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Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?

GUEST,.gargoyle 08 Jul 03 - 11:21 AM
GUEST 08 Jul 03 - 11:29 AM
Steve Latimer 08 Jul 03 - 11:30 AM
Raptor 08 Jul 03 - 12:08 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Jul 03 - 01:58 PM
Ron Olesko 08 Jul 03 - 02:18 PM
Amos 08 Jul 03 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,heric 08 Jul 03 - 02:54 PM
greg stephens 08 Jul 03 - 03:08 PM
Joe Offer 08 Jul 03 - 03:16 PM
Candyman(inactive) 08 Jul 03 - 03:22 PM
Ron Olesko 08 Jul 03 - 03:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Jul 03 - 03:35 PM
Jim McLean 08 Jul 03 - 03:36 PM
greg stephens 08 Jul 03 - 03:42 PM
Ron Olesko 08 Jul 03 - 03:58 PM
Jim McLean 08 Jul 03 - 04:55 PM
Ed. 08 Jul 03 - 05:19 PM
GUEST,Clint Keller 08 Jul 03 - 05:24 PM
Ron Olesko 08 Jul 03 - 05:36 PM
greg stephens 08 Jul 03 - 06:16 PM
Peter T. 08 Jul 03 - 06:17 PM
Frankham 08 Jul 03 - 06:34 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 08 Jul 03 - 06:49 PM
GUEST,heric 08 Jul 03 - 07:08 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 08 Jul 03 - 07:26 PM
GUEST,heric 08 Jul 03 - 07:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Jul 03 - 07:35 PM
Peter T. 08 Jul 03 - 07:38 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 08 Jul 03 - 07:47 PM
GUEST,heric 08 Jul 03 - 07:51 PM
8ch(pl) 08 Jul 03 - 08:19 PM
Amos 08 Jul 03 - 08:53 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 08 Jul 03 - 10:55 PM
GUEST 08 Jul 03 - 11:14 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 08 Jul 03 - 11:17 PM
Francy 08 Jul 03 - 11:44 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 09 Jul 03 - 12:00 AM
Francy 09 Jul 03 - 12:16 AM
GUEST 09 Jul 03 - 12:19 AM
Keith A of Hertford 09 Jul 03 - 03:14 AM
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Ritchie 09 Jul 03 - 04:31 AM
Dave Bryant 09 Jul 03 - 06:08 AM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Jul 03 - 06:28 AM
Candyman(inactive) 09 Jul 03 - 09:03 AM
Candyman(inactive) 09 Jul 03 - 09:07 AM
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Subject: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 11:21 AM

Excerpts from: Wall Street Journal, July 08, 2003, p.1.

LIFTED LYRICS?
By Jonathan Eig in Chicago and Sebastian Moffett in Tsuchiura, Japan

TELL ME A STORY

WSJ excerpts from the anthology "Floating Off the Page: The Best of The Wall Street Journal's 'Middle Column.' "

Did Bob Dylan Lift Lines From Dr. Saga?

Don't Think Twice, It's All Right is the view of this Japanese writer. As a 62-year-old physician and writer in a small town north of Tokyo, Junichi Saga knows almost nothing about 62-year-old Bob Dylan.

"Bob Dylan is a very famous American country singer, yes?" asks Dr. Saga. "I'm not familiar with these things."

Mr. Dylan, on the other hand, would seem to be quite familiar with Dr. Saga's work.

"I'm not quite as cool or forgiving as I sound," sings Mr. Dylan on the song "Floater," from his 2001 album. "I'm not as cool or as forgiving as I might have sounded," writes Dr. Saga on page 158 of his oral history of a Japanese gangster, which was published to little acclaim or profit more than a decade before the release of Mr. Dylan's album. To date, Dr. Saga says he has earned about $8,500 from his book.

Doris Kearns Goodwin and the late Stephen Ambrose, among others, have gotten in some trouble in recent years for doing similar things. But Dr. Saga, unlike a good many other imitated authors, isn't angry. He's delighted.

"Please say hello to Bob Dylan for me because I am very flattered and very happy to hear this news," the writer says. He is hoping that Mr. Dylan's fans might go out and buy the book.

The songwriter has borrowed material before. He often makes passing references to the Bible or to works of literature in his songs. On "Love and Theft," he briefly quotes a passage from "The Great Gatsby." As an aspiring artist, Mr. Dylan, né Zimmerman, is often said to have taken his name from the late Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, though Mr. Dylan has sometimes denied that.

The similarities between the album and the book were first spotted by an American living in Japan. He recently submitted a comparison of the two works to a Web site devoted to Mr. Dylan's music. Soon after the comparison was posted, "Confessions of a Yakuza" jumped more than 20,000 places, to about 45,000 -- on the Amazon.com list of best-selling books.

Mr. Dylan's apparent muse might not have been discovered were it not for Chris Johnson, a Minnesota native and Dylan fan who happened upon a copy of "Confessions" while browsing in a bookstore in Fukuoka. He knew little about Japan's seamy side and was glad to find a book on the subject.

On the first page, Mr. Johnson read the following line: "My old man would sit there like a feudal lord...." It reminded him instantly of a lyric from the Dylan song "Floater": "My old man, he's like some feudal lord."

"I've probably listened to that album at least a hundred times, so the matching phrases just jumped right out at me," says Mr. Johnson, a 29-year-old English teacher in Kitakyushu. "They may as well have been printed in red ink."

"I kind of wondered if he had done a lot of that before on other albums," says Mr. Johnson. "But if he'd been doing this all along, somebody would have caught him a long time ago."

Write to Jonathan Eig at jonathan.eig@wsj.com and Sebastian Moffett at sebastian.moffett@wsj.com

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Comparing passages from Junichi Saga's "Confessions of a Yakuda" to lyrics from Bob Dylan's "Love and Theft."

"CONFESSIONS OF A YAKUZA" BY JUNICHI SAGA* "LOVE AND THEFT" BY BOB DYLAN"

"My old man would sit there like a feudal lord" ("Confessions of a Yakuza," page 6) "My old man, he's like some feudal lord/Got more lives than a cat"("Floater")

"If it bothers you so much," she'd say, " why don't you just shove off?" ("Confessions," page 9) "Juliet said back to Romeo, 'Why don't you just shove off/If it bothers you so much?'" ("Floater")

"My mother...was the daughter of a wealthy farmer...(she) died when I was eleven...I heard that my father was a traveling salesman who called at the house regularly, but I never met him. (My uncle) was a nice man, I won't forget him...After my mother died, I decided it'd be best to go and try my luck there." ("Confessions," pages 57-58) "My mother was a daughter of a wealthy farmer/My father was a traveling salesman, I never met him/When my mother died, my uncle took me in -- he ran a funeral parlor/He did a lot of nice things for me and I won't forget him"("Po' Boy")

"Break the roof in!" he yelled…. (He) splashed kerosene over the floor and led a fuse from it outside." ("Confessions," page 63) "Yes, I'm leaving in the morning just as soon as the dark clouds lift/Gonna break the roof in -- set fire to the place as a parting gift" ("Summer Days")

"I won't come anymore if it bothers you." ("Confessions," page 139) "Some things are too terrible to be true/I won't come here no more if it bothers you" ("Honest With Me")

"D'you think I could call myself a yakuza if I couldn't stand up to some old businessman?" ("Confessions," page 141) "The fog is so thick that you can't even spy the land/What good are you anyway, if you can't stand up to some old businessman?" ("Summer Days")

" ...I heard he caused some kind of trouble that put him on bad terms with the younger men. A good bookie makes all the difference in a gambling joint-- it's up to him whether a session comes alive or falls flat. But even kicking him out wasn't as easy as that. So I decided to wait a while and see how it worked out. But age doesn't matter in that business.... Age by itself just doesn't carry any weight. ("Confessions," pages 153- 155) "The old men 'round here, sometimes they get on/Bad terms with the younger men, But old, young , age don't carry weight/It doesn't matter in the end" ("Floater") "Things come alive or they fall flat" ("Floater") "It's not always easy kicking someone out/Gotta wait a while - it can be an unpleasant task" ("Floater")

"Actually, though, I'm not as cool or forgiving as I might have sounded." ("Confessions," page 158) "I'm not quite as cool or forgiving as I sound/I've seen enough heartaches and strife" ("Floater")

"Tears or not, though, that was too much to ask…." ("Confessions," page 182) "Sometimes somebody wants you to give something up/And tears or not, it's too much to ask ("Floater")

"Just because she was in the same house didn't mean we were living together as man and wife...I don't know how it looked to other people, but I never even slept with her--not once." ("Confessions," page 208) "Samantha Brown lived in my house for about four or five months/Don't know how it looked to other people/I never slept with her even once" ("Lonsesome Day Blues")

"They were big, those trees--a good four feet across the trunk…." ("Confessions, page 241) "There's a new grove of trees on the outskirts of town/The old one is long gone/Timber two-foot six across/Burns with the bark still on" ("Floater")

"There was nothing sentimental about him--it didn't bother him at all that some of his pals had been killed. ("Confessions," page 243) "My captain, he's decorated -- he's well schooled and he's skilled/He's not sentimental -- don't bother him at all/How many of his pals have been killed" ("Lonesome Day Blues")

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 11:29 AM

you can probably find phrases from most songs in just about ANY novel and or book of a decent size.

I personally think the "mudblood" references in Rowlings books are derogatory references to the MudCat.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 11:30 AM

HMMM


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Raptor
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 12:08 PM

Wait till little Hawk reads this!

That ot to be good!

Raptor


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 01:58 PM

Interesting enough. Is it supposed to imply some kind of hostile criticism?


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 02:18 PM

The album was called Love and Theft.   I guess Bob lived up to the title.

Dylan is far from stupid. His use of literary quotes is nothing new for him or other artists.   Perhaps he should have made mention on the liner notes but he rarely explains his songs.

So when was Dr. Saga's book written?

Ron


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Amos
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 02:46 PM

Interesting study -- the implication, hostile or otherwise, is that Mister Z wasn't just using bits and pieces of cultural literacy that he had soaked up from public-domain and traditional sources. He was deliberately transplanting -- a harsher term is plagiarizing -- the particulars of another individual's writing. Very different thing indeed.

A


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 02:54 PM

The over-examined Mr. Dylan could never hope to have kept this concealed into posterity. I believe this falls under the no publicity is bad publicity marketing technique. It really is a good deal for Mr. Saga. And now thousands can seek undiscovered veins of gold in older Dylan albums.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: greg stephens
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 03:08 PM

Artists get issued with an artistic license. I am quite relaxed about Bob Dylan's artistic license being a little more broad-ranging than mine. His talent is a little more broad-ranging than mine.


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Subject: Plagiarism, Dylan, and the Folk Process
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 03:16 PM

Be sure to take a look at the Roots of Bob Dylan page, by the estimable Manfred Helfert. Manfred's sites are always fascinating.

I suppose this and the McCartney "lifted lyrics" threads are meant to expose this sort of plagiarism as controversial. It's too bad that music has become such big business. If it weren't for the money involved, people would think it a wonderful thing to take a song and build on it. Isn't that what we call the folk process? Isn't that what built our culture, before our culture became something to be marketed?

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Candyman(inactive)
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 03:22 PM

Woody Guthrie took John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath," and condensed it into "Tom Joad," a seven minute song. I guess Dylan had a good teacher.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 03:35 PM

The difference is that Woody Guthrie did not hide his source.   I think the problem people have with this is that Dylan used a relatively obscure writer (at least in this country) as his "inspiration" on this album.

As Joe points out, in theory this is the folk process.   Unfortunately the folk process was not a formula for financial gain.   The fact that Dylan made a living off the work of another artist is what rubs people the wrong way. I don't think there is a problem with what Dylan did, but perhaps there should have been compensation involved.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 03:35 PM

The technique is equivalent to collage. Assenbling bits and pieces in a new context, to mean something different. An excellent and well-established technique in art and literature. Not at all the same as plagiarism.

Actually Woody didn't take John Steinbeck's book as his source, he took the film made from it. Explaining that a lot of the people it was about would never get to see the film (and certainly never read the book - I've never read the book.)   And then Bruce Springsteen did the same, using Woody's song as the jumping-off point (at least I think that's how it worked), with The Ghost of Tom Joad.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 03:36 PM

I've said it before and I'll say it again .. compare God on our Side to Dominic Behan's Patriot Game. Not only has the tune been lifted but compare Behan: My name is O'Hanlon. Dylan: My name it means nothing. Behan: My age is sixteen. Dylan: My age it means less. Behan: My home is in Monaghan, 'Twas there I was weaned. Dyan: The Country I come from is called the Midwest. Behan: I was taught all my life cruel England to blame. Dylan: I was taught and brought up there, its laws to abide. Behan: And made me a part of the Patriot Game. Dylan: And the country I live in has God on its side.

Much has been made of the possibility that Behan used a trad tune called The Nightingale but it obvious that Dylan 'modelled' his song on Behan's. I know this for a fact because I discussed The Patriot Game with Dylan way back in the early sixties, before he wrote God on our Side.
Jim McLean


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: greg stephens
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 03:42 PM

What's your point, Jim? Nobody disputes that Dylan reworked the Patriot Game into With God on our side: I'm just not clear if you're criticising him for it. I'm quite relaxed about it, but then I'm not Dominic Behan!


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 03:58 PM

Again, I think the reason people are making an issue of this is because the source is not obvious in this case, and I do think the compensation issue is in most people's minds.

Personally I have no problem with Dylan using another source for inspiration, but I think that sources should be credited. If you read a book that uses other sources, you expect to see either a credit at the beginning of the book or a footnote listing the source.

I wonder what would have happened if Dr. Saga added a few lines of "It Ain't Me Babe" in the middle of his book without a credit? Do you think Dylan's lawyers would have been all over the Dr.? In a heartbeat.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 04:55 PM

My point Greg, is that Behan never got a penny from a song which was a big earner for Dylan and obviously owed a great deal to Behan's song.
Jim McLean


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Ed.
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 05:19 PM

I wonder how much the first person to ever use 'once upon a time' is owed...


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: GUEST,Clint Keller
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 05:24 PM

I remember something my oil painting prof, Mary Kirkwood, told me years ago. I don't remember who it was about except that he was an artist of some kind.

Someone tactfully cast doubt on the originality of the artist's work, and he said, "Oh yes, that was so-&-so's idea. He didn't know what to do with it."

Think about it...

Clint Keller


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 05:36 PM

Actually Jim, from comparing Behan with Dylan, I don't think Zimmmy owed him anything.   Copyright law allows for parody.   This new incident is a bit different because Dylan is "accused" of lifting lines.

Also, Behan used the tune of "One Morning in May".   He was beholding to another writer too.

Does anyone remember the story of "Blowin in the Wind"?   There was a rumor that Dylan did not write that one either. It turned out that a high school student by the name of Lorre Wyatt (who would go on to have his own career in folk music) had claimed that he wrote the song to impress his friends. The story snowballed.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: greg stephens
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 06:16 PM

Bizet lifted the melody for the Habanera in Carmen from Yradier(famous for writing La Paloma). When Yradier had a go at him about it, Bizet said very disarmingly"But you do that sort of thing so much better than me".
   Behan certainly had a moral case for some dosh, but alas no legal grounds. And the melody was traditional. And it did show up behan as the better song writer(in the case of those two songs, that is). God on our side was a young man's snidy whine at a pretty easy target. The Patriot Game is a song of stunning power and genuinely ambivalent feelings about a difficult subject. I had the pleasure of talking to Dominic about it once. But you're right, Jim, it would have done the wonderboy no harm to have slipped him a couple of Guiness vouchers.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Peter T.
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 06:17 PM

I started a thread on this about a month ago -- this is not exactly news. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Frankham
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 06:34 PM

It has to be remembered that Pete Seeger's Where Have All The Flower Gone? is based on the song fragments at the end of Mihail Sholokhov's Quiet Flows the Don.

Reworking of texts is a common practice amoung songwriters. This would make an interesting thread, comparing lyrics to sources.

Jean Ritchie's family folk song Nottamun Town was the tune Dylan used for Masters of War.

Tunes sources are easier to show than those for lyrics.

Stravinsky is attributed with this, to paraphrase, that composers don't waste time with plagiarism when they can outright steal.

Probably this would apply to lyricists. I think that it's not so important as to where the lyrics come from as much as how they express ideas with originality and flair. Gotta' give that to Dylan.
And to Woody. (Check out Buffalo Skinners).

None of this disturbs me very much because some call it the folk process. It ain't about who started it but who tells it best.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 06:49 PM

Well said Frank.

I remember something that Utah Phillips once said. To paraphrase him, once a song is sung it becomes the property of everyone.

I also remember something that Arlo said about his father.   Woody "borrowed" tunes from all over. He never wrote an original tune.   His thinking, according to Arlo, was that if you want somebody to remember your song you should at least start with something that they know to help them remember your work.   People who had heard the Carter Family singing "Darlin Pal of Mine" would have an easier time remembering "This Land is Your Land".   I guess it proves Frank's point that today more people would recognise Woody's song as opposed to the Carter Family's.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 07:08 PM

>>People who had heard the Carter Family singing "Darlin Pal of Mine" would have an easier time remembering "This Land is Your Land".<<

The analogy doesn't work for a book that sold a few thousand from Tsuchiura.

Nothing wrong with it. Bob won't go to jail - gets free publicity and notoriety, Saga gets thousands of orders.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 07:26 PM

That wasn't supposed to be an analogy Heric. I was merely following Frank's thoughts about "who tells it best".


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 07:33 PM

. . . and they accuse me of thread drfit. Just kidding--Looks like we have near-unanimous non-outrage here, surprisingly. Still is a bit mysterious, though. Guess we just need to wait for Little Hawk. (Saga will get his name printed in books about Dylan for many generations now. . . . He's got that going for him.)


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 07:35 PM

Wasn't it "My Dixie Darlin'" that was the tune source for This Land is My Land?


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Peter T.
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 07:38 PM

The disappointing thing for me is that I thought Love and Theft was not a very good album, except I found some of the lyrics interesting and lively, which is unheard of for a Dylan album in the last 10 years, and of which there are only flashes in albums of the last 20. I literally thought that he might have gotten some poetic skill in writing back. So it turns out that the most interesting lyrics are not his, which is somewhat depressing. The dumbest thing the record company did when it released "Love and Theft" was to put in the second album -- "I Was Young When I Left Home" and "Blowing in the Wind" outtakes from 1962, 1963. The comparison is that there is no comparison. (Even though, ironically, "I Was Young" is a direct steal from "Five Hundred Miles").

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 07:47 PM

McGrath - it was Darlin Pal of Mine.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 07:51 PM

yes it appears Peter T. was all over this (http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=59898#956850) before the Wall Street Journal found it, making reference to the May 12 entry at www.dylanchords.com (which apparently is the website referenced by the WSJ.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: 8ch(pl)
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 08:19 PM

Lifted lyrics?

In his book "I Never Sold My Saddle" Ian Tyson suggests that Bob sings off key


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Amos
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 08:53 PM

Oh, how cruel!! He sings?

A


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 10:55 PM

I'm just amazed that a story about Bob Dylan "lifting" lyrics breaks nationally on the same day that Brittany Spears admits she isn't a virgin.   What can we believe in anymore?


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 11:14 PM

Bob Dylan is the greatest song writer the U.S. has ever produced. He even changed the way others write: Neil Young, Grateful Dead, The Band, etc., etc. Leave him be! His singing sucks but his contributions are legion. And don't even think of bringing up Irving Berlin, who wrote such tripe as "when the Darkies beat their feet on the Mississippi Mud"!


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 11:17 PM

Well I guess you told us guest!


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Francy
Date: 08 Jul 03 - 11:44 PM

I'm sorry... I don't consider Dylan one of the greatest.....He was just there at the right time and wrote some truly wonderful songs. He finally got caught (again) with his fingers in the cookie jar. I would have accepted the "folk Process" as part of the reason, if he (Dylan) had admitted through the years that he had borrowed a line or two or a tune or two.....Who's Gonna Feed Your Chickens When I'm Gone". Oh well, Paul maybe you were right about it all.....Frnak of Toledo


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 12:00 AM

Hold on... he has never denied borrowing lines and ideas.   Dylan doesn't talk about his songs..


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Francy
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 12:16 AM

I may not be one of the insiders and "knowledgeable" people on Mudcat, but I have like and listened and loved Folk Music most of my adult life.....Heard Dylan at the Club 47 in Cambridge in the early 60's. I believed then as I do now that He was and is a major influence in our music and culture. How do you know he has never denied borrowing line. I happened to know he has denied it, on several occasions......I'm sorry but I cannot forgive Dylan for "borrowing" words & music without giving due credit.......His status in the music world does not exemnpt him from this.......Just because of his importance in the music world (folk)...Does that mean we must not criticize his actions....Come on. Bob...fess up..."Who's Gonna Feed Your Chickens When Im Gone?" Was that the beginning of it all?   Frank of Toledo


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 12:19 AM

Damn and all this time I thought it was another word that rhymed with feet. That ol' Jew wern't no sexist at all.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 03:14 AM

Also, Lonesome Farewell is but a parody of The Parting Glass.
Joy be with you all,
Keith.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: greg stephens
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 04:30 AM

Funny how all our concepts of plagiarism/copyright/fairness all seem to be based on an underlying assumption that melody and lyrics are the sole defining things about a piece of music. You wouldnt get much argument on a thread that,say, pointed out that some hot drum lick on a record was lifted from somewhere else. People might talk about it with interest, but I dont think they would get angry or moralise about it. Or if someone used the same harmonic structure as someone else, or tempo variation, or emotional contrast or whatever.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Ritchie
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 04:31 AM

Hey think of me. I've been ripped off for years and have n't had a penny royalties and I wrote some of the best and memorable songs ever.
Did it bother me not a bit, infact, being the shy type and just doing it for the art and not personal gain I even changed my name to avoid publicity from ..... ANON to Ritchie.

regards and keep rockin' in the free world.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 06:08 AM

You'll find lines or musical phrases which have been accidently or deliberately lifted from other compositions all through music, poetry, and prose. There is another current thread about a line in McCartney's "Yesterday" which is similiar to one in "Answer Me". Just think how many lines (and melodies) in folk music have been re-used.
Imagine the court proceedings which could be brought - although Anon v Anon would be rather silly.

There are lots of pieces which Dylan has lifted from elsewhere - but he was probably quite deliberately doing what folk singers have always done - probably to establish that in spite of having a different style of singing, he was still part of the folk movement.

BTW no-one seems to have mentioned:

If you're travelin' in the north country fair,
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline,
Remember me to one who lives there,
For she once was a true love of mine.

Perhaps it just could have been lifted from "Scarborough Fair" - I know that he heard Martin Carthy singing it (as did Paul Simon) on one of his trips over to to the UK.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 06:28 AM

"Lonesome Farewell is but a parody of The Parting Glass"

No it isn't. It is a song which is inspired by it, and emulates it, and which uses the tune. You could call it a rewrite. It's analogous to what Ewan MacColl did with Jamie Foyers.

The term parody has to involve making fun of the original in some way, and that is completely absent from Lonesome Farewewll. The repertoire of The Kippers involves parody.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Candyman(inactive)
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 09:03 AM

with the sounds of Francois Villon
echoin' through my mad streets
as I stumble on lost cigars
of Bertolt Brecht
an' empty bottles
of Brendan Behan
the hypnotic words
of A. L.. Lloyd
each one bendin' like its own song
an' the woven' spell of Paul Clayton
entrancin' me like China's plague
unescapeable
drownin' in the lungs of Edith Piaf
an' in the mystery of Marlene Dietrich
the dead poems of Eddie Freeman
love songs of Allen Ginsberg
an' jail songs of Ray Bremser
the narrow tunes of Modigliani
an' the singin' plains of Harry Jackson
the cries of Charles Aznavour
with melodies of Yevtushenko
through the quiet fire of Miles Davis
above the bells of William Blake
an' beat visions of Johnny Cash
an' the saintliness of Pete Seeger


-excerpt from "11 Outlined Epitaphs" by Bob Dylan


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Candyman(inactive)
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 09:07 AM

I meant to add to the above post that Dylan has often acknowledged his sources in interviews he's given over the years. Sometimes directly like crediting Martin Carthy's version of "Lord Franklin" for inspiring "Bob Dylan's Dream," Behan's "Patriot Game" for "With God On Our Side," etc. or indirectly, in pieces like "11 Outlined Epitaphs."


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 09:25 AM

Francy - you say that Dylan has denied borrowing from other sources. Could you please give an example - an article, a book, etc. where he has denied doing such a thing.   I'm not saying you are wrong, it is just that I've never heard him say such a thing nor have I heard it discussed before this forum.   It has never been a secret that Dylan used other sources for his songs, much like his idol Woody Guthrie. It was never a secret because it was no big deal - that was the folk tradition that Dylan grew out of.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Big Tim
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 09:58 AM

I hear that Bob's now reading Yeats' poems. Looking forward to such gems as:

The Lake Isle of Minnesota

A Yankee Airman Forsees His Death

Red Hanrahan's Song About Duluth

Flying to Byzantium

The Second Coming (!)

etc, etc.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 10:02 AM

I generally stay out of the hundreds of Dylan threads here 'cuz they just seem to go over and over VERY old information, but.....

This thing about Dylan NOT crediting his sources is just plain wrong.

There are a number of bootleg tapes (and articles) of himself, where he casually and openly admits to appropriating right left and centre. On a radio show from Chicago, he claims to have lifted a huge part of Len Chandler's style for "The Death Of Emmett Till". He's not embarrased in the least. Was Paul Simon embarrased about lifting Martin Carthy's work? No. These people operate on a different planet than mere mortals...They do NOT slow down to avoid colliding with amateurs (or anyone else for that matter) who get in their way. You simply don't get to be one of the most famous people in the world by worrying what others think. Was Dylan's latest gaffe deliberate? I doubt it. Did the book's author get screwed? Absolutely. Do you think Dylan cares? Probably not...that sort of stuff will be left up to the lawyers. I hope the guy gets a few bucks.

**********************************************

Think for a moment about what the ego of a prolific song-writer is like. I doubt any of them CONSCIOUSLY steal from folks they probably think are literary inferiors.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Peter T.
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 12:15 PM

As usual, I agree with Rick. The term "gargantuan" is appropriate. These artists are genius narcissists, they suck up everything in the world as grist for their mills. Someone once invited a friend to meet James Joyce during one of his trips back to Dublin, and the person said, "I'll be damned if I want to end up in one of his damn books." A wise remark: you end up being sucked dry in the vortex of these people -- presumably why their wives or husbands leave them. Like Sylvia Plath or Malcolm Lowry, you just want to get out of the way.

It still irks me that they wouldn't be a little more gracious. Would it have killed the Beatles to have put the names of the Indian musicians on their albums, or some of the other musicians (Eric Clapton, for instance)? Was anyone going to say: "Oh, we knew it was somebody else all along, those Beatles are untalented"?

It is this "it came out of the godhead of my genius stuff" that pisses one off: even the gods ought to be able to be gracious once in awhile.


yours,
Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 12:31 PM

Can Dylan lift some one else's singing voice?


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Nerd
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 12:47 PM

The funny thing is that everyone is up in arms about whether Dylan is acknowledging that he steals from other sources on an album called:

LOVE AND THEFT!

I take the choice of title as a pretty obvious reference to his use of lines and ideas from elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 01:59 PM

I believe the genius narcissist theory except that I don't believe the words float around in his head in some sort of genius fog, such that they can flow out without his knowing anything about where they are coming from. I instead subscribe to the genius theory including an ability to manipulate us all. Just a guess.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 05:18 PM

"I don't believe the words float around in his head in some sort of genius fog, such that they can flow out without his knowing anything about where they are coming from."

Well, leave out the genius bit, but that's more or less how my mind deals with words.

A book I've always been fond of is "The Road to Xanadu: A Study in the Ways of the Imagination" by John Livingston Lowes, which is a study of how this kind of thing may have worked in the case of Coleridge when he was writing the Ancient Mariner, and dreaming Kubla Khan, the idea being that it was more or less as heric sceptically describes it.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: M.Ted
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 11:08 AM

GUEST,it was not Irving Berlin who wrote "Mississippi Mud" it was written by James Cavanaugh/Harry Barris. But what do you expect from someone who doesn't even know their own name?


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Big Tim
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 11:45 AM

Digressing slightly: is it right to apply "modern" anti-racist beliefs to people who live quite some time ago, when attitudes were very different?

I had this problem recently when writing about John Mitchel, a 19th century Irish patriot, who was transported to Australia, escaped to the US and supported slavery and the Confederacy during the American Civil War. In the end I just missed out out any reference to his racism.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 12:34 PM

Well I guess you told us M.Ted!


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 01:26 PM

Hmmm. Interesting stuff, that. I have barely listened to "Love and Theft", so what can I say? What really has me upset is Dylan's casual lifting of the word "the" in any number of songs over the years. It's shocking that he has been allowed to get away with that without giving proper credit or compensation to his many sources and predecessors. However, I can forgive him for it, given the quality of much of his material. I will have to see if I can listen to "Love and Theft" again sometime in the next year or two.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 02:32 PM

Folkies
                               ragging on Bob Dylan
                               is kinda like
                               fleas
                               ragging about
                               the dog
                               they"re
                               riding on


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 11 Jul 03 - 01:31 PM

Thanks, Bob. I was hoping you would weigh in.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jul 03 - 01:57 PM

Ha! Ha! Good one.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Ritchie
Date: 11 Jul 03 - 02:46 PM

See Bob gets the credit but I said that first.

regards ANON


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Fred Miller
Date: 11 Jul 03 - 11:49 PM

I especially liked the tunes on love and theft set to those laconic old tunes, I think they are the best ones. Dylan's lines about the grove of trees... burns with the bark still on--are so much better than the original, I wouldn't admit it if I were the source.
   
   The question for me isn't compensation, or who knows what to do with something, but a book just isn't a song. They do different things, and the market just does what it does with them. If Dylan had written the same book word for word it would sell better, that's how it is. People are a mule. They've heard of it. The book might be a better book than the song is a song, but I don't know. If somebody gave me the book I might read it. Somebody gave me the songs.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Big Tim
Date: 12 Jul 03 - 06:03 AM

Being a Dylan fan(atic) for over 40 years, at first I was disapponted to read this story (though I never for one moment believed that any of his other songs had been "lifted", tho recognising that some from the early folk era were influenced by trad stuff). Now tho I'm more inclined to agree with Fred Miller's comment above: the songs are separate from the book. He should tho probably have included a sleeve note to the effect that "many of the songs on this album were inspired from Junichi Saga's book".


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: M.Ted
Date: 12 Jul 03 - 09:34 AM

I guess I did--


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Fred Miller
Date: 12 Jul 03 - 09:47 AM

Well, he could credit it. But doesn't that slightly spoil the effect he gets with them? I don't think anyone hears the songs and thinks, how interesting, these stories about a Japanese gangster life. The whole charm of the lines for me is that they come from nowhere, feel real for a moment, but don't build on it, or try to go anywhere, like real numbers that don't bother to add up.

   Gogol's plays mention characters offstage, who in any other play would come walking on in a minute, but in his that's all. They live that provisional life for a moment when they come up, then go on with their imaginary lives. Sometimes they live only within a metaphor that goes on so long it forgets what it was about (the men in black topcoats milling around in front of the building /like flies/ around an open window where the old maid Marva has set pies to cool on a hot summer day when the soldiers etc.) and it asks the question Why is he telling us this? It's playful and striking. That's similar to what I enjoy about those few Dylan songs.

   Anyway, I can't stone Dylan, since I rewrote some those songs, intentionally trying to steal the effect I get from them but in the voice of a kid. The new grove of trees became the new playground they've put up, and

   Springtime birthday parties
   honeybees begin to stir
   I'm in love with my sister's Barbie
   I tell myself I could be happy forever with her.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Big Tim
Date: 12 Jul 03 - 10:00 AM

"Love and Theft" is a great, beautiful, album: wherever the hell it came from. Thanks LH for insisting that I listen to it over and over gain.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Jul 03 - 12:16 PM

Seems I read an article and saw a picture years ago of Dylan sitting on a bed with newspaper clippings spread in front of him...with scissors, cutting. It was obvious just from that that he was doing collage work. With words. I think that was during the time he was slapping together inpenetrable masterpieces like Gates of Eden. NOW that song finally makes sense...impressionism. Knocked together from phrases floating through the news at the time he wrote it. So he went from cutting up newspapers to cutting up a novel. Big deal. Didn't someone else write the words for his Desire album? To me, it's always seemed he has a good ear for a tune and borrows heavily from 'folk' sources, so it makes sense he would do the same with words. Copyright law protects the exact wording, not the impression created by the words. So he's not as original as I once thought. So what. He still has a greater body of quality recorded work than any other singer/songwriter I can think of. And maybe he DID credit his sources in his own enigmatic way...hidden in the lyrics somewhere. I kind of quit listening to him after Desire, but the guy's sharp enough to do some ass-coverage. I bet he's been crediting (in a legal way) his sources over the years in his lyrics. And I bet he'd love the legacy and the increased record sales resulting from court cases. Shrewd guy.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Big Tim
Date: 12 Jul 03 - 02:38 PM

Why was it "obvious" that he was doing collage?

Have you never cut anything out of a newspaper?


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 12 Jul 03 - 04:35 PM

I would echo Fred M's comments. Love and Theft is interesting primarily because of the disjointed phrases with their clever imagery. The instrumental backing and tunes are satisfying, but these images and plays-on-words are the memorable thing about the album. Based on the comparison of lyrics to the book, it would seem that Dylan's formula consisted largely of creative and discriminating used of his Highlighter pen. My guess is it's only a matter of time before the sources for the rest of the lyrics are revealed. If you're that bankrupt of original thought, why strain yourself?


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Jul 03 - 05:05 PM

Maybe this is why I can't seem to get into "Love and Theft"? But it could also just be because I'm not listening to records much anyway of late. I wonder if there is any hope that Dylan will do an album based on lifting phrases out of one of William Shatner's autobiographies (such as "Get A Life")? Naw...probably not...Shatner is just too popular with the general public, and the link would be blatantly obvious...

- LH


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Fred Miller
Date: 12 Jul 03 - 09:47 PM

I don't know about the method, but the effect isn't too collage-like--less so than older Dylan stuff. I think they're kind of playfully funny because they so innocently leave out any reason why we should pay any attention to them. What's the big deal about the new grove of trees, and why do we care where it is? And what about the old one that's long gone, are we supposed to mourne for it or what? Check out the impressive dimensions on those trees! Burns with the bark still on--great! They're sweet, make you grin, like a little kid telling you he got some new shoes.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 03 - 09:25 AM

Yeah...what was I thinking of? Dylan was clipping coupons in that photo. Discounts for throat lozenges most likely. Thanks for setting me straight.


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 13 Jul 03 - 12:07 PM

Here's an interesting take on this issue from the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/12/arts/music/12DYLA.html?th

One obvious point the writer makes is that lifting several lines from a work of prose and putting them into songs is not the same level of plagerism as stealing words and/or music from one song for another purportedly original song. Also, there are some interesting observations about audio "sampling."

You have to sign up as, or already be, a "member" of the NYT site. I believe there is a username and password for Mudcatters, but I didn't remember it and signed up as myself. Anyone have that info?


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: Fred Miller
Date: 13 Jul 03 - 05:57 PM

Now, now, it's a floor-wax AND a dessert topping!


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Subject: RE: Bob Dylan - Lifted Lyrics?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 03 - 09:25 PM

Did you know that yak butter is the principle export of Tibet?


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