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View Diary: Books Go Boom!   Bob Dylan's Birthday: Are Rock Lyrics Poetry? (243 comments)

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  •  Everyone reinterprets Dylan; I admit, Corigliano (5+ / 0-)

    takes it a lot further than most. It is jarring. It seems to me that it pushes against both the natural music in the lines, and their meaning. But directors do that with Shakespeare - they figure we've seen the gist of his classics so much, that to find something fresh they turn it inside out.

    The most ambitious reinterpreter of Dylan is Dylan himself. Some of his classics have gone through more than a dozen incarnations; and there are live albums, like Budokan, in which he rewrites his whole corpus.

    His own favorite Dylan cover is Hendrix's All Along the Watchtower, where Jimi took an elusive folk song and made it into an electric anthem. Ever since, Dylan's played it Jimi's way.

    Bryan Ferry has been stretching Dylan's songs into new shapes for forty years now. Here he takes Positively 4th Street, one of Dylan's most caustic put-downs, and finds in it an etherial beauty. The second half of this video is Ferry being interviewed. He says of Dylan, "He's unique. He did bring poetry into pop-rock music, and revolutionized the industry, him and the Beatles, when they came along, were a breath of fresh air . . ."

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Fri May 24, 2013 at 08:58:47 PM PDT

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    •   Funny, I've never thought of Brandy (5+ / 0-)

      as taking place in a US  port. I've never been able to place the nationality in my head,  though I've tried.

      We can't all be Paul Kersey.

      by furrfu on Sat May 25, 2013 at 07:25:11 AM PDT

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      •  Well, it doesn't have any specifically American (3+ / 0-)

        points of reference. It opens

        There's a port on a Western bay
        And it serves a hundred ships a day
        Lonely sailors pass the time away
        And talk about their homes

        And there's a girl in this harbor town . . .

        and later talks about "a braided chain made of finest silver from the North of Spain", and "gifts from far away".

        So the spell it casts is not US, it's simply harbor town, a bar that sailors pass through on their way to somewhere else. Which is central to the drifting sadness in the song.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 02:21:37 PM PDT

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    •  Here's Bryan Ferry's "Smoke Gets in your Eyes" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, Monsieur Georges

      By Jerome Kern. From the 1930s.

      "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

      by Dbug on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:37:16 PM PDT

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      •  Roxy Music are a favorite of mine - they are a (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dbug, Monsieur Georges

        mother lode of shimmering beauty and invention. Half of Brian Ferry's solo career has been a place for him to steal and reinvent classic songs.

        I enjoyed Smoke Gets in your Eyes. Here's Ferry in '73, performing and transmogrifying Dylan's A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall.

        And here's the tribute Roxy Music released when Lennon was shot, which reached #1 in England - a beautiful version of Lennon's 'Jealous Guy'.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 09:35:45 PM PDT

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        •  And you've gotta love Brian Eno (3+ / 0-)

          Who played keyboards and contributed to the first two Roxy Music albums. Plus the album "Low" he made with David Bowie is a classic (one side sounds like Bowie and the  other side is Eno). Another Green World and Takiing Tiger Mountain By Strategy are great (Eno) albums, too, With lots of poetry.

          "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

          by Dbug on Sat May 25, 2013 at 10:27:34 PM PDT

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          •  Yes, the first two Roxy LPs are most interesting. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Monsieur Georges, RiveroftheWest

            Such an inspired idea, since he lacked the musical chops at the time, to approach the synth as a source of noises, not music. Eno also produced the most adventurous Talking Heads albums (and did a lot to keep U2 and Coldplay interesting).

            I adore Bowie from '69 to '83, but Low is my favorite - such a shockingly new sound palette (OK, he did nick some ideas from Kraftwerk), which reverberated through the '80s electronic revolution and beyond.

            "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

            by Brecht on Sat May 25, 2013 at 11:23:31 PM PDT

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