Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Missed Masterpieces: Bob Dylan

Posted By on May 24, 2011, 4:00 AM

"Look on his works, ye mighty and despair. After 40 years on the job, Bob Dylan still makes all singer-songwriters sound like scared kittens, and in terms of sheer volume, he’s built the body of work worth listening to in Rock and Roll.--- He’s the American song-and-dance man, mixing folk, beat poetry, Chuck Berry, Texas Medicine, railroad gin, and his own psychedelic mutations of the blues, singing it all in that intense Book-of-Deuteronomy howl of his."

Yeah, I stole that first paragraph from the 2004 Rolling Stone Record Guide, but it’s just too damned good not to share. In fact, even Dylan’s album names are art themselves: Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde, John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline, Blood on the Tracks.

But my favorite Dylan albums are actually his two later albums, Love and Theft (2001) and Modern Love (2006), where his voice has actually caught up with his songwriting. Dylan really needed 40 years of smoking and drinking for his voice to equal his song writing.

I have a very addictive personality, as you may know. Alcohol and tobacco have been friends of mine for decades. But my biggest addiction is probably reading—20 to 30 books a year for 35 years, and subscriptions to Esquire, Spin, Interview, and Rolling Stone.

Rolling Stone magazine's current issue features Dylan’s "70 Greatest Songs," because he’s turning 70 years old today. 70 FUCKING GREATEST SONGS … CONSIDER THAT FOR A MINUTE! If you don’t find that as mind-blowing as I do (to say nothing of how many rockers even reach that age), you don’t listen to very much music.

He’s the Great American Hope, who competes with the Stones, Beatles, and Who.


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