Category: Bob Dylan

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MR. TAMBOURINE MAN: CAST YOUR DANCING SPELL…
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MR. TAMBOURINE MAN: CAST YOUR DANCING SPELL…

    …I’m the enemy of the unfulfilled meaningless life… Bob Dylan, False Prophet, 2020      …A mighty fountain momently was forced:    Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst    Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,    Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:    And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever   ...

KEY WEST: An extract from ‘Determined to Stand: The Reinvention of Bob Dylan’
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KEY WEST: An extract from ‘Determined to Stand: The Reinvention of Bob Dylan’

     Key West (Philosopher Pirate) is delivered in a soft, almost whispered, voice over a slow, dreamy melody. The instrumentation is low key, with washes of minimal percussion and acoustic guitars behind an almost ever-present accordion. Despite the unequivocal ending of the previous song, its protagonist, who declares that he is …searching for love and...

TEARS OF RAGE: THE HEART IS FILLED WITH GOLD
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TEARS OF RAGE: THE HEART IS FILLED WITH GOLD

    Tears of Rage represents a key turning point in Bob Dylan’s career. Written and recorded at some time between May and October 1967, when the focus of attention in the music world was on San Francisco and the ‘summer of love’, this sad, stately and incredibly moving song presents a new kind of...

CARIBBEAN WIND: UPON A PAINTED OCEAN
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CARIBBEAN WIND: UPON A PAINTED OCEAN

  Caribbean Wind, which was written in late 1980, remains something of an enigma in Bob Dylan’s career. Although it is a song which Dylan regarded as ‘unfinished’, it has often been acclaimed as one of his most luminous creations. When it first reached a wide public on the 1985 compilation Biograph, many listeners were...

MASTERS OF WAR AND WITH GOD ON OUR SIDE: DYLAN AS PUBLIC POET
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MASTERS OF WAR AND WITH GOD ON OUR SIDE: DYLAN AS PUBLIC POET

                   Masters of War and With God on Our Side can be considered to be the most didactic and moralistic examples of Bob Dylan’s early ‘protest’ material. Jesus and Judas are mentioned in both songs. Dylan’s uses these two figures to represent polar moral opposites – good and evil, faith and...

FAREWELL ANGELINA: THE SKY IS ON FIRE
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FAREWELL ANGELINA: THE SKY IS ON FIRE

    Farewell Angelina is one of Bob Dylan’s most remarkable ‘unreleased songs’. Dylan’s own rather uncertain take was recorded during the Bringing It All Back Home sessions in 1965 but not released until The Bootleg Series Vol. 1 (1991). The song was then passed to Joan Baez, who recorded it as the title track...

Live intro and reading from Determined to Stand
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Live intro and reading from Determined to Stand

This was recorded at the DOCKYARD CLUB, PORTSMOUTH on 28th November 2021. This is a slightly wonky recording of my talk at a fabulous ‘Dylan and the Dead’ weekend, organised by John Roberts. In between the bands I entertained the gathered multitudes with an intro to my book DETERMINED TO STAND: THE REINVENTION OF BOB...

SUBTERRANEAN HOMESICK BLUES: DIG YOURSELF
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SUBTERRANEAN HOMESICK BLUES: DIG YOURSELF

  Subterranean Homesick Blues (1965) is Bob Dylan’s coolest, most laconic creation. Perhaps no other example of his work expresses so much in so few words. Dylan is most well known for long songs full of complex word play, but here he demonstrates most eloquently that he is very capable of ‘stripping down’ his use...