Arguably the three greatest albums of 1966 are The Beatles: Revolver, The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds and Bob Dylan: Blonde on Blonde.
I bought the first one when I was 11 and the 2nd a few years ago and never got around to the third until my birthday on Sunday. I’ve been playing it over and over on long car journeys to get to know it; it is taking a long time, but it is enjoyable.
The best music is not easily apprehended; it needs to seep into you and become part of you. There have been times when I have not been aware of driving: so hypnotic are the songs.
You have to get past ‘the voice’, or rather you have to ‘get’ the voice. It is not easy: ‘What is that sound- is that singing?’ my teenage son opined. Slowly I am starting to move beyond liking parts of the album to loving it. This particular track especially: it is almost hypnotic in the album version.
This is a spoiler for tomorrow, I guess.
I was driving along, hypnotised by this album when this came to mind about Dylan and this album in particular. He just doesn’t care- yet he cares.
He cares about the quality of what he produces. He cares about the integrity of what he sings and how he comes across. Yet he does not seem to care too much about fitting in and being like everyone else: he has something to put across and might fail gloriously in the process.
I am not deifying him: I have some of his albums but I am not a hardcore fan. I know he is not the Messiah, nor a very naughty boy.
It just struck me that aspect of his work is a good motif for your 50s- you do care about what you produce, work at, how you relate to people, but at the same time you don’t care: you become confident enough to not fit in, to speak up when it would be easier to be quiet & no longer worship ‘image’.
That’s the theory anyway…
I once had a ticket to see Bob Dylan. Except I never saw him: he had a heart attack and the show was cancelled. I now hold to this irrational belief that I will never die until I see Bob Dylan. He is 70 today and my chances of seeing him lessen: maybe then I will never die…..
I have several Dylan albums, but I don’t have a favourite Dylan track, although I hold to the theory that ‘Blood on the Tracks’ is one of the great albums and it is one I could play and play.
I don’t think you can say that you ‘like’ Bob Dylan- he just is…..it would be rather like saying that you ‘liked’ oxygen.
In tribute to this inestimable talent on his 70th, I post a video:-
I don’t spend all my time and income buying music; maybe around 91% of it, but that is all.
So I’m in North Wales, and the good friend we are staying with has managed to entice my two children into buying the ingredients for a meal and then cooking a meal. If I had suggested this, I would have got no response or ‘boring’ if I was lucky.
We set out together with no real plan apart from walking on the coast. We stop at a car boot sale and some fine upstanding yeoman seller is selling a stack of sealed CD’s- I snaffle up the above (2cd and dvd edition) and the last David Gray for five of your english pounds.
And you know what; when I get around to listening to it (often on my own- my wife thinks that the children are better served by listening to story cds and banal kids’ songs) it is really rather good……knowing, louche almost (and that is the first time I have used that word), lyrically complex, well played, professional and ……..with a voice only a mother could love. I listened to it 2 nights ago when cleaning the oven (and being 44, that is as good as it gets).
And when a 9 year old says ‘Dad can I listen to Bob Dylan when I go to bed?’ I want to say ‘My work here is done’.
‘All I have and all I know
Is this dream of you which keeps me living on’