Me and my weird relationship to Bob Dylan

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Since I first started really listening to music, I've disliked Bob Dylan. Years ago I met two brothers who worshipped him and I spent many nights with them playing me his records and trying to convince me of his genius. I didn't hear it then and just forgot about Bob Dylan for a few years. Then I started really digging into folk music and country folk. The more music I discovered, the more it seemed like almost everyone went though a Dylan phase, some made a whole career of it. What's more, I like almost everyone Dylan influence and the impact he had on music. I love David Blue and his Dylanism, Ken Lauber and Eric Andersen. Area Code 615 and Barefoot Jerry are probably as cool as they are from backing Dylan and probably getting high for the first time with him. Still I can't stomach his music and I've tried. Was there a mysterious magic he had that I don't hear? How do I love so much music that was a direct influence from him, and yet I can't listen to his music? Tonight I listen to Highway 61 Revisited and couldn't wait for each song to end.

JacobSanders, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 10:22 (seven years ago) link

I've even read interviews and watched movies he was in or was about him, but those only made me dislike him more.

JacobSanders, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 10:25 (seven years ago) link

"Blonde on Blonde" exists for you.

Possibly check out "Blood on the Tracks".

Or maybe instead, the first album.

Y.O. Mini (MarkG oo la showaddywaddy), Wednesday, 21 December 2011 10:31 (seven years ago) link

The closest thing I have to this is Nick Cave. I love Scott Walker, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, quite a bit of '80s goth/industrial - basically anything that's epic, sweeping, theatrical but I've never really enjoyed anything by him.

dog latin, but cool (dog latin), Wednesday, 21 December 2011 10:56 (seven years ago) link

skip the classics for starters, you know what those are and what they do already. cop new morning, rolling thunder 75 or love and theft for some other inroads. might help?

shook, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 11:52 (seven years ago) link

go straight for the 80s stuff, he's a lot more bearable with glossy production disguising his voice. try empire burlesque or infidels, lotsa cool tunes in there.

cock chirea, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 12:12 (seven years ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nheBN2UWAaM&ob=av2e

shook, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 12:14 (seven years ago) link

Desire was the album that kind of got me into Dylan.

dog latin, but cool (dog latin), Wednesday, 21 December 2011 12:18 (seven years ago) link

go straight for the 80s stuff, he's a lot more bearable with glossy production disguising his voice. try empire burlesque or infidels, lotsa cool tunes in there.

Where have you been all these years?

Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 12:31 (seven years ago) link

er, knowing jacob's blog, the 80s stuff might not be the best place to go. i'd say go for the basement tapes / john wesley harding / nashville skyline / self portrait / new morning. at least those are the dylan records that wouldn't sound out of place amidst the stuff you've posted...

tylerw_sandbox, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 13:18 (seven years ago) link

here's the Tree With Roots complete Basement Tapes thang: http://doomandgloomfromthetomb.tumblr.com/post/5800834205/a-tree-with-roots-bob-dylan-is-70-years-old if you haven't already tried that.

tylerw_sandbox, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 13:20 (seven years ago) link

I can't recommend BOB if you couldn't wait for Highway 61 Revisited to end.

As tyler hints, the stuff less burdened by myth and expectations (insofar as any of it isn't) is the place to start, John Wesley Harding in particular.

Hell, I'd even recommend Love and Theft, which is loads of fun.

Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 13:21 (seven years ago) link

yeah, the run from 68-70 (which is basically the albums I mentioned), that's low-key oddball singer-songwriter country rock. *seems* like it'd be up your alley! but maybe you've already tried it, I don't know.

tylerw_sandbox, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 16:04 (seven years ago) link

and i'd throw pat garrett and planet waves in there too, i guess!

tylerw_sandbox, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 16:14 (seven years ago) link

how can you resist dylan doing Gord
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-jHqjDRmOk

tylerw_sandbox, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 16:14 (seven years ago) link

I'd say don't try to force it. I can understand having some idiosyncratic personal reaction to a singer, even though on paper, they should be the kind of thing that you'd like. Give it time, come back to it in a few years, maybe you'll feel differently.

o. nate, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 16:23 (seven years ago) link

had to bite my tongue at company christmas party when (much younger) coworker started in on how she couldn't stand Dylan, his voice, etc.

I just recommended she listen to his Xmas album

aesthetic partisan (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 21 December 2011 16:46 (seven years ago) link

haha rip that ilm post about the man who disdains dylan or however it was phrased

horseshoe, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 16:47 (seven years ago) link

dylan (in '89) was by some margin the worst concert i've ever seen

otoh this live ep from 10 years later is pretty damn great

mookieproof, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 16:53 (seven years ago) link

I just recommended she listen to his Xmas album

lol

dell, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 16:55 (seven years ago) link

agree with the consensus here. i snuck in through the side door with n. skyline and self-portrait, pat garrett. aside from a few moments on the legendary early shit and i guess some later odds and ends those ones are still my favorites.

dell, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 16:57 (seven years ago) link

I've seen Dylan live twice, in '91 and '01. The '01 show was better. Go for the experience of seeing a living legend and hearing reworked versions of your favorite tunes, but just don't expect to understand much of what he's singing.

o. nate, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 16:58 (seven years ago) link

not really relevant, but someone just sent me this hilarious clip
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3enGDIYapkw

tylerw_sandbox, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 17:10 (seven years ago) link

disappointed this thread is not a kiss and tell

judith, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 17:10 (seven years ago) link

well, there's a chapter in Neil Young's upcoming memoir called: "Me and my weird relationship to Bob Dylan"

tylerw_sandbox, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 17:11 (seven years ago) link

but just don't expect to understand much of what he's singing.

made me chortle

dell, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 17:16 (seven years ago) link

entertainment tonight reporter in that clip sounds more solemn signing off than roger mudd.

can picture adam sandler starring dylan biopic

dell, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 17:22 (seven years ago) link

Ultimately, isn't everyone's relationship to Bob Dylan weird?

Tarfumes the Escape Goat, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 17:33 (seven years ago) link

Aside from the 80's, I have listen to most of Dylan's records at some point. I can sometimes almost like the Freewheelin Bob, and Blonde on Blonde. But mostly I end up actively disliking him. But I'm never settled with the feeling, I keep trying to like him and understand how he was at the center of most of the music I love. I mean why did everyone go through a Dylan phase? Was it because he was selling records? I don't have this thing with any other artist. I'm ok with disliking the few artist I do dislike, does that make sense?

JacobSanders, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 17:53 (seven years ago) link

it's because his songwriting style was so compelling and innovative imho

aesthetic partisan (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 21 December 2011 17:57 (seven years ago) link

He had terrible hair.

Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 17:58 (seven years ago) link

he was really cute

horseshoe, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 17:58 (seven years ago) link

at every point in his career? xp

nice catch cuauhtemoc blanco niño (dayo), Wednesday, 21 December 2011 18:01 (seven years ago) link

At every point. A disgrace.

Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 18:02 (seven years ago) link

the only good album recorded during an execrable hair period was Empire Burlesque.

Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 18:02 (seven years ago) link

whaaaaat

nice catch cuauhtemoc blanco niño (dayo), Wednesday, 21 December 2011 18:03 (seven years ago) link

Best album recorded when suffering under the duress of follicle fascism.

Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 18:04 (seven years ago) link

I've made this argument on ILM before, but Dylan's one of the first guys in rock to emphasize the specific, unique viewpoint of the songwriter - first person narratives delivered with idiosyncratic language. Prior to this, the vast majority of songwriters trafficked in broadly generic idioms (boy meets girl stories crossed with the language/slang of old black blues guys, primarily). Dylan was the first dude to get over by putting out his own distinct lyrical viewpoint - he made a persona that operated under its own rules (mainly folk traditions refracted through concretist poetry) and upended the sort of language and subject matter that previously dominated.

xp

aesthetic partisan (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 21 December 2011 18:04 (seven years ago) link

It's not even his voice I dislike. Take this guy who mostly made a whole career aping Dylan and even styled his hair the same, and I like his records more than Dylan's
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrllQxZifwI
and Ken Lauber first record using Dylan's same phrasing and his same backing band, and again one of my most cherished records
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0vb5D-TWlE

JacobSanders, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 18:04 (seven years ago) link

I'd say Chuck Berry got there first.

Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 18:05 (seven years ago) link

Dylan made bad poetry, paradoxes, zingers, and inchoate imagery acceptable if the songs are played with precision and sung in a voice that subsumes irony and sincerity like it's a handful of uppers.

Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 18:06 (seven years ago) link

do you like this jacob

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FISHEO3gsM

nice catch cuauhtemoc blanco niño (dayo), Wednesday, 21 December 2011 18:07 (seven years ago) link

I'm not saying he was totally without precedent. as other people pointed out, guys like Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley totally had their own unique lyrical POVs, albeit still broadly concerned with more conventional subject matter like boning underage chicks and being generally badass. But I think Dylan really is this fairly clear dividing line in 20th century pop - there's the way performers presented themselves and developed their material prior to Dylan and then there's everything afterward. Dylan's one of those rare guys who changed how a lot of people wrote songs - broke pre-existing formulas and made the personality of the songwriter a key component of performers' overall presentation.

xp

aesthetic partisan (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 21 December 2011 18:08 (seven years ago) link

That's certainly true. Bryan Ferry remarked, with sadness, about twenty years ago that Dylan forced everyone to start writing their own songs.

Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 18:10 (seven years ago) link

"positively fourth street" is supposedly the first pop record whose title has nothing to do with the lyrics.

dell, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 18:13 (seven years ago) link

speaking of chuck berry

dude uses pro tools these days

mookieproof, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 18:16 (seven years ago) link

^ reminds me of an RS piece on Bo Diddley about a year before he died. Bo played the reporter some of his new music, mostly recorded digitally, lots of samplers and drum machines. Afterwards Bo said something like, "No one else will ever hear that."

Tarfumes the Escape Goat, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 18:31 (seven years ago) link

Thought that it was going to turn out that JacobSanders was really Jakob Dylan.

wang dang google doodle (James Redd), Wednesday, 21 December 2011 18:45 (seven years ago) link

I've made this argument on ILM before, but Dylan's one of the first guys in rock to emphasize the specific, unique viewpoint of the songwriter - first person narratives delivered with idiosyncratic language. Prior to this, the vast majority of songwriters trafficked in broadly generic idioms (boy meets girl stories crossed with the language/slang of old black blues guys, primarily). Dylan was the first dude to get over by putting out his own distinct lyrical viewpoint - he made a persona that operated under its own rules (mainly folk traditions refracted through concretist poetry) and upended the sort of language and subject matter that previously dominated.

― aesthetic partisan (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, December 21, 2011 1:04 PM

I'll argue that Jacques Brel got there almost a decade earlier with the same sort of stark, confessional, introspective lyrical content that most ascribe to Dylan popularizing. But since he wrote and sang in French rather than English, few outside his home country noticed until English translations of his songs became popular in the late '60s.

Everything else is secondary, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 18:49 (seven years ago) link

You either get it or you don't.

flexidisc, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 19:15 (seven years ago) link

forget it, Jake: it's Dylan.

Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 19:15 (seven years ago) link

which side are you on!

tylerw_sandbox, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 19:16 (seven years ago) link

i get it

flexidisc, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 19:18 (seven years ago) link

If he's not getting it, why bother? Let him try again later.

Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 19:18 (seven years ago) link

i'm not leaving this thread until he gets it

tylerw_sandbox, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 19:18 (seven years ago) link

Let's make things interesting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxQcHKupMbc

Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 19:20 (seven years ago) link

Please, Mister Sanders, Mister Sanders, please!
Please, Mister Sanders, Mister Sanders, please!

monomaniatee (t. silaviver), Wednesday, 21 December 2011 19:20 (seven years ago) link

or how about this?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruvm0PVTqls

tylerw_sandbox, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 19:20 (seven years ago) link

I don't think posting more Dylan music is going to help someone who doesn't like Dylan music. Reading about him might I guess, but I'm not going to bother writing anything.

C.K. Dexter Holland, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 19:22 (seven years ago) link

I could not disagree more.

flexidisc, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 19:22 (seven years ago) link

But I do get it, I think I do, but I still don't like what I get. When Jerry Jeff apes Dylan, it's magic
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyHsO8ZqR8Y

I haven't heard New Morning, but I'll pick it up if I find it in Houston this week.

JacobSanders, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 19:24 (seven years ago) link

JacobSanders have you heard anything from World Gone Wrong? It's magical.

flexidisc, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 19:24 (seven years ago) link

So basically you want to listen to an authentic "folk" (volk?) artist rather than a slightly disingenous outsider (Jewish) trickster figure who semi-ironically uses the folk tradition as template for being one of the more significant artistic figures of the century (or at least selling most of us on that bullshit)?

C.K. Dexter Holland, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 19:37 (seven years ago) link

Dylan does not use the folk tradition ironiclly

flexidisc, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 19:41 (seven years ago) link

ironically

flexidisc, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 19:41 (seven years ago) link

folk music is trickstery, ironic, and often disingeouous at its very root

remy bean in exile, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 19:42 (seven years ago) link

I don't think posting more Dylan music is going to help someone who doesn't like Dylan music. Reading about him might I guess, but I'm not going to bother writing anything.

yeah, when i was first consciously trying to get into dylan, it would frustrate me that he gave such good interview, was an object of such fascination, and yeah, by all rights appeared to be a way interesting guy. b/c then i would go and actually try to listen to say, blonde on blonde, which, is supposed to be one of the best rock albums ever blah blah blah, but to me just came across like some guy writing terrible lyrics about... jugglers and clowns. not even clever, just word vomit from some guy on reds and weed or whatever... the worst kind of sixties datededness, like tim buckley as mummenschanz guy via bill harvey or whatever

but eventually i found in his work the stuff that uh, "spoke" to me. also there are a couple of his songs that have lyrics that i now believe in fact are every bit as profound and prophetic as his fanaticbase has always made him out to be.

as someone mentioned upthread, it's weird how there is a little bundle of overhyped artists prob for each of us that seem to resist appreciation for the longest time. i still don't really "get" tom waits... but then, some dude sang one of his songs at karaoke last night, and it was pretty damn good. so it's an odd learning curve of sorts i guess. but maybe the more interesting and telling question concerns why we glom onto some artists IMMEDIATELY. when that happens post-adolescence or young adulthood it always seems like something of a small miracle

dell, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 19:49 (seven years ago) link

disingeouous?????

flexidisc, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 19:52 (seven years ago) link

So basically you want to listen to an authentic "folk" (volk?) artist rather than a slightly disingenous outsider (Jewish) trickster figure

I'm pretty sure the Dylan-influenced artists that the OP said he liked (David Blue, Ken Lauber, etc.) are no more authentic "Folk" artists than Dylan himself.

o. nate, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 19:52 (seven years ago) link

jacob - charlie daniels plays bass on new morning! you love charlie daniels!

upper mississippi 2: still shakin, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 19:57 (seven years ago) link

folk music is trickstery, ironic, and often disingeouous at its very root

"folk music" (songs that have been picked up by "the people" to the extent that there are many regional versions/original authorship is murky/not widely known) vs. "Folk Music" (songs written by Seeger/Ochs/etc to rally said people)

ecuador_with_a_c, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 20:00 (seven years ago) link

xp there is some sweet bass playing on that record for sure.
i should re-up that new morning outtakes comp i did a while back. some amazing things from that period that still haven't been released.

tylerw_sandbox, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 20:00 (seven years ago) link

"folk music" (songs that have been picked up by "the people" to the extent that there are many regional versions/original authorship is murky/not widely known) vs. "Folk Music" (songs written by Seeger/Ochs/etc to rally said people)

OTM. I'll take lowercase, thanks.

flexidisc, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 20:01 (seven years ago) link

How völkisch of you.

C.K. Dexter Holland, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 20:09 (seven years ago) link

vs. "Folk Music" (groups like Kingston Trio that were never particularly political but were very popular)

o. nate, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 20:12 (seven years ago) link

Not reading the whole thread as I've not got time, but to the OP; don't fear this. It's absolutely OK to not like Dylan. There is nothing wrong with not getting it.

Sick Mouthy, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 20:16 (seven years ago) link

Of course there's something wrong. Cast thyself out of society.

Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 20:20 (seven years ago) link

when loving Dylan is outlawed, only outlaws will love Dylan

aesthetic partisan (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 21 December 2011 20:28 (seven years ago) link

"folk music" (songs that have been picked up by "the people" to the extent that there are many regional versions/original authorship is murky/not widely known) vs. "Folk Music" (songs written by Seeger/Ochs/etc to rally said people)

I actually meant the English folk music tradition (i.e. received songs w/o known authorship) when I said folk music was tricksy and cock-eyed, but I guess every iteration of 'folk' has had a good, prominent sense of humor.

remy bean in exile, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 20:33 (seven years ago) link

This is reminding me of the great country vs. folk thread lost in the 17 Days Downtime exactly seven years ago.

wang dang google doodle (James Redd), Wednesday, 21 December 2011 21:06 (seven years ago) link

p much what you need to know about "appreciating" Dylan is the last 3 seconds of this take

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJFNQI_ZiC0

by (mennen), Wednesday, 21 December 2011 21:16 (seven years ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMrObpTZ5sI

ice cræmde (є(٥_ ٥)э), Wednesday, 21 December 2011 21:17 (seven years ago) link

Honestly I'm not trying to sell anyone bullshit on this thread, just trying to understand my taste. It's only partly even about Dylan and more about what dell spoke about in his post. It has nothing to do with the authenticity of a folk singer or anything like that. I liked David Blue and 'Driftin Way of Life' immediately and have been making a genuine attempt to like Dylan for many years. It's odd to me because I can't even articulate what I dislike about Dylan.

JacobSanders, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 21:18 (seven years ago) link

you are a mystery

aesthetic partisan (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 21 December 2011 21:20 (seven years ago) link

you aren't

nuhnuhnuh, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 21:20 (seven years ago) link

I mean I used to many many reasons for disliking Dylan's music as I said above, but they don't hold weight for me any longer, now that I know more about music. But the dislike lingers.
Really love that Wonder who cover!

JacobSanders, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 21:21 (seven years ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9u5x9pdInTU

*tera, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 21:28 (seven years ago) link

http://www.canvasandpen.com/image-files/album-dylan-and-dead-r.JPG

mookieproof, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 21:33 (seven years ago) link

^^^the dregs

aesthetic partisan (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 21 December 2011 21:33 (seven years ago) link

p much what you need to know about "appreciating" Dylan is the last 3 seconds of this take

always loved this one, Dylan's (purported) song about meeting Elvis:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9dtEVPFcps

aesthetic partisan (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 21 December 2011 22:48 (seven years ago) link

that might be my fav dylan song at this point

upper mississippi 2: still shakin, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 22:55 (seven years ago) link

Love his crazy honkytonk piano on "Day of the Locusts."

Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 23:15 (seven years ago) link

xp I do love Charlie Daniels! Looking forward to finding 'New Morning'

JacobSanders, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 23:35 (seven years ago) link

and kenny buttrey, he's all over dylan's stuff! though if blonde on blonde wasn't doing it for you in terms of rad nashville session dudes, that might not make too much of a diff.

tylerw_sandbox, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 23:43 (seven years ago) link

Maybe try the album "knocked down and loaded", the melodies are pretty decent and the production is this nasty 80s thing that verges on Big Music but is too frantic

moonbop, Thursday, 22 December 2011 01:28 (seven years ago) link

admit it, you just don't like his voice. it's OK!

seriously, you've lauded nearly other aspect of his artistic genius, but sometimes there's just no accounting for how a voice makes you respond.

sleeve sandbox, Thursday, 22 December 2011 02:00 (seven years ago) link

His voice is very different on New Morning/Nashville skyline though!

moonbop, Thursday, 22 December 2011 02:01 (seven years ago) link

I mean, different than the popular notion of what his voice sounds like

moonbop, Thursday, 22 December 2011 02:01 (seven years ago) link

this is p dope
http://youtu.be/gY3VrpyZnhs

but yeah if you're not feeling his default Dylan Voice it's prob not going to help you

(will), Sunday, 25 December 2011 03:50 (seven years ago) link


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