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Monday, June 17, 2019

The Secret Thread Embedded in America's Creative DNA!


I am not sure I can convey how excited I was to find that this film from Martin Scorsese dropped recently on Netflix. I have lately been on a major Bob Dylan kick. I mean, I pretty much have been for my whole life. My mom turned me onto Dylan when I was a wee lad, and over the years I have always come back to the man and his work. Paraphrasing Joan Baez: Not everyone "gets" Dylan, but if you do, if you fall under his spell, there is no-one better. You fall hard for the work and there is nothing else that comes close. 

There are so many Dylans that I love: The Young Woody Guthrie Inspired Folk Troubadour, The Wild Mercury Mouthed, Cowboy Junkie Stream of Consciousness, Wild-Haired Rock and Roller, The Basement Sage, The Countrified Gent, The Rolling Thunder, White-Faced Prophet, The Born-Again, Fire & Brimstone, Apocalypse is Coming Preacher Dylan, The Burned Out Rocker, The Ancient Sage, The Old Man of Letters and the Nobel Prize, etc.

That's the exciting thing, Dylan is always changing, morphing, evolving, creating. Paraphrasing him from the film: Life is not a journey to find ourselves, it is an adventure where we create our selves. He not busy creating is busy dying!

It is amazing to see and hear Dylan in 1976 - in fine voice, passionate, committed, with an unlikely, overstuffed caravan of co-conspirators. Dylan's music is the secret thread weaved into the foundation of American Music. The key thread in American culture's unique DNA from the 60's onward. Dylan is the connecting line from poets: Whitman, Ginsberg, Kerouac, Waldeman, Patti Smith, all the various Visionary Poets & Beats; folk/blues contingent: Rambling Jack Eliot, Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, all the rock and roll outlaws, the Beatles, the Byrds, The Band, The Stones, all the various forms of Americana. Plus don't forget Sam Shepard the great, surreal American playwright who makes an appearance. Also Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, T-Bone Burnett, Mick Ronson, Ronee Blakely, Chief Rolling Thunder. What a collection of unique creative souls!

Growing up I was always a big Beatles fan, they were the first to introduce me to Pop Culture and r&r, but early on, even as a little kid, I was struck that while the love-able Mop Tops were conquering the world singing "I Want to Hold Your Hand," Dylan was writing and singing epic and classic folk songs like "Blowing in the Wind," "Masters of War," "The Times are A Changing" and "A Hard Rain is Gonna Fall." The Beatles may have been more exuberant, looked like they were having more fun, Dylan hit you right between the eyes with his amazing imagery delivered by his razor-sharp vocals, lyrics seared deep into your consciousness and dreams. Not  much later, Dylan too, picked up an electric guitar and took everything to another level, think "Bringing It All Back Home," "Highway 61 Revisted," and "Blonde on Blonde." A fantastic phantasmagoria of roar and thunder!
Kicky r&r exuberance, the sound of electric Fender guitars, married to surreal images & stream of consciousness genius.

All of my major influences, the core of my creative consciousness, my awaking to another reality, show up in this movie. To watch it is to see the great American creative revolution in music, in culture, roll out right before your eyes. Astonishing. Beautiful. Inspiring. Essential viewing.

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