The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #13282   Message #108767
Posted By: Chet W.
26-Aug-99 - 04:42 PM
Thread Name: Woody Guthrie quote?
Subject: RE: Woody Guthrie quote?
I've had this discussion before. You won't find many more devoted Bob fans than myself, but I do realize that a lot of his material was indeed derivative. For his first few albums he was like a Woody G. grad student, trying to please. Then he went through his French poet period, doing often inscrutable takes on Baudelaire and Rimbaud. Then when he started writing truly his own songs, a lot of them were terrible (check "if dogs run free" on Planet Waves). BUT overall and through all, he has been the creative foundation of whatever musical category he happened to be in. His voice, ever changing, was always an instrument played by a master, whether you happened to care for it or not. His guitar playing wonderful and creative and subtle. And if there is one magical thing I can lay my hand on, have you ever noticed that even when his rendition of some of his own songs seemed to have no discernable melody, when it was over you knew exactly what the melody was? I can't figure out how he does that, but it's true (compare Bob's and the Byrds' takes on the same songs). I last saw him sometime a year or a year and a half ago, and even nearing 60 he played some of the best and most energetic music I've ever heard. So, that's my take on it. You can pick out a dud song if you want, but there's a lot of wonderful stuff in there too.