Understanding Bob Dylan

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Understanding Bob Dylan
Hi - I'm in a deep Dylan exploration.  I've always been a fan but became interested in his later work after I heard Modern Times.  I never really was too interested in his 60's stuff as I didn't relate simply because it wasn't my time.  But.....something clicked about 5 months ago and since I've been exploring Bob's catalog in depth. I've listened to about 25 albums and am finishing up Chronicles. Bob is so complex.  What a genius!  I wish I could express things the way he does! Looking forward to hearing the thoughts of other fans.  I feel like it's hard to find a Dylan fan out there! Mike
Flowers of Indu...
Flowers of Indulgence's picture
Re: Understanding Bob Dylan
Hi Mike,
I wonder how many other people are like you and I sometimes.  We have always tried to center the Fan Club around the "now" Bob because that's what we are experiencing.  I have never understood trying to go back in time to figure out what Bob used to be thinking, or what he meant back in 1965.  What I relate to is what I see Bob do NOW, on the stage in front of me. Bob also made it very clear that seeing him live was the way he wanted to be experienced.  Sure, I like all of the old songs, but when it really clicked for me was when I went to see him live the first time.  I somehow made all the stuff that came out since then mean more-like I was a part of it.  Part of what makes Bob so awesome is that he is saying things for all of us, in ways we wish we could say it.  I often times find myself thinking: YES!  That's the word for it, Bob!  Why couldn't I think of that...
Re: Going back in time
You and I are definitely on the same page for sure. First off, you hit it dead on when you say Bob says things in ways we wish we could say them.  I can think of so many personal connections I've made to Bob's lyrics and I find those connections more prevalent in his later, more recent material.  Lines like..."Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow, this should start to get interesting right about now" or "you are dearer to me than myself, as you yourself could see".....are part of an internal dialog I'm having with myself  that I'm not even sure I'm having at times.   You just hear lines in songs and say I've felt that. I can offer many examples. I'm doing my best to spread the word that music fans are missing out on great music, and great insight, when they make the assumption that Bob Dylan is an artist whose best work was in the 60's.  I'm working on a CD for a friend to hopefully share some of his best work of late and here's what I have lined up: Thunder on the Mountain
Standing in the Doorway
Trying to Get to Heaven
Summer Days
Workingman's Blues # 2
Huck's Tune
Not Dark Yet
Lonesome Day Blues
Nettie Moore
If You Ever go to Houston
Ring them Bells
Sugar Baby I can go on and on with the great later Dylan material  
Aren't you even curious what
Aren't you even curious what he's talking about in some of the older songs like "It's Alright Ma"?
jonizornes's picture
I just received my copy of Chronicles volume 1 and am really enjoying it! I am such a novice at understanding what Bob wanted to say. One of the first things I noticed was his character, where Grossman wanted to get him to void his contract because he wasn't 21 when he signed it, but instead Bob went ahead and signed the same contract when he was 21, because the man believed in him and gave him a real chance to begin. Another thing is when Bob described his performance as different than others in that instead of playing songs in order to get the performer's name out in front, Bob always tried to get the message of the song out rather than himself. After the recent concert where I went to see Bob Dylan, the local critics and even a co-worker who also went to see him, were talking negative about Bob's performance. This reminded me of a passage in the Bible that says:
  "7 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. 9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written: “‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way before you." (Matthew 11: 7-10 NIV) Bob, like all of us should be, is a messenger. What he puts out is far deeper than the fluff and pretty voices of delivery that only last for a few moments and then is gone. The deeper things of life are the things that are more tangable, valuable and will survive the test of time. When you really love someone for who they are, the externals are so insignaficant.

Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free

My first song was Lily Of
My first song was Lily Of West.
Lily Of The West. It's late
Lily Of The West. It's late for me.
Dylan Songs
I don't like the later stuff so much as the earlier years....loved the Christian albums most of all.
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