Happy Birthday Bob

As Bob Dylan celebrates his seventieth birthday I’ve been reflecting all day on how much I owe the man; more than I can say, more than I can pay. Even though sometimes buying his albums almost beggared me as a poor student, I have been repayed for my teenage scrimping and saving a thousand fold. What I’ve been given is a sound-track, a commentary, a critique of my life, but also an invitation to step beyond it, again and again into ways of being, seeing, and knowing I could never have otherwise imagined. Thanks Bob. By way of small tribute I am posting here a cover of Slow Train I recorded with my Band Mystery Train and an article on Dylan, the bible and poetry I wrote for the Tablet in december 2008. So here goes. Click on the tablet link at the bottom of this page to go to a pdf of the article: “Think Twice, It’s Alright”



Filed under Current affairs, Music, Songs

3 responses to “Happy Birthday Bob

  1. Fully agree. It is not possible to understand Dylan’s songs without understanding the biblical material on which they draw. Without this, as is the case in much contemporary cultural comment, the work of art is actively misunderstood. This was the case with reviews of Infidels which used Sweetheart Like You as an example of Dylan’s supposed misogeny. These reviewers were using a song that actually critiques and undercuts misogeny (by making the female character a Christ figure) as an example of misogeny itself and this fundamental misunderstanding was the result of a failure to recognise and understand biblical references and imagery.

    What we have, I think, in the best of Dylan is a contemporary Pilgrim, Dante or Rimbaud on a compassionate journey, undertaken in the eye of the Apocalypse, to stand with the damned at the heart of the darkness that is twentieth century culture. However many roads he has travelled in the songs he has become a man, an Everyman.

    My posts on Dylan can be found at http://joninbetween.blogspot.com/search/label/dylan.

  2. K Cummings Pipes

    Good morning, A friend sent me a link to one of your blogs some months ago (during Lent, I think) and I’ve continued to follow and enjoy it. Yesterday, I shared a link to your blog and to your Bob Dylan article in my blog which has only a handful of followers–mostly a small group of Victorianists, some personal friends, and a dozen or so women who read theology with me. Thank you for your profound insights. In the interest of not speaking of you behind your back I send the link to my blog. Blessings, KCP

    • malcolmguite

      Thanks for this response. I enjoyed your ‘reading’ of times they are a changing, an intersting take on the whole idea of certain songs as sound tracks to our lives. I have just been writing a poem which turns and returns on a series of phrases from Dylan songs which I shall post fairly shortly under the title “A Pantoum for the rain Man” which I hope you’ll enjoy. I am glad to have discovered your site. blessings in return Malcolm

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