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Saturday, 24 October 2015

Bob Dylan: Shoring up magnificent ruins

With a shuffle that is part slouch, part saunter - both posing and playing - the man in the long black coat and panama hat approaches the microphone to sing ballads and blues. Songs from Tempest are apocalyptic prophecies fashioned as walkin' talkin' blues (shuffles) where the answers are blowin' in the wind of a dirty world; while the songs Sinatra sang are elegiac interludes celebrating lovers in dangerous times.

A genuine legend, but not relient on his past or back catalogue, as most of the songs came from the last two albums. All but three were from the renaissance that began with Time Out Of Mind and, despite this, the show still resulted in a standing ovation - not what would have happened in the 80s or 90s!

These are the albums where he has been accused of plagiarism for fashioning together phrases drawn from an eclectic selection of lyrics and literature. But, as William Burroughs said, "All writing is in fact cut-ups. A collage of words read heard overheard. What else?" Like T.S. Eliot, Dylan has been shoring fragments against his ruins and what magnificent ruins; both the work and the man!

More reflections on Dylan can be found in my co-authored book The Secret Chord or by clicking here.


Bob Dylan - Love Sick.

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