Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Onward

A different 70's version of "Maggie's Farm", the song that Dylan used to launch himself from the world of folk into rock music 10 years before. The same rebellious spirit but in a groovy spin that reflects the decade Dylan was playing in, not the decade he first wrote and performed it. Dylan survived by going forward.

You can see T-Bone Burnett, now a famous Grammy winning producer, playing in the band to dylan's right, yeah, the tall blond guy with the aviators and the bright blue jacket. (Burnett produced the album "Seeing Things" just released by Jakob Dylan, the son of Bob Dylan.) He recently said in an interview that he is still going on the fuel from the Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue, the assembly you see here in the video. They are all looking like a mix between gypsies, bedouins and pirates.

Why I like this: because it was a lot of hard work creating one amazing song, and I can't imagine the vision and genius it takes to re-create it. I love the opening rifts, the layers upon layers of guitar and the pulsing bass line. The whole time they're playing, it sounds as though it is on the verge of coming apart any moment, but they miraculously pull through all the way to the end. You can see Dylan by sheer force of his will holding it all together--it's practically a circus on that stage and he's driving them all on as one. He's not relaxed, he's dynamic, constantly turning to his band so they know what to do next and where they're going. It's a roller coaster ride of a song, blowing the minds of the audience and the probably the musicians as well. They are going somewhere they've never been before. It's creative, it's a mess, but they are alive.

Here is Dylan's older version from 1965:

Also an imperfect mess but gets the point across, he's moving on...and gets boo'd for it. Change is inevitable, but people don't always like it. They want the predictable, they want the past, the illusion of security. Life isn't like that. We have to move onward.

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