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Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'

DigiTrad:
TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGING
YOU AIN'T GOING NOWHERE


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Ed. 13 Apr 04 - 03:12 PM
Les from Hull 13 Apr 04 - 03:18 PM
Ed. 13 Apr 04 - 03:26 PM
The Borchester Echo 13 Apr 04 - 03:26 PM
Ed. 13 Apr 04 - 03:30 PM
The Borchester Echo 13 Apr 04 - 03:31 PM
Little Robyn 13 Apr 04 - 03:34 PM
Ed. 13 Apr 04 - 03:40 PM
The Borchester Echo 13 Apr 04 - 04:06 PM
Backstage Manager(inactive) 13 Apr 04 - 04:32 PM
The Fooles Troupe 13 Apr 04 - 10:05 PM
Big Tim 14 Apr 04 - 03:06 PM
greg stephens 14 Apr 04 - 03:14 PM
GUEST,bigJ 14 Apr 04 - 04:24 PM
Jim McLean 14 Apr 04 - 05:28 PM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Apr 04 - 06:44 PM
Big Tim 15 Apr 04 - 04:01 AM
Mark Ross 15 Apr 04 - 04:43 AM
Sir Roger de Beverley 15 Apr 04 - 04:44 AM
greg stephens 15 Apr 04 - 04:45 AM
greg stephens 15 Apr 04 - 05:00 AM
greg stephens 15 Apr 04 - 08:50 AM
Jim McLean 15 Apr 04 - 10:04 AM
Big Tim 15 Apr 04 - 11:25 AM
Jim McLean 15 Apr 04 - 12:08 PM
greg stephens 15 Apr 04 - 12:27 PM
Jim McLean 15 Apr 04 - 12:33 PM
The Borchester Echo 15 Apr 04 - 12:50 PM
greg stephens 15 Apr 04 - 12:56 PM
Jim McLean 15 Apr 04 - 01:22 PM
GUEST,Alias 15 Apr 04 - 02:11 PM
The Borchester Echo 15 Apr 04 - 03:50 PM
Jim McLean 15 Apr 04 - 04:19 PM
Big Tim 15 Apr 04 - 04:25 PM
GUEST,Alias 16 Apr 04 - 07:05 AM
Pied Piper 16 Apr 04 - 07:48 AM
GUEST,Alias 16 Apr 04 - 09:03 AM
Big Tim 16 Apr 04 - 10:02 AM
Jim McLean 16 Apr 04 - 10:20 AM
GUEST,Alias 16 Apr 04 - 10:29 AM
GUEST,Ian Woodward 16 Apr 04 - 10:36 AM
greg stephens 16 Apr 04 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,Alias 17 Apr 04 - 01:08 PM
Big Tim 17 Apr 04 - 02:30 PM
Big Tim 17 Apr 04 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,Trad arr 18 Apr 04 - 02:53 PM
Big Tim 18 Apr 04 - 03:36 PM
Big Tim 24 Apr 04 - 10:04 AM
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Subject: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Ed.
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 03:12 PM

Reported in various media outlets this week, was Bob Dylan's admission that the tune for "The Times They Are A-Changin'" was based on a Scottish pipe tune, probably "Farewell to Sicily" (see here for more).

I had a quick look at JC's ABC tune finder but couldn't find a tune of that title. I did find Banks of Sicily.mid which seems to be a likely contender. Does anyone know if this is the same tune under a different name?


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Les from Hull
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 03:18 PM

Like it says in the article, the 51st (Highland) Division's Farewell to Sicily. It's a song.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Ed.
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 03:26 PM

Yes, I did read the articles... (beats head on wall)

I'd prefer an answer to my question, to be honest...


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 03:26 PM

The tune is 'Farewell to the Creeks' to which Hamish Henderson put the words of '51st Highland Division's Farewell to Sicily'.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Ed.
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 03:30 PM

I know that too...

Never mind


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 03:31 PM

Suit yerself.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Little Robyn
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 03:34 PM

Ed this IS the tune, tho' personally I reckon it lost something in Bob's translation.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Ed.
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 03:40 PM

Apologies for my rude abruptness, countess richard. It's been a difficult day.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 04:06 PM

That's OK, Ed. Dylan was a master of this. Just a slight change of metre and...bingo! See also how 'Lord Franklin' transmogrified into 'Bob Dylan's Dream'.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Backstage Manager(inactive)
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 04:32 PM

It's funny what non-news the media picks up on. Dylan has always acknowledged the fact that many of his songs are directly based on traditional folk songs.

He's in good company in that regard. Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, the Carter Family, Lead Belly, Utah Phillips, Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs, Dick Gaughan, Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger and countless others, including the late Mudcatter Rick Fielding, did the same.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 10:05 PM

Dylan SINGS this to a TUNE?

:-O


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Big Tim
Date: 14 Apr 04 - 03:06 PM

In the recent LA Times interview, Dylan said, I'm paraphrasing here, "I'm not a melodist [sic]!, most of my tunes are based on old Protestant hymns". I'd disagree, I think he's being unduly modest here. Dylan is a great tunesmith: it would be impossible to write all those songs otherwise, and 43 years after his first album, he's still doing it.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: greg stephens
Date: 14 Apr 04 - 03:14 PM

I personally dont see a great deal in common between "The Times they are a changing" with " The Banks of Sicily", either tune or word pattern. There are sperficial bits in common, but I dont see them as very important.
I would have thought, on the other hand, that Dylan's song would not have come out as it did if he hadn't been familiar with "Arthur McBride"


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: GUEST,bigJ
Date: 14 Apr 04 - 04:24 PM

When I read this article in Monday's Daily Telegraph I went on a hunt through my eps and there, on the shelf, was 'Four For Fun' dated 1963 (hell I'm getting old). But the interesting thing is that in the article it says:-

(Rab) Noakes said that Dylan would have been exposed to the tune through a close friend, the musician and novelist Richard Farina, who married Joan Baez's sister, Mimi.
Farina performed on television in London alongside Scottish folk singers and later visited them in Edinburgh, where he was introduced to Henderson.

Now, when Greg Stephens and I were young children there was a BBCTV current affairs programme called 'Tonight' hosted by Cliff Michelmore.
At the end of the programme there would be a folk or contemporary song performed by Scots singer Rory McEwen or by Guyanan singer Cy Grant. Later it was Rory and brother Alex McEwen and later still Jimmy MacGregor and Robin Hall.
In 1962 - two years before the appearance of 'The Times They..." - Rory and Alex produced a show at the Edinburgh Festival from which the aforementioned ep was produced. And who were their guests in the show and on the record - well, according to the sleeve notes "Carolyne and Dick Farina, a husband and wife team from America."

And the songs they sang on the ep : Salty Dog/ The Chastity Belt/ Deep Blue Sea AND Banks O' Sicily.

However, the conundrum for me is, who was Carolyne? Or was she actually Mimi?
Any contributions?


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Jim McLean
Date: 14 Apr 04 - 05:28 PM

I agree with Greg, I cannot see any connection betweent Dylan's tune and Farewell to the Creeks. When I talked to Dylan in the early sixties, actually the night I introduced him to Martin Carthy via a stage appearance, Dylan asked me if I was Hamish Henderson! In the same conversation (in the toilet of The King and Queen pub, London) he said he was surprised to hear that McColl lived 'in a big house'. He thought he should be some working class slummer.
The times certainly are a'changin'.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Apr 04 - 06:44 PM

It is a simplified version - if you strum an accompaniment to both, you end up using the same chords in the same places, even though the melody varies a bit.

I'd like to hear a pipe accompanied version of the Times They Are a-Changing.

Of course Dylan used existing tunes, like most songwriters with sense. If a tune hasn't emerged by now the chances are it won't be such a great tune. It's easy enough to consciously adjust an existing tune so it's "original". But it's easier to let the words do the adjusting for you, and the result will probably be better; and that is what Dylan pretty clearly does. The internal folk process.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Big Tim
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 04:01 AM

I doubt that Dylan would have hear "Arthur McBride" as early as 1963.
Jim, I like that "when I talked to Dylan" bit! (PS I have read Jordan's chapter on SS, sounds reasonable).


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Mark Ross
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 04:43 AM

CAROLYNE was probably Caroline Hester, who was Richard's first wife.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Sir Roger de Beverley
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 04:44 AM

Big J

The Carolyn was Carolyn Hester (who was briefly married to Richard Farina) - see previous threads about her

Roger


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: greg stephens
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 04:45 AM

Big Tim: why would Bob Dylan not have been familiar with "Arthur McBride" in 1963? It would have been well-known both sides of the Atlantic, via the Irish scene in New York(with which Dylan was well familiar, and the English folk scene(ditto).
There are elements in the tune which I think suggest links(particularly the way the "weather was pleasant and charming" recurrent bit compares with "the times they are a changing". And I think the overall handling of language suggests some influence.
Here is the first verse for interest, but you really ned to hear the songs side by side. The immediacy and charm of the lyrics combined with the savagery and humour of the politics is very compelling (in both songs!)

"I once had a cousin called Arthur McBride
And he and I wandered down by the seaside
For our pleasure and pastime a-watching the tide
And the weather was pleasant and charming"


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: greg stephens
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 05:00 AM

Additional information on my previous post: I'm not that up on recent Dylan. I was just this minute having a browse around Arthur McBride and I found that Dylan has actually recorded the song. I had only made the connection between him and it because I fancied a resemblance between the two songs: I was unaware when I wrote the previous bit that he had actually sung the song.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: greg stephens
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 08:50 AM

Richard Farina married, and performed with, both Mimi and Carolyn Heston, in some kind of overlapping fashion in the early 60's. Which explains a bit of confusion.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Jim McLean
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 10:04 AM

Every time I hear Masters of War I immediately think on the Master McGrath tune (Erin go Brath).


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Big Tim
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 11:25 AM

Greg, of course Dylan MAY have been familiar with "Arthur McBride" at age 21 or 22, I just don't think it very likely. He was't really into much Irish stuff outside of the Clancys (he learned "Brennan on Moor" from them and used that tune, for "Rambling, Gambling Willie", if memory serves). I don't think they ever sang "McBride": probably because they didn't know it either! (I knew Dylan recorded the song in the 90s, I have the album). Masters of War tune is based on Nottamun Town, learned from Martin Carthy, allegedly.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Jim McLean
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 12:08 PM

Don't you think the last 5 bars od Nottamun Town are exactly the same as Master McGrath (Erin Gu Brath) '... and he faced the machine guns for Erin gu Brath..


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: greg stephens
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 12:27 PM

Big Time: I dont know if the Clancy Bros did Arthur McBride...I'd be surprised if they didnt know a song as widespread as that.But I would guess Bob Dylan would have heard Arthur McBride sung by Redd Sullivan or Martin Carthy in 1962 in London, even if the Clancys werent doing it in New York. Dylan was in maximum listening mode on that visit...witness Nottamun Town, the Patriot Game and Franklin! I'm just proposing he heard Arthur McBride as well.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Jim McLean
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 12:33 PM

Greg, I was around the Troubadour at that time and I never heard Redd nor Martin singing Arthur McBride. I don't actually think it would be their kind of song.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 12:50 PM

Redd Sullivan did Arthur McBride. In fact I learned it from him walking back from Earl's Court to Hampstead after Troubadour all-nighters though I don't recall Bob Dylan ever coming along with us.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: greg stephens
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 12:56 PM

Redd Sullivan was certainly singing it then, and very well too...I couldnt swear to when Martin Carthy was singing it, he maybe learned it later than 62, but sing it he certainly did.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Jim McLean
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 01:22 PM

I can only repeat that I never heard Redd singing it but maybe I had too much whisky in my troubadour coffee mug .... I still have one, the small pinkish thing!


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: GUEST,Alias
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 02:11 PM

I heard it on the BBC the other day Ewan McColl wailing some crap in a fake scotch accent - "this was the inspiration for the times ..."

Inspiration my ass - Dylan did not need inspiration from plastic jocks. The man was and indeed is A GENIUS. In adifferent league altogether from the talentless nobodies mentioned in this thread.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 03:50 PM

You might have heard MacColl singing '51st Highland Division's Farewell to Sicily'. It was the tune used for this song, which is 'Farewell to the Creeks' written by Pipe Major James Robertson of the Gordon Highlanders (no plastic jock), that Dylan played about with.

The 'talentless nobodies' were indeed an inspiration to him, a fact which he has always acknowledged. I've seen the website too that credits Dylan with composing every last song he ever recorded. Not something he would endorse.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Jim McLean
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 04:19 PM

I don't know if GUEST,Alias knows or wants to know about Dylan's agent, Al Grossman, and the tape recorder. Every Saturday night session at the Troubadour was recorded and the tapes later studied in Dylan's hotel. Whence came such musical gems as God on our Side, The Times..., Farewell ..., I could go on for half an hour. I (we) are not questioning Dylan's ability to produce songs 'in the folk tradition' but merely stating what transpired.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Big Tim
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 04:25 PM

Greg,I didn't know "McBride" was being played in London folk circles in that era, when Dylan visited. So, yes, maybe! The only person who know's for sure is Dylan: he really should write his musical memoirs.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: GUEST,Alias
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 07:05 AM

But those songs were and still are CRAP -it took the master's talent to completely re-write, finely hone, add sparkle and magic and produce the real classics!


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Pied Piper
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 07:48 AM

McG of H, I might have a go at that.
PP


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: GUEST,Alias
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 09:03 AM

So there!


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Big Tim
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 10:02 AM

I think you're right Jim, there's a little bit of Erin Go Bragh in there too! I am a big Dylan fan but I do think it was wrong of him to use Behan's Patriot Game, even this was a traditional melody. DB made that song his own.                                                

Of course Dylan's not the only one to have used traditional melodies, what about Tom Paxton's "High Sheriff of Hazard", surely that's the Limerick Rake tune. More recently, Shane MacGowan has used many, many traditional tunes and I haven't seen him being criticized too much.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Jim McLean
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 10:20 AM

I have no objection to people using trad melodies. After all, I don't think Robert Burns ever wrote a tune! But I agree, Big Tim, the use of the Patriot Game and the obvious parodying of the words was not above board.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: GUEST,Alias
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 10:29 AM

All Along The Watchtower was based on the song "Och aye it's your round Jimmy" by the well known and talented Hamish McSweatysock. Although earlier versions of the tune were reportedly sung by Billy McSadggit in the Tyte arms tavern in Glasgow pre 1960


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: GUEST,Ian Woodward
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 10:36 AM

Regarding the "Four For Fun" EP, which I don't own unfortunately, it was, as stated by several contributors, Carloyn Hester and Richard Farina who joined Rory and Alex McEwen on this. The two brothers did four other Waverley label EPs at this time but without the two Americans. The four of them had put on a series of shows at the Edinburgh Festival that year, with a jazz band and singer and with a succession of guest performers. The "Four For Fun" EP came out of that, the photo on the sleeve being taken in Edinburgh and Waverley Records being based there.

Another off-shoot of the festival show was a half-hour BBC TV programme (nothing directly to do with the "Tonight" TV show and Rory McEwen's occasional appearance on that). An audio tape of the TV show has survived (poor off-air quality and not quite complete) and it includes "Banks o' Sicily", introduced by Rory McEwen as you not often hearing this song performed by two Scots, a Texan and a Irish-Cuban American. I've probably got his words a bit wrong, as I'm relying on memory here.

Finally, I have spoken to Rab Noakes about this since the article appeared. In a sense, the existence of the EP and the TV recording supports the view he expressed. Despite having known both songs for, what, 40 years now, I still cannot hear the connection. In a booklet about Dylan's Bootleg Series Vols 1-3 (on which a piano demo of The Times They Are A-Changin'" appears), I put forward the view that the song was probably written in September 1963 and could well have been Dylan's response to the March on Washington (28 Aug 1963) at which he appeared. After this event, he spent some time in California at Joan Baez's place, amongst other things listening to her record collection. By this time, just before the March on Washington in fact, Richard Farina had married Mimi, Joan's sister, and the two were living close by. It is quite possible that Banks o' Sicily came up in their meetings.

It is equally possible that Dylan could have heard it in London folk clubs during his December 1962 - January 1963 visit. I most certainly did, when I started going to them about a year later.

Regarding "Arthur McBride", Dylan clearly got this from a much later Paul Brady album.

I still, however, remain to be convinced that "The Times" and "Banks o' Sicily" are connected directly.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: greg stephens
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 12:40 PM

Dylan certainly got the version of Arthur McBride that he recorded from the Paul Brady record much later. I still have a strong feeling that he'd heard the song much earlier.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: GUEST,Alias
Date: 17 Apr 04 - 01:08 PM

Arthur McBride?

Wotta load of tosh!


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Big Tim
Date: 17 Apr 04 - 02:30 PM

Shelton's Dylan biog quotes Bob, re "Times", "definitely a song with a purpose...influenced by Scottish ballads".


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Big Tim
Date: 17 Apr 04 - 02:47 PM

Alias: it's good to know there's another Dylan fan out there. What age are you bythewayjimmyalias? I'm 58.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: GUEST,Trad arr
Date: 18 Apr 04 - 02:53 PM

Alias.

Let's face it, talented chap Bob Dylan may be, he's also written plenty of crap in his time. In fact some of the imagery is nothing other than nonsense. His skill is in making it sound good.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Big Tim
Date: 18 Apr 04 - 03:36 PM

Oh dear.


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Subject: RE: Dylan's tune for 'The Times They Are...'
From: Big Tim
Date: 24 Apr 04 - 10:04 AM

from "Song and Dance Man III; the art of Bob Dylan" by Michael Gray:

"For Arthur McBride, Dylan owes a particular debt to an Irish singer he much admires, Paul Brady...when Dylan was in Ireland to play a concert in 1984 he asked Brady to show him how to play his guitar accompaniment to another old song "Pontchartrain"...Dylan mentions Brady as one of his 'secret heroes'...

Brady himself found the song "Arthur McBride" in a 1973 American book, "A Heritage of Songs" when living at the home of 1960s folksinger Patrick Sky in Rhode Island, and adapted it for his own recording in 1976. There is no doubt that Dylan knew this recording [Brady's]nor that his own performance of it is close, word for word, and melodically, to Brady's...

Brady's phrasing and intonation may owe something to Dylan, 'notably a charged casualness of reference and an elasticity of syllabic emphasis' [Gavin Selerie]. Playing in Dublin, London and New York, Brady can hardly have failed to have absorbed Dylan's influences"

Bringing it all back home righ enough!


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