Wednesday, April 20, 2016

mainly just a song here and there

--------------------------- Beneath it I was into the rural blues as well; it was a counterpart of myself.  It was connected to early rock and roll and I liked it because it was older than Muddy [Waters] and [Howlin'] Wolf.  Highway 61, the main thoroughfare of the country blues, begins about where I came from . . . Duluth to be exact. 

I always felt like I'd started on it, always had been on it and could go anywhere from it, even down into the deep Delta country.  It was the same road, full of the same contradictions, the same one-horse towns, the same spiritual ancestors. 

The Mississippi River, the bloodstream of the blues, also starts up from my neck of the woods.  I was never too far away from any of it.  It was my place in the universe, always felt like it was in my blood.-------------------------

-- Bob Dylan, Chronicles

-------------------------- Our thing was playing Chicago blues; that was where we took everything that we knew, that was our kickoff point, Chicago.  Look at that Mississippi River.  Where does it come from?  Where does it go? 

Follow that river all the way up and you'll end up in Chicago. 

Also follow the way those artists were recorded.  There were no rules. ... What matters is what hits the ear.  Chicago blues was so raw and raucous and energetic.  If you tried to record it clean, forget about it.  Nearly every Chicago blues record you hear is an enormous amount over the top, loading the sound on in layers of thickness.... -----------------------------

-- Keith Richards, Life


Both of these rock artist / autobiographers talk about music that changed their life, when they first heard it.

--------------------------- [excerpt, Richards - Life] ----------------- I think the first record I bought was Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally."  Fantastic record, even to this day.  Good records just get better with age. 

But the one that really turned me on, like an explosion one night, listening to Radio Luxembourg on my little radio when I was supposed to be in bed and asleep, was "Heartbreak Hotel."  That was the stunner.  I'd never heard it before, or anything like it....

"Since my baby left me" - it was just the sound.  It was the last trigger.  That was the first rock and roll I heard.  It was a totally different way of delivering a song, a totally different sound, stripped down, burnt, no b.s....

It was bare, right to the roots that you had a feeling were there but hadn't yet heard....  The silence is your canvas, that's your frame.... -------------------- [end excerpt]

"Like an explosion"

"totally different"

"it was bare, right to the roots that you had a feeling were there but hadn't yet heard..."
-- That phrase speaks to me, because I know that feeling, when you hear a song, or a style of music,

that you know you have Not heard before, yet it's so good, and so experience-enhancing, that you know you were destined to hear it sometime, and it's about time,

and it's like you know you've never heard it before but you might as well have, because it's so good, and sounds so right,

that you know you should have heard it, and now you have and there's no going back and you would not want to go back...

(They'll stone ya when you're tryin' to be so good
They'll stone you just like they said they would...)

In Chronicles, Bob Dylan writes about when he first left Hibbing, Minnesota, up on the Iron Range, and went to live in Minneapolis.  An actress friend told him he should listen to Woody Guthrie.  They go over to her brother's house:  ----------------------- [excerpt] ------------------------ The other collection was the one that Flo had told me about -- a Woody Guthrie set of about twelve double sided 78 records. 

I put one on the turntable and when the needle dropped, I was stunned -- didn't know if I was stoned or straight. 

What I heard was Woody singing a whole lot of his own compositions...songs like... "Hard Travelin'," "Grand Coulee Dam," "Talkin' Dust Bowl Blues," "This Land Is Your Land."

All these songs together, one after another made my head spin.  It made me want to gasp.  It was like the land parted. 

I had heard Guthrie before but mainly just a song here and there -- mostly things that he sang with other artists.  I hadn't actually heard him, not in this earth shattering kind of way.  I couldn't believe it. 

Guthrie had such a grip on things.  He was so poetic and tough and rhythmic.  There was so much intensity, and his voice was like a stiletto.  He was like none of the other singers I ever heard, and neither were his songs. 

His mannerisms, the way everything just rolled off his tongue, it all just about knocked me down.  It was like the record player itself had just picked me up and flung me across the room. --------------------------- [end excerpt]

Dylan was quoted April 7th in a Reader Comment in The Guardian's Merle Haggard obit.:

"Totally himself.  Herculean.  Even too big for Mount Rushmore.  No superficiality about him whatsoever.  He definitely transcends the country genre. 

If Merle had been around Sun Studio in Memphis in the Fifties, Sam Phillips would have turned him into a rock & roll star, one of the best. 

I'm sorta glad he didn't do it, though, because then he'd be on the oldies circuit singing his rock & roll hits instead of becoming the Merle Haggard we all know and love."


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