TALKIN' BOB DYLAN BLUES
la posta di Maggie's Farm

Ventunesima parte


167) Finalmente Michele,
i guai che hanno afflitto il server sembrano spariti: da venerdì la
connessione a "Maggie's Farm" è migliorata progressivamente e da sabato il sito è tornato
accessibile al primo click. Sono sicuro che nei prossimi giorni i contatti
rifioriranno; a proposito... complimenti per la 19sima parte.
Consultando il newsgroup stamattina ho avuto un' altra bella notizia:
Leonard Cohen sta ultimando la sua ultima fatica discografica e io non vedo
l' ora.
Ciao, Carlo

Ciao Carlo e grazie per la segnalazione. Carlo si riferiva al fatto che qualche giorno fa c'è stato un periodo in cui non era facile connettersi a "Maggie's Farm". Speriamo che ora la situazione sia migliorata. Comunque, Andygi mi comunica che, se non riuscite a connettervi al primo tentativo, a volte basta cliccare sulla voce "aggiorna" e la pagina dovrebbe essere caricata al secondo tentativo. La cosa divertente, comunque, è che io non ho mai avuto problemi a connettermi al sito anche nel periodo "incriminato" e pensate che utilizzo addirittura un paleolitico "Netscape 2". Mistero. Abbiamo comunque segnalato la cosa alla Xoom e speriamo che le cose si mettano a posto.
Quanto al nuovo album di Leonard Cohen anche io lo aspetto (a proposito, tu che sei sicuramente più esperto di me, ma Leonard Cohen è diventato una specie di santone che vive in una sorta di eremo, come mi sembra di ricordare, o mi confondo?...)
Ciao, Napoleon


COMUNICAZIONE DI SERVIZIO: avete letto le nuove strips di Zimmy nell'apposita pagina? Ce ne sono tre nuove ed una di esse, "Rituali", va accreditata all'amico Arcangelo per quanto riguarda l'idea, e qui lo ringrazio ovviamente per la collaborazione. Napoleon.


168) Ciao a tutti,
ho sentito in giro di un disco prodotto da Bob Dylan per una sua casa discografica (se ho capito bene) con alcune canzoni di Jimmi Rogers... Di cosa si tratta?
Ciao e grazie, Giovanni

Ciao Giovanni,
allora, sicuramente ti riferisci ad un album uscito nel 1997 dal titolo "The songs of Jimmie Rodgers - A tribute".
Non è che Bob ne fosse il produttore (i produttori erano infatti Jeff Kramer e Jeff Rosen) solo che è uscito per una etichetta di proprietà di Dylan, la Egyptian Records... anzi se non ricordo male è stato il primo titolo per questa casa di Bob (ce ne sono stati altri? Qualcuno lo sa?).
Inoltre credo che il disco sia stato "pensato" e voluto da Dylan stesso, da sempre grande ammiratore del grande Jimmie Rodgers, uno degli idoli della sua infanzia insieme a Guthrie, Leadbelly etc.
Nelle note del disco, scritte proprio da Dylan, Bob definisce Rodgers "una delle luci guida del ventesimo secolo il cui approccio alle canzoni è stato da sempre fonte di ispirazione per quelli di noi che hanno seguito il sentiero. Una stella fiammeggiante il cui sound era e rimane l'essenza dell'individualità in un mare di conformità e non ha eguali."
Il disco vedeva un' eccellente serie di artisti interpretare le canzoni di Jimmie, da Bono a Van Morrison, da Jerry Garcia (ultima interpretazione prima della sua morte, se ricordo bene) a Willie Nelson, da John Mellencamp a Mary Chapin Carpenter, fino ad arrivare allo stesso Bob Dylan che nel disco canta la bellissima "My blued eyed Jane". Sul disco c'è la versione del solo Bob anche se ne esiste un'altra forse ancora più bella di Dylan che canta il pezzo inseme con Emmy Lou Harris e che io ho trovato sulla Rete - e dovrebbe ancora esserci da qualche parte - e se non sbaglio è anche su qualche bootleg anche se non ricordo quale (magari Carlo o Alessandro o altri se lo ricordano e me lo suggeriscono?...).

Ecco la scaletta completa, artista e canzone:
1) Bono - Dreaming with tears in my eyes
2) Alison Kraus and Union Station - Any old time
3) Dickey Betts - Waiting for a train
4) Mary Chapin Carpenter - Somewhere down below the Mason Dixon line
5) David Ball - Miss the Mississippi and you
6) Bob Dylan - My blue eyed Jane
7) Willie Nelson - Peach pickin' time down in Georgia
8) Steve Earle and the V-Roys - In the jailhouse, now
9) Jerry Garcia, David Grisman e John Kahn - Blue Yodel n.9
10) Iris De Ment - Hobo Bill's last ride
11) John Mellencamp - Gambling bar room blues
12) Van Morrison - Mule skinner blues
13) Aaron Neville - Why should I be lonely
14) Dwight Yoakam - T for Texas
(c) 1997 Sony Music Entertainment Inc./Egyptian Records

Ciao Giovanni e alla prossima, Napoleon in rags


169) Ciao Michele,
visto che nella risposta ad una delle ultime lettere esortavi a proporre
temi letterari, ti invio un testo che ho ritrovato oggi nel mio archivio,
credo per uso personale più che per il sito, visto che è lunghissimo e non
avrai voglia di tradurlo, nè io sono in grado di tradurlo rigorosamente in
tempi decenti. Comunque puoi girarlo ad Antonio che mi pare cercasse proprio
cose del genere. Naturalmente anche se sul sito sono rari gli spunti sull'
aspetto poetico delle canzoni di Dylan, io penso che questo sia sottinteso
in tutte le lettere che ti arrivano e poi come disse Benigni: "quello che è
difficile di Dante non è Dante.... sono i commenti!" (intendendo per
commenti le note presenti su tutte le edizioni scolastiche della Divina
Commedia) dei quali però tu avrai sicuramente subito il fascino enigmistico.
Ciao, Carlo

Ciao Carlo, effettivamente il testo è molto lungo per proporlo integralmente o tradurlo, tuttavia ne riporto un pezzo che è poi quello che riguarda direttamente Dylan e che mi sembra molto interessante e comunque facilmente comprensibile nonostante sia in inglese. Il testo integrale riguarda la poetica di Leonard Cohen e Bob Dylan e la canzone popolare. L'autore è Frank Davey. Il pezzo è del 1969.

Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan : Poetry and the Popular Song
By Frank Davey, December 1969
 

The close relationship between poetry and music scarcely needs to be argued. Both
are aural modes which employ rhythm, rime, and pitch as major devices; to these the
one adds linguistic meaning, connotation, and various traditional figures, and the other
can add, at least in theory, all of these plus harmony, counterpoint, and orchestration
techniques. In English the two are closely bound historically. Anglo-Saxon heroic
poetry seems certainly to have been read or chanted to a harpist's accompaniment; the
verb used in Beowulf for such a performance, the Finn episode, is singan, to sing, and
the noun gyd, song. A major source of the lyric tradition in English poetry is the songs
of the troubadours.

The distance between the gleomannes gyd in Beowulf or "Sumeris Icumen In" and the
songs of Leonard Cohen or Bob Dylan may seem great, but is one of time rather than
aesthetics. The lyric poem as a literary work and the lyrics of a popular song are both
still essentially the same thing: poetry. Whether the title of the work be "Gerontion,"
"You Ain't Nothin' But a Hound Dog," or "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," our criteria
for evaluating the work must remain the same.

The most important prerequisite for both a significant poem and significant lyrics in a
popular song is that the writer be faithful to his own personal vision or to the vision of
the poem he is writing. All the skill and craft generally believed necessary for writing
poetry are indeed necessary because these are the only means by which a poet can
preserve the integrity of this vision in the poem. Whether writing for the hit parade or
the little magazine, a poet must not, either because of lack of skill or worship of a false
muse-popularity, wealth, or critical acclaim - go outside of his own or his own poem's
vision - on pain of writing only the derivative or the trivial. Historically, the writers and
singers of the lyrics of popular songs have seemed often to be incapable of personal
vision, and to have confused both originality and morality with a servile compliance to
popular taste. Tiny Tim and Mrs. Miller have both been remarkable chiefly as
unconscious caricatures of this naivety.

Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen represent two highly contrasting directions from
which the attempt to restore significance and integrity of vision to the popular song can
be made. Bob Dylan is the child runaway who became a professional songwriter by
deliberate hard work, and whose emergence as a poet of some talent seems to have
been accidental, almost as if he had unconsciously realized that good songs have to
contain reasonably good lyric poetry. Leonard Cohen is a university-educated
formalistic poet who has moved in an opposite direction with his recent discovery that
a good lyric poem could equally be a good song. Dylan brings to poetry a spontaneity
of rhythm and a resourcefulness in imagery that had long been qualities of American
folk music, as in that of Hudie Ledbetter or of Dylan's own idol, Woody Guthrie.
Cohen takes to the poem as popular song a scholarly precision of language and an
obsession for external form.

As lyricists these men stand far above the Carl Lee Perkinses, Richard Whitings,
Irving Berlins, and George Gershwins of the past. A close look at either reveals a
writer with individual experiences, ideas, imagery, and vocabulary, a writer who
projects his own self and its circumstances rather than fabricating a persona from the
offal of our culture. In Bob Dylan's work it is the original imagery and the intensely
personal vision that is immediately obvious

I saw a new born baby with wild wolves all around it,
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it,
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin',
I saw a roomful of men with their hammers a-bleedin',
I saw a white ladder all covered with water,
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken,

I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it is a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a gonna fall.

While there is a definite rhythmical naivety in this passage, it is nearly lost in the
richness of its images. Dylan's stance here is the stance of the visionary, of the
prophet. His images are ones out of our own society, but seen by his own eyes
and not in any way as this society might wish them to be seen.

There are many elements of interest in Bob Dylan's vision: his awareness of both
the miseries and virtues of the down-trodden, his sense of the viciousness of the
present United States society, his hatred of war, his personal need for
independence from amaterialistic culture's ties, and his feeling of the imminence
of the apocalypse. In fact, Dylan's vision is essentially apocalyptic; again and
again he tells of an evil world which is soon to be both punished and replaced
tomorrow, perhaps, when the ship comes in.

The world of Bob Dylan is a world where the unemployed Hollis Brown, his
wife and their five children are allowed by their fellow countrymen to starve in a
filthy cabin and "the dirty driven rain"("The Ballad of Hollis Brown"), where civil
rights workers are murdered ("Oxford Town"), where prisoners are abused by
sadistic guards ("The Walls of Red Wing"). It is a world of embittered
immigrants ("I Pity the Poor Immigrant"), of exploited tenants ("Dear
Landlord"), of frivolous and materialistic women ("Sad-Eyed Lady of the
Lowlands"). It is a world where white Americans systematically destroy entire
tribes of Indians, where each warring nation and faction imagines smugly that
God is on its side ("With God on Our Side"), where the "masters of war" hide in
their mansions "as young people's blood/flows out of their bodies/and is buried
in the mud" ("Masters of War"). The United States, to Dylan, is the country that
enjoys watching boxer kill boxer("Who Killed Davey Moore"), the country
where a judge can coerce a young girl to intercourse on the false promise that
he will save her father from hanging ("Seven Curses"), the country where poor
whites are taught by the rich to hate negroes ("Only a Pawn in their Game"), and
the country where mine and factory are opened and closed with little thought to
the welfare of the worker ("North Country Blues"). To the young, in Dylan's
eyes, the United States is an absurd, surrealistic place:

Ah get born, keep warm
Short pants, romance, learn to dance
get dressed, get blessed
try to be a success
Please her, please, him, buy gifts
Don't steal, don't lift,
Twenty years of schoolin'
And they put you on the day shift
Look out kid, they keep it all hid
Better jump down a manhole
Light yourself a candle, don't wear sandals
Try to avoid scandals
Don't wanna be a bum
You better chew gum.

("Subterranean Homesick Blues")

Dylan himself wants neither to chew gum nor please anyone. He is against not
only the kind of possessiveness and dominance of human beings that the United
States practices through its foreign policy, its racial discrimination, its boxing
syndicates, and its abuse of workers, but also (at least until the recent album
Nashville Sky-line) against the possessiveness and dominance encouraged by
romantic love. In 'Don't Think Twice it's All Right" the speaker deserts a
woman because she required too much of him; "I gave her my heart but she
wanted my soul." In "It Ain't Me Babe" the speaker has encountered a girl who
wants "someone to close his eyes for" her, "someone to close his heart.
Someone who will die for "her, "and more." Again, such demands, even though
sanctioned by our culture, seem unreasonable to him. Dylan expresses his own
ideas on the ideal relationship between people in his song "All I Really Want to
Do." These ideas do not apply merely to the relationship between man and
woman, but in the light of his other songs can be generalized to include the
relationship between worker and employer, citizen and policeman, student and
professor.

I ain't lookin, to compete with you,
Beat or cheat or mistreat you,.
Simplify you, classify you,
Deny, defy, or crucify you.
All I really want to do
Is Baby, be friends with you.

Dylan seeks the destruction of what is to him an inhumanly competitive,
exploitive, classifying, and confining society. Because his vision is apocalyptic,
however, he does not foresee revolution occurring other than spontaneously,
without apparent cause, as if by divine act. That our contemporary society, its
institutions, and its values should not only be criticized and rejected but also
escaped seems to be his major piece of advice to us all. But man's own means
of escape are limited: one can murder one's starving wife and children and
commit suicide oneself, like Hollis Brown, so that "some-where in the
distance/There's seven new people born" ("Ballad of Hollis Brown"), or one can
follow "Mr. Tambourine Man" and through marijuana, LSD, or hard narcotics
come "to dance beneath the diamond sky" ("Mr. Tambourine Man"). For
change that will affect everyone something larger must occur. A song such as
"The Times They Are A-Changin' " contains only a hint of the coming
apocalypse.

The line is drawn
The curse is cast
The slow one now will
Later be fast.
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin'
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

And yet it is clearly the Christian apocalypse, with its conventional raising of
the meek and toppling of the mighty, that Dylan is suggesting. Songs such as
"It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" or "A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall" present the
surrealistic rush and confusion ofa judgement day already at hand. The last
scene of Bergman's The Seventh Seal sends men everywhere scurrying for a
pennyworth of salvation, "The Saints are coming through,/And It's all over now,
Baby Blue." In "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine" the blessed saint himself
comes down to earth to offer man life after destruction. In four other songs
Dylan's vision of the all-arighting apocalypseis directly expressed. In "Chimes of
Freedom" Dylan pictures an exhilarating scene:

Thru the mad mystic hammering of the wild ripping hail
The sky cracked its poems in naked wonder
That the clanging of the church bells blew far into the breeze
Leaving only the bells of lightning and its thunder
Striking for the gentle, striking for the kind,
Striking for the guardians and protectors of the mind
An' the unpawned painter behind beyond his rightful time
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

In "Lay Down Your Weary Tune" he reports:

Struck by sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone,
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.

The ocean wild like an organ played
The seaweed's wove its strands,
The crashin' waves like cymbals clashed
Against the rocks and sands.

I stood unwound beneath the skies
And clouds unbound by laws,
The cryin' rain like a trumpet sang
And asked for no applause.

In "The Gates of Eden" Dylan develops a clear dichotomy between what is
possible on earth and what is possible in eternity.

Meaningless noise, ownership, kingship, time, metaphysics, law courts,
science, the dream of an earthly paradise - all, Dylan tells us, can exist only
outside the gates of Eden.

With a time rusted compass blade
Aladdin and his lamp
Sits with Utopian hermit monks
Sidesaddle on the Golden Calf
And on their promises of paradise
You will not hear a laugh
All except inside The Gates of Eden.

And some day, after the hard rain has fallen, perhaps - Dylan leaves the entire
physical circumstances of our society's cataclysmic destruction intentionally
vague-after the hard radioactive rain following an atomic war, when indeed all is
over for baby blue and everyone else, these gates of Eden will open, and the
hour will have come, "the hour when the ship comes in."

O the time will come
When the winds will stop
And the breeze will cease to be breathin'
Like the stillness in the wind
When the hurricane begins
The hour when the ship comes in.

O the sea will split
And the ship will hit
And the shoreline sands will be shaking
Then the tide will sound
and the wind will pound
And the morning will be breaking.

("When the Ship Comes In")

(c) degli aventi diritto


170) ....e' proprio un sito MITICO !
Bravo ( o bravi...??)..., avanti cosi' !
Ciao a tutti.
TONI (Treviso)

Ciao Toni e benvenuto sulle pagine di Maggie's Farm.
Grazie per i complimenti innanzitutto. Quanto al "bravo" o "bravi"... ovviamente la seconda è quella giusta visto che siamo in diversi a scrivere su Maggie's Farm. Anzi ti invito a scriverci tutto quello che ti passa per la mente su Bob e la sua musica. Fatti vivo quando vuoi.
Ciao da Michele "Napoleon in rags" Murino


171) Ciao Michele,
tempo fa leggevo sul libro di Clinton Heylin dal titolo "Jokerman" il resoconto di una session di Bob in cui Dylan provava "A sweetheart like you" improvvisandone il testo. Heylin citava questo episodio come significativo del metodo di lavoro in studio di Bob... Siccome Heylin parlava nel dettaglio della session e riportava molte frasi di Bob che provava mi sono chiesto se esiste da qualche parte la registrazione di questa canzone?...
Tu lo sai?...
Ciao da Fausto

Ciao Fausto
certo che esiste! Si tratta ovviamente delle sessions per il disco "Infidels" e tutti gli out-takes di queste sessions compresa la famosa "scrittura in diretta" di "A sweetheart like you" sono contenuti nel doppio bootleg dal titolo "Rough cuts" con una bellissima copertina con Bob Dylan a fianco di Mark Knopfler sul palco mentre suonano (Knopfler produsse il disco "Infidels" oltre a suonare con Bob).
Nel disco, come dicevo, c'è tutta la serie di tentativi per registrare la canzone ed è interessante vedere come Dylan attacca un verso, si ferma, borbotta qualcosa come a cercare le parole giuste. Riprende a cantare ripetendo il verso con le nuove parole. Poi si ferma di nuovo, riprova tra sè e sè e poi riprende a cantare... e così via fino alla stesura finale.
"Rough cuts" contiene anche delle chicche come "Angel flyng too close to the ground" pezzo di Bob non facile da trovare essendo stato pubblicato solo come b-side. Altra chicca è "Julius and Ethel", inedita, di cui riportai il testo nella pagina della posta di Maggie's Farm tempo fa (la trovate qualche pagina fa). C'è poi una versione ELETTRICA di Blind Willie McTell ed altri inediti come Dark Groove, Don't fly unless its safe e This was my love.
Ciao, Michele



 
 

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