27 September 2005

Intermediate Dylan theory

what i don't understand about newport
how could they think they were setting black people free
if the only black music they accepted
was folk and gospel?

way back in 1938
the same john hammond who 'discovered' dylan
had produced a show at carnegie hall
called from spirituals to swing
that included the full range of black music

but somehow by 1965
the folk crowd had been bleached
like mary travers by albert goldman
or like martin luther king by j edgar hoover

so that joanie baez shuddered with horror
at the phrase 'sex drugs and rock'n'roll'
and today's al and tipper gore would have felt at ease

but dylan seems an unlikely galahad
(even with the Band as his roadhouse knights)
to heal that psychic rift

the beatles
inspired by black american r&b
more appreciated in liverpool than white america
had charmed the pants off every sentient being
the year before with 'hard day's night'
but they still wouldn't become respectable until 1967
with the sgt pepper's rave in the new york times

the newport jeers
the principal of hibbing elementary
pulling the curtain on bobby z's little-richard act

he had briefly charmed the world
with timeless acoustic protest folk guitar

but now was on the path of baudelaire
smoking pot
pulling symbols out of the gutter

and revelling in the harshness of his voice