Friday, December 19, 2008

Two artists who I've obsessed about and tried to get into the headspace of: Bob Dylan and David Bowie

Dylan came first. He was my traveling companion all during the Florida years.

I remember when I was living in the Florida Keys. I lived on Big Pine Key, which is the next major Key south of Marathon, and Marathon is the place where all of the nearest stores beyond grocery stores are. During the long drive from Big Pine to Marathon I started listening to "Desire", playing a game with myself of memorizing "Isis" as I went over all of the bridges, as well as "Hurricane". But "Isis" in particular, because it was new. Then the "Rolling Thunder Revue" CDs were issued when I was living in Gainesville, and listening to them was an absolute revelation. Like an explosion going off in my head. I don't think that I had ever purposely just sat in front of a stereo and listened to an album over and over and over again, doing nothing except focussing on the music....and being in awe of it. And being totally sober at the same time. Rolling Thunder Review did that for me. After that I began to listen to more and more and more and more Dylan, focussing on the CDs that hadn't in fact gotten all the attention. I only bought a copy of "Highway 61 Revisited" long after I'd gotten more obscure stuff, and I never bought a copy of Blonde on Blonde, which I'd listened to when I was a teenager. Instead....Blood on the Tracks.....John Wesley Harding...."Love and Theft"....Bootleg series 1-3....even Street Legal and Slow Train Coming....Oh Mercy!....World Gone Wrong.... I didn't listen to the Basement Tapes unil late in the game either because they were trendy. Rolling Thunder Revue became my theme music for my first car trip to Texas, to Austin to be exact. Bootleg Series 1-3, which collected an enormous number of rarities (including a whole alternate version of Blood on the Tracks) became the listening theme music for my second venture out to Texas by car.

God, brings back memories. Only got into Bowie up here, partly I'm sure because I lived in Olympia for over three years.

To wrap up, Rolling Thunder Revue....I remember Ron Jacobs writing a story about it on CounterPunch where he described the tour as a tour of righteousness bent on redeeming a world that had fallen because of the Vietnam War and injustice. I heartily agree with that. It's like an elemental force coming over America.

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