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Another side of Bob and more!

Have you heard the news? he said, with a grin
The Vice-President's gone mad!
Where? Downtown. When? Last night
Hmm, say, that's too bad!


 


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Has anybody seen my love? ...10:28 am

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The previous post alludes to the Dylan song, Tight Connection To My Heart (Has Anybody Seen My Love), a song which operates on multiple levels (and in that it is not unlike most Bob Dylan songs, of-course). In the book "Keys To The Rain: The Definitive Bob Dylan Encylopedia" (one of several I’m told), the author Oliver Trager has an entry on this song in which he highlights a particular live version from 1993:

In a stroke of brilliance, he dusted off the song for a couple of downright jazzy acoustic band performances complete with a smoky harmonica run at the special New York City Supper Club shows in November 1993, the second of which stands as one of his greatest moments on stage — a teetering, on-the-high wire tour de force that brought out every ounce of drama the song has to offer. Dylan must have realized he would never top himself on that one: He has never performed the song again.

Well, that’s a definite point of view. Click here to listen to that performance and judge for yourself. It’s certainly true that Dylan hasn’t performed the song publicly since then, although he’s not exactly hurting for tunes with which to flesh out his set lists.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Memphis in June ...11:01 am

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At the Memphis Theological Seminary this June, there will be a two week course entitled “Gonna Change My Way of Thinking: Bob Dylan on the Bible, Sin & Virtue.” Story at this link:

The times may have changed, but the message remains.

That’s the contention of a local theologian, who will explore the connection between a pop culture prophet and the power of the Word during an intensive two-week class this summer at Memphis Theological Seminary.

Dr. Barry Bryant, along with singer-songwriter John Kilzer, will teach a course that examines the career of Bob Dylan, from biblical references in his lyrics to his vision of sin and his understanding of virtue.

“Dylan revitalized folk music and when he plugged his guitar in, the lyrics of rock were forever changed,” Bryant said. “When he converted to Christianity, he changed Contemporary Christian music and brought it into the mainstream. You can’t understand that genre without recognizing Dylan’s contributions.”

The course will include a variety of multimedia presentations, including interviews with Dylan, documentaries and performances of his songs by Kilzer. At the end of the course, interested students may opt to perform Dylan numbers that they find meaningful.

“Just like in the Psalms, everything can be found in Dylan’s music,” Kilzer said. “He’s enigmatic and a shadowy figure, but he’s also a modern-day psalmist.”

[...]

“We want to reach out to the community and show that the study of theology is not just about dead white Europeans,” Bryant said. “There’s a theology for everything and for Christians with grace-opened eyes, everything is a sacrament, everything is a prayer.

“Even a Dylan tune.”

I think, if you want to look for milestones, this is probably a very significant one in the progress towards Dylan’s music being understood in something like its rightful place in American culture. That is not to say that what Bryant and Kilzer are saying about Dylan’s songs is the last word on his work — and they’d doubtless agree with that — or even that what they are saying is necessarily true in every respect. It is just to say that that this angle warrants serious consideration, and it is clearly beginning to receive just that.

Well, they’re not showing any lights tonight
And there’s no moon.
There’s just a hot-blooded singer
Singing “Memphis in June,”
While they’re beatin’ the devil out of a guy
Who’s wearing a powder-blue wig.
Later he’ll be shot
For resisting arrest,
I can still hear his voice crying
In the wilderness.
What looks large from a distance,
Close up ain’t never that big.

Never could learn to drink that blood
And call it wine,
Never could learn to hold you, love,
And call you mine.

Has anybody seen my love,
Has anybody seen my love,
Has anybody seen my love.
I don’t know,
Has anybody seen my love?

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Nabbed ...5:56 pm

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The capture of Abdul Hadi al Iraqi is a big piece of good news, as Allahpundit elucidates admirably.

And from ABC:

He was captured by the CIA in late 2006 and held at a secret CIA detention facility until this week, when he was transferred to Gitmo and Department of Defense custody.

During his time with the CIA, Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi was interrogated and revealed useful information about al Qaeda plots, which, officials say, have been disrupted as a result.

Addendum 8:19 pm: I hope that aspiring suicide bombers are noting, by the way, that Abdul Hadi al Iraqi joins a long list of al-Qaeda bigs who failed to martyr themselves when a golden opportunity presented itself. Of-course, we prefer to catch them alive for their intelligence value, but how hard is it for an armed and dangerous terrorist to force his would-be captors to kill him? Yet, when faced with a choice between the amorous affections of 72 virgins, or falling into the arms of United States agents and those awful interrogation techniques, it seems the latter is generally more appealing to the kinds of terrorists who give the orders.

Also, in a sad piece of irony, although Mr. al Iraqi is believed to be closely linked to the 7/7 Tube bombings in London, the British may be unable to talk to him about those events due to the British government’s previously expressed objections to the existence of Gitmo. According to The Times:

Abd al-Hadi has also been linked to a number of other foiled al-Qaeda plots to carry out attacks in Britain. But the Security Service, which has previously sent officials to question detainees at Guantanamo Bay, may not have the opportunity to question him directly.

The Government’s recently adopted position in favour of closing Guantanamo Bay is likely to act as a bar on agents travelling there. British Intelligence would have to rely on relaying questions it would like asked by American interrogators.

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Unimpressed ...1:39 pm

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Maggie Haberman of the New York Post watched last night’s debate with 12 undecided Democrats. The article is headlined “Barack ‘Disappoints’,” although it sounds like pretty much everyone disappointed in one way or another.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton came off as “presidential,” Sen. Barack Obama seemed “timid,” and former Sen. John Edwards got kudos on health care.

Those are some of the impressions that a Post group of 12 undecided Democrats came away with last night after the first debate.

“She knows the issues, she looked presidential, and she held her own,” Jackie Rowe-Adams, a vice president with District Council 37, Local 299, said of Clinton. “And she kept a smile, if you noticed.”

Obama, meanwhile, was “really timid . . . like he was searching [for answers],” she said.

Manhattan nonprofit worker Lisa Ruben, too, was let down.

“[Obama] had the highest expectations coming into this,” she said, “so I was expecting to hear this great speaker.”

Roseann Darche, 62, a city government worker from Queens, described Obama as “the opposite of charismatic.”

“He was on message,” she noted, “and he wasn’t spontaneous.”

[...]

Some eyes rolled during some of Obama’s answers, particularly when he discussed the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding the ban on partial-birth abortions, and called the decision one best left between a woman “and her clergy.”

And investment banker Elizabeth Addonizio said, “He’s not answering the question,” during Obama’s response to a query about what defines a complete mission in Iraq.

Later, Addonizio faulted Clinton for “not [making] enough direct eye contact with the camera,” though she found her to be “clear and precise” while Edwards sounded more “like a preacher than a president.”

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson got guffaws around the table nearly every time he appeared on screen – but not as many as former U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel, who had observers hooting and shaking their heads at the same time.

One watcher murmured, “She’s lying,” when Clinton was the only debater not to raise her hand when asked if they had ever kept a gun at home.

Actually, on that last point, there’s little reason to think that Hillary wasn’t telling the truth. Why would she need to keep a gun at home, when “home” for decades now has been either the governor’s mansion in Arkansas, the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, or her current home in Chappequa where she has Secret Service protection?

No doubt it makes her wonder why anyone would need to keep a gun at home.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Dem debaters ...8:02 pm

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Winning the nomination is all about saying you’re sorry?

From the AP story on the first Democratic presidential debate:

Democratic presidential candidates criticized President George W. Bush over the Iraq war Thursday night in the first debate of their campaign, and urged him to reconsider his threat to veto legislation passed earlier in the day to begin withdrawing U.S. troops.

“If this president does not get us out of Iraq, when I am president, I will,” said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

In the debate’s opening moments, Clinton also found herself on the receiving end of criticism, when former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards said she or anyone else who voted to authorize it should “search their conscience.”

Edwards, in the Senate at the time, also cast his vote for the invasion, but he has since apologized for it.

As flawed as the Republican line-up might look to those who follow things so closely so early, it’s worth bearing in mind how superior all of those candidates are to the bunch of spineless, depraved clowns running for the Democratic nomination. Pardon my frankness.

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Travesty ...3:54 pm

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A vote for surrender, a neatly wrapped gift to the enemies of civilization. Words fail.

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The Fredlog ...1:00 pm

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Former senator Fred Thompson continues his series of brief, easy-to-read yet cogent opinion pieces: Rewriting History a Classroom at a Time.

Now, Thompson is not an official presidential candidate as of the present time. Yet, the way that he is writing on the issues of the day cannot help but make a dramatically marked contrast to how the other candidates are generally expressing themselves. Instead of merely striking a pose or blandly staking out a position, Thompson is putting issues in context and offering persuasive arguments, drawing on basic principles and carrying them through to the specifics of the given situation. From Federalism to gun rights, and today the internal challenge that Britain and the USA face from those Islamists who would use their aggressive grievance tactics to intimidate educators, Thompson is displaying the kind of knowledge of the issues that many would like their candidate to have, along with a willingness to address thorny topics, and an ability to put forth a politically conservative position with clarity, brevity and charm.

It’s early, but it’s interesting.

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Snow again! ...9:14 am

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The good kind.

White House spokesman Tony Snow told CNN he plans to return to his post next Monday, a month after a cancerous growth was found on his liver.

Snow says he needs one more doctor to sign off, but that he feels up to returning back to work.

Snow also said he is scheduled to undergo some chemotherapy treatment next week but he plans to work through it.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Summer tour ...10:34 am

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A Bob Dylan mid-summer tour of the U.S. has been announced. He and the band will be hopscotching across the U.S. as well as detouring to Quebec and Ontario over the course of some 36 days, beginning in Atlantic City, New Jersey and ending in Kelseyville, California. It seems a good bet that there will be additional dates added. Details as always at Bill Pagel’s page. (By the way, casinos figure heavily in the schedule, oddly echoing the fact that Dylan has that new song in the gambling-themed film “Lucky You.” Of-course he’s played plenty of casinos before.)

6/22 Atlantic City, New Jersey – Borgata Hotel Casino Event Center
6/23 Atlantic City, New Jersey – Borgata Hotel Casino Event Center
6/24 Hershey, Pennsylvania – The Star Pavilion
6/26 Florence, Massachusetts – Pines Theatre
6/27 Uncasville, Connecticut – Mohegan Sun Casino Arena
6/29 Wantagh, New York – Nikon At Jones Beach Theater
6/30 Bethel, New York – Bethel Woods Center For The Arts
7/1 Essex Junction, Vermont – Champlain Valley Exposition
7/3 Quebec City, Quebec – Colisée Pepsi Arena
7/4 Montreal, Quebec – Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier
7/5 Ottawa, Ontario – Cisco Systems Ottawa Bluesfest
7/7 Orillia, Ontario – Casino Rama Entertainment Centre
7/8 Orillia, Ontario – Casino Rama Entertainment Centre
7/10 Interlochen, Michigan – Kresge Auditorium
7/11 Sterling Heights, Michigan – Freedom Hill Amphitheatre
7/12 Toledo, Ohio – Toledo Zoo Amphitheater
7/14 Cleveland, Ohio – Plain Dealer Pavilion
7/15 Indianapolis, Indiana – The Lawn At White River State Park
7/16 Kansas City, Missouri – Starlight Theatre
7/26 Costa Mesa, California – Pacific Amphitheatre
7/27 Paso Robles, California – California Mid-State Fair Grandstand
7/28 Kelseyville, California – Konocti Field Amphitheatre

Tonight, Dylan is playing in Geneva, Switzerland (funnily enough his first show ever in that city, although by no means his first show in Switzerland). His current tour of Europe will finish up on May 5th in Herning, Denmark.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Huck’s Tune ...8:48 pm

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On the soundtrack of the new Curtis Hanson film, “Lucky You”, is a brand new song by Bob Dylan, called Huck’s Tune. You can get it via iTunes, or by buying the CD (which also has a couple of George Jones tunes), or some other way maybe. “Lucky You” stars Eric Bana as a poker player and Drew Barrymore as his love interest in “the high stakes world of Las Vegas.”

The song is sung by Dylan in his intimate close-to-the-microphone-whisper, and is a kind of slow country-waltz, with Bob playing organ, by the sounds of it. I think a lot of people hearing it are probably saying, “What the hell — he can write this kind of song in his sleep.” And maybe he can. But I’m not sure there’s anyone else who could write it while wide awake.

My take on the lyric is as follows:

Huck’s Tune

Well I wandered alone through a desert of stone,
And I dreamt of my future wife
My sword’s in my hand and I’m next in command
In this version of death called life

My plate and my cup are right straight up
I took a rose from the hand of a child
When I kiss your lips the honey drips
I’m going to have to put you down for a while

Every day we meet on any old street
And you’re in your girlish prime
The short and the tall are coming to the ball
I go there all the time

Behind every tree there’s something to see
The river is wider than a mile
I tried you twice, you can’t be nice
I’m going to have to put you down for a while

Here come the nurse with money in her purse
Here come the ladies and men
You push it all in and you’ve no chance to win
You play ’em on down to the end

I’m layin’ in the sand, gettin’ a sunshine tan
Movin’ long, ridin’ in style
From my toes to my head, you knock me dead
I’m going to have to put you down for a while

I count the years and I shed no tears
I’m blinded to what might have been
Nature’s voice makes my heart rejoice
Play me the wild song of the wind

I found hopeless love in the room above
When the sun and the weather were mild
You’re as fine as wine, I ain’t handing you no line
I’m going to have to put you down for a while

All the merry little elves can go hang themselves
My faith is as cold as can be
I’m stacked high to the roof and I’m not without proof
If you don’t believe me come see

You think I’m blue, I think so too
In my words you’ll find no guile
The game’s gotten old, the deck’s gone cold
I’m going to have to put you down for a while

It being the new parlor game, many people will be looking to see where he ripped off various phrases from. I’ve just noticed this one:

The river is wider than a mile

The song Moon River, by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, goes thusly:

Moon River, wider than a mile,
I’m crossing you in style some day.
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker,
wherever you’re going I’m going your way.
Two drifters off to see the world.
There’s such a lot of world to see.
We’re after the same rainbow’s end–
waiting ’round the bend,
my huckleberry friend,
Moon River and me.

Only that’s not a rip-off of-course; it’s a reference, and a highly resonant one at that.

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Wall of lawyers ...12:16 pm

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The Phil Spector murder trial — or at least the build-up to it — does not seem to be exciting the media world to excess. Spector at one time made some of the most timeless and perfect pop-records you could ever dream of hearing, but as celebrities go I guess he’s not O.J. Simpson; he’s apparently not even Robert Blake.

The New York Post’s inestimable gossip columnist, Cindy Adams, however, seems to have both an interest in and an inside track on the proceedings, and is dishing.

Tiny, frail Spector, visibly shaking and not solely due to the charge against him, has lost so much weight and is in such a state that his clothes fall off him. New suits will not be ordered for the trial.

The defense will muddy up Lana Clarkson, the blond B-movie actress he spent a boozy final night with in his home in the wee hours, the victim he’s accused of icing. They excavated records indicating she had long been a patient of one referred to as the Feelgood Doctor. This doc is, as we speak, on suspension. The man’s license was revoked for problems not associated with this trial. He himself is being prosecuted by the State of California.

Since Clarkson got dead via a gunshot in her mouth, also to be played up is that she once made a movie called “Vice Girls.” Her role? A cop who placed the 2-inch barrel of a revolver in a man’s mouth. Also, they will argue Spector’s 5-foot-3, 130 pounds. She was 6 feet, 160 pounds. With his blood-alcohol level higher than hers, how could he overpower her and keep this gun barrel steady?

The cops, who tackled him when they arrived, shot 50,000 taser volts into his chest and fractured the wood on his staircase. I do not, however, see him suing for damages.

This figures on being a weird trial.

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“Where’s the global warming?” ...10:41 am

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The 40th Anniversary edition of Rolling Stone is now on newsstands. The interview by Jann Wenner of Bob Dylan contains a lot of material that was not in the audio clips posted on the RS website over the weekend. Among other things, there is a continuing pattern of Wenner trying to get some political quotes out of Dylan, and not receiving that which he’d clearly like to receive. As in:

Wenner: What do you think of the historical moment we’re in today? We seem to be hellbent on destruction. Do you worry about global warming?

Dylan: Where’s the global warming? It’s freezing here.

Wenner:
It seems a pretty frightening outlook.

Dylan: I think what you’re driving at, though, is we expect politicians to solve all our problems. I don’t expect politicians to solve anybody’s problems.

Wenner: Who is going to solve them?

Dylan: Our own selves. We’ve got to take the world by the horns and solve our own problems. The world owes us nothing, each and every one of us, the world owes us not one single thing. Politicans or whoever.

Wenner: Do you think America is a force for good in the world today?

Dylan: Theoretically.

Wenner: But in practical fact …

Dylan: The practical fact is always different than theory.

Wenner: What do you think the practical fact is now?

Dylan: With what’s going on? Human nature hasn’t really changed in 3,000 years. Maybe the obstacles and actualities and daily customs change, but human nature really hasn’t changed. It cannot change. It’s not made to change.

The scent of desperation from Wenner is palpable. He’s doing his damnedest to pin Bob down, but Dylan just keeps stepping back and speaking on an entirely different level, at the same time dismissing the left/liberal clichés that form the premise of the questions.

As a study in contrast, take a look at the interview with Paul McCartney (God bless ’im), in the same issue, conducted by Anthony DeCurtis.

DeCurtis: As you look ahead, what are the major issues facing us now?

McCartney: To make some headway in world peace. It would be great if people with differences in the world today would realize that there are no differences — it’s an energy field, dude! What’s needed is the same old thing: peace and love. Not to be frivolous, but that is still the great aim.

Well, and you guys probably need a new leader [laughs] ! I mean, that would help.

DeCurtis: No kidding.

McCartney: And we do too. You know that book The Ugly American? Britain’s part of that syndrome now. It’s like we’re in a state of denial. What global warming? What war? But global warming is a reality. The environment is a reality.

So, push the button and you get the requisite anti-Bush, anti-war and pro- “global-warming-as-religion” quotes from Macca, and no doubt most of the other graying celebrities who gave interviews for this “milestone” edition of RS.

I guess someone forgot to give Bob Dylan the script.

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Tears of Rage: The Great Bob Dylan Audio Scandal (from The Cinch Review)

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