There is a joy to Dylan at times, it’s found in the messes he creates I think.
The live album Hard Rain sounds like a band dragged to hell and back by a deranged lunatic crazy on hard drugs and cheap red wine. It’s messy and confrontational, sometimes it sounds like the band are all playing different songs.
The first time I hated it.
The second time I loathed it.
The third time I decided never to listen to it again.
Tonight after watching the shit show that US politics has become it seemed like the panacea I needed.
Tonights it’s my favorite Dylan album, once the funk and fog of the night is over it will be another album, but for tonight as I nurse that Bushmills into the night it’s just right.
Listening to it I feel like a drunk careering through a packed bar room. Apologizing brusquely as I meander to the bar for one more drink, neglectful of any social graces that I may have had before the fifth whiskey.
I am fascinated by Dylans inflection, the crowd noise and shouts for songs that may never get played. Between tracks Dylan strums his guitar absently trying to search for the next song. The violin and guitar solos are at times fighting with each other, not in a flashy Nashville battle of skill but in a drawn out dirty bar fight. The type of fight that involves teeth on the floor, bruised knuckles and stitches in unfortunate places.
There is no harmony here when you hear two voices they are berating each other. The music bludgeons and bullies it’s way through the classics. The songs by the end are battered and bruised, yet all the more powerful because of the battle.
Everything about the album says fuck you, the songs are listed on the top right corner of the back cover out of sequence, a brusk notation saying check label for sequence.
The front cover is a weary close up of Dylans face, the eyes glazed. The back cover is a blurry distorted hunched rear view shot of Dylan in front of a festival audience.
So tonight on the eve of the G7 conference as the roadies prepare the prima donnas for their moment on the spotlight. Our glorious leader thinks its inconvenient this summit was arranged immediately before his get together with the despot from North Korea. I hope that we all manage to make it to Monday. After all there is the opiate for the people of the World Cup to prepare for.
Monday I install the corner bracket in my office for the TV so we don’t miss a moment.
In the words of Bobby…
Once I had mountains in the palm of my hand
And rivers that ran through ev’ry day
I must have been mad
I never knew what I had
Until I threw it all away