Monday, October 17, 2016

Bob Dylan: Playlist For A Nobel Winner

1961: Minnesota Tapes (bootleg)

1963: Bringin' It All Back Home

1964: The Times They Are A-Changin' and Another Side Of Bob Dylan

1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12: The Cutting Edge (18 CD) from Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde On Blonde

1967: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11: The Complete Basement Tapes Complete (with The Band)(6 CD)

1969: Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan Nashville Sessions (bootleg)

1969 - 1971 The Bootleg Series Vol. 10: Another Self Portrait

1975: Blood On The Tracks

By no means a comprehensive list, but a good primer for new Dylan fans which will make long-term fans happy too.

Here is a Bob Dylan Playlist For Beginners - The Top 20 Dylan Songs You Need To Know...

  Dylan with Allen Ginsberg at Jack Kerouac's grave during the Rolling Thunder Revue 1975

Richard FariƱa, Dylan, Eric von Schmidt 1962 London. Bob played harmonica & sang on an album Richard & Eric recorded on this trip

Dylan on stage at Ciro's in L.A. with The Byrds - Michael Clarke, David Crosby, Gene Clark, Chris Hillman, Roger McGuinn 1965

I was happy as hell when I heard that Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Finally! One of ours made good!

Of course, the Nobel is usually given to novelists and poets, not folk singers or rock stars.

It is also an award for an artist's body of work, not simply their newest offering.

If you take a book of Dylan's lyrics (he's been publishing collections of his lyrics since at least 1985), I think it stacks up quite well against any published poet. Dylan should not be penalized simply for being popular (at times) as opposed to being an obscure poet or novelist that a few hundred elitists have read.

It's clearly a tip of the hand by the Nobel committee to honor the entire legacy of the 60's by giving Dylan the award, as well as an acknowledgement that, with rock and hip hop leading the way, we are entering a post-book world, where spoken word and performance are as relevant as the printed page.

Some thought the award was inappropriate that he got the award but there is no need for me to defend Dylan here. Blowin' In The Wind, The Times They Are A-Changin', Masters Of War, Desolation Row, Like A Rolling Stone.... anyone who denies their literary merit is a liar or a snob.

On Facebook a friend mentioned he had studied Dylan lyrics in college. I wrote that we had studied Dylan lyrics in my English class at a Catholic high school in Pennsylvania in the late 70's.

"What did you learn?", he asked.

My reply?

"Catholicism was a lie, Democracy was a sham, and my small town sucked..."

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