The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #142469 Message #3291421
Posted By: Little Hawk
16-Jan-12 - 11:25 AM
Thread Name: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
You never know. ;-) I'd be happy to listen to anything Ewan MacColl ever recorded, and I don't particularly mind that he once wrote a song praising Josef Stalin...I understand the time and the set of circumstances he was coming from when he wrote it. Views of Stalin changed radically among leftists after Kruschev revealed much of the cruelty of Stalin's regime.
What got to me about Bob Dylan was, first of all...
The words! He had a way of using words that said exactly what I was feeling and hit on what I cared about.
The visceral intensity. His way of delivering those words had such a bite to it. It came from very deep, and it held nothing back (in the sense of the emotion).
His universality. Instead of being very specific, as so many songwriters are, he spoke in symbols, archetypes, and mystery. That allows the listener to go to many different places while listening to the words and to fit the song powerfully to his own inner thoughts. Joan Baez has said that he's very good at being "vague" and that at the same time he's very "good with words". The vagueness allows space for things to enter...and that's what makes it so interesting. It's like the silence all around a given sound...without the silence, the sound cannot stand out and be heard. Therefore the silence is vital.
His love of the tradition. Dylan's music is just saturated through and through with a treasure trove of traditional music, rural and urban blues, all that music of the common people over the last few centuries. He went so deeply into all that when he was really young and impressionable that it's become permanently melded into his subconscious or something, and it creeps through all over the place in the new stuff he writes. It's always there, stepping out of the shadows.
The sheer joy and exuberance of some of the music he's written. There's an energy there that just shimmers and leaps, and it lifts me up when I hear it.
And that's only the beginning. I guess it'll be with me till I die.