Wednesday, October 21, 2015

a head full of ideas

---------------------------- [excerpt, Dylan Goes Electric! - by Elijah Wald.  Introduction] ----------------- On the evening of July 25, 1965, Bob Dylan took the stage at the Newport Folk Festival in black jeans, black boots, and a black leather jacket, carrying a Fender Stratocaster in place of his familiar acoustic guitar.  The crowd shifted restlessly as he tested his tuning and was joined by a quintet of backing musicians. 

Then the band crashed into a raw Chicago boogie and, straining to be heard over the loudest music ever to hit Newport, he snarled his opening line:  "I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more!"

What happened next is obscured by a maelstrom of conflicting impressions:  The New York Times reported that Dylan "was roundly booed by folk-song purists, who considered this innovation the worst sort of heresy." 

In some stories Pete Seeger, the gentle giant of the folk scene, tried to cut the sound cables with an axe.  Some people were dancing, some were crying, many were dismayed and angry, many were cheering, many were overwhelmed by the ferocious shock of the music or astounded by the negative reactions.

As if challenging doubters, Dylan roared into "Like a Rolling Stone," his new radio hit, each chorus confronting them with the question:  "How does it feel?"  The audience roared back its mixed feelings, and after only three songs he left the stage. ----------------------- [end excerpt]


I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more

No, I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more

Well, I wake in the morning

Fold my hands and pray for rain

I got a head full of ideas

That are drivin' me insane

It's a shame the way she makes me scrub the floor

I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more



{Dylan Goes Electric!  Newport, Seeger, Dylan, and the Night That Split the Sixties.  Written by Elijah Wald.  Copyright 2015, HarperCollins Publishers, 195 Broadway, New York, NY  10007.}

{"Maggie's Farm."  Written by Bob Dylan, recorded January 15, 1965, released on the album Bringing It All Back Home, March 22 of that year}


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