Rambling Bob Dylan Discovery Blues

“Positively 4th Street” is on the radio —
not the original but a damn good cover. I wonder
if anyone’s hearing this version as the first time
they’ve ever heard the song at all — thinking,
“what perfect spite I’ve discovered here in the voice
of the writer of this song.”

It could happen. I thought
Jimi Hendrix wrote “All Along The Watchtower”
for a while after I first heard it until an older friend
smugly played me the original. There’s a version
by Dave Mason out there, too, but I heard that later
on and it paled and faded and ghosted away 
in comparison to the others I knew…

Dylan’s covering the Great American Songbook
these days.  No one thinks he wrote those songs
because people who listen to Dylan now 
and buy his albums as they come out know well enough
what his voice is like and what he writes and has written,
and any discovery they find there is in how it’s done,
not in what was done.  It’s not my cup of tea

but it works for some. I suppose it works for Bob Dylan
since he’s on his second album of those songs. It must be
a relief at 75 not to worry about such things as legacy and
authorship and authority. He must say to himself,
“Positively 4th Street, Blowin’ In The Wind, Masters Of War,
Tangled Up in Blue…yeah, I’m good.  Let’s do that Gershwin tune.
Let’s do something. Might discover something we don’t already know.” 

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About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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