Flow (written 1971) about those creative urges so crucial to his life. And followed by the complex opening track from R & R, I Contain Multitudes.

The memorable and often quoted lyrics of False Prophet and When I Make my Masterpiece. The intimate stillness of a lovely love song I’ve made up my Mind to give Myself to You. He sang an impressive Black Rider, with unexpected key changes, ‘The road that you’re on, same road that you knew, just not the same as it was a minute ago.” My mind is at war, Hnag off your arm. 

Followed by My Own Version of YouMother of Muses.The haunting slow drumbeat of Crossing the Rubicon, a metaphor to take a leap into the unknown and commit to certain journeys - Take the big road, whatever road you can. Bob sang the chilled relaxed happy rituals of favourite track Key West. We were left in harmonyAfter which he said, “Hello everyone”. Dylan was centre stage and he stood at times behind his wooden piano: he’s worked to get the sound just right and though he’s mostly in shadow, he appeared upbeat


**Other than the album, Dylan performed Most Likely You’ll go your Way and I’ll go Mine from Blonde on Blonde album. Followed by one of his ultimate classics with surging guitars Gotta Serve Someone, from Slow Train Coming album – backed by Bob Britt’s surging guitar, Donnie Herron’s dynamic pedal steel guitar and the thundering drummer Charlie Drayton. And a very slow version of I’ll be Your Baby Tonight; a cheerful and an cheerful upbeat Be Alone with You, from 1969 album Nashville Skyline - Under the starlight sky; and a swinging cover version of That Old Black Magic

Dylan performed a rousing rock blues Goodbye Jimmy Reid on which he plays harmonica – an upbeat tribute to the blues giant. To those having a free voice. When Dylan said, ”Thank you everybody, Hope you are all well.” For their final song the band performed Every Grain of Sand – and with band introductions. 

After which the band and Dylan lined up centre stage, then exited and came back for a final bow, when there was a rush of applause when I thought how much Dylan’s songs and music have meant to so many, and especially for those musicians in his footsteps (and for me). Like the Scots bard Robert Burns, Dylan looks back to the great writers before him and also to what lies ahead.

I might have hoped, as in 2011, Dylan had encored two of his classics (Rolling stone, All Along the Watchtower), but this show was about new material mostly and we left grateful, satisfied and thankful.  He sits at the turbulent crossroads. He continues being the journeyman bringing his messages of a better way. Hope of those journeys, Fear of time taking us all. 


In my life by far, his long life of music and poet of our times. I’ll cross that Rubicon to the Promised land. Take me to the river – free me from sin. Will he still be touring at 80, still the journeyman, journey home. The Never ending Tour runs through 2024.

This is Bob at his classic and contemporary best! This is my third Dylan concert. First was with my son at the SECC Glasgow, when Dylan was hunched over his keyboards. The second gig, 2011, was a much livelier Dylan performance at the Braehead arena, where Dylan even danced! And we stood alongside his long-standing disciples at the front. The fan beside me was my age and also with his son and he had been to every Dylan concert here since his first one in Scotland – at the age of 18. It was a humbling experience and Dylan performed several of his classic songs (set lists are online)

Dylan clearly much prefers the smaller venues and this concert in 2022 at the Armadillo was more intimate and old worldly, took us back in time, before mobile phones, before internet and before flashing lights, glitz and glamour- when we could simply be in the moment to listen clearly to the quality, aged instruments, to the changes in tempo, clarity, depth, resonance and range of voice. We’ve forgotten today how to be in the moment, how to look or listen, as we disappear into our virtual realities.

I hope Dylan continues on his ever ending world tour and continues to write and perform such memorable and hard hitting words and music. And that I get to hear him some more live – it’s a surreal and uplifting experience.


*Watching the River Flow

*Most Likely You’ll go your way and I’ll go Mine

I Contain multitudes

False Prophet

When I make my Masterpiece

Black Rider

My Own Version of you

*I’ll be our Baby Tonight

Crossing the Rubicon

*Be Alone with you

Key West

*Gotta Serve Someone

I’ve made up my mind to give myself to You

*That Old Black Magic

Mother of Muses


Neil McCormick on the Telegraph, as “one long magnificent ride for his most loyal fans and “The wise old poet has stirred up a cryptic cauldron of truths and clues, philosophy, myths and magic.”


“Breath of its cultural references and the depth of Dylan’s lyrics ‘ Mikal Wood Los Angeles Times.

“old blues songs, Shakespeare, classical mythology, the bible and pop culture” Kenny Doole Exclaim

 “why are intellectual references so rare in contemporary music.”


Rolling Stone ranked Key West as second best songs of 2020 and 7th in a list of 25 best Bob Dylan songs 20th century. 

“ a poetic balm for a world in profound turmoil.” 

Bob Dylan, All the Songs, Philippe Margolin and Jean Michel Guesdon, claim R & R is placed between Highway 61 Revisited, Blond on Blonde and Blood on the Tracks, and in other words on the same level as his master works. Several stand out tracks are singled out for mention – Key West, I Contain Multitudes, Black Rider. 

Rough and Rowdy Ways album -  is the 39th studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan released on June 2020, through Columbia Records.It is Dylan's first album of original songs since his 2012 album Tempest following three releases, one a triple album a triple album that covered traditional pop standards. The album was recorded at Sound City Studios in January and February 2020. The session musicians included all of the then-current members of Dylan's Never Ending tour band alongside other musicians, such as Blake Mills and Fiona Apple. The album's sound was described by critics as Americana, folk, blues and R & B. 

Rough and Rowdy Ways was preceded by the singles "Murder Most Foul", "I Contain Multitudes" and "False Prophet", "Murder Most Foul" became Dylan's first song to top any US Billboard chart. The album was universally praised by critics, described as being one of Dylan's best works and placing highly in many year-end album lists, including the top spot on four lists. It peaked at No. 1 in more than ten countries and No. 2 in the United States and Australia.

Surrounding Dylan, leaning in like heliotropes, are three guitarists playing electric, acoustic, lap steel, mandolin and fiddle (the latter three are by Donnie Herron, and not all at the same time). Longtime electric upright bassist Tony Garnier plucks away next to newbie Charley Drayton, a loose and bouncy drummer who seems to make contact with his kit via anything but wooden sticks. The transitions between the songs are jazzy and fantasia-like, as though each cut played is conjured afresh out of a shimmering ether.

Crucially, there’s an air of playfulness here – testament to Dylan actually being in a very good mood

Sunday 31 July 2022

DYLAN concert 2022


I saw Dylan at the Breahead arena Glasgow  in 2011 and I can’t believe its so long ago now!

He was on good form and he even danced a bit! At the SECC Glasgow we saw him in and he sat hunched over his keyboards mostly and never spoke. I don’t think he’s keen on those bigger impersonal venues. But he’s still a journeyman on the road!


I notice this gig 2022 is mobile phone free, how will we survive? He doesn’t like recordings or photos taken. 



His set list from this gig below – my song favourites are, Tangled up in Blue, Things have changed,  Simple Twist of Fate, It Ain’t me Babe,


There is a site for Dylan's set lists and lyrics (thanks to the fan beside me told me about) called boblinks.  -


Set List FROM 2011

1. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (Bob on keyboard) 

2. It Ain't Me, Babe (Bob on keyboard) 

3. Things Have Changed (Bob center stage with harp) 

4. Tangled Up In Blue (Bob center stage with harp) 

5. Cold Irons Bound (Bob center stage with harp) 

6. Simple Twist Of Fate (Bob on guitar) 

7. Honest With Me (Bob center stage with harp) 

8. Desolation Row (Bob on keyboard) 

9. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard) 

10. Blind Willie McTell (Bob center stage with harp) 

11. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)

 12. Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob center stage with harp)      


13. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard) 

14. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)


Band Members
Bob Dylan - guitar, keyboard, harp
Tony Garnier - bass
George Recile - drums
Stu Kimball - rhythm guitar
Charlie Sexton - lead guitar
Donnie Herron - electric mandolin, pedal steel, lap steel



Bob Dylan Breahead arena October 2011


Dylan revisited his favourite sons and as the familiar song refrains start it's like going home again.  

I went with my guitarist son, and he was nearly as overwhelmed as I was! Dylan performed more than I expected. At the SECC Glasgow in 2006 we were further back and all I remember was Dylan hunched over the keyboards. Happily for this gig he even smiled a few times as he faced the audience at the mic for several songs when he squatted slightly and seemed to enjoy himself. It is simply inspiring to hear and see him live...  


I noticed the admiration and awe of his band as they strove to embrace his music. His lead guitarist lent forward towards Dylan at the keyboards as if to draw from his wisdom. His band did excellent work of expressing the songs.  

I could feel the reverence of the crowd at the front and this is serious business being a Dylan fan! Few are drinking. Most have travelled to many Dylan gigs and have seen him ten or twelve times at least. One fan beside me saw him in the 60s at the Edinburgh Playhouse when Dylan was 24 and had just gone rocky.  And yes he was seventy too, the same age as Dylan is now. 


Highlights Songs - Full Set List below. Songs: It Ain't Me Babe, Tangled Up in Blue, Simple Twist of Fate, Desolation Row. For his encore Dylan sang Like a Rolling Stone, and All Along The Watchtower. Mark Knopfler supported (think Dire Straits and Money for Nothing ) and he gave a very accomplished and uplifitng performance. I'm not sure what it is like supporting a master craftsman like Dylan and many artists of any calibre must feel second rate.


Dylan's songs and stories tell of the contradictions in life as they hit reality square in the face with his hard-hitting lyrics, voice and tunes. When he moved from Duluth Iowa to Greenwich village New York, Dylan soaked up many diverse influences for his music. Dylan has piercing eyes and a cracking, scorched voice just like the blues singer Robert Johnston he so admires.  


He takes us to the other side of his songs. Perhaps we hope he might take us to that promised land? Going to see Dylan live is like a pilgrimage and you meet many other dedicated disciples on the way there and on the way back. 


You either get Dylan or you don't - and you have to go to him he doesn't come to you. 


None of the usual descriptions can really apply to Dylan.  Music is his life.  How can I possibly write that his lyrics are colourful or deep when these words sound such simple clichés.  Dylan has opened my eyes, perhaps he shows us the promised land is possible. 


It is wonderful to be alive in the time of a poet like Bob Dylan.  A comment from Rab Noakes -

'I can't imagine my life without Dylan in it.'  Bob was on great form last night. Good-natured, good song-choices, good band especially Charlie Sexton.'


Wednesday 8 September 2021

Chrissie Hynde sings Bob Dylan and other songs Queens Hall

‘Hippy stuff much easier than rock!’

Hynde sang an effortless, heady mix of folk, jazz and rock – which draws the audience in with her great blues voice.

The Queens hall, Edinburgh, was the perfect size for a socially distance audience in the middle sitting at small round tables. Edinburgh was honoured to host one of the most popular female rock singers of our generation! 

These acoustic concerts showcased songs from Hynde’s recent album: 'Standing In The Doorway’, Chrissie Hynde Sings Bob Dylan’ which was recorded in lockdown by Chrissie and her Pretender’s band mate, guitarist James Walbourne, by text message. James recorded on his phone and sent it off to Chrissie to add her vocal, before the tracks were mixed by renowned producer Tchad Blake. 

Hynde was backed by her expert, high quality band enjoying themselves greatly! The Bob Dylan Quartet of James Walbourne guitarist of The Pogues and The Pretenders, Carwyn Ellis keyboards, Danny Williams double bass. 


She opened with the song ‘In the Summer Time, Sweetheart like You, Don’t Fall apart on me Tonight, Every Grain of Sand, Time is a Jet Plane, Desolation Row, Tomorrow is a Long Time’ - Hynde’s song choices from Dylan’s extensive catalogue were unusual. 


And included a brighter change of tempo with the songs - ‘You’re s Big Girl Now’ from Blood on the Tracks (1974); two songs from ‘Shot of Love’ (1981) from Dylan’s religious period, and three from the Infidels Sessions (1983); ‘Tomorrow is a Long Time’, a moving love song from the Freewheelin’ session(1963), and ‘Love Minus Zero/No Limit’ from Bringing It All Back Home (1965) .


A highlight was her insightful interpretation of Dylan’s ‘Blind Willie McTell’ backed by a wonderful interplay of instrumental lines. Her choice of a couple of Ray Davies of the Kinks, songs were also popular – ‘I go to Sleep’.

Later in the set she stood to perform which changed the vibe totally – and sang Stuck in the Middle, I get along without you, Crying in Public, For her encore Hydne performed the unexpected and expertly woven treasure the French song “Que reste-t-il de nos amours”, Chauliac-Trenet classic from her album Valve Bone Woe. 

Her voice gives goose bumps and is instantly memorable and magnetically expressive, with the distinctive depth and range of her husky tones that hug her lower register. My favourite Chrissie song is I’ll stand by you and I might have wished she would have performed a few more favourites for us all to sing along to. How wonderful to be back in a live gig though!

The Rails

**Hynde was well supported by the duo The Rails, Kami Thompson (daughter of Richard and Linda) and James Walbourne (guitarist with The Pretenders) previous winners of Best New Artist at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and I enjoyed their song, ‘Breakneck Speed.’ 

A companion film called 'Tomorrow Is A Long Time', which details the recording of the album, is also available via Sky Arts.

Saturday 25 July 2020

Rough and Rowdy, Bob Dylan

'Considered, elegiac and richly allusive, this austere gem may be Dylan’s best album in 40 years' Bryan Applyard , Sunday Times july 2020
This is his first album since Tempest 2012. I read a wonderful review – “So Bob, you’re 80 next year; what have you to say for yourself?“ the overall effect is austere, serious and pared down. It is a mesmeric and magnificent piece of work. 
"The songs vary from romantic to surreal. His rhyming is as ingenious, playful and varied as ever.” Lyrically Dylan is operating at a peak not seen since his albums Blood on the Tracks and Blonde on Blonde. 
SONGS:   Key West (Philosopher Pilot)/ Black Rider/  Crossing the Rubicon/  I sing of love/  I sing of betrayal,/ I Contain multitudes/  False Prophet/ My Own Version of You. And the Lovely romantic ballad – I have made up my mind to give myself to you. Dylan writes, “Can you tell me what it means to be or not to be.’
Another link – the assassination of John F Kennedy at the center of Murder most foul, and in a sense of the center of entire album, suggesting, as it does, a dark cloud, which may be death or may be Trump, from which there is no escape.
On the Lyrics on Murder most Foul - “Visiting morgues and monasteries/ looking for the necessary body part” with Freud and Marx looking on. Plus others -   Edgar Allan Poe, William Blake, the bluesman jimmy reed, Elvis, Presley, Allen Ginsberg, jack Kerouac, Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Tom Dooley. This is an assertion that culture comes first, history is a footnote; a long one, but a footnote nonetheless. Culture, like the individual, contains everything, right or wrong, good or bad. Everything is double-edged. 
"Whitman was similarly obsesses with the assignations of his friend Abraham Lincoln. His two most famous poems – ‘Oh Captain! My Captain! – “When Lilacs last in the Dooryard Bloomd” – are about the terrible moment.. 
"The album celebrated the noble conviction – Whitman’s conviction – that you can’t sing about anything without singing about everything. With this album Dylan announces himself as Whitman’s child.  As a way of saying we contain, like Whitman all contradictory possibilities. 
“I’m not what I was; things aren’t what they were.” Back to when he told journalists, you cant put me in a box.”  The backing is sparse but precise,  and beautifully exact in its evocation of genres – ballad, blues and so on.. also a kind of list of American musical forms.” Whitman’s attempted to contain the entire country.  

Tuesday 31 March 2020

DYLAN, early days 1961 to 1969

Dylan left Hibbing Minnesota for New York 1961. He played the coffee houses of Greenwich village and was signed to Columbus records. 

Later that year he wrote some of his best loved songs.
Tambourine Man, Its all Over Now Baby Blue, Backpages, Don’t Think Twice, It Ain’t Me Babe.

'He experienced a dramatic expansion of consciousness'
He knew he’d tapped into something significant and the work was pouring out of him.  Eric Andersen

He took a 3 week tour coast to coast, in a blue ford station wagon. “Dylan in the back, typing incessantly at a portable typewriter, fuelled by Beaujolais, cigarettes, the odd benzamine and periodically m mailed to them at various stops along the way, let the word spill out, watching them dance in new and unexpected ways." 

"The way in which fantastic musicians could reduce a song to three minutes and do it in a marvellously surreal way, that it had an arc to it – that’s the way I edit films. You learn the wonder of making up stuff as you go along. “ D.A, Pennebaker, documentary maker Dont Look Back.
He credits his love of jazz for his improvisational documentary techniques. “jazz is how I learned to edit film, cos I never went to film school."

He went electric with his band. He wanted the band sound to work naturally around the songs – that is Dylan played and sang and the musicians had to fit in and improvise, to expand the sound. 

Dylan’s electric records. Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde,  
“it was like the old Ezra Pound adage that music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance, and poetry begins to atrophy when it gets too far from the music.”  Eric Andersen

“It was the first time we heard his album Bringing it all Back Home, Bob put it on this rickety old record player and turned it up. He was obviously very happy. We were dancing around the room for the entire length of the first side and transported by the performances on Side Two."

Sunday 31 December 2017

The Value of the Arts

Those who enrich our lives with the newfound art they forged.’

In his book Why Dylan Matters, Professor Richard F Thomas, writes of the poignant moment when Bob Dylan looked at his Nobel prize medal for literature. He was there April 1st 2017, for two performances at Stockholm’s Waterfront at the start of a 28 concert tour. 

The medal has the words by the poet Virgil inscribed round it - 
“And they who bettered life on earth by their newly found mastery.”


‘Music and poetry that would prove to be enduring, memorable and meaningful to ages beyond their own. Dylan and the ancients explore the essential question of what it means to be human.’

You hurt the ones that I love best
And cover up the truth with lies.
One day you’ll be in the ditch,
Flies buzzin around your eyes,
Blood on your saddle.’

Idiot Wind, Bob Dylan
“When the arts are neglected and obscured, people suffer from dullness of ignorance.” Alan Raich
In their book The Arts and the Nation, Alan Raich, Alexander Moffat and John Purser examine the importance of all the arts to the health of our national life.  Many see the rise of imperial nationalism, of say Nazi Germany, as a imposition of unwanted values and a narrow prejudice. The antidote to unitary, conformist, bigoted nationalism is “state regionalism”  which is there in the arts of the Celts.  

“Which is why Scotland’s independence should explicitly and vigorously favour the constituent identities of the island archipelagos all the points of the compass, the diversities of language and culture, overlaps and contrast, all the territories of the nation.” Only possible through the arts. It is words, poetry, art and music that is left long after all the fluff and nonsense disappears....

Monday 24 October 2016

Mr Bob Dylan’s Nobel Literature prize

Political choice too - in todays rather scary world of extreme, fearful and narrow governments, who are giving into the voices of fear.
 Bob wrote of our common humanity, of tolerance, of inclusion and diversity, harmony.  Play a song for me Bob, play it questioning, sometimes angry sometimes full of wonder. Play it loud and deep.. The answers may yet be blowing in the wind.

Bob wrote of Masters of War, of a hard rain a going to fall, of love conquering all, of important freedoms,
He tied himself to the nearest tree, with the deepest roots.
Play it loud now Bob for all the disenfranchised, for those who cannot be heard, for the weak, for the blind….
Forever Young photos by Douglas Gilbert
 Journey to Becoming:  the Travelling Journeyman 
 FOLK SONGS spoke to him most directly… Dylan looked for songs that make you question what you’d always accepted, that break hearts, have power of spirit.
We are in a constant state of becoming.
He always believed in the constant state of becoming, that you must always travel and never arrive, that the road does not lead to the truth - the road is the truth.
The times writer Bryan Appleyard wrote,  ‘Not only does Dylan make great art, he inspires it I others.’
‘When you got nothing you got nothing to lose,
You’re invisible now, you go no secrets to conceal.’ 
His voice was full of honesty about life - yes life is tough at times - but also his voice and words are full of hopes.  I missed Dylan the first time around.  I was too young for his first albums while I remember his songs, Blowin In The Winds, Mr Tambourine Man and Like A Rolling Stone - although these songs were often sung by others on the radio. In 2009 I watched Scorceses' informed, clever and inspired documentary on Dylan and what an 'ear' opener that was and from then everything changed for me - thank you Scorcese! 
Times they are A-Changing
You never arrive.
Words change their meaning.
Time changes everything
Can’t be wise and in love at the same time.

I read these notes he wrote for Broadside 1962. And this is it for me too - those who see wrong but walk on by.   "Too many people are telling me where the answer is, but oh, I don't believe that. I still say its in the wind and just like a restless piece of paper , its got to come down some time, But the only trouble is that no one picks up the answer when it comes down so not many people get to see and know it.. and then it flies away again, I still say that some of the biggest criminals are those who turn their heads away when they see wrong and know its wrong.............."
It is all about spin when there is no vision or passions, that's what worries me the most...about centralizing power and in so doing restricting our basic human rights and freedoms, its very very scary. We have a system in place with no checks and balances to the power of the 'Crown' or Royal perrogative that resides with our prime minister. I read the Tory's in Westminster want to restrict our Human Rights and ban Extremism.

We have to value our independent, informed and free thinkers – they are few and far in-between.

Dylan, "People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient and then repent... "
Is it the large media companies and their accountants who only want artists to play safe and who sing of the MOR and everything's OK with nothing too controversial? What would they make of a young Dylan singing Masters of War today? Would he even get a label deal?  I guess only in the folk circuits – how did Dylan get heard!

Where are any young singer songwriter with a voice of grit who might challenge assumptions. After all what is art is it doesn’t challenge?

One of the greatest Biographers of Bob Dylan was the award-winning Scottish journalist Ian Bell (who sadly died in 2015). I went to his talk on his book Time Out of Mind at Edinburgh book festival in 2015.  My BLOG on Ian Bell

Thursday 25 September 2014

Dylan wrote on political issues

Dylan wrote on political issues - but he fled from being tied to any one ideology or to men in suits and straight jackets.  He went straight to the heart of things, never skirting around the edges or pretending.  He looked at things from all the angles - he questioned and illuminated weakness, falseness, beauty and all the shades of grey,
He wrote songs that have had the most impact on issues such as those who peddling war - most remarkably in "Masters of War"
"Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul."

He wrote songs such as "You Gotta Serve Someone" which looks so cleverly and insightfully at what motivates us most.  
When I feel have questions and I feel confused over ignorance, I turn to Dylan's true, honest and questioning voice... His songs are A great reassurance in an often highly confusing world - and the knowing there are poetic voices of truth out there - even when the truth may not be what we might want to hear.
Quote Dylan, "There's no black and white, left and right to me anymore; there's only up and down and down is very close to the ground. And I'm trying to go up without thinking about anything trivial such as politics. They has got nothing to do with it. I'm thinking about the general people and when they get hurt."
I read these notes he wrote for Broadside 1962 - and this is it for me too - about those who see wrong but walk on by. 
"Too many people are telling me where the answer is, but oh, I dont believe that. I still say its in the wind and just like a restless piece of paper , its got to come down some time, But the only trouble is that no one picks up the answer when it comes down so not many people get to see and know it.. and then it flies away again, I still say that some of the biggest criminals are those who turn their heads away when they see wrong and know its wrong.............."

It is all about spin when there is no vision or passions, that's what worries me the most...about centralizing power and in so doing restricting our basic human rights and freedoms, its very very scary. We have a system in place with no checks and balances to the power of the 'Crown' that resides with our prime minister.

Quote Dylan, "People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient and then repent... "

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Ian Bell; Time Out of Mind at EIBF 2014

I have read Ian Bell on the Scottish Independence questions in the only press for YES, The Sunday Herald, and he writes well on why Scottish Independence is the most sensible way forward.   

Bell gave an informed and entertaining chat on the most famous songwriter for more than a generation, of our times and also timeless, with fellow Scottish journalist Alan Taylor at Edinburgh International Book festival 2014. He said Dylan was enigmatic, elusive and perhaps unexplainable and hard to unravel. When the character that he created became successful was Dylan content with what he had created? Dylan's time as the folk singer of protest songs was only brief and he shied away from any leadership role. He was an artist, not a leader. He thought art tends to flee when politics arrive and that is propaganda and not art. 

Dylan always had a need to reinvent himself. Bell said he was a brilliant editor of verses. He was both defiant and fearless, and he doesn't care what others may be doing.  He was also terrifically ambitious. 

Bell said Dylan's 1974 Blood on The Tracks was an extraordinary return to an even higher artistic form.

He said although Dylan's Chronicles was embedded with many quotations he wasn't allowed to quote directly from his autobiography. Dylan wrote about how he steals. The fact is all artist steal it just depends how we do it and what we do with it and with the worldwide web its just all become a much hotter thing to deal with. 

He spoke of Dylan's Bootleg series and that some are terrible recordings but we need them to understand Dylan. He said that Dylan was royally ripped of by his first manager Albert Grossman. 
Bell thought today's generation has it too easy with access to millions of artists. Back then you followed the artists, curating material. In a sea of music, authenticity becomes important to a minority.

Dylan was influenced by poetry, American history, Joan Baez, Robert Burns and the Scottish border ballads. He took bits and pieces from My Hearts in The Highlands. He then stepped away from any political commentary in his songs such as the Vietnam war.

Ian offered some favourite song lines. We all have them, any of us long time Dylan listeners - although he said he didn't particularly like to have favourite ones.  
 'Ain't it just like the night when your tryin' to be so quiet/  Once upon a time you dressed so fine,
 'I'm not There' was a favourite song he said, about those connections between what you understand and why you understand it.

He said that Dylan had a 'Burned cathedral of a voice which worked, especially for Dylan the live performer.' We know Dylan through his songs.

He felt there was something to be gained by knowing Dylan's life, times and art - and how the three work together.
Bob Dylan Glasgow 2011