HOW MANY TIMES have we seen the pattern? The intense folkhero "missteps" his way into folk rock stardom. The touring megastar quits for 8 years. The reclusive Mr Dylan resurrects JOHN WESLEY HARDING. The found-his roots-folkie turns to country. The country pie family man leaves blood on the tracks enroute to a date with desire and divorce. Some of us need more than courage to face the changing of the "Gods" that comes next. Then, the Christian Bob drinks, smokes, and dates his way through a hurricane/harlequin burlesque of this infidel world, leaving us knocked out loaded as well. A NEVERENDING TOUR begins after some petty dead issues are borne to run their course. Oh, mercy, Lord, we are living under the red sky, and Bob is fanning the crimson flames through our ears as his net worth triples in volume.
Then, the back wheel of his triumph locks, but Bob bounces back as good as he's ever been to us. It's not Bob, it's the world that's gone wrong. GOOD AS I BEEN TO YOU and WORLD GONE WRONG take us for an Old World root canal ride on a dirty gondola, navigating (and divagating) almost as much as I have been. Slowly getting to the point...
PROBLEM: Prove you're the premier folk artist.
SOLUTION: Go electric.
PROBLEM: Prove you're still on your rocker after the motorcycle accident.
SOLUTION: Release JOHN WESLEY HARDING.
PROBLEM: Prove you have another JWH in you.
SOLUTION: Release NASHVILLE SKYLINE.
PROBLEM: Prove that you've mellowed and have eschewed the road forever.
SOLUTION: Have a reunion tour with THE BAND. Throw in the ROLLING THUNDER for CLARAfication.
The pattern repeats... and repeats...
THE PROBLEMS: Prove to the vast wasteland that you are truly the master tunesmith/wordsmith of the age, the poet of the century. Show the world who hates your voice(s) but loves your songs that you can still write the big ones.
THE SOLUTION: Release two albums containing no original Bob Dylan tunes (discounting reincarnation, universal consciousness, and a "Cayce" of mistaken identity).
Result? THE BRILLIANCE BEYOND BOB DYLAN AWARD: GAITBY and WGW have critics singing Bob's praises. He has tossed aside The Band, Tom Petty, the Dead, G.E. Smith, his own lyric genius and left us with "the voice" and the critics love it. With one masterful stroke, Bob has felled the largest redwood mark planted against him ("that voice"), uprooting a deep prejudice by going back to his roots in style, like Halley's Comet. There's nothing left but the Nobel Prize.
"Seen a shooting star tonight,
and I thought of you" ... Bob.
TOPIC: ROCK MUSIC (A-K)
TIME: 11/29/93 11:24 PM
TO: LEX ZALETA (KKSF22A)
FROM: JIM HIMES (GPPH74A)
SUBJECT: DYLAN: GRACEFUL COUP
Well, Lex, that does it for me. I need to read no other reviews of Bob's latest opus That's one of those things I read and thinK:"Geez, that guy actually thought that stuff up." Great!