May. 25th, 2011

mackknopf: (Typing Away)
Today (well, two hours ago, before Tuesday turned into Wednesday) was Bob Dylan's birthday.  He started off as one man, one guitar, and a harmonica.  Plugging in for the bands came later.  I experienced his music out of order (sort of how I read books, actually), so I never had the experience of being shocked by his musical transformation at the Newport Folk Festival.  I doubt it would have bothered me, though.  I like most everything he's done, though not his newest stuff.  His voice is just about gone, so I didn't go hear him when he came to Birmingham a few months ago.  This makes me sad, that I feel he needs to retire, but he's still touring (off in China, last I heard).  I guess, Bob, you can keep playing as long as you like.  When you retire, though, Dad won't be surprised if you get the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Always reinventing himself, the amazingly prolific Dylan has created a vast body of work. And oh, the song writing and composing -- what a treasure!  There are some who never liked his voice, but I always did, rough or high, until a few years ago.  To quote Don McLean in his song "American Pie," it's a voice "that came from you and me."  Never technically perfect, it's always been full of passion, ideal for folk music or folk rock.

I've seen Bob Dylan a number of times and enjoyed every concert.  I'm not sure how I can tell you how much his songs have mattered to me, or the connection I feel to the man.  Wherever he is right now, I hope he had a great birthday, full of friends and love.  I'll leave you with a few quotes, though I could quote many more from memory.

"To live outside the law you must be honest."

"At midnight all the agents and the superhuman crew/ Round up everyone who knows more than they do."

"Peace will come with tranquility and splendor."


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