The Old, Weird America: The World of Bob Dylans Basement Tapes (Special Edition)

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Both men, according to Wilentz,. Dylan was born in in Duluth, Minnesota, the eldest son of comfortably-off second-generation Russian-Jewish immigrants. They were my preceptor and guide into some altered consciousness of reality, some different republic, some liberated republic.


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Perhaps the best guide to this different, liberated republic is the music historian and cultural critic Greil Marcus, whom Dylan goes on to mention admiringly in his very next sentence. The poor white man: not merely impecunious but also deserving of pity or sympathy.

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BOB DYLAN & THE BAND / The Basement Tapes - SACD Hybride - Edition Limitée Numérotée

As the Sixties wore on, however, Dylan grew increasingly frustrated with what he came to regard as the pious sloganeering and doctrinaire leftist politics of the folk milieu. They no longer partitioned the country into moral factions, with arms dealers, corrupt politicians, Southern racists, and conventional bourgeois society on one side and the young, the poor, the downtrodden, and the guitar-and- harmonica-wielding troubadours on the other. When, for example, he sings—. The king of the Philistines his soldiers to save Puts jawbones on their tombstones and flatters their graves Puts the pied pipers in prison and fattens the slaves Then sends them out to the jungle.

At the same time, Dylan owes a tremendous debt to the remarkable musicians who have played on his albums over the years. The folk revivalists, who regarded rock and roll as commercial fluff, were dismayed by his new direction, and for the next year, during which he toured incessantly, Dylan was routinely greeted by a roiling ocean of boos, jeers, and catcalls.

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As Wilentz points out, however, Dylan had in fact. And this is exactly what happened: as the years went by, Dylan found himself trapped inside the aspic of his own legend. Having spent most of the Eighties making music that, in its bright and airless overproduction, felt slavishly up-to-the-minute and thus redundant the very next , Dylan now returned to songs that, in one form or another, had been around for generations before his birth. Wilentz has valuable things to say about Dylan but his prose can be careless and flat-footed and he never brings the music itself to life in the way Marcus is able to.

BOB DYLAN & THE BAND / The Basement Tapes - SACD Hybride - Edition Limitée Numérotée

The following is not untypical:. What both these books do capture well is the combination in Dylan of plainness and elusive exceptionalism, the way he can seem, on the one hand, to submerge his identity in the vastness of tradition, and on the other to brand everything he touches—a twelve-bar blues, a borrowed lyric—with his emphatic singularity.

Seeger was an ardent leftist who believed that folk songs could be used to foment social revolution, a belief he passed on to his son, Pete, who along with Lomax's son, Alan, would become an influential figure in the politically engaged folk revival of the s and s, as well as an early champion of Bob Dylan. In a interview he said that, "All those people [Marcus is] talking about, you could hear the actual people singing those ballads.

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The Old, Weird America: The World of Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes

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