Scarlet Town Analysis – Part 2

I going to do a little trainspotting In this post. Dylan has a delightful habit of tossing into his lyrics sly references to all sorts of things: songs, books, poetry, literature, and of course, the Bible. It’s a lot of fun trying to identify them. Songs I’ve already discussed the traditional folk song, Barbara Allen. …

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Scarlet Town Analysis – Part 1

I’ve been listening to Scarlet Town a lot lately. It’s not a particularly easy song to digest. Perhaps an impossible song to really get to know. Dylan long ago stopped writing in a linear fashion, with often spectacular results. Think Desolation Row, to name one glorious example. Sometimes though, like with this song, this style …

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Crowdsourcing Transcriptions: “At the Library and in the Field: John and Alan Lomax Papers”

Most Dylan fans (over a certain age at least) are aware of John and Alan Lomax, the American ethnomusicologists best known for their recordings of folk music of the 20th century. Of course, many of the songs collected ended up on recordings that would influence Dylan. The Library of Congress is holding a crowdsourcing event …

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Shadow Kingdom Director – Alma Har’el

Shadow Kingdom was released this week to almost universal approbation. True, the Sony marketing department made a huge gaffe (or perhaps they did it on purpose to boost ticket sales) by advertising the show as an ‘intimate live performance’ when it really wasn’t. In reality, it was a film of Dylan and his “band’ mimicking …

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Johnny Cash – The Life by Robert Hilburn

I just finished a biography of Johnny Cash, written by Robert Hilburn, a long-time music writer with the Los Angeles Times. It’s a page-turner, highly recommended. Not surprisingly, the book has a plethora of Dylan-related material. Background on Cash Cash grew up a very poor country boy from Arkansas. When his family moved to a …

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Fred Neil and Bob Dylan

Fred Neil is most remembered for Everybody’s Talkin’, written for the landmark film, Midnight Cowboy. Neil’s song wouldn’t have been used except that Dylan delivered his song – Lay, Lady, Lay – too late. Performed for the soundtrack by Harry Nilsson, Everybody’s Talkin’ reached #6 on the Billboard Chart. Neil wrote many tunes that are …

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Hank William’s Influence on Bob Dylan – Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest

Many readers are undoubtedly already aware that Dylan has cited the greatest country music artist of all time, the country Shakespeare – Hank Williams – as his first influence. He wrote in the liner notes of Joan Baez In Concert, Part 2: An my first idol was Hank Williams For he sang about the railroad lines …

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