The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #8683 Message #54308
Posted By: Big Mick
15-Jan-99 - 08:33 PM
Thread Name: The Bob Dylan Mystique
Subject: RE: The Bob Dylan Mystique
I probably take a position that is a mix of John Twomey and Dan Meixner. But I lean towards John's position more. While I don't consider Dylan to be the most important figure of the twentieth century, or even in the top 20, he certainly is very important precisely because of the number of great songs in his body of work. No artist writes all great songs. Bards, regardless of the age in which they live, attempt to make a connection with the "folk" in a way that conveys a message. They always write far more poor songs, than great ones. Gutherie was like this, so is Dylan. But it is the number within that body of work that hit a nerve and capture a feeling or cause or event, and speak with a voice that captures the listener that determine greatness. On that score, Dylan is certainly one of the great ones. The only reason I don't consider him on the par with Seger, or Lomax or any of those is that he didn't go beyond his message to attempting to pass the genre on to others. And I don't fault him for that, it is just that Pete did, the Lomaxes did, Odetta continues to do so. He speaks to the time in which he lives, and that is why he is far from being past his time. But the greatest, I just can't get there. With regard to Dan's comment about his voice, his voice has never been what made him great. It is his lyric and his way with a phrase. Hell, have you ever listened to Woody sing. Any number of us in this community can sing "better", but no one could deliver his songs like he could.
All the best,