Sunday, May 24, 2009

On the road ...

... with Bryan: Stoke the Vile.

Listening to the Byrds will do that to you. I think their version of "Mr. Tambourine Man" is blasphemy.


  1. Susan B.9:21 PM

    Wait...Is there *another* version???

  2. Another version? Yeah, Bob's own, which is incomparable. I'm no Dylan worshiper, but that's him at his absolute best. The Tambourine Man, by the way, is a pusher.

  3. The Byrds get a bonus point for Roger McGuinn's awesome lead riff. But they get deducted five points for using only one of four verses, making the song lyrically incoherent. And let's take off another four points for giving the song a pop sensibility that's incongruent with its DNA.

    Dylan's lyrics evoke far more than a mere junkie-pusher relationship (if that at all). Actually, I always thought of that allusion ("tambourine man" = drug dealer) as a smokescreen. The song always felt, to me, more about a young man facing the typical existential crisis of young men -- feeling "lost," perhaps on the streets of New Orleans, watching and listening from a distance to one of the strange musicians in the French Quarter, vaguely believing -- or hoping -- that the answers he was looking for lay there, somehow.

    "I'm ready to go anywhere, I'm ready for to fade, into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way, I promise to go under it...
    yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free, silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands, with all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves, let me forget about today until tomorrow."


    P.S. Speaking of the Byrds, a friend of mine once referred to CSN as "Graham Nash and two Garfunkels." Outstanding. (And spot-on.)