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Fair enough, @rpeluso. I assume then that you also disagree with Dylan's assertion that politics is trivial? ;-)
Iris Dement recorded a great political song I love entitled "Wasteland Of The Free", so I'm not against them in principle. But when Jackson focusses on politically-themed lyrics, he tends to put less effort into the musical content of his songs. At least, that's how it sounds to me.
I love the great chord progressions and melodies in his earlier songs, his newer ones sounding rather common, nothing special. When he gets together with Graham Nash and David Crosby, for me there is entirely too much lecturing going on. Still love the man, and his earlier albums.
It is an interesting tiltle. The line from the song "like a rolling stone". In a 60 minutes interview Bob say's how he "made a bargain a long time ago and I'm holding up my end" - "to get where I am now". A bargain with - "the chief commander from this world and a world we cannot see" so.. No Direction Home (?)
Well, let's see.
Freewheeling: Blowin' in the Wind, Masters of War, Hard Rain, Oxford Town, Talking WW3 Blues.
Times they are Achangin':Lonesome death of Hattie Carroll, God on our Side, Only a pawn, When the sip comes in, Hollis Brown.
Another Side: Chimes of Freedom, whichever contains, "You unpatriotic rotten doctor commie rat".
Bringing it all: Maggie's farm, Gates of Eden.
Highway 61: Highway 61, Desolation Row.
Naw. Hardly political at all.
And of course it begs the question, how is the neighborhood? Has it been saved ? I suspect that Bob might have changed a bit since acceptance of that award.
i appreciate his lyrics and biting commentary on Infidels a much later work...
” when will they take away his license to kill ? “ sounds like that lyric could have been written last week... and so sadly.... next week
as for Jackson, Looking East is my theme song.... but sure I love For a Dancer, etc....
@tomcy6, Dylan’s statement was his announcement that he had moved on, above and beyond the plane of left vs. right (politics), to that of right vs. wrong (morality). He has done that for many years; not in the literal, obvious way of his early (pre-Blonde On Blonde) work, but in a more subtle, artistic, abstract manner. It’s like the difference between Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch. ;-) But every once in a while, Bob violates that dictum, as he did in "Hurricane." I doubt he would now write and record a song about the killing of George Floyd, but he has just done his new one about JFK. Not exactly literal, is it? ;-)
As I above said, I love Iris Dement’s "Wasteland Of The Free", which can be considered a "protest" song. It is written from the perspective of Christian values (she is a believer, raised Pentecostal), bemoaning how those in positions of religious and political power use that power not as they profess---in the service of their Savior and congregation, or constituents, but in the cynical pursuit of their own self-interest. She makes her feelings about hypocrisy very obvious.
I appreciate that, but the lyrics are not the only thing I love about the song; it is great musically. I don’t begrudge Jackson Browne his efforts in the cause of pursuing social and/or economic justice (though he does it in an entirely too "earnest" manner for my liking), but the music he puts those lyrics to just isn’t that good, not nearly as good as his earlier, pre-overtly-political lyric songs are. In my opinion, of course.
I generally avoid attempting to discern what an artist meant by their creation. What is more instructive is how an artist’s work is perceived by its viewers, readers or listeners. In that vein, one way to interpret Bob Dylan’s words upon his acceptance of the the ACLU award is that he sees institutions and laws not where they lie on a political spectrum, but whether they support an individual’s quest to develop to their fullest potential or whether they oppress people (hence the up or down reference).
@bdp24 " The songs you cite were all in his rear view mirror by the time he made that statement."
Not so. Chimes of Freedom (Another side) was written after JFK’s assassination. As were Bringing it All Back Home and Highway 61. Now that I think of it, how about John Wesley Harding, a friend to the poor?
Dylan did not become the ’Voice of His Generation’ by channelling Rock-a-Day Johnny, and singing,
Tell your Ma, tell your Pa, our loves is gonna grow.
He had a conscience and used it for good.
My Back Pages, Bob Dylan
Crimson flames tied through my ears, rollin’ high and mighty traps
Pounced with fire on flaming roads using ideas as my maps
"We’ll meet on edges, soon, " said I, proud ’neath heated brow
Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now
Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth, "rip down all hate, " I screamed
Lies that life is black and white spoke from my skull, I dreamed
Romantic facts of musketeers foundationed deep, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now
Girls’ faces formed the forward path from phony jealousy
To memorizing politics of ancient history
Flung down by corpse evangelists, unthought of, though somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then. I’m younger than that now
Damn, 80 years old. Of course some people live to be 100, but not often in the music biz. On the road at 80 years old---brutal! Though he stays in nice hotels, has a crew to do all the heavy lifting, etc., performing under hot lights for an hour or more night after night is not easy, even when young. He has a nice tour bus, but driving those long miles between cities is a real grind.
These days taking pain killers to combat injuries is commonplace, and can (and does) easily lead to death. Prince and Petty thought they had it under control; unfortunately, they were mistaken. But Dylan's been around a long time, and has obviously learned his substance tolerance.
Still, any day now we could wake up to the news that he has died. I had a friend who went to bed one night, and died in his sleep. Only 55, but he had a terrible diet. In the past five years, three guys I worked with have died---Emitt Rhodes, John Wicks (of The Records semi-fame), and Evan Johns, the last two younger than I. Heck, I could wake up in the morning dead. ;-)