Happy birthday, Bob Dylan

The Master’s eighth studio album.

I backed into Bob Dylan, the way you might bump into an interesting character at someone else’s party.

“Mr. Tambourine Man?” The Byrds sang me that one. “Blowin’ in the Wind?” Peter, Paul and Mary. “All Along the Watchtower?” Heard it first from Jimi Hendrix. I don’t think I really got into the guy that Chazbo Pierce calls “The Master” until “John Wesley Harding” came out in 1967, shortly after my family moved from San Antone to Bibleburg.

My friends and I played the shit out of that one, and then I started rooting around through his back catalog.

I lost interest after Bob found the Lord, though I dug “Gotta Serve Somebody” and “Everything Is Broken.” These days I only have the old stuff — “Blonde On Blonde,” “Blood On the Tracks,” “Bringing it All Back Home,” “The Freewheeling Bob Dylan,” and “Highway 61 Revisited.” You’ll find more killer tracks on those five albums than most singer-songwriters could produce in five lifetimes.

As Thomas McGuane put it in “Nothing But Blue Skies”:

No one compares with this guy, thought Frank. I feel sorry for the young people of today with their stupid fucking tuneless horseshit; that may be a generational judgment but I seriously doubt it.

Extra-Credit Dylan:

• At Esquire, Charles P. Pierce discusses the old soul of The Master.

At The New York Times, Jason Zinoman calls Dylan our most underrated comic, arguing that he belongs “in the pantheon of great Jewish funnymen.”


28 Responses to “Happy birthday, Bob Dylan”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    I liked a lot of the stuff the Wilburys did too, but agree with you on the early Dylan. I think we have most of those too. The records are pretty worn out but have most on CD.

  2. Pat O’Brien Says:

    WordPress appeared to be hosed up this morning. “Don’t Think Twice” is my favorite. Open chords only, but the changes come fast.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Was there a problem with the blog? I’ve noticed a few issues with Safari lately, mostly involving other sites. Failing to completely load, not loading images, etc.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      “Don’t Think Twice” is a good’un. I favor “Subterranean Homesick Blues” myself. Also “Blowin’ in the Wind.” And “Ballad of a Thin Man,” even though he’s bustin’ on a fellow scribe in that one.

      Oh, yeah, and “Positively Fourth Street.” Can’t forget that one.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Let me try this one more time. Images are not loading or just partially loading. The site accepts comments, but once you sign in, the comment hangs up and does not post. The iPads weren’t working, lets see if this Macbook can get it done.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Well, that worked, bu it took a loooong time, about 5 minutes. Maybe WordPress doesn’t like my Piehole ad blocker? Normally if a website doesn’t like it, it tells me to turn it off, and that’s unusual.

        • SAO' Says:

          The combo of last year’s ad blockers and 14.5’s anti-tracking stuff ain’t good. I don’t even know what I have installed, but I’m pretty sure that’s the source of my conflicts. And if you’re signed into The Facebook, the pissing contest between Tim Apple and Markie Mark ads another layer.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Hm. I had some problems like that a while back when I posted a Spotify player from Desert Oracle Radio. I took it out and the problem went away.

        I’m guessing you’ve cleared your cache, rebooted, etc.? The blog seems OK on this end — I’ve eyeballed it using MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, and iPhone.

        • Pat O’Brien Says:

          All is good now. Cache, history and cookie clearing didn’t help. Just loaded iOS 14.6 on this pad, but it didn’t include any Safari fixes. It’s a mystery. Sandy had same issues on Blogspot. So, it did seem to be a blog site problem.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          Interesting. I’ve been slightly annoyed with Safari for a while now. Herself and I have both noticed issues with it. And the gang at Daring Fireball and Six Colors are routinely critical of the various iterations of iOS, especially the iPad version, saying that while the hardware is excellent and continues to improve in leaps and bounds, the software has not kept up.

          Of course, this doesn’t explain my occasional hiccups with a WordPress blog managed using the Classic Editor on a 7-year-old MacBook Pro running High Sierra. Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of that setup?

          • SAO' Says:

            The entire interweb is held together with duct tape and baling wire, and some 16 year old in Amsterdam occasionally squirts a little 3-in-1 oil in there whenever he hears a squeak. It’s amazing anything works.

          • Patrick O'Grady Says:

            Some days a fella just wants to break out the Bravo Foxtrot Hotel and make a few delicate adjustments.

          • SAO' Says:

            Maybe that’s what Larry meant. I thought it was a training philosophy, but more than likely he was trying to use Windows Vista.

            🧘🏻‍♂️ Sometimes we just have to go out and meet the man with the hammer.🚴🏼‍♂️ ~Laurent Fignon

          • Pat O'Brien Says:

            After some troubleshooting, I think the problem is either my modem or ISP (Cox Cable.) I disabled my Pi-hole ad blocker to see if it was the cause of my problem; it wasn’t. So, it seems to be an upstream channel availability issue with Cox or the modem. Right now everything is working as it should. Here is some info on Pi-hole.


          • Patrick O'Grady Says:

            I’m rocking CenturyLink and a totally old DSL modem/WAP, an ActionTec C1000A. It’s surprisingly robust, but then again the upload/download speeds available to us here in the ’Burque ’burbs are beyond comical. There’s no point in bothering with a tech upgrade at El Rancho Pendejo when the pipe linking us to the World-Wide Web is made of clay and full of roots and ratoncitos.

  3. khal spencer Says:

    Speaking of John Wesley Harding…

  4. Charley Says:

    He wrote some good music but I cannot stand to hear him soon.

  5. carl duellman Says:

    i love all the cover versions of dylan songs. https://www.npr.org/sections/world-cafe/2021/05/24/999194171/celebrate-bob-dylans-80th-birthday-with-80-cover-songs
    i haven’t listened to this playlist yet so i can’t say these versions are any good.

  6. Dale Says:

    Someone asked him what he was, and that was years ago and he replied that he was a song and dance man.
    I believe it, but he is better at songs than at dance.

  7. Herb from Michigan Says:

    The Double Life of Bob Dylan by Clinton Heylin reveals some interesting takes on The Master. Apparently he told some pretty big whoppers with a wee bit of plagiarism early on. Regardless of whom he said he was back then and who he stole ideas from; he eventually became the real deal. Like most I liked his earlier product which had more soul than his later growling and mumbling. Totally weird to hear his son on Echo in the Canyon cover those old songs from yesteryear and hear a little bit of Bob coming through.Even though they were not Bobs songs.

  8. Herb from Michigan Says:

    Neither one will be at the NY Metropolitan singing opera any time soon.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Woon’t it be awesome to have Dylan and Waits do a duet, with a bunch of bullfrogs singing backup and a band composed entirely of tubas, bass saxophones, and bassoons?

  9. SAO' Says:

    Oh, hey, really enjoyed The Time Machine. Nice little pallet cleanser from the rest of today’s reading requirements.

    • SAO' Says:

      Palate! Siri apparently thinks I’m in the warehouse hosing down pallets.

      PS my kids found it kind of funny Siri short coming.

      Kids: Hey Siri, count to 20 in Spanish.

      Siri: Cuenta hasta 20.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thanks, Hoss. I was wondering when that one was gonna hit the streets. I just got my copy the other day.

      After Surly and Soma croaked the rim-brake Long Haul Trucker and Saga, the Adventure Cyclist gang asked if I was interested in wising off. For money? Is it dangerous to wander through the jungle wearing a pork-chop jacket? They asked for it on Feb. 23 and I sent it on the 25th. Boom goes the dynamite!

  10. SAO' Says:

    How about Dan Martin?! Dude now has stage wins in all three Grand Tours. Of course, he’s never even entered the FOCO Fondo, so there’s still room on that trophy case for some more hardware.

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