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Wednesday, July 19th, 2006
1:21 pm - "Sip the Wine"

Asked by Rolling Stone back in 1977 to name his ten favorite records of the last ten years, Greil Marcus wrote: "Every record on this list includes some element -- a riff, a guitar line, a vocal inflection, a, shall we say, moment of truth -- that is beyond the ability of the mind to conceive, or even completely absorb. These records seem like miracles to me." 

For me that moment appears in the third line of "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" ("They'll stone you when you're trying to go home)" when Bob Dylan cracks up and evokes a camaraderie that invites the listener to come along and have fun with him. It's how close Van Morrison's mouth is to the microphone on "Crazy Love" (I especially listen for his staccato inhalations at the beginning of each line in the final verse). Or the inflection in John Lennon's voice at the end of "God," first when he declares, "I don't believe in Beatles," then upping the ante with his simple and elegant phrasing of "The dream is over." 

There are similar moments in movies. For Harlan Ellison it's the pure cinematic note which ends Coppola's The Conversation. Werner Herzog never forgot the look on Klaus Kinski's face the first time he saw him onscreen, in a Fifties war film. For Pauline Kael it was the silence shared by Jason Robards (as Howard Hughes) and Paul Le Mat (as Melvin Dummar) in their drive across the desert in Melvin and Howard

Re-watching Martin Scorsese's The Last Waltz the other day, I was reminded of -- and swept away again by -- a moment of truth that's cinematic and musical. It's not Dylan's fiery performance -- or his look, which falls somewhere in between a bearded Born to Run Bruce and Bella Abzug:

                          +    =     

Nor is it Van Morrison's marvelously mad leprechaun performance wherein he seemingly channels both James Joyce and the Radio City Rockettes. And it's not Neil Young's transcendental rendition of "Helpless" (so gorgeous that even the wad of cocaine lurking inside his left nostril, especially visible on DVD, doesn't detract). 

No, for me the defining moment of The Last Waltz occurs after the Band has purportedly played its last concert and the members have gone their separate ways. Away from the boisterousness and bravado of the rest of the group, bassist/guitarist/violinist/trombonist Rick Danko gives Scorsese a tour of Shangri-La, their recording studio, and the two men sit down alone at the mixing board.

                                                                                    Rick Danko

Scorsese asks him what he's doing now that "The Last Waltz" is over. Danko fumbles for words as he shyly looks around for his hat, which he puts it on as if to hide from not only from the director and his question but from his own new role as solo artist. 

"Just making music, you know," he says. "Trying to stay busy... It's healthy." 

He queues up a new song he's recorded, the lovely "Sip the Wine." As his heartbreaking vocals commence and the camera closes in, Danko, who passed away in 1999 at the age of 56, disappears into listening to his creation. And perhaps because he feels uncertain about sharing something so new with someone sitting right in front of him (let alone that someone being Martin Scorsese, who happens to be filming the experience), or maybe it's because he's embarrassed by the intimacy of the song's lyrics --

I want to lay down beside you
I want to hold your body close to mine

-- but Danko nods his head, and the camera captures in slightly slow motion his face completely disappearing into darkness beneath the brim of his noirish hat. 

The effect is breathtaking and, to paraphrase Marcus, ineffably honest.

current mood: contemplative

(1 song you strum | lay down your weary tune)

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006
11:21 pm - Paul Nelson


Paul Nelson in No Direction Home 

I make lists. Before I moved to New York at the end of last year, I crafted a personal and professional to-do list. One item appeared near the top of both lists: reach out to critic Paul Nelson and let him know how much his work had meant to me. His writings, mostly for Rolling Stone and mostly about music (though occasionally movies and books, about which he was equally qualified to write), helped form what still stand today as my tastes in music, literature, and film. He not only made me want to be a critic, which I did for ten years, he made me want to write about music in a bigger context than just something that plays in the background or fills up the space between commercials on radio. 

Music mattered to Nelson and, if he thought an album worthy, he wanted it to matter to you, too.

Here was a man who was equally conversant writing about Raymond Chandler's hard-boiled detective fiction, the failed romanticism of F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby, the great heart that beat at the center of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, and the magnificence of the Sex Pistols -- sometimes all within the same piece. He was instrumental in championing the early works of Warren Zevon, Jackson Browne, Rod Stewart, Elliott Murphy, and David Johansen, to name just a few of the artists who benefited from his critical eye. 

During his stint as an A&R man, he got the New York Dolls their record deal. He also went to college with Bob Dylan, and ardently and elegantly defended the singer/songwriter when he went electric. Forty years later, Martin Scorsese included Nelson in his Dylan documentary No Direction Home.

I wrote to Paul Nelson in February, in care of the Greenwich Village video store where he worked, but never received a response. Last month, when my best friend Ellis was in town, we happened into that video store one rainy Wednesday afternoon. I asked the kid behind the desk if Paul Nelson was around. "He hasn't worked here in about a year," he said. "But he stops in now and then." I left not knowing whether or not Nelson had ever received my letter.

Until yesterday afternoon, when I received a phone call from a gentleman who identified himself as Paul Nelson's friend. "I don't know if you know this or not, but Paul's body was found in his apartment last week." He told me that Nelson, who was 70 and whose obituary appeared in The New York Times on Monday, had indeed received my letter and that it had touched him. 

Paul Nelson was a brilliant writer who did for music criticism what Pauline Kael did for film criticism: he blew it apart and demanded more not only from the works he critiqued but of the forum in which he critiqued them. While well more than a decade has passed since his writing last saw print, tonight I find myself missing him and his work more than ever. 

To discover for yourself just how good a writer Nelson was, check out his reviews of the first Ramones album, Neil Young's Rust Never Sleeps, Jackson Browne's Running on Empty, and his masterpiece, the feature-length article "Warren Zevon: How He Saved Himself from a Coward's Death."

Photograph: Paramount Pictures

current mood: reflective

(lay down your weary tune)

Friday, May 5th, 2006
8:56 am - Bob Dylan's Time Out of Mind

I thought you might be interested in a review of Time Out of Mind that I posted this morning over at my blog Mere Words. Enjoy.

(lay down your weary tune)

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006
3:28 pm - New Dylan Community

I recently made a new Dylan community that's for the completely obsessed Dylan fans: http://community.livejournal.com/dylanisreligion/profile
It would be great if you guys could check it out!

Sorry if promoting isn't allowed.

(lay down your weary tune)

Wednesday, February 15th, 2006
5:08 pm

i'd just like to get peoples opinions.
what is the best line(s) Dylan ever wrote.
i know, hard.

(5 songs you strum | lay down your weary tune)

Sunday, August 14th, 2005
8:46 am - hi, i'm new.


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HI. my name is griffin dominique and i'm new to this community. i just found out it existed and i am fascinated. it's the most difficult thing in the world to put into words how amazing dylan is. i've tried and it doesn't work, as i'm sure all of you know. kind of makes me regret being born at the time i was.

here are some of my favourite lines from my favourite dylan songs:

oh, and feel free to add me because it's very difficult to find people who actually like the same things as me and aren't .. emo, i guess. so, add me, add me, add me! just comment first so i know you did. thanks guys.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

(1 song you strum | lay down your weary tune)

Tuesday, April 5th, 2005
7:12 pm - Bob creeps into everything

I had to take the practice test for the GED today. At the end of the test you have to write an essay. This time the topic was an opinion that you had held earlier in your life and then changed.
Without having to think twice I titled the essay, 'Times Have Changed.'

(lay down your weary tune)

Thursday, March 17th, 2005
11:08 am


Hello, I just joined.  Thought I'd introduce myself in an odd way.

Age: Fifteen

Favorite Dylan Period: '65-'66, but I love them all.

Bad habits: Placing Dylan, Beatles, and Tom Petty songs lyrics into regular conversation, automatically clicking on something if the words "Robert," "Bob," "Zimmy," "Allen," "Zimmerman," or "Dylan" are contained within the content.

What your family would most likely kill you for: Listening to "Greatest Hits" to the point to where the disc becomes unplayable.

How you started to listen to Dylan: I didn't start /really/ getting into Bob Dylan (though I've heard him all my life) until I was like twelve/thirteen, because his hair scared me when I was little.  Its a stupid reason, yes, but true.  Naturally, now I think his hair is kick ass.

eh.  too sleepy to type anymore.



current mood: sleepy

(lay down your weary tune)

Thursday, February 10th, 2005
11:33 pm - Introductions

Hi, I though I should introduce myself too. I'm 16, from Essex, UK, and spend my time listening to music written before I was born.

It took me a while to get into Dylan, though I've heard him forever (my Dad has over well 200 cds, and around 50 tapes. Haven't counted the vinyls). Now, however, I find myself sadly addicted. I saw him live at the Fleadh in London, have learnt the lyrics to Subterranean Homesick Blues, and try to find the deep meanings in "Changing of the Guards" and "It's All Right, Ma".

There may be no hope for me...

current mood: amused

(lay down your weary tune)

Thursday, January 13th, 2005
11:09 pm

Hi. I'm new..huge Bob Dylan fan, saw him a few months ago in Amherst, Mass. it was wonderful of course.
However this post is actually only semi-Dylan related.
I'm sure many of you are familiar with Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes and Desaparecidos...I personally am I huge fan of him, but I was wondering what everyone's opinion on him being called 'the next Bob Dylan.' I must say I like Dylan more of course.

(1 song you strum | lay down your weary tune)

Tuesday, October 12th, 2004
12:22 pm - Hi...

I'm new, been into Dylan for about four years, think this community looks fascinating and so am introducing myself. Looking forward to reading. Okay, cheers, bye...

(1 song you strum | lay down your weary tune)

Friday, September 24th, 2004
6:05 pm - Here's some newer material...discuss!

Lonesome Day Blues
Words and Music By Bob Dylan

Well, today has been a sad ol' lonesome day
Yeah, today has been a sad ol' lonesome day
I'm just sittin' here thinking
With my mind a million miles away

Well, they're doing the double shuffle, throwin' sand on the floor
They're doing the double shuffle, they're throwin' sand on the floor
When I left my long-time darlin'
She was standing in the door

Well, my pa he died and left me, my brother got killed in the war
Well, my pa he died and left me, my brother got killed in the war
My sister, she ran off and got married
Never was heard of any more

Samantha Brown lived in my house for about four or five months
Samantha Brown lived in my house for about four or five months
Don't know how it looked to other people
I never slept with her even once

Well, the road's washed out - weather not fit for man or beast
Yeah the road's washed out - weather not fit for man or beast
Funny, how the things you have the hardest time parting with
Are the things you need the least

I'm forty miles from the mill - I'm droppin' it into overdrive
I'm forty miles from the mill - I'm droppin' it into overdrive
Settin' my dial on the radio
I wish my mother was still alive

I see your lover-man comin' - comin' 'cross the barren field
I see your lover-man comin' - comin' 'cross the barren field
He's not a gentleman at all - he's rotten to the core
He's a coward and he steals

Well my captain he's decorated - he's well schooled and he's skilled
My captain, he's decorated - he's well schooled and he's skilled
He's not sentimental - don't bother him at all
How many of his pals have been killed

Last night the wind was whisperin', I was trying to make out what it was
Last night the wind was whisperin' somethin' - I was trying to make out what it was
I tell myself something's comin'
But it never does

I'm gonna spare the defeated - I'm gonna speak to the crowd
I'm gonna spare the defeated, boys, I'm going to speak to the crowd
I am goin' to teach peace to the conquered
I'm gonna tame the proud

Well the leaves are rustlin' in the wood - things are fallin' off of the shelf
Leaves are rustlin' in the wood - things are fallin' off the shelf
You gonna need my help, sweetheart
You can't make love all by yourself

(1 song you strum | lay down your weary tune)

Saturday, September 18th, 2004
10:10 pm

Hi. I'm new here.

I'm also new to Dylan's music. I've just recently (as in, the past 2 weeks!) gotten into his music. I love it. He has such an amazing way with words.

I have Highway 61 Revisited and Freewheelin'. What other Dylan CDs should I get. I plan to get them all, but could someone rank them for me (I'm interested to hear your opinions)?

Also, does anyone make icons? There doesn't seem to be a Dylan icon community. I stole my current icon from someone in the bobdylan community. If anyone knows who it belongs to, I would be glad to credit!


(1 song you strum | lay down your weary tune)

Tuesday, August 17th, 2004
8:30 pm

hey, new here. I've known about Bob Dylan all my life but only recently started to get interested in him. I was wondering if any of you could supply me with some good pics of the Subterranean Homesick Blues sequence in Don't Look Back. (The one where he's standing there holding the cards with words form the song on it... I'm not the only one who's seen this movie right?) So yea, if you can let me know that would be awesome. Mmk bye.

(2 songs you strum | lay down your weary tune)

Tuesday, July 6th, 2004
8:10 am - it's all right, ma (i'm only bleeding)

Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child's balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon
There is no sense in trying.

Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
Suicide remarks are torn
From the fool's gold mouthpiece
The hollow horn plays wasted words
Proves to warn
That he not busy being born
Is busy dying.

Temptation's page flies out the door
You follow, find yourself at war
Watch waterfalls of pity roar
You feel to moan but unlike before
You discover
That you'd just be
One more person crying.

So don't fear if you hear
A foreign sound to your ear
It's alright, Ma, I'm only sighing.

As some warn victory, some downfall
Private reasons great or small
Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
To make all that should be killed to crawl
While others say don't hate nothing at all
Except hatred.

Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Made everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It's easy to see without looking too far
That not much
Is really sacred.

While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have
To stand naked.

An' though the rules of the road have been lodged
It's only people's games that you got to dodge
And it's alright, Ma, I can make it.

Advertising signs that con you
Into thinking you're the one
That can do what's never been done
That can win what's never been won
Meantime life outside goes on
All around you.

You lose yourself, you reappear
You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
Alone you stand with nobody near
When a trembling distant voice, unclear
Startles your sleeping ears to hear
That somebody thinks
They really found you.

A question in your nerves is lit
Yet you know there is no answer fit to satisfy
Insure you not to quit
To keep it in your mind and not fergit
That it is not he or she or them or it
That you belong to.

Although the masters make the rules
For the wise men and the fools
I got nothing, Ma, to live up to.

For them that must obey authority
That they do not respect in any degree
Who despise their jobs, their destinies
Speak jealously of them that are free
Cultivate their flowers to be
Nothing more than something
They invest in.

While some on principles baptized
To strict party platform ties
Social clubs in drag disguise
Outsiders they can freely criticize
Tell nothing except who to idolize
And then say God bless him.

While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society's pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he's in.

But I mean no harm nor put fault
On anyone that lives in a vault
But it's alright, Ma, if I can't please him.

Old lady judges watch people in pairs
Limited in sex, they dare
To push fake morals, insult and stare
While money doesn't talk, it swears
Obscenity, who really cares
Propaganda, all is phony.

While them that defend what they cannot see
With a killer's pride, security
It blows the minds most bitterly
For them that think death's honesty
Won't fall upon them naturally
Life sometimes
Must get lonely.

My eyes collide head-on with stuffed graveyards
False gods, I scuff
At pettiness which plays so rough
Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
Kick my legs to crash it off
Say okay, I have had enough
What else can you show me?

And if my thought-dreams could be seen
They'd probably put my head in a guillotine
But it's alright, Ma, it's life, and life only.

any thoughts?

current mood: contemplative

(3 songs you strum | lay down your weary tune)

Tuesday, May 11th, 2004
12:05 am
idiglove hey guys i'm sorry i haven't updated much...i've been busy with APs and shit....anyway

i was talking to my mom in the car about "I'll Keep It With Mine" (which i know was discussed here)....she said that she thought the song functioned on three levels....an emotional level, a political level (i'm not sure how she saw that, and we got caught up in the discussion so i never go to ask her what exactly she meant) and a sexual level -- she thought that "give it to me, i'll keep it with mine" was very symbolic of the union of two things, in a sexual way...

anyway, thought i should share that.

(1 song you strum | lay down your weary tune)

Monday, May 10th, 2004
12:56 pm - sorry I haven't really commented on any songs, I'll try to do that more often

Can this really be the end?Collapse )

(5 songs you strum | lay down your weary tune)

Monday, April 26th, 2004
4:49 pm
idiglove my favorite bob song of all-timeCollapse )

(7 songs you strum | lay down your weary tune)

Sunday, April 25th, 2004
12:14 pm - Talkin WW3 blues

Some time ago a crazy dream came to me,
I dreamt I was walkin' into World War Three,
I went to the doctor the very next day
To see what kinda words he could say
he said it was a bad dream
I wouldn't worry 'bout it none, though,
They were my own dreams and they're only in my head.

I said, "Hold it, Doc, a World War passed through my brain."
He said, "Nurse, get your pad, the boy's insane,"
He grabbed my arm, I said "Ouch!"
As I landed on the psychiatric couch,
He said, "Tell me about it."

Well, the whole thing started at 3 o'clock fast,
It was all over by quarter past.
I was down in the sewer with some little lover
When I peeked out from a manhole cover
Wondering who turned the lights on us.

Well, I got up and walked around
up and down the lonesome town.
I stood a-wondering which way to go,
I lit a cigarette on a parking meter
And walked on down the road.
It was a normal day.

Well, I rung the fallout shelter bell
And I leaned my head and I gave a yell,
"Give me a string bean, I'm a hungry man."
A shotgun fired and away I ran.
I don't blame them too much though,
they didn't know me.

Down at the corner by a hot-dog stand
I seen a man,
I said, "Howdy friend, I guess there's just us two."
He screamed a bit and away he flew.
Thought I was a Communist.

Well, I spied me a girl and before she could leave,
I said: "Let's go and play Adam and Eve."
I took her by the hand and my heart it was thumpin'
When she said, "Hey man, you crazy or sumpin',
You see what happened last time they started."

Well, I seen a Cadillac window uptown
And there was nobody aroun',
I got into the driver's seat
And I drove 42nd Street
In my Cadillac.
Good car to drive after a war.

Well, I remember seein' some ad,
So I turned on my Conelrad.
But I didn't pay my Con Ed bill,
So the radio didn't work so well.
Turned on my record player -
It was Rock-A-Day Johnny singin',
"Tell Your Ma, Tell Your Pa,
Our Loves Are Gonna Grow Ooh-wah, Ooh-wah."

I was feelin' kinda lonesome and blue,
I needed somebody to talk to.
So I called up the operator of time
Just to hear a voice of some kind.
"When you hear the beep
It will be three o'clock,"
She said that for over an hour
And I hung it up.

Well, the doctor interrupted me just about then,
Sayin, "Hey I've been havin' the same old dreams,
But mine was a little different you see.
I dreamt that the only person left after the war was me.
I didn't see you around."

Well, now time passed and now it seems
Everybody's having them dreams.
Everybody sees themselves walkin' around with no one else.
Half of the people can be part right all of the time,
and some of the people can be all right part of the time,
but all of the people can't be all right all of the time.
I think Abraham Lincoln said that.
"I'll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours,"
I said that.

current mood: awake

(1 song you strum | lay down your weary tune)

Saturday, April 17th, 2004
12:57 am - It's all over now

Does anyone have any theories or ideas about this one?

baby blueCollapse )

(4 songs you strum | lay down your weary tune)

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