Posts Tagged ‘Bob Dylan’
One of the great voices in music is Mavis Staples. First as lead singer of the Staples Singers, with hits such as Respect Yourself and I’ll Take You There, and currently with her blues/gospel fusion, she’s still performing.
This segment from CBS Sunday Morning in April 2011 noted that she STILL doesn’t know what keys she sings in, even after 60 years of performing. The story also revealed this:
Mavis Staples has a lot of stories to tell, but here’s one you probably didn’t see coming Read the rest of this entry »
A couple books (that I have not read) have come out about Bob Dylan recently, Sean Wilentz’s “Bob Dylan in America,” and “Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus, Writings 1968-2010″ by Greil Marcus. Dylan will turn 70 today, which also, I read in Jon Friedman’s Media Web column for MarketWatch.com, marks “the 50th anniversary of his arrival in New York City’s Greenwich Village folk scene. He was a star when John F. Kennedy was our president.”
Let’s face it: Bob Dylan didn’t/doesn’t have the prettiest voice in pop music. But his strength as a songwriter, especially early on, allowed listeners to become familiar with his songs through the performances of others.
Joan Baez, as noted previously, was an early advocate and performer of Dylan’s music, as were Peter, Paul, and Mary, who had two Top 10 songs written by Dylan way back in 1963, Blowin’ in the Wind which hit the charts in June and got to #2; and Don’t Think Twice, It’s all Right, charting in September, and ending up at #9.
But it was 1965 that Dylan really broke through Read the rest of this entry »
For some of us, when to retire is dictated by the policies of our companies, our governments, or perhaps, our health, possibly tied to the amount of our nest egg.
But for some, in the fields of music and sports, e.g., when it’s not always that clear. There’s a new movie called The Fighter, which I saw on New Year’s Eve, about a middling boxer who wonders if he should hang up his gloves, or stay in the ring.
But I was most intrigued by an article in the Wall Street Journal a couple weeks ago called When to Leave the Stage, which is about a “generation of music icons…hitting retirement age, along with their baby-boomer fans.” Writer John Jurgensen targeted one particular performer: “Is it time for Bob Dylan to hang up his hat and harmonica?”
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I’ve been watching God in America on PBS recently. I will grant that the criticism that it does not touch on non-Christian faiths as much as it ought is valid, but I still think the series has validity, and I’ve already recommended it to my church’s adult education coordinator. Maybe the series SHOULD be called “Christanity in America.”
That caveat aside, it is an interesting take on the conflicting views of faith in the country, never moreso than in the period right before and during the Civil War, when slavery was attacked and defended using the very same Bible. On the show, one abolitionist minister cites Exodus 21:16, “Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him when he is caught must be put to death.” Meanwhile, a pro-slavery preacher quotes Leviticus 25:45, 46 – “You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life.” This fight split the Methodist, baptist and Presbyterian denominations for decades.
Meanwhile, the slaves themselves are attracted to the liberation theology of Moses leading his people to freedom, epitomized by Exodus 3: 7-8: “The LORD said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.”
Thing is that most of these people had a certainty that God supports their particular take on the word because they believe – at least the non-slaves – in the notion that the United States is uniquely blessed by God. Interesting, one person in this period was less certain about God’s will, and that was President Abraham Lincoln, a man with a good Old Testament name.
The parallels with modern-day America are clear. There are some who claim to have a direct line to the Almighty when it comes to what is required/desired/permitted/omitted. The rest of us, not so much, except that God couldn’t POSSIBLY have meant THAT, at least not any more.
Anyway, it reminded me of the Bob Dylan song With God On Our Side, performed here by Joan Baez.
I’m not sure that most people can fully understand cultural phenomena that take place before they were born, or aware of the outside word. A person born after 1968 could appreciate the Beatles’ music, but could he or she she understand Beatlemania?
Well, that’s how I am about the actor James Dean, who died 55 years ago today, not to be confusion with Jimmy Dean, the sausage guy who died recently. I recognize him as a cultural icon, though he was in only three major movies, two of which were released posthumously. I understand it intellectually, but I didn’t “get” it.
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