Mudcat Café message #3526383 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #151152   Message #3526383
Posted By: Little Hawk
14-Jun-13 - 11:35 AM
Thread Name: Joni Mitchell interview CBC 2013.06.11
Subject: RE: Joni Mitchell interview CBC 2013.06.11
I'm not bothered by her comments about Dylan. There's a good deal of truth in them. The album she refers to him being a plagiarist on is "Love and Theft" (an ironic title?), because he seems to have lifted some of the lyrics in it from a modern Japanese novel:

"Love and Theft" generated controversy when some similarities between the album's lyrics to Japanese writer Junichi Saga's book Confessions of a Yakuza were pointed out.[20][21] Translated to English by John Bester, the book was a biography of one of the last traditional Yakuza bosses in Japan. In the article published in the Journal, a line from "Floater" ("I'm not quite as cool or forgiving as I sound") was traced to a line in the book, which said "I'm not as cool or forgiving as I might have sounded." Another line from "Floater" is "My old man, he's like some feudal lord." On the first lines of the book is the line "My old man would sit there like a feudal lord." However, when informed of this, author Saga's reaction was to feel honored and not abused at Dylan's use of lines from his work.[22]

Why would Bob do that, anyway? Maybe he just liked the novel a lot. Maybe he had writers block at the time? Who knows... Anyway, I really like most Dylan albums, but I couldn't relate to most of the material on "Love and Theft". If he did plagiarize it, I'd have to say he shouldn't have bothered! ;-)

He's definitely more derivative than Joni. She didn't imitate anyone. He started out imitating Woody Guthrie, Jack Elliot, and various others whose musical chops he absorbed....but why shouldn't he have? That's what 99% of us do, we start out imitating our musical heroes, and then we gradually find our own voice.

Joni had her own voice right from the start...as did Buffy Sainte-Marie, another true original.

So, I think Joni's criticisms of Bob Dylan have a good deal of validity...but I still love his songs anyway. They work for me. He has built upon a very rich tradition, and has honored it in so doing.

Forget about getting Joni to stop chain-smoking. It ain't gonna happen. Heck, she's 70! If she hasn't stopped by now, she's not going to.