Sunday, October 11, 2009

*“Tangled Up In Blue”- Up Close And Personal With Bob Dylan’s “Blood On The Tracks” Album-The Trans-Atlantic View

Click On Title To Link To YouTube's Film Clip Of Bob Dylan performing "Tangled Up In Blue' From The 'Blood On The Tracks" Album.

DVD Review

Bob Dylan: Changing Tracks, Edgehill, 2006

Most of the review below was used in a review of the film documentary “Bob Dylan:1966-1978: After The Crash”, which covers much of the same material, as background, to an up close and personal discussion among Trans-Atlantic professionals music critics about what is, perhaps, Bob Dylan’s master work “Blood On The Tracks”. There should be no question that the lushness and profuseness of the lyrics of more than a dozen songs presented under one album cover may be unequaled in music history. Maybe something of the Beatles, maybe of the Stones or that one of Elvis’ in 1956 but not much else is even in the competition:

“Okay, okay I have gone on and one over the past year or so about the influence of Bob Dylan’s music (and lyrics) on me, and on my generation, the Generation of ’68. But, please, don’t blame me. Blame Bob. After all he could very easily have gone into retirement and enjoyed the fallout from his youthful fame and impressed one and all at his local AARP chapter. But, no, he had to go out on the road continuously, seemingly forever, keeping his name and music front and center. Moreover, the son of a gun has done more reinventions of himself than one could shake a stick at (folk troubadour, symbolic poet in the manner of Rimbaud and Verlaine, heavy metal rocker, blues man, etc.) So, WE are left with forty or so years of work to go through to try to sort it out. In short, can I (or anyone else) help it if he is restless and acts, well, …. like a rolling stone?”

Frankly, I have covered so much Bob Dylan material, early, middle and late, over the past year I am beginning to feel like the guy interviewed in the “After The Crash” DVD who made something of a ‘journalistic’ career (if also a nuisance) of going through Dylan’s garbage to see if he could find the “Rosetta Stone” to decode the meaning of his lyrics. Whew! At least I am not that bad off. I “merely” write reviews of what, as is the case here, Trans-Atlantic (meaning from the British Isles and their environs) professional music reviewers think Dylan was up to and his place in the folk/rock/pop pantheons.

I will just quickly run through the main points that are presented here as the “talking heads’ who dominate this documentary are fully capable of taking you through the technical/musical/cultural/personal highlights of this lyrically beautiful and poetically dense album from a very productive period in Dylan’ career. The center of the documentary revolves around a serious discussion of the first song “Tangled Up In Blue”, its meaning in Dylan ‘s personal life (he was having marital difficulties), his movement away from the starkness of some of his earlier American roots roots-oriented music ("John Wesley Harding") and his desire to develop a “concept” album heading back to a more folk/rock look than some of his just previous work. Additional highlights center on the bittersweet” Idiot Wind” and the ambivalent “Shelter From The Storm”. Less time is spent on my favorite, “If You See Her, Say Hello’ and my now up and coming favorite (after I heard Dave Van Ronk do a version) “Buckets Of Rain”. If you have to chose though between this one hour presentation and the other two hour, “After The Crash”, DVD mentioned above go for the latter, it is more complete story of this period in Dylan’s musical evolution.

"Tangled up in Blue"

Early one mornin the sun was shinin,
I was layin in bed
Wondrin if shed changed at all
If her hair was still red.
Her folks they said our lives together
Sure was gonna be rough
They never did like mamas homemade dress
Papas bankbook wasnt big enough.
And I was standin on the side of the road
Rain fallin on my shoes

Heading out for the east coast
Lord knows Ive paid some dues gettin through,
Tangled up in blue.

She was married when we first met
Soon to be divorced
I helped her out of a jam, I guess,
But I used a little too much force.
We drove that car as far as we could
Abandoned it out west
Split up on a dark sad night
Both agreeing it was best.
She turned around to look at me
As I was walkin away
I heard her say over my shoulder,
Well meet again someday on the avenue,
Tangled up in blue.

I had a job in the great north woods
Working as a cook for a spell
But I never did like it all that much
And one day the ax just fell.
So I drifted down to new orleans
Where I happened to be employed
Workin for a while on a fishin boat
Right outside of delacroix.
But all the while I was alone
The past was close behind,
I seen a lot of women
But she never escaped my mind, and I just grew
Tangled up in blue.

She was workin in a topless place
And I stopped in for a beer,
I just kept lookin at the side of her face
In the spotlight so clear.
And later on as the crowd thinned out
Is just about to do the same,
She was standing there in back of my chair
Said to me, dont I know your name?
I muttered somethin underneath my breath,
She studied the lines on my face.
I must admit I felt a little uneasy
When she bent down to tie the laces of my shoe,
Tangled up in blue.

She lit a burner on the stove and offered me a pipe
I thought youd never say hello, she said
You look like the silent type.
Then she opened up a book of poems
And handed it to me
Written by an italian poet
From the thirteenth century.
And every one of them words rang true
And glowed like burnin coal
Pourin off of every page
Like it was written in my soul from me to you,
Tangled up in blue.

I lived with them on montague street
In a basement down the stairs,
There was music in the cafes at night
And revolution in the air.
Then he started into dealing with slaves
And something inside of him died.
She had to sell everything she owned
And froze up inside.
And when finally the bottom fell out
I became withdrawn,
The only thing I knew how to do
Was to keep on keepin on like a bird that flew,
Tangled up in blue.

So now Im goin back again,
I got to get to her somehow.
All the people we used to know
Theyre an illusion to me now.
Some are mathematicians
Some are carpenters wives.
Dont know how it all got started,
I dont know what theyre doin with their lives.
But me, Im still on the road
Headin for another joint
We always did feel the same,
We just saw it from a different point of view,
Tangled up in blue.

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