Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Music & the distant past

Don't Think Twice & Baby Blue

One of the few (maybe only) music legends to emerge from Minnesota is Bob Dylan, who was born Robert Zimmerman in 1941 at Hibbing. Never heard of him? I do not believe you if you said "no." In any event, here is a pair of early recordings by Dylan, just for the fun of it. As you watch these performances (if you watch these performances) think of them in terms of their age -- about 45 years old, give or take. What were you doing 45 years ago; were you even here 45 years ago? Are Dylan and his songs more or less relevant today than he/it was two generations ago? Ain’t life something else? See there? Rock and roll is not the only music in my world.

On the top is,
"Don’t Think Twice, It's All Right,"
which appeared in 1963 on Dylan's second album.

On the bottom is,

"It's All Over Now, Baby Blue,"
which was among the songs on his fifth album, from 1965.


Natalie said...

Very relevant, Fram…
May I add another gem to your collection? 45 years later, “Things Have Changed…”

P.S. Thought all Zimmermans were born in Brooklyn, NY!!!

TheChicGeek said...

Hi Fram :) Thanks for sharing the nice videos. I love Bob Dylan...and I can't believe how young he looks in these.
These songs are a little sad though, I think...I suppose that's life, happy and sad, good and bad, little bit of everything...each in it's time and place.
Hope you are having a nice day today :)

TheChicGeek said...

PS: I didn't answer your question. I believe some things in life never change, especially when it comes to human relationships...his words are as relevant today as they were back in the '60's.

A Cuban In London said...

Ha, touche, again, my friend. Bob is Bob, innit? (That's my London slang, 'innit'). I had to defend him on my blog against an article written my one of my favourite columnists, but one who occasionally becomes too opinionated for her own sake. She said that Dylan was not a lyricist. Oh, boy! Just looking at these two clips... you know... how can someone...? Well, I guess that part of growing up is accepting other people's opinions. Many thanks for posting this. Here you will find a link to her column

And here's my answer to that charge of doggerel

Greetings from London.

Fram Actual said...

Yes, Natalie, very relevant.

"Things Have Changed" is a strange song to me. I think I am right on the cusp of the lyrics, and understand completely what Dylan is talking (singing) about in this piece.

All the Zimmermans were born in Brooklyn? Maybe that is why Bobby left Minnesota in 1961 and headed for New York City. He could stay with Uncle Louie while he wandered the streets singing his songs.

Fram Actual said...

Both songs are "goodbye" songs, Kelly, which by their nature would make them sad. Dylan said the "Baby Blue" piece dated back to his high school days. If I were to speculate, I would think he wrote these songs as a means of telling a couple of young ladies who once dumped him to take a look at him now -- and then to eat their hearts out.

I would go so far as to say I think most of Dylan's old songs are more relevant now than they were at the time of their origins. Other than technological "miracles," my continuous mantra is that all levels of governmental, societal and legal standards have dramatically worsened during the past two generations. Life today, I believe, is demonstrated through the old axiom of, "we have met the enemy and he is us."

Fram Actual said...

I will read these two pieces later today, CiL, but I wanted to state right now that in many cases the lyrics of Dylan, in my estimation, comprise some of the better poetry to emerge during the second half of the 20th Century.

I am curious to discover what my reaction will be after having read the article by the columnist and your response to it.

Fram Actual said...

Later today has arrived ....

My suspicion always has been that Germaine Greer was invented rather than born. Her column and your response lend credence to my belief, CiL.

I think the Guardian would be well advised to have you take over her role as columnist.

Piper .. said...

very, very relevant Fram! Love both the songs you`ve mentioned. "Dont think twice" is majorly 'influenced' by Paul Clayton(even some parts of the lyrics I believe!). Its pbly one of the lyrically best ways to show the middle finger to the girl who did him wrong :):)
Loved Joan Baez in the video. Isnt she beautiful?

And ohh, while we`re on the topic of Dylan, one of my fav numbers is 'Dignity'. Talking of dignity and its relevance in present times, here`s a link you`d pbly like.
David Brooks has always been my favorite conservative writer

Fram Actual said...

Well, you have me laughing now, Piper, because of the way all of the differing ideas emerged from your comment.

To begin, young Mr. Dylan was an expert at telling anyone and everyone where to get off, ranging from Uncle Sam to young ladies and even to fans. Yes, and you are right, "Don't Think Twice" is an epitome of the not-so-sweet farewell.

Next, you should win a prize. I doubt one person in 100 would recognize Joan Baez in the brief clip.

Finally, my own view is that David Brooks was suffering from a hangover due to indulging himself with a three martini lunch by the time he wrote the final paragraph of the column you cited. Dignity, very possibly, would be among the last words in the dictionary I would apply when describing Barack Obama. I will stop at that, and simply scratch my head in wonder.

Peggy said...

Yes, Fram - thanks for the blast into the past with Dylan in the late 60s! Although I listened to Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot (and Beatles and Rolling Stones of course) in my teen years, more than Dylan and Baez, Dylan was a staple of any teen in the late 60s. In those years it was all about the Vietnam war and protests of all other sorts - Make Love not War ... (insert flash back on memory lane here)

After the USA got out of Vietnam and in the ensuing decades - from where I was sitting - things seemingly changed - we had achieved peace and prosperity reined supreme- until 1991 and the Gulf War. With that war and in the other wars since - there are parallels with the Vietnam War because we ourselves are not being threatened. In these wars we are fighting to bring our standards for justice and (what was called in the 60's) "the American Way" to others. And so full circle.

Dylan's songs are as relevant today as ever. With the war in Iraq we see a revival of the Protest song. So, I am not sure that the Times they are a Changin but think we may just be caught in things going round and round in the Circle Game...

Fram Actual said...

You took me by surprise, Peggy. I did not notice you had commented here until a few minutes ago. Thank you.

I really do think the music of Bob Dylan is pertinent today and, possibly, even moreso than it was way back when he first began to sing it.

Something special ....