Monday, December 7, 2015

take the dark out of the nighttime

-------------------------- [excerpt, Remnick article] ----------------------- Dylan was exploding with things to say and sing.  As he later acknowledged, it was as if he were taking dictation from somewhere, from somebody. 

And, at the same time, he seemed on the brink of self-annihilation. 

Amped up on nicotine and speed and who knows what else, racing from place to place, thought to thought, song to song, and embittered by the jeering and booing he encountered from the folk-loyal fans from Newport to Manchester, Dylan was headed for a crash. 

One day, while riding his motorcycle near his house, in Woodstock, he was, according to one account, blinded by the sun, hit a slick in the road, and was smashed to the ground.  The bike ended up on top of him.  Having suffered a concussion and some broken vertebrae, Dylan "retired" to spend time in Woodstock out of the public eye with his wife, Sara Lownds, and their children.

"I couldn't go on doing what I had been," he said later.  "I was pretty wound up before that accident happened. ... I probably would have died if I had kept on going as I had been."

Dylan's "electric period," of course, was not contained in that manic, fifteen-month period.  It's a half-century long by now.  In the coming days, Dylan and his band will be in Hamburg, Basel, Bregenz ... blink, and they'll be in your neighborhood soon. 

And the funny thing is how, these days, with a set list that barely changes for months at a time, Dylan usually includes only one song from that 1965-66 period:  "She Belongs to Me." 

That might have been the breakthrough period -- the moment, as Dylan has said, that he captured that elusive "wild mercury sound" -- but the catalogue is rich in the way that Picasso's was rich.  There's no end to it.

  ------------------------ [end, today's excerpt from "Bob Dylan and the 'Hot Hand'" - written by Daivd Remnick, The New Yorker.  November 9, 2015] ---------------------


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