The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #142469 Message #3288160
Posted By: Little Hawk
10-Jan-12 - 12:13 PM
Thread Name: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
It should be plainly clear to anyone who reads a number of excellent biographies of Bob Dylan that he was tremendously enthusiastic about playing music...and that his enthusiasm kept him moving rapidly through various styles of music until he had thoroughly gone into them and done everything he was curious about...then he usually moved on to something else.
This does not imply a grand scheme to make money, it implies a natural enthusiasm for the music.
His first strong interest was: the country music of Hank Williams. This was when he was a young teenager.
Next: Rock and roll by Buddy Holly, Little Richard, and others. His love for that music led to him forming and fronting some high school bands which played VERY LOUD rock music. Dylan played piano in some of those bands, Little Richard style, and he played electric guitar. One of those bands was called The Golden Chords.
Next: He became fascinated by acoustic folk & blues music, got rid of the electric guitar, and started listening to every old blues and folk record he could find, borrow...or steal! He devoured the old blues and folk ethos and started covering songs by everyone from Odetta to Woody Guthrie, with Guthrie being the biggest influence.
Nothing could be more obvious than that he did it because he loved their music and wanted to be like them. This had also been the case previously with his interest in Hank Williams, Buddy Holly, etc.
Isn't that why we all go into music when we're young? We LIKE it, that's why. And we want to do it ourselves.
So Dylan was still in the acoustic folk/blues idiom when his career really began, and he turned out to be very good at it, but more importantly, he turned out to have a gift for writing a lot of new songs, and songs which were admirably suited for the time.
He always dove into a new interest and immersed himself in it...usually for a period of about 3 years, I'd say, until he'd done it "to the nines", as the expression goes...meaning to the limit. And then...he would get restless for something new, and he'd move on.
For people to cast this as some sort of Machiavellian scheme on Dylan's part to make a ton of money reveals nothing about Bob Dylan, but reveals something about the deep cynicism and negativity and sheer nastiness of themselves in regards to reacting to another person's success.
To assert that he went "religious" in the late 70's as a marketing ploy is utterly asinine. His move to what seemed like a very dour Christian fundamentalism alienated and drove away probably 2/3 or more of his past loyal audience...and certainly did not attract enough new audience to make up for that. It really pissed off and puzzled a lot of his former fans.
Hell, the man always played only the music he wanted to play, period. He did exactly what he wanted to do at any given time. Sometimes it helped his career, sometimes it lost him a big chunk of his audience and hurt his career, but he did what he wanted to do, not what the public wanted him to do, and he had enough real talent to survive the backlash to the changes he made.
And that's why people got angry at him. He wasn't out to please them, he was out to do whatever fulfilled him and made him feel like playing music. As soon as he got bored with anything, he moved on.