Mudcat Café message #3816538 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #160763   Message #3816538
Posted By: Jim Carroll
25-Oct-16 - 07:18 PM
Thread Name: Bob Dylan: Nobel laureate
Subject: RE: Bob Dylan: Nobel laureate
"maybe Jim and other folks who don't like Dylan. "
It really isn't a matter of liking or disliking him - I dislike lots of music and lots of singers, but that's down to my taste - not what they are providing for their fans.
I tried to like Dylan so hard in the early days - I really did - if, for no other reason than the fact that all my mates did.
Nothing - chewing gum you chewed on for a bit which, after a short time, lost its taste - like the bit Tommy Steele stuck on his bedpost overnight.
I worked hard at trying to understand what he did and after several years, came to the conclusion that it was totally pretentious - as phony as the guff spouted by wine buffs.
My opinion was vindicate by his own confession that what he wrote had no meaning.
It really would help here if one of his fans addressed what he had to say about his work.
I was very taken by what I believe to be a brilliant anonymous piece of satire on Dylan which appeared in one of the better folk magazines of the 1960s.
It reflects Dylan's work when he was regarded as a folk singer another of those strange anomalies is that, while he got to the point where he openly moved from Folk to Pop, and said as much when he wrote:
"Strike another match, go start anew
And it's all over now, baby blue"
His fans never did and continued to argue for him being "folk", which he had openly rejected.
I believe this did a great deal of damage to real folk music damage it never really recovered from in Britain and the U.S.
Jim Carroll

Speedwell's confessions cont.
I discover Bobbie Dylan's secret
Jack Speedwell.
Jack Speedwell, disguised as a down-at-heel literary man and rogue journalist, haunts the purlieus of the British folk scene.
Originally a foundling, Speedwell was brought up and educated by lay-brothers attached to an obscure sect of Jehosophart's Wetnoses. By training and temperament he was destined to spend his life writing inoffensive squibs for Song and Dance, organ of the EFDSS. Captured by sinister Chinese agents, he is subjected to prolonged brainwashing and then let loose upon the unsuspecting world of the folk revival. There, carrying out the post-hypnotic commands of his erstwhile captors, he embarks upon the foul task of filtering the poison of ideas into the atmosphere of love and togetherness which surrounds the revival. One of the main targets for his hatred is the boy-genius, B. Dylan. Speedwell never questions the blind forces which urge him on to destroy the public image of this brilliant youth until one day he reads a review written by the famous seminarist, the Reverend Sydney Carter, D.D. and, as a result, his mind is restored to its former balance. Horrified by the realisation of the damage which his evil criticism must have wrought upon virgin minds, Speedwell determines to make amends by publicly confessing his sins.   NOW READ ON:

Consider this couplet from God on your side:

Though they murdered 6 million, in the ovens they fried,
The Germans now too have God on their side,

The tremendous sweep of this couplet, with the extraordinary simplicity of the diction, cannot he matched outside of McGonigal's immortal poem on The Tay Bridge Disaster:

So the train mov'd slowly along the Bridge of Tay
Until it was about mid-day,
Then the central girders with a crash gave way,
And down went the train and passengers into the Tay.

The Storm-fiend did loudly bray
Because ninety lives had been taken away,
On the last Sabbath Day of 1879,
Which will be remembered for a very long time.

Note the way that both these masters make use of the evocative phrase. What could he more stirring than the frying image in Bobby's poem? Everyone in these islands who has ever queued for fish-and-chips and idly read the frying schedule above the great pans will he moved by it.
But Bobby's tremendous craftmanship is seen at its best in Fare thee well, my own true love; the song on which The Leaving of Liverpool was based. The opening stanza is a model of economy:

Oh, it's fare thee well, my darlin' true,
I'm a-leavin' in the first hour of the morn;
I'm off for the Bay of Mexico,
Or maybe the coast of Californ.

The omission of the final "i-a, is a touch of genius, and by effecting it, Bobby Dylan has opened up the road to a completely new and simplified rhyming system.
Just think of its immense possibilities when applied to British place-names; for example:

Do not weep for me, my dear,
For soon 1'll be returning;
By tomorrow afternoon
I'11 be back with you in Birming.

Goodbye, old girl, I'm leavin' you,
It's back to my old ranch;
Soon I'll be in Calif
Leaving you in Manch.
Mother, mother, I am hungry,
What is on the shelf?
Alas, dear daughter, times are hard
Now we are in Belf.

It is equally effective in other metrical forms, such, as:

Aberd, Aberd,
Prettiest place I ever heard.

In the second stanza of Fare thee well, Bobby introduces yet another brilliant literary innovation in the phrase:

I'm a'travellin' on a path-beaten trail.

"Path-beaten trail" -what tremendous possibilities are opened up by this kind of usage. For example:

0, my dearest darling, pity my achin' feet
As I proceed upon my way, down the roady street.

One day I will come back to you,
Along the streety avenue.

These examples by no means exhaust Bobby's amazing ingenuity, there are similar revolutionary ideas of composition to he found throughout all his work; British songwriters would do well to study them.
There! I feel better for having written that. It is as if a great burden had been removed from my shoulders and it is my fervent hope that my humble words will have the effect of wiping out all those dreadful things I once wrote about Bobby. Soon I will he completely cleansed of all my uncharitable tendencies for, in the near future, I intend to make restitution to Joanie, too. Yes, Joanie-pony, one day I will he worthy of you and people will point at me and say "There goes the most amiable fellow in the world."

Folk Music magazine; Vol. 1 No 10. 1964