Thursday, July 20, 2006

Even though it has been a good two or three years since I've heard a Dylan album in a sitting, I've recently dispelled the notion that my tastes had somehow moved on past him. It would have been an unfathomable suggestion at one point, but there was a time not so long ago, when I re-played some of his tracks that weren't particularly familiar to me, that I began to wonder whether he was no longer doing it for me. It turns out, however, that perhaps those tracks were not so familiar for a reason*!

I've chanced upon snippets of the Genuine Basement Tapes, which are proving to be most interesting. I always loved a few tracks from the officially issued Basement Tapes, but on the whole I thought of it as something of loads of historical, rather than musical interest. I never did understand what so many critics were raving about, but only now have I realized that they were raving about a 5 CD set, not the official 2 CD one! There are a couple of songs in particular that have made me think that I've cracked it, and figured out the difference between greatness and genius. Since I'm sometimes quite cynical, I think it also to be the difference between Dylan and his many followers, whose talents range from genuine to merely perfunctory. I listened to "Frankie Lee And Judas Priest", and "Jokerman", and after marvelling that the same person wrote both songs, I realized what good friends they (the songs) were, and how I don't think I've heard anyone else who has managed to approach Dylan in terms of songwriting. Moments of genius I've heard plenty, but I suppose Dylan was there first, and will probably never be bested - at least, not to my ears.

* No naming names, but it's clear that not everything he did was genius, or even very good. As with pretty much every artist, I suppose.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Maybe it's true

Maybe it's true
Maybe the years didn't really pass by
And I never aged, never outgrew
Your perennial presence, telling us
The trivial,
The magical.

I can think of worse fates
Than having to wake up again,
Put on that comforting shade of green,
Sit with complete attention,
And not wonder where time goes.