Going deep on Dylan (10/23/17)

“In [1992] at Madison Square Garden there was an event called Bob Dylan’s 30th Anniversary Celebration where all these different musicians came onto the stage to play Bob Dylan’s songs, and Neil Young came on and played ‘All Along The Watchtower’ with this staggering, apocalyptic, arrangement that I think shocked everybody. As if he dug something out of that song that nobody, Bob Dylan included, quite knew was there. Bob Dylan then adopted Neil Young’s arrangement and whenever he plays ‘All Along The Watchtower’—which for years he has used to close his shows—he plays the Neil Young version. Covering Neil Young who covered Bob Dylan, that’s the wonder of these songs. They live there own lives out in the world, free of their creator.”

GM in conversation with Bill Deville, at Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), Oct. 23, 2017


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5 thoughts on “Going deep on Dylan (10/23/17)

  1. Shocked to read this. I hated NY’s version, thought he was shoepwing off effects pedals on an absurdly long guitar solo. Much prefer the JWH, Hendrix, or BTF versions.

  2. Does a song have an unconscious?And if it has, does it also have a superego- a cleaned-up,neutered version that a lounge singer would do?…When you uncover stuff in the unconscious -it may not always be good stuff -as Jim Ho Tep suggests . If, and I must stress ,if -because I haven’t heard the arrangement in question-but if it’s merely a matter of the arrangement taking the form of an overlong, gimmicky guitar solo-that suggests to me that some song material that is hanging around waiting to be liberated from the unconscious and brought into the soundscape is better off left buried. When jazz musicians take a beautiful song with a memorable, powerful melody and virtually disregard it ,layering it with relentless scalar abstractions ,yes the song becomes something else and escapes the creator-but it often escapes the listener also -and negates its very essence and fundamental communicative value.

  3. Now that I’ve listened to the Neil Young arrangement of All Along Watchtower,I can say I am in whole-hearted agreement with Jim Ho Tep. The Neil Young version,in my view ,is not only excessive , and exhibitionistic(obviously those qualities are sometimes essential to great R&R) -but most disastrously robs the song of its mystery and the imaginative possibilities the Dylan version,in its starkness, opens up. Neil Young’s “arrangement” buries the song in a haze of tiresome, pointless electrification. Compared to Dylan’s original, this is like some preacher in a mega-church
    pulling out all the -obviously phony -stops in a television fund raiser aimed at the gullible .(Was Dylan in his autocratic Born-Again phase when he latched onto this version?)…Neil Young may be a great songwriter, but he’s no Jimi Hendrix on electric guitar -not to mention the late Larry Coryell.

  4. Dave Rubin and Dave Berkeley are the same person -due to some computer confusion that is beyond my technical abilities/understanding Dave Rubin/Dave Berkeley77. …I am Dave Rubin ,and apparently also Dave Berkeley-

  5. Barely remember the solo, but I did like the way Neil sang/muttered “All along the watchtower…” like he was crawling out of a pile of rubble.

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