Happy Birthday Bob Dylan

Dylan

In a signature year for Robert Allen Zimmerman he is this years recipient of the Nobel prize for literature, the award being made in 2016 Dylan took his time in accepting it.

Zimmerman changed his name after coming across the beautiful lyrical works of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.  He was at the time searching for something deeper than rock and roll.

The thing about rock’n’roll is that for me anyway it wasn’t enough… There were great catch-phrases and driving pulse rhythms… but the songs weren’t serious or didn’t reflect life in a realistic way. I knew that when I got into folk music, it was more of a serious type of thing. The songs are filled with more despair, more sadness, more triumph, more faith in the supernatural, much deeper feelings.”                  ………….Bob Dylan

The youth of the counter culture of the 1960’s agreed and the songs of Bob Dylan joined those of Woodie Guthrie and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott as cornerstones of the protest movement.

While gigging around Greenwich village he came across an extended family of Irish brothers from Carrick-on-Suir in County Tipperary.  They shared the simple farming and fishing folksongs and the tradition of rebellion through song of Ireland with him.  The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem found fame in their own regard and Dylan acknowledged their contribution to his emerging iconic style.

The citation from the Nobel committee says he was awarded the Literature prize for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.

Happy Birthday Bob and may you see many more.

Just like a woman; by Bob Dylan

Nobody feels any pain
Tonight as I stand inside the rain
Ev’rybody knows
That Baby’s got new clothes
But lately I see her ribbons and her bows
Have fallen from her curls
She takes just like a woman, yes, she does
She makes love just like a woman, yes, she does
And she aches just like a woman
But she breaks just like a little girl

Queen Mary
She’s my friend
Yes, I believe I’ll go see her again
Nobody has to guess
That Baby can’t be blessed
Till she sees finally that she’s like all the rest
With her fog, her amphetamine and her pearls
She takes just like a woman, yes
She makes love just like a woman, yes, she does
And she aches just like a woman
But she breaks just like a little girl

It was raining from the first
And I was dying there of thirst
So I came in here
And your long-time curse hurts
But what’s worse
Is this pain in here
I can’t stay in here
Ain’t it clear that

I just can’t fit
Yes, I believe it’s time for us to quit
But when we meet again
Introduced as friends
Please don’t let on that you knew me when
I was hungry and it was your world
Ah, you fake just like a woman, yes, you do
You make love just like a woman, yes, you do
Then you ache just like a woman
But you break just like a little girl

Clancys1-300x240

Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem

Move over Nostradamus

Cordal

Politicians discussing global warming: Isaac Cordal

I woke up this morning to the full force of Storm Desmond.  Every weekend in the last month we have had a Storm that deserves a name.  The weather is relentless.

I switch on the TV and see floods in Peru and Chennai.  In Svalbard they are short on snow in December.  Australia faces the worst heatwave and drought on record.

There is no longer any doubt that mankind has altered the weather patterns on Earth.  Yet at the Climate Talks in Paris the politicians will continue to dither and prevaricate.  They won’t make the hard economic decisions that are needed to arrest the pace of climate change.

Politicians are too worried about the next election to make decision that will affect our great grandchildren.  But we, the voting public, have the power to change this dynamic.  As a species we need to place the common good over individual desires.  Not an easy ask.

Perversely it is centrally planned utilitarian states who can make unilateral decisions for the common good.  China and the one child policy being a case in point.  Imagine trying to impose such a restriction in the USA?

So to other events on the goggle box this morning.  Famine in Yemen, Civil unrest in Ecuador and Venezuela.  San Bernadino laments another mass shooting and ISIL claims responsibility.  Britain, France, Russia and the USA queue up to drop bombs in Syria.

In the back of my mind I heard the words of the Prophet singing the verses of his 1960’s vision.  Yes folks, forget Nostradamus.  Listen to the words given to us by Bob Dylan.  The recording below is brilliant because it is so flawed.  It is real, visceral, truthful.  The live recording in New York Town Hall carries all the hallmarks of unedited live performance.  You can hear when Dylan turns his head slightly away from the mike.

On top of that this is a Vinyl recording, complete with hiss and cracks and there is even a scratch on the record.  Pure class.

You heard it from Dylan, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

 

Emmett Till

60 years ago on this day, Aug 28th, 1955 Emmett Till was murdered in Mississippi, for speaking to a white woman.

The two white men primarily responsible for his torture, mutilation and murder were acquitted.  Under the protection of “Double Jeopardy” legislation they subsequently admitted that they killed the 14 year old boy.

Well, what else could we do? He was hopeless. I’m no bully; I never hurt a nigger in my life. I like niggers—in their place—I know how to work ’em. But I just decided it was time a few people got put on notice. As long as I live and can do anything about it, niggers are gonna stay in their place. Niggers ain’t gonna vote where I live. If they did, they’d control the government. They ain’t gonna go to school with my kids. And when a nigger gets close to mentioning sex with a white woman, he’s tired o’ livin’. I’m likely to kill him. Me and my folks fought for this country, and we got some rights. I stood there in that shed and listened to that nigger throw that poison at me, and I just made up my mind. ‘Chicago boy,’ I said, ‘I’m tired of ’em sending your kind down here to stir up trouble. Goddam you, I’m going to make an example of you—just so everybody can know how me and my folks stand.’     J. W. Milam, Look magazine, 1956

The murder and mutilation of Till sparked a campaign to redress human rights violations in the USA and led to the Civil Rights Movement.  Given the spate of shootings of black people by white policemen captured on video in recent years there is a way to go to normalise relationships between whites and blacks in the USA.

60 years have passed and Mississippi remains the only US state to incorporate the Confederate Battle Flag into the State Flag.  If the people of Mississippi no longer agree with the sentiments expressed above then I think it is time to change the flag.

Maybe go back to the Magnolia flag which was used by the state from 1861 to 1894?

Magnolia flag

The Death of Emmett Till; by Bob Dylan

’Twas down in Mississippi not so long ago
When a young boy from Chicago town stepped through a Southern door
This boy’s dreadful tragedy I can still remember well
The color of his skin was black and his name was Emmett Till

Some men they dragged him to a barn and there they beat him up
They said they had a reason, but I can’t remember what
They tortured him and did some things too evil to repeat
There were screaming sounds inside the barn, there was laughing sounds out on the street

Then they rolled his body down a gulf amidst a bloody red rain
And they threw him in the waters wide to cease his screaming pain
The reason that they killed him there, and I’m sure it ain’t no lie
Was just for the fun of killin’ him and to watch him slowly die

And then to stop the United States of yelling for a trial
Two brothers they confessed that they had killed poor Emmett Till
But on the jury there were men who helped the brothers commit this awful crime
And so this trial was a mockery, but nobody seemed to mind

I saw the morning papers but I could not bear to see
The smiling brothers walkin’ down the courthouse stairs
For the jury found them innocent and the brothers they went free
While Emmett’s body floats the foam of a Jim Crow southern sea

If you can’t speak out against this kind of thing, a crime that’s so unjust
Your eyes are filled with dead men’s dirt, your mind is filled with dust
Your arms and legs they must be in shackles and chains, and your blood it must refuse to flow
For you let this human race fall down so God-awful low!

This song is just a reminder to remind your fellow man
That this kind of thing still lives today in that ghost-robed Ku Klux Klan
But if all of us folks that thinks alike, if we gave all we could give
We could make this great land of ours a greater place to live