Friday, 14 October 2016
A Bit More Bobness
Since the Dylan Nobel brouhaha is still going on, even on this blog, let me add this suggestion of another way of looking at Dylan's lyrics. Those who claim him as a bona fide poet always seem to support their case by quoting his most obviously, showily 'poetical' songs, such wordy, image-packed epics as Desolation Row, Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands or Stuck Inside of Mobile (all damned fine, indeed wonderful songs). I would suggest that Dylan actually comes closest to writing words that can stand on their own when he stays closest to ballad form. In particular I'd opine that the album John Wesley Harding contains not only some of his most perfect songs but some of his finest words - all the best of them in simple, concentrated ballad form. I Dreamed I Saw Saint Augustine, I Pity the Poor Immigrant... Of course they're better when they're sung, but those words on their own pack quite a punch, don't they?