Wednesday, October 10, 2018

For Bob Dylan*Tribute Album Potpourri- A Tip Of The Hat To Bob Dylan- A Voice Of His Generation

Click On Title To Link To YouTube's Film Clip Of Bob Dylan Doing "Boots Of Spanish Leather".


This Is Part Of A Four Artist Tribute Album Potpourri- A Tip Of The Hat To Hank Williams, Mississippi John Hurt, Bob Dylan and Greg Brown.

A musical performer knows that he or she has arrived when they have accumulated enough laurels and created enough songs to be worthy, at least in some record producer's eyes, of a tribute album. When they are also alive to accept the accolades as two out of the four of the artists under review are, which in these cases is only proper, that is all to the good. That said, not all tribute albums are created equally. Some are full of star-studded covers, others are filled with lesser lights who have been influenced by the artist that they are paying tribute to. As a general proposition though I find it a fairly rare occurrence, as I have noted in a review of the “Timeless” tribute album to Hank Williams, that the cover artist outdoes the work of the original recording artist. With that point in mind I will give my “skinny” on the cover artists here.

A Voice Of His Generation

Nod To Bob: An Artists’ Tribute To Bob Dylan on his Sixtieth Birthday, various artists, Red House Records, 2001

It seems hard to believe now both in regard to the performer, here Bob Dylan, as well as to what was being attempted that anyone would take umbrage at a performer using an electric guitar to tell a folk story (or any story for that matter). It is not necessary to go into all the details of what or what did not happen with Pete Seeger at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 to know that one should be glad, glad as hell, that Bob Dylan continued to listen to his own drummer and carry on a career based on electronic music.

Others have, endlessly, gone on about Bob Dylan’s role as the voice of his generation (and mine), his lyrics and what they do or do not mean and his place in the rock or folk pantheons, or both. I just want to comment on a few songs and cover artists on this 60th birthday album. Overall this Red House Records (a well-known alternate folk tradition recording outfit) production is a true folkies’ tribute to old Bob where the artists, while well-known in the folk field, probably as not as familiar to the general listener. Nevertheless several covers stick out: John Gorka’s rendition of the longing that pervades “Girl Of The North Country" is fine, as is the desperate longing of Martin Simpson’s “Boots Of Spanish Leather”. Greg Brown does a rousing version of “Pledging My Time” and the long time folk singer Rosalie Sorrels does a very measured version of “Tomorrow Is A Long Time”. The finale is appropriately done by old time folkie, and early Dylan companion on the folk scene, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot with “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” Solid work here. Kudos.

The Times They Are A-Changin'

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

Copyright ©1963; renewed 1991 Special Rider Music

Blowin' In The Wind

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, 'n' how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, 'n' how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea?
Yes, 'n' how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head,
Pretending he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, 'n' how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Copyright ©1962; renewed 1990 Special Rider Music

Like A Rolling Stone

Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you?
People'd call, say, "Beware doll, you're bound to fall"
You thought they were all kiddin' you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin' out
Now you don't talk so loud
Now you don't seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next meal.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

You've gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely
But you know you only used to get juiced in it
And nobody has ever taught you how to live on the street
And now you find out you're gonna have to get used to it
You said you'd never compromise
With the mystery tramp, but now you realize
He's not selling any alibis
As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes
And ask him do you want to make a deal?

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns
When they all come down and did tricks for you
You never understood that it ain't no good
You shouldn't let other people get your kicks for you
You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat
Ain't it hard when you discover that
He really wasn't where it's at
After he took from you everything he could steal.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people
They're drinkin', thinkin' that they got it made
Exchanging all kinds of precious gifts and things
But you'd better lift your diamond ring, you'd better pawn it babe
You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
Go to him now, he calls you, you can't refuse
When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You're invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

Copyright ©1965; renewed 1993 Special Rider Music

The Answer My Friend Is Blowing (No Clipped “G”) In The Wind-The Influence Of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’” On The “Generation of’68”-The Best Part Of That Cohort

Link to NPR Morning Edition 'The Times They Are A-Changin" Still Speaks To Our Changing Times

By Seth Garth
No question this publication both in its former hard copy editions and now more so in the on-line editions as the, ouch, 50th anniversary of many signature events for the “Generation of ‘68” have come and gone that the whole period of the 1950s and 1960s had gotten a full airing. Has been dissected, deflected, inspected, reflected and even rejected beyond compare. That is not to say that this trend won’t continue if for no other reason that the demographics and actual readership response indicate that people still have a desire to not forget their pasts, their youth.
(Under the new site manager Greg Green, despite what I consider all good sense having worked under taskmaster Allan Jackson, we are encouraged to give this blessed readership some inside dope, no, no that kind, about how things are run these days in an on-line publication. With that okay in mind there was a huge controversy that put the last sentence in the above paragraph in some perspective recently when Greg for whatever ill-begotten reason thought that he would try to draw in younger audiences by catering to their predilections-for comic book character movies, video games, graphic novels and trendy music and got nothing but serious blow-back from those who have supported this publication financially and otherwise both in hard copy times and now on-line. What that means as the target demographic fades is another question and maybe one for a future generation who might take over the operation. Or perhaps like many operations this one will not outlast its creators- and their purposes.)    
Today’s 1960s question, a question that I have asked over the years and so I drew the assignment to address the issue-who was the voice of the 1960s. Who or what. Was it the lunchroom sit-inners and Freedom Riders, what it the hippies, was it SDS, the various Weather configurations, acid, rock, folk rock, folk, Tom Hayden, Jane Fonda, Abbie Hoffman, Grace Slick, hell the Three Js-Joplin, Jimi, Jim as in Morrison and the like. Or maybe it was a mood, a mood of disenchantment about a world that seemed out of our control, which seemed to be running without any input from us, without us even being asked. My candidate, and not my only candidate but a recent NPR Morning Edition segment brought the question to mind (see above link), is a song, a song created by Bob Dylan in the early 1960s which was really a clarion call to action on our part, or the best part of our generation-The Times They Are A-Changin’.    
I am not sure if Bob Dylan started out with some oversized desire to be the “voice” of his generation. He certainly blew the whole thing off later after his motorcycle accident and still later when he became a recluse even if he did 200 shows a year, maybe sullen introvert is better, actually maybe his own press agent giving out dribbles is even better but that song, that “anthem” sticks in memory as a decisive summing up of what I was feeling at the time. (And apparently has found resonance with a new generation of activists via the March for Our Lives movement and other youth-driven movements.) As a kid I was antsy to do something, especially once I saw graphic footage on commercial television of young black kids being water-hosed, beaten and bitten by dogs down in the South simply for looking for some rough justice in this wicked old world. Those images, and those of the brave lunch-room sitters and Freedom bus riders were stark and compelling. They and my disquiet over nuclear bombs which were a lot scarier then when there were serious confrontations which put them in play and concern that what bothered me about having no say, about things not being addressed galvanized me.
The song “spoke to me” as it might not have earlier or later. It had the hopeful ring of a promise of a newer world. That didn’t happen or happen in ways that would have helped the mass of humanity but for that moment I flipped out every time I heard it played on the radio or on my old vinyl records record-player. Other songs, events, moods, later would overtake this song’s sentiment but I was there at the creation. Remember that, please.   

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