Friday, May 27, 2005

Tangled Up In Blue 

Bob Dylan turned 64 years old this past Tuesday, and I celebrated by listening to Highway 61 Revisited (his best album, if anyone's asking my opinion), New Morning, and a few other Bobby tracks on the Rock City iPod.

I also read a few more pages of his 2004 autobiography Chronicles, Volume One, which I finally got around to cracking open recently. I've been slowly savoring every page—the events, people, and places he chooses to describe often seem like odd choices, but they never fail to be interesting. His prose is infused with as much humor and wit as you could imagine. A thoroughly enjoyable reading experience.

In the chapter where he details the writing of the songs for his 1989 album Oh Mercy—a key CD of my senior year of high school, and my favorite post-Blood On The Tracks Bob record—he explains that he wrote additional verses for many of those songs, with lyrics that were never recorded. Had to smile when I read this unused verse from "Everything Is Broken": "Broken strands of prairie grass/Broken magnifying glass/I visited the orphanage and rode upon the broken bridge/I'm crossin' the river goin' to Hoboken/Maybe over there, things ain't broken." He notes that this was an attempt at adding some optimism to an otherwise bleak, if somewhat humorous song. In the end, that verse just didn't work in the song, I guess. Nice to know he thinks of our town in a positive light.

A cool way to wish the man a Happy Bobday would be to head just north of the border (that's the Jersey border, of course) and catch the Warwick Valley Winery's Dylan Tribute this weekend. A plethora of folk or folk-leaning artists are performing there Saturday, Sunday, and Monday between noon and 6 p.m. Plus, this: wine. And no, I am not drinkin' any Merlot!

Apparently it's all-Dylan, all-day, so those who love Bob but tend to be bored by the legions of sensitive singer/songwriters he "inspired" over the years don't have to suffer through set after set of well-intentioned but ultimately unimpressive originals. Sunday's lineup includes some folk faves whose original material is inspiring, which is nice to know even if they won't be playing any of it that day: John Gorka of "I'm From New Jersey" fame, as well as my friends Dave's True Story. Seeing DTS unleash their special all-Bob set is a unique opportunity, and one I wouldn't miss if I only had a car.

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