The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #142469 Message #3285486
Posted By: Stringsinger
05-Jan-12 - 07:04 PM
Thread Name: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
"Dylan played harmonica exactly like Woody Guthrie."
Sorry, that's not right. Woody could really play the harmonica. I know, because I was a student of Woody's. He taught me to play cross harp. Dylan really doesn't play harmonica,
he just blows into it.
Most of the people who claim to know Woody really don't. He had a lot of imitators but unfortunately they imitated how he was when he was afflicted with Huntingtons.
I was fortunate to be one of his pickin' buddies before he succumbed. He could sing and play well. Topanga Canyon, 1952 or so. Before he took off with Aneke.
The deal with Dylan is that he never knew Woody early enough to hear how good he was.
Dylan became commercial quite early. Some of his songs are great, and others mediocre.
Of all of his songs, I like his love songs best. "Tomorrow is a Long Time" is lovely.
Never really thought much of "Blowin' in the Wind" because it seemed stereotypical and as if it were fashioned for the "protest" market. "Masters of War" seemed overblown to me. He got the tune from Jean Ritchie's "Nottingham Town" though there is nothing wrong with that.
Ewan would have objected to the over-popularity and cultish figure of Dylan which eclipsed a lot of the local traditional British music in his neck of the woods. Dylan, in his early days,
took on the dress of Woody with the cap and harmonica rack. Woody was a socialist.
Dylan seems very apolitical to me. The same with Jack Elliott, too.
I never believed that Dylan really was sincere in his early songs. "Like A Rolling Stone" was a very powerful pop song, however, that seemed more like who he was.
Steve Earle seems closest to Woody in terms of his writing, social and political outlook and his manner of performing, much more than Dylan.