Tuesday, March 1, 2016

sun don't shine above the ground

Oxford town, Oxford town
Ev'rybody's got their heads bowed down
The sun don't shine above the ground
Ain't a-goin' down to Oxford town

He went down to Oxford town
Guns and clubs followed him down
All because his face was brown
Better get away from Oxford Town

Oxford town around the bend
He come in to the door, he couldn't get in
All because of the color of his skin
What do you think about that, my friend?

Me and my gal, my gal's son
We got met with a tear gas bomb
I don't even know why we come
Goin' back where we come from

Oxford town in the afternoon
Ev'rybody singin' a sorrowful tune
Two men died 'neath the Mississippi moon
Somebody better investigate soon

Oxford Town, Oxford Town
Ev'ry body's got their heads bowed down
The sun don't shine above the ground
Ain't a-goin' down to Oxford town

{Bob Dylan, "Oxford Town" -- 1962; song about James Meredith going to school at "Ole Miss"}



Speaking of elections, some guy in the '80s said to me, "People vote their pocketbook."  ("People vote -- their pocketbook!")

But as I remember this statement, which he seemed to consider, first -- I realize that now I don't know if that's true, for a lot of people.  Is our vote tied to whether we think we can make more money or less depending on which candidate wins, or is our vote more tied to our ego?

Do we "vote our pocketbook"?  Or do we vote based on ego, an idea -- our preferred idea of ourselves?

This line of thinking is connected to a concept that's been forming in my head (or above it) that -- while some people will say stuff happens, or is done, in life, because of money --

an alternate theory is that stuff happens or is done, because of ego. 

Someone's ego. 

Someone wanting to be right.  Or seem right.  (To whom?  Seem right, to whom?  Often just to others in the room; others to whom he does not feel superior.  [What -- 8 people?!])  On the basis of this, the world is run?  Maybe, sometimes, I think.


An article in the New York Times yesterday noted Candidate Trump's trafficking in internet rumors and conspiracy-theories, and his "stream-of-consciousness" talking.  Yackety-yack. 

"Stream-of-consciousness."  Many of my favorite Bob Dylan songs are written in this style.  (A double bill:  Bob Dylan; Donald Trump; rock on.  Hmmmh -- I don't know...)

Dylan's "middle albums" -- middle Sixties, his period of "the hot hand" --

Bringing It All Back Home

Highway 61 Revisited

Blonde On Blonde

featured songwriting in the stream-of-consciousness style -- the online encyclopedia calls it "free association"....

In the early Sixties, before the three "middle albums" Bob Dylan put out four albums, with some songs that were not free association or stream-of-consciousness, but instead "topical," with lyrics that were more specifically descriptive, like "Oxford Town," featured above.

"Only A Pawn In Their Game," about Medgar Evers' murder, was another Dylan song in this vein --

...A South politician preaches to the poor white man
"You got more than the blacks, don't complain.
You're better than them, you been born with white skin," they explain.
And the Negro's name
Is used, it is plain
For the politician's gain
As he rises to fame...

photographs:  Medgar Evers


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