Sunday, November 13, 2016

Cohen, Dylan and Trump: The Third Time's The Charm

The title of this blog kind of looks like the brass plate on the door of a prestigious law firm.
Anyway. I had planned early last week to write a rant about Bob Dylan and his copping this years' Noble prize for literature.

You see, although Bob was an early musical hero of mine, arriving as he did on the cusp of the folk music revival begun around 1958 in the wake of the Kingston Trios buttoned down approach to the collections of Alan Lomax, Pete Seeger and the rest of the early explorers of this depthless genre of American music, I sort of lost him in the buzz of an overloaded amp and a brand new Stratocaster.
Yeah, I was like the connoisseurs of Woody Alan movies. I liked his early stuff.

Plus the fact a lot of singer/songwriters had begun arriving on the folk scene, with many more to follow over the next fifty years or so.

So I was all hot and heavy into pulling down my granite statues and replacing them with others more, if not perhaps (dare I say it?) better then the "Unwashed Phenomena"?

And another reason I had for a what I thought would be a searing comment on the general ill-health of the world was that my brother (Gary) had written a piece for blogs. entitled Bob Dylan and the English Language. The piece is good and I will give you a link so you can peruse atg your leisure.

He's a much better writer then I am, but don't drive like him.

I had a whole bunch of names of living artists to rattle off who I felt deserved the ubiquitous award more then Bob;  people like Paul Simon, Joanie Mitchell, and (Ding-a-ling-a-ling) Leonard Cohen.
So I delete the first blog and start another one, focusing on he old Canadian. This is a guy I can write about.

And then almost the same day his gravelly voice was stilled, Mr. Trump cleared his throat, chopped down all the cherry trees, blew up Capitol Hill and became our next president.


Well, it's the will of the electoral college so I guess we'll go with what we have.

The late Mr. Cohen
So I backed up, deleted the thing about Dylan and Cohen and decided to add my tiny tinny voice to the ocean roar of all the wounded pundits pride, shattered dreams and the dreams fulfilled, the happiness, the sadness and grief. It's amazing how just one guy can cause all these emotions to convulse an entire people.  We, the Americans who believed in the system and found that it was not rigged....only directed by a constitutional law. And we're left like so much flotsam on the beach after a storm,  gasping for air.

To back up a bit, I believe Dylan is a fine poet, a lousy singer, an inflated egoist, a person able to self-invent himself over and over and somewhat of a twit not necessarily in that order.

Cohen, on the other hand, was not into self aggrandizement and recognized his own limitations as a singer, preferring to let others sing his songs.  Noel Harrison,"Suzanne", Judy Collins "Hey That's No Way To Say Goodbye" and of course Rufus Wainwright, John Cale, k.d.lang, Jeff Buckley, Regina Spector and, yes, Mr. Dylan himself; along with fifty or sixty other performers  for their take on Leonard's 1984 masterpiece, "Halleluiah."

And then last night on SNL, Kate McKinnon as Hillary sang it. Poignant is too soft a word.

By the way, here is the link to my brothers piece. It's pretty good. but don't tell him that.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need a little downtime just to absorb all that has taken place this week. Does it seem like a month?

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