Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Listen to (old) Bob Dylan

I don't care about Bob Dylan's rhetoric, and for the purpose of this post, neither should you.

I really like Dylan's old music, mostly the stuff that was considered folk. This was before he ticked off all of his fans by using an elctric guitar and band at the Newport Festival in 1965. Ironically, I'm just getting into Dylan now, even though I was practically raised on oldies. I had never heard any of this stuff.

The point is that Dylan is the greatest poet, lyricist, and songwriter in the history of the United States. Don't believe me? Ask your daddy. Every other song he listened to from 1965 to 1990 was a cover of a Dylan song made popular by another artist or group. These include "All Along the Watchtower," "It Ain't Me Babe," "Knockin' On Heaven's Door," and "House of the Risin' Sun."

If you agree with me that the crowd of celebrities and musicians who praised Johnny Cash after his death was unexpectedly diverse, just wait until Dylan bites it.

"Chimes of Freedom," off of 1964's Another Side of Bob Dylan, has struck me as particularly exceptional. It's a song that's about the hardships of life and the oppression every human being faces at one time or another, including the shackles we put on ourselves. Dylan's trademark, melancholy voice and harmonica give it this flavor. The sad tone is missing when someone like Bruce Springsteen covers this song and dubbs it simply an ode to human freedom.

Check out the embedded video.

And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashin'.

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