Post by Peter
I'm on Sir Lenworth's side.
I assume you're referring to this:
I think Sir Len has a point about the whine and the grating music. I
also think that a significant proportion of Dylan's output is a long way
short of great. (For example, those two albums of The Great American
Songbook are simply painful, IMO, and I've not found much of interest in
his work for about 40 years.)
However, Dylan captured the mood and attitudes of a generation in the
60s in a way almost no-one else ever has, I would suggest, and that
whine and grating style was a part of its expression. He has also
written some simply magnificent songs, IMO. He has (or, more
accurately, had) an ability to use language in obscure but
extraordinarily evocative ways which somehow often got to the heart of
things even though, in the cold light of day and subject to rational
analysis, meaning was elusive. I would cite Ballad Of A Thin Man and
its attack on the press as just one example.
He was sometimes very direct, too - Like A Rolling Stone (also from
Highway 61 Revisited, possibly my favourite Dylan album) and Hurricane,
for example, pull no punches, and Sarah is simply a beautiful love song.
He has left an indelible mark in music, both directly and indirectly,
for decades. I saw a "virtual concert" during lockdown involving three
current singer-songwriters. The great (and I do not use that word idly
here) Chris Smither played a cracking version of Visions Of Johanna and
afterward one of the others, obviously jokingly, said "I must look into
more of his work." Smither acknowledged the joke, but added, "If it
weren't for him none of us would ever have written a song."
I can understand why some people don't like his music, and I think the
hagiographical view some take of him is plain silly, but given his
colossal influence and the fact that his music is woven into the
metaphorical bones of a lot of people (including me) shurely make it
hard to argue against him being great, even if you don't like his music.
And personally I'd have awarded him the Nobel Prize just for the line
"The ghost of electricity howls in the bones of her face." :o)
Just my two riders approaching worth.
(Make sure Matron is away when you reply)